Wedding Woes

Angry, Upset, planning is going nowhere with only 5 months to go and I need advice!

This is a LONG post.
I need advice on what to do. 

Last December Chris and I decided to get married. We finally settled on a date and location in May 2009.

That date/location is May 29th, 2010 Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Since we live in Pennsylvania we decided to throw a party/reception back home in PA.

My mother WANTS to pay for everything, she's traditionalist that way, she wants it to be her responsibility. In January of 2009 my dad was laid off from his very well paid job and has since (with the exception of a 4 month contract position) been unemployed. He's decided to go back to school this coming January. My brother is in college in Georgia, he goes to a private university and my parents pay for his tuition entirely by themselves (god forbid the boy work).

When we picked a place for the wedding back in May my mother put down a deposit so we have a place to get married. As of today (with just under 6 months to go) we have NOTHING ELSE.

I have no dress, flowers, invitations, cake, caterer, photographer, reception hall, nothing!

Chris and I are penciled in for a reception hall in PA for June 19th 2010 so in addition to worrying about getting our acts together in Tennessee we are worried about being left with nothing because we have 5 months to plan a June reception.

When we decided to go with Tennessee we kept our guest list small, which means a traditional reception would be awkward and a waste of money. I'm not paying to have a DJ and huge buffet for 35 people.
We decided it would be more practical to go with a restaurant. I wanted to go with the Hard Rock Cafe. It was expensive, but we had a private room on a holiday weekend and the package included a cake, our drinks, champagne and dinner for up to 75 people. Plus there was also the ambiance of the place. They need a 50% deposit.

My mother said "okay, no problem, I'll have the money for you in September" (this was July). September comes and goes and when I ask her she says "well, find out when exactly they need the money."

I tell her they need it when we book it. If I call them and ask them when do you need the deposit on my memorial day weekend reception they will say "now".

So she makes a face and tells me she was hoping I wouldn't need it until after Christmas. So now she wants to wait until January 2010 for me to book this place. I temporarily gave up and tried to find another reception/dinner venue for our guests.

(list has grown to about 45 thanks to my mother who can't utter the word "no" to anyone but me it seems)

Every place I find that isn't BBQ and wings can only accommodate 30 people, or they're booked, or they can't do any parties on Saturdays.

So I have a ceremony venue and no reception to speak of.

Last night she had a fit over the price of invitations because she's only "a one income family" and the invitations were going to cost her $200 because god forbid I don't want to go to Wal-Mart and buy the horrible print your own invites for $10.
Then she freaked out over the possibility of having to pay an exchange fee for my dress which is being made in China.
"I am NOT paying any conversion rate fee for your dress."
Which leads me to believe she'd rather I wear some dress I hate then pay the ($50?) on the $375 dress of my dreams. Thanks Mom!

All this is going on and again, we have nothing done for the reception in PA. This is in part because every time the wedding comes up in conversation my mother needs more time, or is telling me that something is too expensive. She has had a year of notice that there would be a wedding (during which she told me she was putting money aside).
Chris' mother is signing over checks to us to use for the reception in PA from wells recently put on her farm. (because my mother decided a couple months ago that she was only fronting the tennessee part of the bill)We can't use them though because everything in Tennessee is in limbo. We're worried that if we book a caterer in PA, TN plans may go belly up and we'd need the money for that.

Unfortunately last March Chris was laid off, then he found a job in July only to be laid off again in October and on Monday he just started a new job. We don't have the money to pay for both events which is what is seems is going to happen.

I don't know what to do because if I say anything to my mom about it, she'll tell me she has everything under control and not to worry about it. She won't admit she can't afford it (which is fine by us, we just want her to tell us the truth so we can do something about it). Her biggest wedding worry at the moment is that we don't have a picture of the best man on our website!

To top it all off the weekend we chose to get married is memorial day weekend/ gospel singer weekend so pigeon forge and Gatlinburg and all surrounding areas will be packed full to the brim. We need to make a decision on what to do so our guests can try to find a hotel! But I don't want to make them do that if we don't even have a reception place.

I know it seems stupid but We have family traveling a great distance to be there and I want to give them something more than a 15 minute ceremony.

Chris is getting angry and I'm no longer motivated to plan anything. I don't care anymore because every time we take 2 steps forward, we take 1 backward. We can't make plans for PA without worrying if we might need that money for TN.

All these plans were made back in May with the assurance from my mother that I wouldn't have to worry about a thing, she'd take care of it all. Now all I do is worry about the damn thing to the point where I don't want to get married anymore. I wanted the big dress and all the wedding stuff but it's a mess and now I could care less.

Chris said for all this aggravation we should just elope, and we could except that my mother (and only her) would freak out!
She's so sensitive about being able to go to the wedding.  She also wants to make sure all my grandparents can get there...and while we're at it all my aunts and uncles..which means cousins as well and of course they have to bring their kids.  She turns it into a snowball effect of all this stuff she can't handle because she has to keep up appearances and worry about not hurting anyones feelings.  (she has been like this always.  so afraid of what others will think she'll lie and create an illusion of perfection). 

