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FMIL and her sister.... WWYD?

My FMIL is VERY close with her sister. As she explained it to me, FMIL's sister is the only family she has left (dad died when she was younger, as did the oldest sister, mom died about three years ago... She has other extended family, but her sis is the last of that nuclear family). I appreciate her closeness with her sis-- my family is much the same way in terms of how close we all are, but there are many more of us (for instance, Thanksgiving dinner is usually about 40 ppl). However, this closeness is starting to bother me, as she is making it an issue with many of our wedding plans.

It all started with the rehearsal dinner, for which FIL's are paying. I really want to have a very intimate dinner with just our wedding party, parents, and us. The wedding the next day will have about 200 guests, so I wanted to have that night before just be those closest to us. However, she insisted that her sister (and her DB second husband) be invited, though her sis has no role in the wedding (and therefore, in the rehearsal). To keep things fair, that means we are extending an invite to either all my aunts and uncles (+10-12 extra people) or our attendant's parents (+8 people). My only request for the RD was pushed aside to accommodate her wishes, since its her money. I'm getting over it.

There's been little things in the interim, but this latest incident is becoming the straw that might break the camel's back. I was discussing flowers with her (for which, yes, she's paying) and showed her the list of different arrangements we'll need. This included the list of corsages/boutonnieres, one for FI, one for each of his groomsmen, one for each of the parents and one for FI's grandmother. She got all flustered and asked why I wasn't giving the aunts and uncles flowers. I explained that I have just too many and it would be a snowball effect. Then she asked who my godparents are (I knew where she was going with this-- FI's godmother is his aunt) and I explained how, since I was born Jewish, I do not have godparents. She continued to be all a-twitter but never came right out and said she wanted her sis to have a flower, though I anticipated this issue and knew that her wish would be for her sister to be honored with a flower.

So, here's the deal-- I know it's her money. I also know that it's only $20 or so to give her sis a flower (by no means a bank-breaker). But, I am really having a problem with her constantly trying to elevate her sister's status in our wedding. I love her sister. She's a wonderful woman. But I also love my many aunts and uncles, both blood relatives and those many adults in my life I call "aunt" or "uncle" because of their special place in my life. I don't want to turn our wedding into a three-ring circus or the Oscars (you know, "There are so many people I'd like to thank...."). I believe that it is honoring these people enough to have invited them to our wedding. And I'm really starting to resent that she wants make her sister appear more important than all those people who are important to me.

So, what would you do? Give in and order the aunt a flower? Say something about my feelings? Not say anything since she didn't flat-out request a flower for her sis, though I know it's an issue? I'd really appreciate any advice you could offer. I'm really starting to become territorial and defensive about my family because she is making such an issue about her side of the family and their importance.

Re: FMIL and her sister.... WWYD?

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    edited December 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_moms-maids_fmil-her-sister-wwyd?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:357Discussion:84d4cd88-420e-4781-a555-32915a9546e5Post:7b0282c9-3a29-41d8-968d-697fb8acdd05">FMIL and her sister.... WWYD?</a>:
    [QUOTE]My FMIL is VERY close with her sister. As she explained it to me, FMIL's sister is the only family she has left (dad died when she was younger, as did the oldest sister, mom died about three years ago... She has other extended family, but her sis is the last of that nuclear family). I appreciate her closeness with her sis-- my family is much the same way in terms of how close we all are, but there are many more of us (for instance, Thanksgiving dinner is usually about 40 ppl). However, this closeness is starting to bother me, as she is making it an issue with many of our wedding plans. It all started with the rehearsal dinner, for which FIL's are paying. I really want to have a very intimate dinner with just our wedding party, parents, and us. The wedding the next day will have about 200 guests, so I wanted to have that night before just be those closest to us. However, she insisted that her sister (and her DB second husband) be invited, though her sis has no role in the wedding (and therefore, in the rehearsal). To keep things fair, that means we are extending an invite to either all my aunts and uncles (+10-12 extra people) or our attendant's parents (+8 people). My only request for the RD was pushed aside to accommodate her wishes, since its her money. I'm getting over it. There's been little things in the interim, but this latest incident is becoming the straw that might break the camel's back. I was discussing flowers with her (for which, yes, she's paying) and showed her the list of different arrangements we'll need. This included the list of corsages/boutonnieres, one for FI, one for each of his groomsmen, one for each of the parents and one for FI's grandmother. She got all flustered and asked why I wasn't giving the aunts and uncles flowers. I explained that I have just too many and it would be a snowball effect. Then she asked who my godparents are (I knew where she was going with this-- FI's godmother is his aunt) and I explained how, since I was born Jewish, I do not have godparents. She continued to be all a-twitter but never came right out and said she wanted her sis to have a flower, though I anticipated this issue and knew that her wish would be for her sister to be honored with a flower. So, here's the deal-- I know it's her money. I also know that it's only $20 or so to give her sis a flower (by no means a bank-breaker). But, I am really having a problem with her constantly trying to elevate her sister's status in our wedding. I love her sister. She's a wonderful woman. But I also love my many aunts and uncles, both blood relatives and those many adults in my life I call "aunt" or "uncle" because of their special place in my life. I don't want to turn our wedding into a three-ring circus or the Oscars (you know, "There are so many people I'd like to thank...."). I believe that it is honoring these people enough to have invited them to our wedding. And I'm really starting to resent that she wants make her sister appear more important than all those people who are important to me. So, what would you do? Give in and order the aunt a flower? Say something about my feelings? Not say anything since she didn't flat-out request a flower for her sis, though I know it's an issue? I'd really appreciate any advice you could offer. I'm really starting to become territorial and defensive about my family because she is making such an issue about her side of the family and their importance.
    Posted by ravensbride49[/QUOTE]
     
