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Trouble with traditional parent financial contribution...

I'm pretty much just having a difficult time with my mom. She never got to plan her own wedding so now she has decided that my wedding is hers. I'm paying for more than a 1/3 of the wedding costs and my (divorced) parents are splitting the rest. My mom has decided it is her job to be the host of the reception, aka., she has decided that it is her party. Literally, tonight she announced it is her party so she can do what she wants to. The main issue is the guest list. My FI & I decided at the very beginning that we were only inviting close family & friends. We did not want to have to meet new people at our wedding. My mom just showed me her guest list and she is inviting at least 8 couples that I do not know. More importantly, our guest list has gone up from the original 100 guests to 175 guests because there are people that my mom feels we have to invite. She has already verbally invited these people. Furthermore, when my fiance objected to one of the menu items, she was furious and said he has no say when she is the hostess of the party. It has gotten to the point where I want to politely decline her contribution and make due with my own costs. I originally planned to pay for the wedding and accepted my parents' offers because I assumed there were no strings attached. She will be furious if I do not accept her money because she believes it is her duty to host the wedding. I am just not sure what to do here.  

PS. It does not help that we went wedding dress shopping today and, even though I paid for my own dress, she felt like she needed a say in it. Even after I put down the non-refundable deposit she kept bringing up dresses that she likes better (her excuse was that she wanted me to be sure I made the right choice).  

Re: Trouble with traditional parent financial contribution...

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    If she's paying some (1/3?), then she gets some say.  Give her a third of the guest list (another third for you and the rest for your Dad, based on financial contributions) and tell her that is the max she can invite.  

    Unfortunately, as you know, money always comes with strings.  The only way to avoid dealing with this is to decline her money and pay for that portion yourself.  If you do decide to do this, I'd also stop discussing the wedding with her, since I get the impression that she will still try to be as involved as possible.  

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    That sucks. Unfortunately if she pays she gets a say, money always comes with strings. Why did she not get to plan her own wedding? When are you getting married? Do you have a venue, and can your venue accommodate the extra people? Have you sat down and discussed what you want/want to pay for and tried to compromise with her? 
    If she won't budge at all, you can tell her she may still "host" the reception, but you and your FI will pay for it as it is your wedding. All Host implies is RSVP duties and such, it does not have to do with who pays. 
    I hope this helps, don't rush into any decisions concerning how to talk to your mom though, make sure you think everything through clearly and have logical reasons for any disagreement you have. Good luck.
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    I'm sorry that your mom is behaving this way. Unfortunately, she does get a say--she's paying. If you and your fiance are this unhappy with her demands for the wedding, then you need to decline her money.

    That's really all that you can do. It sounds like she's going to be unreasonable no matter what you do, and I think you and your fiance might be happier if you say, "No thanks" to her money and have the wedding you originally wanted.
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    edited October 2013
    A lot of brides misunderstand the traditional breakdown of wedding responsibilities, as being a traditional breakdown of finances. The authentic tradition is, first and foremost, that finances are a purely private matter that is not discussed in public. People naturally have to pay for any goods or services for which they contract -- but how and from whom they finagle the funds to do so is not etiquette's business.

    The actual tradition is not that the bride's family pay for the wedding, but that the bride's closest female relative (that would be your mother) step up and offer to host the reception. As in, be the hostess: the person who is ultimately responsible for the safety, comfort and entertainment of the guest; and who, to go along with that responsibility, has the right to make final decisions about invitations, guest lists, catering, venue, and everything else wedding-related; just as your mother is assuming. If you don't want to accept her offer, you can decline, but you are quite right that she may take that choice as an affront.

    Now, the hostess's right to decision-making does not extend to choosing her guests' clothing, even yours; so she really doesn't have any say about your dress. And along with that, the cost of your dress does not factor into her budget; so if dress -- and for that matter honeymoon, rings, officiant's fee, ceremony venue cost, ceremony flowers, license, hair and makeup, photography all other non-hospitality-related costs -- make up any part of your third of the costs, you need to deduct those costs before you calculate what proportion of the reception you are ACTUALLY contributing.

    Based on that, you really have three options: You can decline your mother's offer and deal with her feelings of rejection when you do (and of course manage your reception on your own); or you can accept her offer and play second fiddle regarding the reception plans, and concentrate on asserting your control over other elements of the wedding; or you can keep on trying to influence her, in which case you can try pulling the strings that are attached to *your* monetary contribution. Because if she's the one signing the venue contracts and ordering the invitations, she's the one who will be indebted if an enlarged guest-list runs up the catering and stationery bills.

    There can be some real advantages to letting go and giving your mother the reception responsibility. Certainly she has had a couple of decades more than you have in which to build up her skill and experience at hostessing large formal parties. She has a deeper background knowledge of the family expectations and traditions, at least from her side. And she isn't going to be busy being married on the day of the reception so she can focus one hundred percent on the guests instead of being distracted by nerves, a new husband, and an upcoming honeymoon. It's an option worth considering.
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    I really hate when people pull the "but I didn't get to plan MY wedding! So I'll plan YOURS instead!" Obviously they feel regret and sadness they didn't have a say in one of the biggest days of their life. So how do they expect you to feel when they do the same thing that was done to them? I think they gloss over that part in their minds.

