Letting off some steam: My mum's matriarch of whole wedding. Anyone?

MellowMoodlingMellowMoodling Posts: 8 New bride
edited 24 January in Emotional support
Hi there all!

I love my mother more than life itself, and I love my husband to be, I love his family and I'm so happy we all get along. 

HOWEVER....I am in early stages of planning, we've got about 18 months until the big day and already I am constantly arguing with my fiance about how his family won't be quite as involved as mine, traditionally the grooms family isn't as hands on.

Case in point, the first wedding fair my mum was coming to. My fiance and I had been to one already. Its our wedding and I wanted to experience this on our own for the first time, he agreed. Lovely. My mum, just about came to terms with this but I know she was sad to not be invited, but I think she understood.

Wedding fair numero 2....bigger wedding fair, fiance happy and excited to come too, and my mum was excited this would be her first fair with me so she was thrilled. I didn't ask my sister (maid of honor) as she'd just started a new job in London and I didn't want to disrupt her life. (mistake number 1) she did come anyway but only after tearing me a new one for not at least asking her. Fair enough.
I was chatting away to the future mother and sister in law, about wedding plans but trying to keep it discreet as I knew my mum would loose her shit if she wasn't the only mum at the wedding fair. Anyway, somehow they said they would go to the fair too. Shit, now I have to ask my mum if she'd be OK with it. (mistake number 2)

All the way home I was trying to conjure up how I would ask her. So when I did get on the phone to her to talk about it, I was somewhat prepared. BUT, as expected, she lost her shit. She was so hurt at the idea of my future in laws being there. I then lost my shit, but only because I thought this is how this was going to be forever. Wedding planning, moving house, having kids. If ever my mum wasn't directly involved in some way, on her own, without the in-laws, all hell would break loose and my life wouldn't be worth  living.

Then I thought, OK so what do I want, what do me and my fiance want, does that not mean anything at all. If I could have it my way, everyone would be involved and would have come. But I wasn't going to break my mum's heart in doing so. So after a lot of tears and arguing, I decided to let my in-laws know I wanted to make it a nice day for mum, and actually that felt right. Just mum and my bridesmaids and my fiance. 
My mum's been dreaming of this my whole life too, and it felt right us just going in this little group.

I kinda get it, he thinks I've banned his family (who were actually fine with not coming by the way. Mother in law said her mother in law didn't come to these things so she understands) but I've not banned them, just wanted some mum time. But then he went  mad and said he wouldn't go if his family weren't there. Again, kinda understand and its his wedding too so what if he wanted his mother there (he didn't by the way, he was just being a brat)

OK so now I can come to the help me part.....if you're still here, thank you for listening to my ridiculous drama.

Are any other brides to be having issues navigating through fiances wishes and mother of the bride's wishes? Is anyone else's mother adamant they need to be first in line to everything? I do want her to be, but it's like I am banned to having my in-laws-to-be to arrange or help with anything! Even writing this I'm scared she's going to see and get upset!

Thank you for sticking with my sad little tragic tail if you've come this far!


  • Hi! 

    Oh no! It’s so hard to get a good balance between wedding events and family/in laws.

    how did your MIL react when you said you wanted it to be just your mum and sister etc? Was she okay with it or not? I think your fiancé may have overreacted slightly but then I suppose he doesn’t want to feel his family are being slighted in any way.

    I’m sort of in a similar situation as I’m an only child and my mum and I are best friends so there was a lot I’ve done with just the two of us, my fiancé has said he’d like his mum to be included but she and I aren’t close and she’s very unhelpfully opinionated so I’ve had no worries with ignoring this! 

    Is there anything you could arrange for all of you to do? Maybe cake tasting/looking at venues once you’ve shortlisted? To pacify your mum you could keep some special things just the two of you? (And your sister too!) like dress shopping or shoe shopping! 

    Your mum sounds like she means well, she just is so excited it’s all bubbling over and she wants to experience it all with you! 
  • Hullass1972Hullass1972 Posts: 576 New bride
    As a mum of 2 boys, I'd be devastated to be pushed out like that tbh. It's the wedding of 2 people and I honestly don't see why both families can't be involved. I would never have blocked out my MiL like that, mainly because I understand just how hard it is to be seen as the lesser mother in the whole wedding thing. 
  • GinAndBlingGinAndBling Posts: 1,297 New bride
    Eugh I’m sorry I’m not going to agree with you on this one. 

