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In-laws help

laurenmortlaurenmort member
First Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
edited September 2013 in Wedding Etiquette Forum

My fiance and I were just engaged not even a month ago. We have yet to have the discussion with our parents about who is paying for what, but essentially, his parents would like to be more involved (financially and otherwise) than my parents are happy with. My parents want this to be "their party" in a way. With that being said, I am including my fiance in pretty much everything and his mother would like to be heavily involved (she planned a wedding for her daughter about 2 years ago now), but I feel that her different taste will be too overwhelming for myself and my own mother when shopping for venues, bridal shows, etc. Now, my fiance is also upset that I am planning on excluding his mother from the bulk of the planning. How can I not hurt his mothers feelings, but only include her on certain aspects of the planning process? I'm realizing that his family is now my family, but I'm still not as comfortable confronting them as I would be with my own parents...

Re: In-laws help

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    My fiance and I were just engaged not even a month ago. We have yet to have the discussion with our parents about who is paying for what, but essentially, his parents would like to be more involved (financially and otherwise) than my parents are happy with. My parents want this to be "their party" in a way. With that being said, I am including my fiance in pretty much everything and his mother would like to be heavily involved (she planned a wedding for her daughter about 2 years ago now), but I feel that her different taste will be too overwhelming for myself and my own mother when shopping for venues, bridal shows, etc. Now, my fiance is also upset that I am planning on excluding his mother from the bulk of the planning. How can I not hurt his mothers feelings, but only include her on certain aspects of the planning process? I'm realizing that his family is now my family, but I'm still not as comfortable confronting them as I would be with my own parents...


    If you think there will be a power struggle between your parents, just decline all offers of money and pay for the wedding that you and your FI want.

    Otherwise, if your parents have offered to pay for something already, then just say "Thanks for the offer FMIL, but this is already being covered by my parents. I really appreciate your offer."  But wait for anyone to actually offer money.  There are many brides who are told they will get help and the money never comes, but they planned a wedding expecting monetary help.

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    Keep in mind that whoever pays can dictate what goes on, and HOW it goes on, at your wedding.

    If you are willing to allow your MIL and parents (who both seem to have strong opinions) pay for your wedding, you're allowing them to control it.

    Are you ok with that?

    If not, pay for your own wedding and decide who to include in what.

    If you're ok with them controlling things, I'd divvy up who could pay for (and plan) what.  (Ie. MIL can pay for flowers.  Mom can pay for your wedding attire. Etc. etc.)
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    My fiance and I were just engaged not even a month ago. We have yet to have the discussion with our parents about who is paying for what, but essentially, his parents would like to be more involved (financially and otherwise) than my parents are happy with. My parents want this to be "their party" in a way. Huh? It's YOUR wedding. Decline their money. With that being said, I am including my fiance in pretty much everything and his mother would like to be heavily involved (she planned a wedding for her daughter about 2 years ago now), but I feel that her different taste will be too overwhelming for myself and my own mother when shopping for venues, bridal shows, etc. Now, my fiance is also upset that I am planning on excluding his mother from the bulk of the planning. How can I not hurt his mothers feelings, but only include her on certain aspects of the planning process? Decline her money and when she suggests things say "that's an interesting thought, we'll think about that." I'm realizing that his family is now my family, but I'm still not as comfortable confronting them as I would be with my own parents...

    This sounds like a one way ticket to a trainwreck. There's a saying that goes "weddings and babies bring out the crazies." Sorry to say, but it sounds like the combo of your parents wanting your wedding to be "their" party and your FMIL who totally planned his sister's wedding sounds like a recipe for disaster. 

    I would take one of two routes here:

    1) Decline all financial help and host your wedding yourselves. If you two are the only ones paying, you two are the only ones who get a say in anything.
    OR
    2) Allow each side to pay for different things, but DO NOT accept a lump sum (they'll think they get say in everything). If you only let them pay for flowers, they ONLY get a say in flowers. KWIM? So, "Thank you so much for offering to help pay for our wedding. Something we may need help with is flowers and our cake. Are those things you would want to help with? Great. We'll keep you informed as we look at things we like..." 