    As far as the RD is concerned, I don't see why you couldn't have just said "no" and stood your ground.  Your FMIL's sister may be a great person, but isn't part of the WP or immediate family, so I don't see why she absolutely needed to be there.  And really, your FI should've supported you on this and talked to his mother himself. 

    I guess, though, I don't get the fact that the florals are the hill you're choosing to die on, because it kind of sounds petty.  I think that the line should've been drawn at the RD, but that ship has apparently sailed.   In terms of the wedding itself, the aunt/godmother having a corsage doesn't necessarily have to mean everyone in the aunt/uncle tier needs one.  Besides, if FMIL is paying for it herself, I don't see the problem, and I think it's a little difficult to dictate who will get what if others are paying.   Besides, I can't see how a corsage will impact the ceremony.

    That said, I would say that there is such thing as picking and choosing your battles.  But where is your FI in this situation?   I don't think you should be fighting with your FMIL, your FI should be dealing with his mother himself, and if he's not, that's an issue bigger than the wedding planning itself.
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    tpender13tpender13 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Mmm, I think this is a little weird, too. But at the same time, it's a big deal for FMIL, so is this really something you want to fight?

    katelyn made a good point though - since her family is so small, it might be more weird to not include her. For example, DH and I decided early on that we weren't going to invite aunts/uncles/cousins because there are just too many on my side and my H's dad's side. The only exceptions to that were my aunt who was more like another mom to my mom, and thus more like my grandma; and H's mom's sister - his parents are both divorced/remarried. His mom only has the one sister who is married w/no kids, so it would have been strange not inviting them, since they'd be the only part of the family left out.

    I am curious as to where your FI stands on this, and if he's "active" in dealing w/his mom...
    image
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    edited December 2011
    My FI is wonderful with all this... When his aunt came up on the guest list of the RD and I explained my feelings to him, he went to his mom... Unfortunately, he said something to the effect of "My FI wants a small RD for these reasons and therefore, doesn't want aunt included." As a result, once she approached me about the issue and explained her side, I acquiesed, especially since I didn't come across wonderfully. (FI and I have since talked about how to better approach future situations like this... As in, finding our stance as a unit and presenting it as such. "WE feel blah blah blah...." I was his first serious gf, so this is all very new to him. And her, I should add).

    In regard to the flowers, I explained how I felt, again, and he said that his aunt did not need a flower and he understood why I felt this why and he completely agreed that, if no one on my side besides my parents were getting flowers, then his parents (and grandmother, who is the only grandparent who will be attending) should get flowers, too. However, I feel like he over-simplifies things (he's a guy-- he doesn't think the way a woman does), so I wanted to see what you ladies (key word, ladies) thought about the situation.

    It's not really the flower issue, per se, that is the "hill I'm willing to die on." It's rather the bigger issue that FMIL is trying to elevate her sister to a position of importance in our wedding, above all the people who have, for lack of a better term, "equal status" in my life to the status she has in FI's. I'm absolutely excited to have her be a part of big family events, as katelynbrian has warned. I welcome her there, just as I welcome all the members of my family. But, I am feeling really emotionally beaten up about the fact that FMIL wants us to honor her sister in a way no one else in my family will be honored. A lot of it is just me, but her actions/attitude say to me that her sister's presence in FI's life is more significant than any of the aunts/uncles/other significant adults are in mine.
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    edited December 2011
    It might have been stranger for your FMIL to exclude her one and only close relative from a party that she is hosting. If she is willing to even things up by inviting your 10+ aunts and uncles to the RD (when they probably don't even expect an invitation), then she is being more than fair about it. I understand that you wanted a small RD, but the FILs are the hosts, so they get to decide on the size and type of party it will be.

