Wedding Etiquette Forum

Heart-Broken Bride Considering Eloping

Where to begin? I thought that weddings were supposed to be joyous and bring people together. This whole experience has only caused stress, fighting, and hurt feelings all around.

My fiance' and I started planning our wedding, and his mom and other people were causing so many problems. We felt like we couldn't win - either we did what we wanted and offended person A, did the other option and offended person B, or chose the option that offended neither A nor B, but was not at all what we wanted. 

In addition, the wedding was getting just so so so expensive (we would have to foot the whole bill), and with all of the trouble that people were causing, we started to re-evaluate why we were throwing this big wedding for our families, who were making the whole experience miserable.

So we decided to scrap the traditional wedding and avoid going into debt. The only way that we would be able to have a honeymoon is to have a small ceremony without a reception. So we decided have a small, low-cost ceremony at the honeymoon destination. Everyone all around thought that it was a financially-smart decision (they all know that our finances are tight as it is and do not want to see us go into debt over a 4-hour reception). With the saved money from the scrapped reception, we told my parents that we would pay for their flight and expenses, and they told us how excited and on board with this plan they were and how happy they were to hear that we were happy about the wedding once again!!

The very next day, my mom 180-ed on me and sent an email saying that she doesn't want to come, that her age and mobility issues [she has a bad leg] will hold us back (we told her that we would make the entire trip amenable and accessible to her and would be happy just to have her), that we were being inconsiderate of her wants, and that we are adults so if we want to elope fine, but she is rescinding her offer to wedding dress shopping with me!!! I tried to explain how we wanted her there and would do everything to make the trip comfortable and fun for her, but now she won't even talk to me or answer my phone calls, and she has apparently been complaining about me to the rest of the family, who are now all asking me what I "did to Mom." My parents are blaming the whole thing on me, saying that "I am causing lots of problems." All we are trying to do it get married.

With all of this, we feel even worse than we did initially. We are now even more opposed to throwing an expensive wedding just to please our families, going into debt, and therefore having no money for a honeymoon.

What do we do?

Re: Heart-Broken Bride Considering Eloping

  • If you two are paying, you have the wedding you want.  Have you thought about just going the courthouse with your parents and his parents, get married, all go out to dinner afterward, and just be done with it?

    What it is that you and your FI really want?
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Why not just have a wedding in a family member's backyard and BBQ.
    image Married and Junk.
  • Your mom is acting like a spoiled child. Don't let her guilt you into something you don't want to do. Plan the wedding you want, and if she doesn't want to come, then she can stay home.
  • Do what makes you happy! There are always bumps in the wedding planning road but you have to move past them and decide what is best for you and FI. BTW, FMIL seems wretched and you will probably have more fun with out her there, sorry to say. It is one thing for her not to be able to attend a destination wedding but it is quite another for her to pull the silent treatment on you because of it! Sorry you have to go through this! 
    ~basquing in the wedded bliss~
  • I'm sorry you're going through this.  It sounds like your mom is being a little ridiculous.  I think if you and your FI want to elope, and you don't mind your family not being there, just go for it.  Do you think your mom will get over it when all is said and done?  It really wouldn't be your fault if she wasn't there- you tried.
  • Sounds to me like you need to learn how to tell people "no". I'm not saying that's easy, but it's something you have to master sooner or later if you want to avoid the kind of stress it sounds like you're dealing with. If your families/friends/pets want to pull the whole "if THAT is what you're doing, I'M not coming!" routine, learn to say "I'm so sorry to hear you won't be joining us. We'll really miss you." 

    Have the wedding you want and can afford. In the end the only thing that matters is that you are married. Smile
  • My friend had a similar experience... got engaged in early spring and wanted to plan a wedding this year (dated the guy for over 5 years) and then realized how hard it was to plan a big wedding that fast.  Plan B was DW wedding with close friends and close family.. but the mom refused to go.

    She canceled the wedding, but kept her week vacation trip planned.  Then they decided forget everyone else and she is getting married on her vacation with no friends or family.  She couldn't be happier.. but I am so sad to miss her wedding all because her mom refused to go!

    Still.. she made the decision that was right for her... as unusual as it seems to everyone else.  Everyone who loves her is very supportive.

    I can't tell you what decision is right for you.. but my advice is to plan a DW and invite her.. if she declines.. that was her choice.  The only time you may be "in the wrong" is if her condition was extremely serious (and not just exaggerated by complaints) .. ie cancer.. terminal illness.. or what have you.

    Remember to do what is best for you emotionally and financially.  Think about the wedding you want.  (Just as long as you are a good host to the invited guests!!)

    Good luck!
  • In Response to <a href="">Re: Heart-Broken Bride Considering Eloping</a>:
    [QUOTE]We really were excited about the destination idea - we were so so happy. We imagined that it might make some people upset if they couldn't come, but not ruin my relationship with my mother (who we would pay to come). Also, as his parents don't live near us and my parents live even further away, the courthouse idea would reignite the complaining and the issues over location that drove us mad in the first place. It's like our parents have won. 
    Posted by hyperpolyglot[/QUOTE]

    Well in that case, I agree with Manda.  You two need to learn to say no.  This isn't a game to be won.  It's your lives and it's your wedding.  If you offered to pay for your parents to come and your Mom is refusing, well you and your FI have to decide whether to go ahead with your plans or not.  She's made her choice for herself, you don't have to let her make the choice for you too.  You and your FI are adults and need to learn to stand up for yourselves and do what's right for you.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Your situation is definitely a sucky one, and I'm so sorry you have to deal with this kind of behavior from supposed adults.