    I have my own share of MIL issues but I wouldn’t dream of making it more about my family because of tradition. I just don’t agree with you there. And quite frankly it’s wrong, unless your parents are footing the entire bill and arranging it all on your behalf.

    If it’s something both of you are going to (like a wedding fair) why not extend the invite to everyone. 

    Some things, for example wedding dress shopping, I can see why you’d want just your mum there. But everything else isn’t just yours, it’s yours and your FHs, and if you are including one side of the family in it so keenly why not extend the invite to another side. 

    In the end, I invited my FMIL to come and look at a dress I found on a second viewing. She has 3 boys and I know she really appreciated it.

    Personally I can see why your FH is annoyed.

    Maybe explain to your mum it’s about two families coming together. It’s supposed to be a fun experience.  
    Our planning thread: We're completely winging it.
    Our report: A fun, classic May day in navy and blush
    My weightloss thread: Diet denial! 
  • I totally agree with you both @GinAndBling @Hullass1972 which is why I'm getting in suck a pickle. I would have loved everyone to be involved as I get on so well with my FMIL and agreed that its both our weddings and about a family coming together. I think my mum would be more sympathetic if he was an only child or had brothers, but he's got a sister so I know his mum will get all this when she gets married.

    I think the world of tradition is starting to die down, and its more common for both families to be involved, my mu really doesn't see it that way. She's a very complex woman with a lot of anxiety and other mental health issues so its always been difficult, treading on egg shells all my life to make sure she's OK and doesn't go to a dark place. 

    We've kept a lot just us and my sister though too like dresses (I want to keep that secret from as many people as possible) my mum arranged out engagement party cake so shes got that covered. My mum's is more than happy to have everyone at other wedding fairs, just not the first one. She got a bit emotional as its another first for her.
  • Hiya @Blondiebride2019 My MIL was totally fine with not coming, she knew it was an important day for my mum and saod she'd never done anything like that with her MIL when she was planning her wedding. 

    She absolutely means so well, and was devastated when she knew I was upset, and she said she doesn't want to take over which I know she wont. But yea I'm happy its just us for some things, just she is a traditional lady and a complex character lol 

    Yes it is so hard though to not feel like your abandoning your mum, but then also wanting to include your new family to be! A situation I've not been in before so kinda all over the place! My mum will always be my main priority though, guess she needs to also navigate her feels about it all too.
  • Could you have a chat with your mum and say you would like to include your MIL in things as it means a lot to you to have them all together? As planning moves forward there will be less ‘first times’ for things so your mum might understand more as time goes on! 

    It sounds as though your MIL isn’t annoyed she wasn’t included in the wedding fair which is a plus!
  • OmRumOmRum Posts: 725 New bride

    Sorry you're having issues with your mother. Mental health issues can be so difficult to navigate. I understand every family situation is different but wanted to add the two thoughts that struck me:

    I don't think you should have uninvited your fiancé’s family from the fair without chatting to him first. I doubt you would have been happy if he had uninvited your mum!

    Don’t forget that the planning, just like the wedding, is a time for you and your fiancé. There is no law that says anyone’s family or friends has to be invited or involved with fairs, dress fittings, suit fittings, cake tastings, etc! So please don’t feel like you are letting anyone down by not inviting them along. If they are upset, it’s not your job to fix that – they are the ones who need to remember it’s not their wedding!

  • Yea maybe we just need another chat about things I would like other involved with and not, so its not such a shock when something comes up. She's quite understanding really, its just all the first time things. And my MIL is totally fine - its my FH who's giving me grief lol

    I think just because, like yourself, we're best friends and been attached at the hip since I was born lol I have a younger sister but she's kind of taken more control of her life and been like, Mum I love you, but dear God give me space haha. Whereas I'm like Oh please don't hurt her feelings! I'll do anything to make sure she spends her life as happy as can be, even if that does occasionally put my own life a bit of hold lol

    I'm sure I will understand more when I have children! Haha

    Thank you for your advice!  :smile: :smile:
  • I’m the same! I think it’s tricky for them to navigate a new family in your life, even though they’ve known that for a while it’s almost more certain now you’re engaged,  hopefully she’ll calm down a bit so you can enjoy the lead up to your wedding and not worry about upsetting anyone. 

    Good luck! 
  • This is a hard one, but I think you need to set boundaries with your mum. She believes it's her right to be involved because it's tradition, but that doesn't mean it's how it has to be. 