    It is not unusual for Christian brides and grooms to present their godmothers with corsages for their weddings. But since it looks like your fi has already settled this issue with his mom, you should just let it be.

    Your FMIL is including her sister because she feels close to her. She is not implying that your relatives are not as important. In fact, she has offered to include them, also.
                       
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    ckonidakckonidak member
    First Anniversary First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I think I may agree with you more than the other posters on this so far. I think that while the RD was a great gesture for your to bow-out on, I think that perhaps there may be another way to get the focus back to what your vision is, without downplaying your FI's Aunt's role in your big day. Why not ask her to read a special passage during your ceremony or reception? See if she would like to play a small role somehow (key word being small). That way your FMIL will be satisfied that her sister is being involved, and also, hopefully, stop feeling the need to overcompensate for her lack of involvement thus far.

    My suggestion, find a middle ground. That way you can say to your FMIL, "She has a role, this is what it is" and draw the line there. Good Luck.
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    orangecrush32orangecrush32 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I get what you're saying here, but I don't think it's worth the fight. This is your FMIL and you two will need to play nice and although you might not like how she is elevating her sister's status in your life I think that it would be a huge affront to your FMIL if you did this. Her sister is important to her, just like your family is important to you...but I think it's different because she's all she has left. Let her buy her sister a flower. It's at her expense, so while I understand your feelings, I just think it's not worth the arguement with someone you're going to need to get along with for years to come.
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    jerseydeviljerseydevil member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I do understand why you would be upset by this, but try to take a step back and put yourself in your FMIL's shoes. Maybe it's bc my mom is pretty much in the same boat, but I don't blame her for wanting to include her one and only remaining immediate blood relative. Bc of the situation, I would let her get her sister a flower. It is not worth making a huge deal over and just bc you get her a flower doesn't mean that you need to get them for all of your aunts and uncles. She is FI's godmother as well, so if anyone actully has the balls to say something about it (which I doubt), just tell them that.
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    redheadtmkredheadtmk member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    i would just let her have the flower. its her only close living relative. i doubt most of your family will notice or feel left out. you can always have your parents spread the word that they are very important and close to you but there are just too many for you to get flowers for. if they ask or say anything.
     how close is you FI to his aunt? is he backing you up because he supports you but he is really quite close to her? i am just asking because my sister and i are extremely close. i lived with them after high school and helped raise both boys for 4 years while my brother in law was in the military. i love them as much as if they were my own kids and have played a significant role in thier lives. physically, emotionally, and financially. both boys will be standing up with either me or my BF. when they get married i am sure our closesness will annoy thier future wives.
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    sadieruesadierue member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    The whole point is to celebrate you and your husband, to have a wonderful day and share it with all the important people in your life. Do not waste another second of your attention on this, if FMIL wants to bring sis to the RD and give her a flower, smile and be gracious.

    This isn't a war of wills, it's a wedding. Focus on the imporant things, don't get caught up in the crap. An extra dinner and some flowers is a small price to pay to make her happy. Don't be spitefull and remember your manners - this is your FMIL.

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    edited December 2011
    Thanks, everyone, for the advice!

    FI is close to his aunt, but no closer than I am to any of mine. She's ten years older than FMIL and has two sons (10 and 12 years older than FI) that are the closest FI has to brothers, so I'd equate the relationship he has with his aunt to that of a best friend's mom. You know, the kind that takes you in, gives you rides everywhere, you call her Momma-D (or whatever her initial may be). But we are on the same page about the role she should play at our wedding (and I asked him independently of this drama and without giving him my opinion on the matter first, just to be certain). But, you all are very astute in your observations and advice. Very helpful! Thanks!!!
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    edited December 2011
    Tell her thank you but no thank you because you want to be fair to all the aunts and uncles.  If she insists-then get one for all the aunts and uncles.
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    Linz10882Linz10882 member
    First Comment First Anniversary
    edited December 2011
    I went through a few similar problems.  My MIL wanted to invite aunts, siblings, grandma, out of town guests, etc. to our rehearsal dinner.  This would have meant that the same people from my side of the family would have needed an invite as well.  Since we were hosting and paying for the rehearsal dinner, I simply said "The RD is only for the parents of the bride and groom and the wedding party."  Clear and concise, no exceptions.  My MIL got a little bitchy and held a grudge about it, but it surely did not ruin the rehearsal dinner. 

    If she is paying for the flowers, I'd say let her buy her sister a corsage and forget about it.  It can be a corsage "for the Godmother", if you really need a reason.  I guarantee that with 200+ people at your wedding, anyone (including yourself) will even notice who is wearing a corsage.  Is it annoying?  Yes!  Worth an uphill battle?  Probably not. 

    My inlaws invited guests to the wedding without even telling us, so it could be worse!  :)     
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