Just Engaged and Proposals

First Post as a fiancee! But not a happy one :( (and kind of long)

Hi all!!

It's been a week and a half since my taller half got down on one knee and proposed, and we're already neck-deep in a planning/budget nightmare.

My mother thinks that this is her second wedding, even though she happily married my father 31 years ago.  She has an exact idea (location, budget, ambience, etc) of how OUR day is supposed to be for MY family.  The problem is, surprise surprise, this in no way matches FI's and my idea for the wedding.  The two of us are incredibly in sync about what we'd like, and he wants to be very involved in the wedding planning (exciting! yay!).  

My parents are in town for Thanksgiving, and FI left to be with his family yesterday.  On Sunday we sat down and had a preliminary discussion about what we'd like- we're thinking Boston (which is long distance for us but both of our families are in the area up there), and fell in love with a place that to us, with those in his family and the both of us contributing, would be WELL within means.  My mother didn't say much aside from "well, I don't think the older members of the family are going to make it to Boston (which is 45 minutes from their homes).   Well, yestserday was a different story.  I swear the minute FI's plane flew overhead my mother ripped into me.  She called me a selfish brat beacuse I had ideas about what I'd like to do for OUR wedding, and that she and my father couldn't afford and mostly didn't want to do at all.  I told her that FI and I, along with his parents would like to contribute and even told them what they'd pitch in for (rehearsal dinner, bar tab, etc), and my mother FLAT OUT REFUSED to have any monetary help for this day, because in her words "this is MY event to plan, i am going to do it MY way".  she also said some unpleasant things about FI's family (regarding the money situation) and called me a selfish b**ch more than once. 

so now we're stuck.  i hate that my mother is leaving FI (and me, it seems) out of the planning when she has no clue what planning a wedding is like 31 years after the fact. she's made me feel worthless as a bride because i haven't just nodded and smiled with her ideas of what she wants for her big day for us, and every time i tried to explain that we would like to plan and contribute she started crying because i was hurting her feelings.  we don't want to get married in my homestate because it's not a place that means that much to either of us (especially not FI), and she says she can't afford any kind of lavish wedding but won't accept any financial help from anyone else.  are there any options out there aside from binding and gagging her and sending her to therapy, or eloping/having a wedding without her?
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Re: First Post as a fiancee! But not a happy one :( (and kind of long)

  • Yep, your best option is to plan a wedding you and your FI can pay for without help from your parents.  It may not be as big as you wanted and you may not be able afford everything you wanted, but you will still be getting married and you can still have a beautiful wedding on a smaller budget.

    The thing is, he who pays says.  So if your parents are paying for most of the wedding, they DO get the say in everything.  Yes they should plan what you and your FI want but they don't have to if they don't want to, and it sounds like your Mom is the type who will just do what she wants regardless of what you guys want.  So that leaves you with either accepting that and letting them pay for it, or going to them and saying "look, this is the way we want our wedding to be, so thank you so much for your offer to contribute but we'll just pay for it ourselves".  Consider it part of growing up and being on your own.
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  • I completely agree with danieliza.  It stinks that she's being so controlling, but ultimately, it's her money and you can choose not to accept it if her terms bother you that much.  I think you need to say, "We will not be accepting any money from you for the wedding, but would still like you to be involved in the following ways."

    One thing I've found that helps my mom feel involved in wedding planning, because she's in one state and I'm in another, is giving her specific "jobs" to do.  She really wants to help with things, so I put her in charge of things that I know she'll like doing and I don't really care about either way.  For example, she collects baskets, so I put her in charge of finding a flower girl basket and baskets for the programs and photoshare cards. 

    Also, if you're just engaged (congrats!) I'd suggest just laying off the planning for a few weeks.  When I first got engaged, I was so excited I told a bunch of people about my "plans," which have since completely changed.  Just relax for a little while and enjoy the flow.
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  • Here's what it comes down to:  if you want the wedding of *your* dreams, you need to pay for it yourselves.  It's pretty obvious that if your mom gives you one penny, she's going to completely take over.  So, don't give her the option. 

    My FI and I will have scrimped and saved for almost two years by the time we get married in June.  Did we want to get married before now?  Absolutely.  But we're having the wedding we want, not what others planned for us.

    If you don't take a stand now, this will be your mother's wedding.  I suggest you suck it up, start saving, and tell your mom thanks for the offer, but no thanks.
  • Tell mom you and FI are paying for your own wedding, and that while you appreciate her input and suggestions, you and FI are going to make the decisions that work for you. Even if that means you need to have a longer engagement to pay for a bigger wedding, or choose to have a much smaller and more affordable wedding.