    The more you let other people fund your wedding, the more cooks you'll have in the kitchen. It's your wedding, so you decide how much of that you want. If it's already getting dicey, I would keep it to a minimum.
    This, this, this.  Both your families sound like they are going to want to have control over things, and that's a recipe for disaster.  IF you accept their financial help, have it be for specific things like PP mentioned.
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    If someone is helping you pay for things, they get a say.  If your parents want to pay for everything, that's great but they pretty much have full control.  If they want to pay for specifics (like a venue or flowers) they get to decide how that money gets spent specifically.  You might want to find out what they have in mind for contributing because it may go easier on you to give them control over specific aspects like the venue and food.  Don't count on any money unless it's signed over to the vendor or in your bank account though, we get brides all the time who thought they had money they didn't. 

    As far as you FMIL wanting to be involved with the planning, maybe you could invite her along to a few key things (along with your parents) like the dress shopping, picking out your guy's attire or cake tasting?  That way, she'll be somewhat included if you're comfortable with that.  Your FI obviously wants his parents included so maybe send them pictures of things like the dress or the venue when you pick them out if you think having them there will be an issue. 

    Have your families actually met in person?  If not, I'd think about getting them together for a meal (at a neutral location like a restaurant) so they can meet.  It might be that everyone's just happy for you and your parents will figure out that your FIL's aren't evil wedding stealers after all.  If you think it would be WWIII, maybe that would be a bad idea. You know the people better than we do.
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    What I get from your post is that  you are good with this being your parents party and are trying to find a way to solve your FMIL problem.

    What exactly does, " I am including my fiance in pretty much everything" mean?  He SHOULD be involved in everything!  It is his wedding just as much as yours.  It was that line that makes me think you are good with planning this with your mom, cutting his out, and "including your fiance" in pretty much everything.

    I think you should cut both sets of parents out if you are going to have a war with this and pay for your own wedding.  FTR - my 4th DD goes down the aisle next Summer and I've never considered these weddings to be "Our party."  

    Am I on the money here or did I miss the mark?
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    It sounds like both parents want to pull the purse strings and have control. It sounds like you don't like your fmil style and want your patents to pay/host but what does your FI want?? Does he want his parents involved too? Does he actually have opinions on matters? It's his wedding too and while a lot if grooms are MIA, a lot have opinions on their wedding day. You need to sit down with him and figure out what each if you wants. And seriously consider paying for it all yourselves so you don't get down the line a forced to do things you don't want to by both parents.

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    I'm going to swim against the current here because I was in a similar situation, OP. My parents footed most of the bill and so they were my primary parental help when it came to planning. My husband (then fiancé, obviously) did not want much to do with planning other than cake tasting. His mom, though, was very interested in being involved and contributing financially, my husband being her first child to marry, and my husband wanted me to involve her in everything.

    I struggled at times because I felt that he was on his mom's side before mine when his mom tried to convince us to use family friends as vendors or invite certain guests who we knew couldn't come to the wedding. She wanted to visit a lot and she wanted to come to see me try on gowns. She was hurt that I only invited her to one appointment (near where she lives when I was visiting briefly) because I live in a different city and wanted to keep it simple and quick rather than planning weekend visits when both moms could come and watch.

    I ended up making a list of things that I could and wanted to do with my mother in law and made them private and special for us. For example, she REALLY wanted to help make and assemble the save the dates, invites and escort cards, so we did them together. They offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner, so I let her do all the planning for that event and she had a blast. I sent her photos and emails with wedding updates.

    Honestly, I think you'll experience a parental power struggle here whether they pay or not. Parents want to feel like they're part of it. It's a special time for them too. If they're like our parents, they thought the wedding said something about THEM as well as us. So it mattered.