    One of the things I've found is that the hardest thing about becoming a real live independent adult is that you have to learn how to not let your family manipulate you. But on the bright side you and you FI have the ability to start a new family. A good partner who's always on your side is seriously the best thing in the world to have.

    You two thankfully seem as though you're on the same page on all of this, so sit down together and decide what you really want and just do it. Everyone else will just have to get the eff over it.
  • Don't let your parents win.  You're an adult who is perfectly capable of making her own decisions.  You have to do what's right for you and your FI and say to hell with everyone else (sorry if that sounds mean, it's not intended to).  Asserting your independence now may be hard, but if you don't start doing it now, it will only get worse when you decide to have kids (parents will complain that the other grandparents get to see the kids more often, etc.).

    If your mom doesn't want to to travel, that's on her.  You offered to pay her expenses.  If she doesn't get to see her daughter get married that's her problem, not yours.  You've done your part by extending the offer.

    If I were you, I'd continue to plan for the DW assuming she will be coming and not mention anything in front of your mom for a while unless she specifically asks.  She may come around once she realizes that you're serious about this.

    Good luck!  Family drama sucks, I know!
  • What we really want: We really were excited about the destination idea - we were so so happy. We imagined that it might make some people upset if they couldn't come, but not ruin my relationship with my mother (who we would pay to come).

    kikibaby: No, I don't think that she will ever let this go. Also, she will guilt my dad from going, and that will be something that he will never let go.

    MissLeahMdanieliza1127: Also, as his parents don't live near us and my parents live even further away, the courthouse idea / BBQ in backyard  idea would reignite the complaining and the issues over location that drove us mad in the first place.

    PharmacyBride: Thank you so much for your friend's story. Oddly enough, although I would never ever wish this circumstance on anyone else, it helps to know that I'm not the only one going through this, and that other people in this same situation considered the same solution (and it seems to have worked out for her). If you can't say, I understand, but how is her relationship with her mother? 

    I feel like I'm balancing doing what we want / what is right for us  VS. the relationship with my parents. 

  • So what are you gonna do?

  • So whats more important? Do you need/really want your parents to be there, or is it going to be okay if they arent?

    For me, family was #1 on my list, if they couldn't make it then I scrapped the idea. But if your not very close to your family then it shouldn't be a real issue.

    You could have a small wedding closer to your mother's.

    Just decide what is important to you and your FI and stick to that, if the destination is what you really want, then go with that. If your parents can't make it, then so be it.
    image Married and Junk.
  • MissLeahM: we *were* close, before this anyway. I *wanted* her there. . . I was so excited to do all of this mother-daughter stuff, but the way that they are acting now, though, makes me question whether or not they would make it special or just more heartache. 
  • If you couldn't afford a reception, I don't know why you were even trying to plan one. I don't know if your ideas were good or bad so I can't say if parents' comments were appropriate or not.

    Either elope or get married locally without a reception. Your mother does have a leg problem and that could be a valid reason for her not wanting to travel. She may be upset that you are planning on getting married far away and that she will miss out on your wedding because of her medical condition.
  • I think weddings bring out the crazies in people.

    My only advice would be to sit down and talk to her if you could and explain why you want to do it that way.

    Good luck.
    image Married and Junk.
  • you can have a traditional wedding and not spent a ridiculous amount of money.  its all in thinking outside of the box.

    are you doing the DW because you really want a DW or because you think it will be cheaper?  if you keep your numbers small (parents, siblings and only those closest to you) and seek out non-wedding "venues" (i.e., a restaurant with a private dining room) you can do this pretty inexpensively.  we spent $2300 on our reception and had about 79 people, in metro Boston.  it is possible.
  • i agree, weddings do bring out crazy and weirdly selfish behavior from others.  I'm dealing with stress with my family too and I totally regret doing the big wedding (which we are also paying for) and I wish we had decided to elope instead.

    I have a few pieces of advice:

    1)  Do NOT pay for a big wedding just to make your families happy.  That is your money and your savings that you could put towards a house, vacations, your future!  There is no reason to spend your own money on a big wedding unless you really want to.  Don't let other people guilt you into paying for a family party for them.

    2)  If you want to get married as a DW, just do it.  Do what makes you happy.  Your mom does sound like she's acting like a child, but if you give in to her tantrum, you are setting a precedent that she can still control your decisions.  You are an adult, she needs to respect that.  Talk it over with her, but learn to be assertive and say firmly that this is what you want and if she doesn't want to be there, then you are sorry and you will miss her.  I feel like if you do this, she might realize how idiotic she's being.  And if she doesn't, that's her problem.

    Good luck!  Weddings should be fun celebrations but unfortunately drama comes up more often than not I think.  Just do what you want!
  • Calypso, you are my hero.  How did you do it?  Can you recommend your photographer?  I would love to get the bill under $8000!
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