    If your FH wants his family as involved as yours he has every right to have that, and that isn't something your mum gets a say in it isn't her day or wedding planning experience, she had her time .

    It's never easy to stand up to parents and "school" them on how it will be but honestly if it doesn't happen during the planning process then it will be exactly the same for all other life events .

    How you handle situations and conflict as a couple during this process sets the expectations of how you will always deal with things. 
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,769 New bride

    I agree with CoffeeDogAddict, you need to set some boundaries with your mum otherwise the next 18 months are going to be horrific. She sounds very demanding and there is no reason whatsoever why she should be more involved than your MIL. You are adults, you aren't responsible for her happiness.

    Why does your mum need to be the first to go to a wedding fair with you? Why does it matter? It's just a room full of people trying to sell you stuff, and I found them basically useless.

    My MIL doesn't have daughters and she's been included in everything, same as my mum. Your MIL's daughter might never get married so it's really irrelevant whether she has a daughter or not, your fiancé is her son and she deserves to be considered and included too in her child's wedding. Just because she was nice about you cancelling doesn't mean she wasn't upset privately. I'm with your fiancé on this - he's probably seeing it as a sign of things to come and trying to nip it in the bud now before your mum turns into mother-of-the-bride-zilla.

  • Thank you @OmRum she never means to make things hard bless her.

    Thing is they weren't coming anyway, they sort of invited themselves. But it has caused an issue with my FH, and I do understand why. Just a bit stuck between a rock and a hard place. Mum wanting this to be a special time for her, and me and my FH. Its difficult to because my FH family is huge! And they all do everything together and are super super close. Whereas my family is smaller, and we've also been very hurt by other members of our family, more so my mum. So myself, my mum and dad and my sister are super close, but thats about it.

    Which is also why I want our families to come together because it would be lovely to know we have more people to share love and memories with knowing no one will be hurt down the line as my FH's family is all so sweet. Some of mine can be a nightmare haha.
  • @MrsCToBee @CoffeeDogAddict Thank you guys, yes you're absolutely right. 

    She has her reasons to be demanding I guess, but I would like her to be a bit more open to having my Fam in law to be involved. She's happy with us all going to a wedding fair together next. But even as I'm typing I've got thoughts in back of my head saying "um, hello! Who's wedding is this again?" I'll have a good chat with her again tonight and establish those boundaries!
  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,769 New bride
    Good luck! My mum is on her own so I worry about her a bit, but you can't put your life on hold for your parents, again, you are NOT responsible for their happiness :)
  • Thank you @MrsCToBee ; :smile: Hopefully she will mellow a bit as planning goes on! Thanks for your advice!

  • Oh dear, i feel it for you poor thing. I can see it from all sides and can see that you are in a bit of a pickle.

    Mental Health is no joke and i understand that you are treading on egg shells with her and don't want to upset your mum but as others have said you need to set boundaries soon rather than later. As you said your sister has managed to take a bit more control of her life and your mum is ok so would you be able to also? even if it takes time and is a slow process? 

    Your mum might just be over excited as its all new but you said she wants to be there for all your firsts and doesn't like any other mums involved, which could go on for everything you do for the rest of your life and if your fiance doesn't like what is happening now will he be ok with it further down the line?

    I can see why your fiance is a little annoyed if his family is shut out and yours getting preferential treatment as everyone should be equal. I can see why your mum might want just you and her for things like your dress but not sure why anyone would get precious over the flowers, cake etc and not want your in laws involved. 

    One thing to be mindful of is your in laws and not creating any ill feeling even though its unintentional or not your fault. You are in a lovely position that you all get on as you hear so many stories of people not getting on with their in laws so try to preserve that relationship. Although your in laws might say they are ok with what happened and may genuinely feel that way (we don't no their personalities) but they may be mindful of the situation in future and not want any repeated situations.

    Maybe put everyone on an information diet and discuss everything with your fiance in the first instance before even raising/suggesting things with your mum or in laws. 
  • @Shoes Galore thanks so much for your advice. Since the incident I've done what you suggested, as least with my mum and just said I need her to be a bit more open. She's fine with other people to be involved after the first of everything, she really wants to find someone for the cake, she arranged our engagement one, and the party. I've got my dad and sister on her side too so it's very much 3 against 1. But with every decition I'm just going to have to prep her before hand. Not much else to do really now though. But yes, it's also navigating around her feelings as well. 
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