    If you don't nip this in the bud now, and demonstrate that you are not going to allow such interference in your relationship, wedding and marriage, it is not going to get better. What about if you and FI have children one day? If this is not stopped now, the "in-laws" are going to be a divisive element in your relationship together, and that is NOT going to lead to happy endings. How you and FI are going to relate to each of your families individually and together is a great topic should you go to any form of individual/pre-marital counselling by the way! Sounds like mom could use some counselling as there are some issues coming up for her it seems....what does she feel about your relationship with FI overall?

    FI and I are having a very small (under 20 of us) wedding (not a "pretty princess day" though the wedding is very personal, intimate and more "us" than any pretty princess day would be - to be honest he has been more involved in the planning then I have - ha) as we are paying for it entirely on our own. We have not had much interference (I mean we are both in our  30's, been independent for years, and can figure out how to plan a darn wedding and for the most part our families realize this) however when family members have TRIED even then we have been quite firm (though compassionate) that it is our wedding to plan, not theirs.

    And, guess what, despite the small budget we are having an awesome wedding in our eyes. We found that despite our small budget, we could pull of a fun weekend destination wedding at a small Canadian resort, lots of pampering for us and our guests (as there are so few of them) and so forth by making smart choices (i.e. off season, a la carte dinner in the resort dining room after ceremony, etc).  It is the wedding that WE wanted, absolutely through and through.

    So, in short....if it is going to be this stressful.....pay for it yourselves.
  • My best advice to you is plan a wedding that you and your fiance can afford on your own. If you get help from family great... and you can take into consideration your wishes, but when you pay for it yourself you have the freedom to do what you want with the money and spend however much or little you want to and it will take off a lot of the stress, My fiance and I are paying for our wedding ourselves, and its made us more budget conscious and has resulted in no arguing with the family.
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  • I just want to add one thing!

    I am planning a wedding that my mother couldn't fathom the idea of a few years ago. I tried to tell her time and time again what my fiance and I wanted.  She had a really hard time with it because it was simply not what she pictured in her head of a perfect wedding.

    The more we planned, discussed, and she actually saw the particulars of what we wanted, the more she realized how lovely it really sounded.  She's now completely on board.  While my mother doesn't sound as extreme as yours, I did get similar excuses about guests traveling, etc...

    I agree with the previous posters that you need to pick a budget that you and your fiance can afford and plan what you want.  As time goes on, you may find her being more open and happy with your ideas than she is right this very second two minutes after you got enganged.  Everyone needs a minute to adjust!
  • I agree with everyone else who says that it would be best to pay for your own wedding.  If you let your parents pay, it doesn't seem like you're going to have any say and you're not going to be happy with how it turns out.
  • GL with this situation.

    I agree with PPs. I hope that you will be able to resolve this situation quickly
  • I ditto.

    If they pay they get the final say. So if mom is controlling, turn the wedding money down.

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  • Just elope :)

    I'm sorry this is causing you so much stress. Your mom sounds like mine in that I think mine is having a meltdown right now (I just got engaged, and bought a condo with FI) so she takes EVERYTHING out on me, when I'm not doing anything wrong! But who knows,

    But I agree- do what you wanna do. It may end up hurting your relationship which is why you may feel so bad about it and just go on with it, but I think there are nice ways to suggest you'd like to pay for it on your own, or have your own say in this. I mean there are so many options- you really could just have a small "destination" wedding and have a larger party afterwards. I hope it works out for you!!

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  • She who pays says. I went through something similar. If you want everything your way, take on the financial responsibility.
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  • This is why FI & I are getting married in Las Vegas. We just don't want all the stress & family drama!

    Have to agree with others. If you want your family to cough up $$ then you have to let them be involved in planning. If you don't like/want their suggestions, then pay for the wedding yourself and plan a wedding within your budget.
  • If you want to plan a wedding that you want, pay for it yourself.  If she pays she gets to call the shots because its her money.
  • I would sooner chew off my own arm than have my parents spend a dime on my wedding.  Why?  Because they're both out of their minds...and I know them well enough to know that having them give ANY money toward my wedding means a lot more headaches for me than I can handle.

    Sounds like your mom and my mom fall in the same boat...You should pay for your wedding yourself and avoid the headaches.  Better to get married in a barn and enjoy yourself than get married in the Rainbow Room and be miserable.
  • Thanks SO SO much you lovely ladies!  What an awesome warm and comforting welcome <3

    I agree that FI and I should pay for this wedding if we want everything to go our way, and we are more than willing to.  That was never in question.  However, my mother is HELLBENT (with a capital HELLBENT) on paying for this thing because that's what bride's parents are supposed to do! (hello and welcome to the 17th century folks), and even remotely suggesting to her that we'd rather pay for it ourselves apparently makes us selfish and just stabs her in the heart (she even pantomimed it through tears yesterday). 