    Talk to your fiancé about how you feel and discuss how you two can be on the same page. Maybe have his mom help figure out the guys' clothing.
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    I actually agree with PP also.  H's family and my family had very different "visions" for the wedding.  My mother is fully capable of accepting "no" and moving one when I tell her I don't like something, so I was ok with accepting her help heavily in the planning.  She and I also have a similar style, unlike MIL and myself.

    Ultimately my parents paid for the wedding and reception, and his paid for the rehearsal dinner.  It was very generous of both sides.  I had no input at all in the rehearsal dinner, and I decided that it was worth it to just give MIL something she could plan to her heart's content without getting involved in the primary wedding planning.  I truly had no idea what the menu was even going to be until we got there.  I'm a bit of a control nut so I had difficulty letting go of that, but at the end of the day it was a perfectly lovely event, and it gave her something to focus her energy on completely in her own style.

    Personally, I didn't invite MIL to things like my dress fittings, cake tasting, etc.   She doesn't hide her opinion very well (even when she's silent you can tell what she's thinking), and it would have stressed me out to know that she disapproved of certain plans as they were developing.  My mom and I are open enough with each other to be able to express our opinions without offending each other or stressing each other out, but with MIL it would have only added anxiety to the entire process. 

    This is just what worked for me.  You're going to have to navigate what works for you.  I will say this: pleasing everybody about every little thing simply isn't going to happen.  When I was planning I decided that the person (other than myself) that I had to please first was my fiance, and then my parents, and then his parents last.  So that meant that we didn't serve pasta (which is his dad's favorite food) because it's not something my fiance really cared for, and my parents had no interest in paying for it when it was the same price as a meat entree.  But we did have a specialty Belgian beer because my parents and fiance were neutral, but his dad really wanted it.

    You also have to get to a place in wedding planning where you just aren't going to let yourself be bothered by other people's opinions.  I'm certainly not suggesting you break etiquette, but if the question is using green versus orange, you need to stick with the choice that makes you and your fiance happy instead of listening to 100 opinions.  I'll be the first to tell you it's very hard, but the wedding wars will drain you and make decision-making very difficult if you aren't able to separate your own opinions from those of others.  Best of luck!


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    My fiance and I were just engaged not even a month ago. We have yet to have the discussion with our parents about who is paying for what, but essentially, his parents would like to be more involved (financially and otherwise) than my parents are happy with. My parents want this to be "their party" in a way. With that being said, I am including my fiance in pretty much everything and his mother would like to be heavily involved (she planned a wedding for her daughter about 2 years ago now), but I feel that her different taste will be too overwhelming for myself and my own mother when shopping for venues, bridal shows, etc. Now, my fiance is also upset that I am planning on excluding his mother from the bulk of the planning. How can I not hurt his mothers feelings, but only include her on certain aspects of the planning process? I'm realizing that his family is now my family, but I'm still not as comfortable confronting them as I would be with my own parents...


    Are you and your FI planning to initiate this discussion?
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    We have been trying. We are planning (as a PP suggested) to go to dinner, but it's my parents who are kind of stalling. I confronted them to tell them that the lack of information is making it awkward. So, I'm hoping things get moving.
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    We have been trying. We are planning (as a PP suggested) to go to dinner, but it's my parents who are kind of stalling. I confronted them to tell them that the lack of information is making it awkward. So, I'm hoping things get moving.
    Do you ever think they may be stalling because they, in fact, do not or can't pay for your wedding?

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    Until somebody offers you money, you have to assume that you're on your own for your wedding. Asking for money (or, to use your words, confronting them) is incredibly rude. If they want to help pay, they'll offer to help pay.
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    Both sides have definitely already offered to pay without us asking and feel very passionate about helping financially. The dilemma is how much and what will it go towards. Getting mixed signals all around really. It's great that they are offering to pay and I'm making it very clear that it's not necessary if they can't afford it- but, the issue at hand is that everyone wants to pay so they can have the say. I told my parents if they can't afford it, it's absoultely fine. They are just being cryptic (they've given me an answer as to why they're not giving me specifics, so that's fine for now). That's an issue I know I can resolve though...
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