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Mother-in-Law Drama

To make a long story short, I have a future Mother-in_law that I used to get along with very well. Since her son and I got engaged, she has become very pushy about how things should be planned for the wedding. The problem is instead of communicating what she wants to do, she will just do it (such as booking hotels, planning/booking rehearsal dinner, flowers). We are having a destination wedding (but it is still fairly large) which requires a lot of coordinating with both sides of the family.

I have some questions over where to cross the line, and where to step back when dealing with her:
1) Since they are paying for the rehearsal dinner, she made up a guest list without asking me about my family that will want to attend. When they are paying, who is ultimately responsible for the guest list/menu?
2) My fiances sister got married a few years ago, and my FMIL felt that much of her family was "left out" from certain things. She is using this rehearsal dinner to invite everyone she felt was "left out" of his sisters dinner, and the numbers are climbing to 50+ people. I feel that is not a criteria for judging who should be invited, and that the dinner whould be kept to a reasonable number, even if they are footing the bill. Who is right?
2) When you are having a wedding is a small town with limited hotels, how is the best way to make sure everyone gets a room? I am trying to reserve what I can myself for everybody to use, but keep finding out she beat me to booking a place for "her family only."

Please help! I am trying so hard not to have a confrontation, but when I sent her an email asking her to please not book things and ask me before making any decisions that will affect both sides of the family, she calls my fiance saying she feels like her "head is on a chopping block" and "insulted and offended" that I wouldn't trust her to plan things herself.

Re: Mother-in-Law Drama

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    Avion22Avion22 member
    5 Love Its First Comment
    edited December 2011

    YOUR FIANCE needs to step in here. 

    Your FMIL is way overstepping her bounds.  Reserving all of the limmited hotel rooms for "her family only"????   Where does she think YOUR family is going to stay?

    As for the rehearsal dinner, I think it's okay for her to invite her family members if she is offering to pay -- but she should be willing to invite your equivalent out-of-town family members as well.


    Edited to add:  To be snarky, you could always just book things yourself (flowers, RD) then tell her, "Oh, gosh, we already decided on XXXX and booked it ourselves.   I'm so sorry you spent your money, but you really should have asked us first."  :-)

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    If she is paying for the rehearsal dinner then she plans it, because she would be hosting it.  Obviously everyone invited to this RD must also be invited to the wedding. She may ask your opinions or she may not.

    On the flip side, anything you are covering, you don't have to consult with her on. 
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    Birdie1483Birdie1483 member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Comment
    edited December 2011
    1) If they are hosting the RD, then they are responsible for the guest list and menu. I think it's reasonable to assume that your immediate family will be invited to the RD, but it's ultimately up to your FIL's who else is invited.

    2) If they are hosting the RD, it's up to them on how big it is. If you want say, you should pay.

    3) I would reserve hotel blocks for your guests. Unless you're in a teeny tiny town where it's possible that everyone might not have a room, it's usually up to your guests to book their final reservations. Reserving hotel blocks is just a courtesy.

    I would have your FI talk with his mother if there is any drama starting in the planning department. But remember, just because the RD for your wedding, if your FILs are paying, they get ultimate say on the details. If you want complete control over it, you should prepare to pay for it yourself.
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    oi :-/  That's a tough one.

    Okay so if they're paying for the RD then that's theirs to plan as far as location, menu, decor, etc. goes.  As for guest list I think you should at least have SOME input.  obviously your bridal party needs to be included, close family, etc.  I'd give her a list of the people you want invited and as long as she includes all of them I'd let her have her other 30 relatives if she wants.  but that's me.  If it really bothers you that it's becoming a huge thing and/or that her WHOLE family is invited when only your immediate family is then you and FI can always tell her that's not what you want and if she insists on going against your wishes you'll host your own RD (best if this comes from FI, so make sure you're on the same page)

    As for the hotel blocks, I think that's pretty shitty of her to say stuff is for her family only, but apparently that's her MO.  Are you actually reserving rooms or just trying to get a room block?  Generally a room block is the way to go if you can.  The hotel will hold the rooms until X date and only your guests can book them, but they're released after a certain point without you paying anything.  Has she booked more rooms than her family will realistically need?  If she's booked every place in the city and has WAY more rooms than they need I'd again have FI talk to her, express that she's inconveniencing your (joint "your" there) guests by over booking.  If she's only booked a realistic number then I'd look elsewhere for your family and try to block off your own. (and then I'd only put yours in the invitation, but I can be passive aggressive like that, haha)

    I think the big thing here, based on her response to your email though, is that you need FI on your side and HE needs to be the one to talk to her about wedding things.  Good luck!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_mother-law-drama?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fba69462-39f7-4c19-9727-7e0c787df4bdPost:b28b03aa-93b1-4d83-bc71-befba5025865">Re: Mother-in-Law Drama</a>:
    [QUOTE]YOUR FIANCE needs to step in here.  Your FMIL is way overstepping her bounds.  Reserving all of the limmited hotel rooms for "her family only"????   Where does she think YOUR family is going to stay? As for the rehearsal dinner, I think it's okay for her to invite her family members if she is offering to pay -- but she should be willing to invite your equivalent out-of-town family members as well. Edited to add:  To be snarky, you could always just book things yourself (flowers, RD) then tell her, "Oh, gosh, we already decided on XXXX and booked it ourselves.   I'm so sorry you spent your money, but you really should have asked us first."  :-)
    Posted by Avion22[/QUOTE]

    <div>I agree completely. If you are paying for the wedding yourself, then she really does not have a place to put her foot down and insist on anything. Make sure your family is covered for hotel rooms by getting your fiance to handle his mother's planning enthusiasm. Try to get her on board with your vision by bringing her with you and/or your fiance on errands (if it won't stress the relationship more) and ask her to do errands by herself when the details are set or don't matter (paying a bill or dropping off colour swatches). Take her dress shopping and make her feel involved. She may back down and let you run the show. Is her personality that of take control and do everything to make it easier on others or did she miss out on something planning her own wedding? Ask her about these in a heart-to-heart (I can handle my gran's grouchiness now that I know she's still mad at her MIL and trying to make her spin in her grave). I'm really sorry she has been stressing your wedding planning.</div>
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_mother-law-drama?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fba69462-39f7-4c19-9727-7e0c787df4bdPost:58030ef4-430a-40fb-81ce-86cd8e315c7b">Re: Mother-in-Law Drama</a>:
    [QUOTE]Is your FI on your side of things?  Can he see it from your perspective?  He needs to not give in to her little tantrums.  He needs to say something along the lines of "Mom, Molly's family needs to stay at hotels too." and "We really appreciate your help but please run things by us first. Also, here is a list of Molly's side that we would like to be invited to the RD. Please let us know if this will be a possibility.  They are coming in early too and will have nothing to do.  I think they would love to attend the RD that you and dad are hosting."
    Posted by crfb87[/QUOTE]

    <div>I also agree here! Great advice!</div>
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