future mother-in-law taking over wedding plans…fiance is out of town and can’t tell her otherwise?

July 6th, 2011

I’m getting married at the end of the year and my fiance is currently out of town with no access to phone, internet, etc. so no one will be able to get in touch with him for the next month. I’m trying to plan certain things without his help (i.e. getting my dress, planning flowers, etc.) but his mother is trying to get me to commit to all these things I don’t want. She wants us to have a huge wedding with a ton of people I’ve never met before, and it seems like she just wants to show off her amazing son in some big society wedding. My fiance and I come from different religious backgrounds and his mother is pushing me into having a full-on Catholic ceremony, which my family and I are against. My fiance doesn’t care if we have a Catholic ceremony or not, but his mother has all but reserved the cathedral. I’ve told her that I don’t want to commit to any major decisions like this until my fiance gets back in town, but she keeps on pushing all these things on me anyway.

My parents are paying for the wedding, BTW.

Our ideal wedding would be simple and fun, and include immediate family and close friends only, but my fiance comes from a high-society family in our community.

How can I politely tell my mother in law to back off and let us plan our own wedding, and that we don’t want a giant formal affair with tons of people we hardly know? And what should we do about the relgious-ceremony aspect? Is it better to just let them have their way or to go with what my family and I want?

21 Responses to “future mother-in-law taking over wedding plans…fiance is out of town and can’t tell her otherwise?”

  1. B2B MAY 3,2009 says:

    First you need to get a back bone and tell her that you appreciate her input but are planning YOUR wedding the way you want and second the religious aspects of the ceremony shouldnt be what you and your family want but what you and your fiance want and no one else.

  2. Monie says:

    The bottom line is. This is your wedding. She’s not throwing money at the situation. So YOU get to make the decision if your fiancee is out of town tell her that you will not make any plans until he comes back and that is final. Explain to her kindly that these are YOUR and FIANCEES wishes and they need to be respected if she ever wants to see her grandchildren.

  3. supergoober says:

    Well first of all you have a year so you are ok. Let her give you the suggestions and start a “wedding ideas book”. Put her ideas in one book and what you want in another lol. This way you can plan what you want and still let her feel like she has a say in it. MIL’s can be overwhelming and this is her sons wedding too. The binder will save you alot of headaches and this way you can discuss all this with your fiancee when he gets home and show him what you really want too!

    Good luck.

  4. cwood says:

    just fyi – you can’t have a full catholic wedding without being catholic or setting that up specially with the church.. alot of times they have you sign contracts saying you’ll raise you children catholic for having the wedding there (my friend is doing that right now for her sept wedding)

    the bride plans the wedding and her family pays for it, so his mom really has no business making demands for your wedding.

    it is YOUR day. don’t let her ruin it for you. it’s not about their societal status or his mother – it’s about you, your husband, and your love and future together.

    sounds like his mom may need a little tough love.. just be honest with her about what you want and what you two have envisioned..

    if she can’t appreciate that, too bad for her. you’re the one paying and planning so at the end of the day, it’ll be the way you want it..

  5. {B2B 9.5.09} {MOH 10.10.09} says:

    Whatever you do, DO NOT let her have her way, she will take over the entire thing and it will not be your wedding anymore! My MOH is getting married and her mom has taken over. It is nothing that she or the groom wants and she has just given up. The mom even threw a fit about what shoes us bridesmaids were wearing! Who cares?!?

    I guess you will just have to tell her flat out, that you like her suggestions, but you and your fiance (be sure to include the fact that he doesn’t want that kind of wedding either) really want a different feel for your wedding.

    Since she isn’t paying, she really can only suggest things, not make decisions. Good luck, I hope it is what you two want! 🙂

  6. West says:

    I stopped reading your question after the statement “my parents are paying for the wedding, BTW”. the MIL is not contributing financially, so what she wants is completely irrelevant! Now, if you fiance wants a Catholic ceremony, then you will have to take that into consideration. But your MIL cannot invite people that you don’t even know since she is not the one paying for them to eat. You need to just politely put your foot down and be stern with her. Explain to her that you already have your mother helping you out with everything, but you appreciate her help, and you will let her know if you need her help.

  7. S~ says:

    Just tell her that you appreciate her input, but you and your fiance had talked about some things that you both wanted before he left, and you don’t want to set any plans in stone until he gets back. You want your wedding to represent you and him, not her! I think a lot of parents forget that. I’m going through a very similar situation, and it’s not easy telling people to back off! When he gets back in town, you two need to have a talk. You need him to support you on this and get the MIL off your back. Good luck!

  8. Yogi says:

    You had better let her know now and stand firm on your own decisions before she starts butting in to your marriage as well.

    If she is not paying for the reception it is appropriate for your parents to tell her the number of people they are willing to have at dinner. Then it is up to her to figure out who she can cut out of her plans.