    While I would love to have my mother help out in ways that we couldn't, especially since she lives a LOT closer to the venue in question than we do, it's really not going to be very feasable.  She's a cancer patient and she's going back through radiation/chemo again, which just adds to the drama and frustration of this whole thing.  So it's either I completely yield to this tirade and let my mother have her way about this event, or we say "look, here's what we want, sorry it's not to your wishes, but we're paying for it entirely" and have my mother not talk to me for like a year.  Either way it's going to have some twinge of misery associated with this whole thing :(

    Here's our current plan (which has been hammered out over the phone including a couple of glasses of merlot):  I am asking my mother for a list of her preferred venues and her absolute number for her budget so we can look at places for her while we're visiting for Christmas.  Meanwhile, FI is making sure that the venue we like remains available for our day.  So if plan A ends in a lack of serendpitous glee over a site, we have a plan B to fall back on and face my mother with.

    Arhghsafjdksldf!  Does planning go smoother than this?  Is there life beyond this initial drama?  I need to know so I can look forward to it! :)
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  • First off - I'm sorry to hear that your mom is sick.  That must be very difficult for everyone involved.

    Secondly - I do understand about parents wanting to pay.  My parents are paying - no ifs, ands, or buts.  There was no getting out of it.  That being said, I did hold firm on what my fiance and I wanted and my parents did come around.  Now, my mom doesn't fully embrace everything - ex. I'm not picking out bridesmaids dresses and we're actively encouring guests to wear khakis and flipflops... but, she is seeing that this is my wedding, and, while it is her money, she understands that it is not her wedding and she shouldn't demand everyting to be her way.  Some things are, some things aren't... we're learning to compromise.

    I'm sticking with my "let it all sick in" time period.  Do your best to appease her.  But, decide what is absolutely non-negotiable.  For everything else, be flexible, but honest. 
  • Yikes.  Apparently, wine ruins my ability to type properly.  I apologize for the typos!
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_just-engaged-proposals_first-post-fiancee-but-not-happy-one-kind-of-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:683Discussion:39f13f7f-2bbd-443d-aa22-af1952ea92e6Post:e905f2e1-8c63-43f2-a43b-eca29179a17e">Re: First Post as a fiancee! But not a happy one :( (and kind of long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]Yikes.  Apparently, wine ruins my ability to type properly.  I apologize for the typos!
    Posted by Joy2611[/QUOTE]

    you know there is an edit function now right?

    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • I actually thought of the edit function after I signed off last night.

    Now, to just figure out how to use it!
  • Tell her you can't deal with that kind of drama, so you are going to elope. That will put things into perspective, I'm sure.
  • I agree with all above who say don't let your mother pay for a single part of the wedding.  I also want to add that it may cost you a ton of stress to do this but if you don't, there may be more problems down the road.  Letting her plan the whole thing gives her the idea that she can control your life in other ways.  My grandma did this to my mom. She planned everything for her and was the same way.  My mom didn't have any choices.  My grandma even insisted on deciding upon and purchasing the gifts for the honor attendants for my mom to give.  Years later when my parents went to buy a house, my grandma was incredibly insistent that they did not buy a house they put a bid on because it was two stories.  My mother obliged and my dad felt like everything they did was controlled by her mother.  It caused a lot of marital strife.  Only when my mom decided to choose to buy a house they wanted and kind of stand up to her mom did things get better.  You need to nip this in the bud now even if your mom holds it against you.  Remember, what your mom wants will not be more important than what your husband wants after you're married. 
  • Do you think your mom might get over it and it's just an act that she's pulling about the tears and everything?  What if you told her she can't pay and book the wedding hall and stuff yourself and then if she comes around later, you can take her up on her offer then? 
  • I wish it were an act, and I certainly wish it were as easy as telling her that we're paying for everything and she'll get an invite.  But it's not.  There's illness, old relatives, and my mother's controlling mindset which she's had for at least 28 years (as long as I've known her). 

    Here's a better idea of what we're working with.  Rewind to my college graduation um, lots of years ago.  It was the perfect day, the perfect diploma, etc.  I wanted to hang out with my friends and take pictures on the lawn and have my family meet the people who kept me sane for 4 years, and we had reserved a table at one of the classiest restaurants in town for my family and me for celebrating that night.  Well, none of that happened.  Because she felt the sudden need to go to church (out of the blue), and didn't know where the nearest church was and when their servies was, etc.  So we cancelled our reservation a year in the making, I hastily said goodbye to way too many people, and sat on the curb and cried while my mother tried to figure out how to use her cellphone to call parishes in the area to find a mass.  I told her that I didn't want to go because it was ruining plans that we had even AGREED on, and she started crying, because apparently not wanting to go to church that very instant meant that I hated God and hated my family, especially after all that they'd done for me to put me through college.  Even the rest of my family was like "um, wtf?" about her antics.  Hours later, we were in church because no one could possibly convince her that she was out of line.