    I'd sit down with your mom and explain to her how you feel. Unfortunately if she verbally invited people then you can't really uninvite them. If you do decide to decline her money and not invite some of those people then she needs to be the one to call and tell them her mistake. But even if she doesn't pay I'd consider inviting them anyways, just to keep the peace if possible.

    I do agree with AroundtheBlock that you should weigh the pros and cons about keeping or declining her money. Since she's not paying for the entire event she doesn't get to control everything. Between the two of you (after your dad tells you what he'd like to contribute to specifically with his portion) you'll need to figure out who will pay for what. If you don't like her answers you have every right to decline her money. Just be prepared to deal with her feelings of rejection and her still butting into everything.

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

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    Actually, she can decline the money and tell mom she has to contact these people she invited and tell them she made a mistake. It is not fair to punish the bride and groom because mom can't keep her mouth shut. My mother verbally invited tons of people to my wedding that H and I paid for ourselves. Including someone I despised and would have had arrested for trespassing had he shown up. It was her responsibility to fix it, not mine to make good on a promise she had no right to make.
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    jeg11 said:
    I'm pretty much just having a difficult time with my mom. She never got to plan her own wedding so now she has decided that my wedding is hers. I'm paying for more than a 1/3 of the wedding costs and my (divorced) parents are splitting the rest. My mom has decided it is her job to be the host of the reception, aka., she has decided that it is her party. Literally, tonight she announced it is her party so she can do what she wants to. The main issue is the guest list. My FI & I decided at the very beginning that we were only inviting close family & friends. We did not want to have to meet new people at our wedding. My mom just showed me her guest list and she is inviting at least 8 couples that I do not know. More importantly, our guest list has gone up from the original 100 guests to 175 guests because there are people that my mom feels we have to invite. She has already verbally invited these people. Furthermore, when my fiance objected to one of the menu items, she was furious and said he has no say when she is the hostess of the party. It has gotten to the point where I want to politely decline her contribution and make due with my own costs. I originally planned to pay for the wedding and accepted my parents' offers because I assumed there were no strings attached. She will be furious if I do not accept her money because she believes it is her duty to host the wedding. I am just not sure what to do here.  

    PS. It does not help that we went wedding dress shopping today and, even though I paid for my own dress, she felt like she needed a say in it. Even after I put down the non-refundable deposit she kept bringing up dresses that she likes better (her excuse was that she wanted me to be sure I made the right choice).  
    Your mom gets a say because she's paying.  If you cannot reign her back in, then you should decline her money.  Sit her down and say "Mom, I love you, but you are getting a bit out of control for this wedding.  FI and I have an idea of what we want to do for our wedding and it's basically the opposite of everything your planning.  Therefore, we will be declining your monetary contribution, so that we can plan the wedding we want."

    I think that for those couples your mom already verbally invited, you can keep them off your guest list after taking back control of your wedding.  Keep your mom out of wedding planning.  Get her input on small things you may not care about, like favors or flowers.

    Also, your mom keeps saying its her party and she's hosting.  But does your dad want hosting duties as well?  He's contributing just as much as your mom.  
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    If she's paying some (1/3?), then she gets some say.  Give her a third of the guest list (another third for you and the rest for your Dad, based on financial contributions) and tell her that is the max she can invite.  

    Unfortunately, as you know, money always comes with strings.  The only way to avoid dealing with this is to decline her money and pay for that portion yourself.  If you do decide to do this, I'd also stop discussing the wedding with her, since I get the impression that she will still try to be as involved as possible.  
    In this scenario, FI doesn't get to invite anyone. Even if his family isn't contributing financially they should still get some guests.
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    Even if you decline the money, I suspect you'll still have to deal with your mother being exactly as she was when she was contributing financially.

    I paid for our entire wedding and it didn't stop my mother from offering her opinion on every darn thing.  I can't tell you how many times she said things like "you need to put no gifts please on your invitations".  And she would bring up the wedding in conversations with other people saying stuff like "they've both been married before so this won't be a big wedding/she won't be wearing a wedding dress/blah blah blah."

    I bean-dipped her to the greatest extent possible.  And a year later, she's still talking about how wonderful our wedding was.
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    If she's paying some (1/3?), then she gets some say.  Give her a third of the guest list (another third for you and the rest for your Dad, based on financial contributions) and tell her that is the max she can invite.  

    Unfortunately, as you know, money always comes with strings.  The only way to avoid dealing with this is to decline her money and pay for that portion yourself.  If you do decide to do this, I'd also stop discussing the wedding with her, since I get the impression that she will still try to be as involved as possible.  
    In this scenario, FI doesn't get to invite anyone. Even if his family isn't contributing financially they should still get some guests.

    Stupid quote box.  I was using that as an example for simplicity sake.  Of course FI gets invites.  It's his wedding.  If they choose to give invites to him family, that is their choice, but I was using this as an example to show that each paying party should get some say in the guest list.  If they give Mom a set amount, she needs to stick within that.   We didn't offer invites to our parents until right before we sent invites, when we knew there was extra space.  Neither set was paying, and we didn't have to accommodate their friends if we didn't want to.  Yes, it's nice to, but not required.  We had room at the end so gave them the extra spots.   However when people are paying, they do have a say.

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