HELP! I need to figure out a way of confronting her about this without upsetting her.  Am I being a total @$$?

Re: Angry, Upset, planning is going nowhere with only 5 months to go and I need advice!

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    Jane_SixpackJane_Sixpack member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Start putting your own money towards YOUR wedding. 
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    edited December 2011
    Ok, first I want to mention that invitations...and everything else for that matter can be done on a budget if you put the effort into it.  We just ordered 175 invitations from for $165.  Also, at this point, I wouldn't count on the money from your mom.  That way, if it DOES come through, it'll be that much more appreciated.  Maybe you need to focus on the ceremony and push the reception back a couple of months.  Or, maybe rethink the TN ceremony and hold the entire event in PA.  Or, vice versa.  Unfortunately (I'm finding out for myself) when you pay for your own wedding or even a portion of it, you have to set priorities and cut out or cut back on certain pieces. 

    In regards to your mom.  Maybe you need to have a conversation with her and allow her the out by explaining to her that you know she wants to pay for it, but things have gotten tough and you understand that.  So, you understand if she can't pay for any or all of it.  It probably breaks her heart to tell you no, and that's why she's delaying the inevitable, in hopes to come up with the money somehow. 

    Either way, good luck to you and your family!  I'm sure it'll turn out just fine one way or another.
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    jkmcnamarajkmcnamara member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    Um, the remark about the invites is pretty offensive. Just so you know, my invites cost me $30. I did them myself, printed them and all. And you know what? I did the same for my wedding programs. And you know what else? They all came out GORGEOUS. People were asking me where I had them printed. I also did my own graduation ones and again, GORGEOUS. If your mom cannot pay for what all she thought she could when circumstances were different, then you need to suck it up and either pay for it yourself or go without something.
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    TheDuckisTheDuckis member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
    edited December 2011
    You can start by cutting it down to one reception. Pick a place. Invite whomever you want to invite. If they can make it, they will.

    Also, you're going to have to compromise somewhere, and invites are as good a place as any to start. If you take the time to do it right, print your own invites can be very nice, and no one will know or care that you didn't get them from an expensive printer.
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    edited December 2011
    it sounds like with all that's going on you're going to have to make some tough choices. having both the TN and PA parties is going to be out, so pick one. OR have the PA one much later so that you have time to save up money.

    you obviously cannot count on money from your mother, which is fine. but you need to basically cut to the bottom line and see what you can afford for the TN event. if you have your heart set on that, focus on that first. set everything up there and then deal with the PA part of it. you can do it on a budget, you just might have to compromise. and if your mother won't pay $50 for your dress then YOU pay for it if you want it. you have to take control over this wedding.
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    Butter CookieButter Cookie member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    You're really going to have your reception at the hard rock cafe? Why not the apple barn? I mean, if you're going to have it at Pigeon Forge, have it somewhere with super awesome food you can't go to any major city and find.

    Also - if you want t avoid the inevitable talk with your mother about not being able to afford this or that, just let her know that you had the money and went ahead and booked X, Y, and Z. Tell her you love her and that she raised you all the way to adulthood, and anything else she ever does for you is just icing on the cake, and you don't expect her to help.

    Also - WTF @ needing $200 invitations? You're arguing both sides. You want her to spend money, you don't want her to spend money.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic
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    You win the award for the longest post EVAR.
    Image and video hosting by TinyPic Gone too Soon.
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    edited December 2011

    Two choices:  Go to the local JOP and get the same end result for under $100 or so, OR postpone the wedding, and save up for it to pay with your own money.

    Guess what?  A lot of people have parents who can't afford right now to pay for their kids weddings (mine included).  You sound unthankful, and frankly, young.  Your parents financial situation has changed, and therefore so much your wedding plans.  Having one reception would also help.

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    paroweparowe member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I stopped reading when I got to the invitation part.  It sounds like your mom is having some financial issues.  You need to face the facts and stop feeling so entitled.  Figure something cheaper out, postpone the wedding, or JOP it.

    God forbid you pay for your own wedding.
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    Theresa626Theresa626 member
    First Comment
    edited December 2011
    I tihnk you need to start saving  up like mad and if you need to, postpone the wedding date so that you can pay for it yourself.  Also, if you are paying for it yourself, you can limit the guests and not let your mom add more people.  Also, I'd pick just one place to have a reception at. Your mom is going through a hard time right now.  Try to be supportive of her. She just might not have the money at all to pay for it.  It also sounds like you need to search around more for better bargains.  You don't need to get invitations from Walmart but with only forty five guests, you're spending almost four to five dollars per invite if they're costing you two hundred dollars.  That's in the platinum wedding price range. You can get some really nice invites that are not do it yourself from some great websites out there. You just have to look around.  Ann's Bridal Bargains is one of them for example.  Also, I think you need to really try hard to pay for as much of this as you can on your own and if you're set on having a nice wedding, you should really consider postponing while you save up. 
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