    So she ruined my college graduation and now she's trying to foil the engagement by being overly dramatic.  This past week has brought lots of shouting, mostly me telling her that her plans aren't what I want (example- FI and I want NO children, but going over the initial invite list she insists on inviting a 6-year old daughter of my first cousin that I've never met, and deliberately NOT inviting my other cousins' daughers because they're "brats") and her telling me that I should shut my face and that what she says goes.  Luckily they left today and FI flew home, and I'm much calmer because he's swearing up and down that things will be okay- and because I love him and trust him with all my heart, I believe him.

    So allegedly we're looking at venues while we're home for Christmas.  Except after a week of deliberation, tears, and hoarse throats, I STILL have no idea of her budget, and have NO leads on where to even start looking (mostly because I don't know her price range).  Meanwhile, we still have our dream place in Boston on hold, in case Life falls through and the Grand Meltdown occurs.  And I've got three weeks left in my semester from Hell in my PhD program.  Plus, my mom has more chemo on Tuesday and starts radiation the week before we go home. 

    Does anyone have any Prozac to spare?  o_O
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  • Wow, your mom sounds like a delightful woman...

    Honestly, I'd stick to my guns and just flat out refuse her offers/demands.  I know, this will cause a lot of bad blood and normally I'd advocate working to a compromise, but I don't get the feeling this is going to work with her.  She's gotten her way for so long by simply bulldozing her way through everyone.  And it needs to stop, otherwise it's going to continue when you have kids, every holiday for the rest of time, ect.

    It's going to suck, hard.  But I think it would be the best for your sanity, and the wedding.  I wouldn't give in to her one bit, because if you give her an inch she'll take a lightyear.

    Or, elope.
  • Honestly I would elope.

    Or just not talk to Mom. I mean not talk to her period. No calls, no emails, no visits until Xmas. During Xmas no wedding talk period. I would do the silent treatment or "you must try this bean dip."
    After Xmas, no calls, no emails, no visits. Just plan your wedding & completely exclude mom.

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  • Umm... Wow.  Why has your family let her get away with this for so long? Has she ever been evaluated for a mental illness? (And I mean this seriously... a pattern of this type of overly dramatic behavior is NOT normal).

    Honestly, I'd absolutely refuse 100% to let her pay for ANYTHING.  She sounds like she is BAT SHIIT CRAZY, and there is no way to predict how she'll react.  She could be fine one day and go off the deep end the next. She could agree to take your wishes into consideration, and the next day she could call you and tell you she's already booked the venue and the caterer you hated. 

  • i know how you feel my grandma is the same way she wants to control everything  about  my wedding and hates all the things me and my FI want to do, it so stupid for families to do that is are wedding not theirs , my advise do what makes you to happy the days is about you guys and you want something that you will like and that makes you guys happy 
  • sounds like you need to put your foot down! it also sounds like your mom keeps behaving this way because you let her. Its like dealing with a spoiled child if you keep giving in they are going to keep doing it. I understand that she is your mother but the wedding is not about her it is about you and your fiance. Its not mean or selfish to want to plan your wedding with your fiance. I also think that you shouldn't let someone talk to you like that, not even your mother. . . . .Good luck with everything!
  • I can completely relate. My mom is the exact same way (controlling and BSC). I actually did try the silent treatment about two years ago because when I was 16 they bought me a car, without really having the money for it. So it ended up with me paying for it, plus the insurance and rent at my apartment. So, when I told her I wanted to sell it (I still owed like $8000 on it) and get a cheaper used car, she flipped out and called me selfish because I wasn't thinking about her needs and causing more drama for her life. This car was in my name, and I paid for everything on it. Yeah. Anyway, I gave her the silent treatment because I was tired of her trying to control my life even after I moved out (which I did to save my sanity and to get away from her beating me). Less than a week later, I got a phone call from her coworker saying my mom was in the hospital because she tried to kill herself. Yeah. Because I didn't call her for one week. She refuses to get help, and you can't help someone who doesn't want it.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is just do the best you can. I don't know how bad your situation is, but let her choose some things and try to be firm about other things. In the end, it's about the marriage and not the show. What's more important to you? Your mother or your wedding?

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