    If your family is against a Catholic ceremony tell her now.

    “we are looking at a chapel/synagogue in this other town, Bob and I discussed it and we do not want to have a catholic mass.”

    Stand firm now. Have your parents help you talk to her.

    Don’t let her change what you and your husband want.

  9. cheffy says:

    tell her to SHUTUP

  10. Dreamcometrue says:

    A lot of brides have to deal with pushy MIL’s, but wow! Do some girly things together, like take her to see your dress or to the florists. After she feels included go for coffee and lay down the law. This is your wedding, she already had hers! My MIL also is inviting groves of people neither my fiancee nor I know. I plan to tell her since we are paying for it we have a very tight guest list. I might give her like 5-7 guests that aren’t family (at $95 a plate, awesome) and stick to it. The best thing to do is keep putting her off until your fiancee comes back, and then book things! My MIL took me all around town to show me her favorite sites, including a mexican restaurant and a “historical” church that was run down and next to a donkey farm. After I booked a resort, she stopped suggesting sites. As far as the religious site? I didn’t want a church (we’ll have a baby come wedding time) and I told her I thought it was inappropriate. I said my very catholic grandmother would be offended. Just use the opposite, “Well I’m not Catholic and I have no intention to convert, so I think it would be wrong to have a Catholic ceremony.” Good luck!

  11. peaches says:

    First off, congratulations!!! I think you should try to compromise a little, but go with what you want if your fiance doesn’t really care. This is your big day, not your mother-in-laws. You should remind her of that and also let her know that you are not interested in a huge wedding. Just tell her you want a smaller wedding with close friends and family only. Hope this helps.

  12. Baloneyus_Monk says:

    Your family is paying. The groom’s family must remember that they are guests!

    You might say something like “My parents are happy and honored to throw this party for us. I want to show them my respect by keeping costs under control.”

    DO keep your ceremony within your parents’ budget.

    As to the religion differences: ask yourself how you will raise your children. Your ceremony should reflect your religious future together.

    If your in-laws want to throw a reception for you with all the big society frills, that would be nice. Then they can live their dreams about their son’s wedding too!

    Hang in there, Honey. If all else fails, head off to a destination spa until your fiance gets back!

  13. Garnet Glitter says:

    Until the fiance comes back into town, tell her (MIL) since YOUR parents are paying for it, she will have to discuss it with YOUR mother…then give your mother a heads up so she can say ‘I’m sorry, but my husband & I will not pay for that…..that’s NOT how our family does things…..our wedding budget will not allow that…we need to discuss this with BOTH your son & my daughter after all, it’s their wedding..our daughter will marry in OUR church and since it is the bride’s family paying, it’s their choice…”

    MIL will only steam roller you if you & your family permit it…do NOT permit it….and NO is easy to say, especially if YOU hold the purse strings.

    if MIL doesn;t like it, Too bad so sad…good luck.

    Edit: practice this ‘My parents refuse to pay for that’…..lol

  14. John R says:

    Woof. And you’re not even married yet. Well, the rules are simple (in theory) – your family is paying, so you make the choices. She can offer her wishes and advice, but you make the call in the end. You’re guaranteed to have anguish and hurt feelings, but you’re going to get them no matter which way this goes, so you’re better off putting your foot down now. Let’s just hope that your fiance is going to back you up, but then if he isn’t it’s probably better to find this out now rather than after the wedding. Divorces are such a pain.
    The politest way is simply to say “I’m sorry [evil, controlling horrible mother-in-law-from-a-bad-joke] (insert name there), but we simply can’t afford such a lavish wedding as you propose. When [terrific, wonderful, couldn’t-possibly-be-better fiance] (insert name there, and it will help if you keep thinking of him that way after you’re married, not that I’m speaking as a husband or anything) gets back we will discuss the details of where and how large the wedding will be and let you know what we’ve decided. I won’t make such an important decision as that without (see above)’s input, but thanks so much for your good suggestions!” Or something along those lines. I’ve found the best way is what my wife does (not that it doesn’t drive me crazy when she does it to me) which is to nod, smile, be grateful and sound agreeable but not commit to anything until it’s too late to argue about it. Good luck on the whole thing – since this is going to be a lifetime situation (of the marriage, anyway, which we hope lasts for many, many years), by the way, maybe this is a good opportunity to learn the art of compromising in the small things to make holding firm on the big things less painful for everyone. Doesn’t sound like it will help much, but maybe watching George of the Jungle with your fiance a few times will help the two of you come to grips with the problem. Anyway, for what it’s worth, I’ve never seen a positive side to a wedding, except for after it’s over. It’s always a huge source of stress and anguish, there’s pretty much always some disaster, and family feuds are the least you can hope for. If you can get out the door without the police being called in to arrest half the guests, count yourself as coming out ahead on the game, and figure that at least you’re going to have lots of good party stories for the next couple decades.

  15. slacker says:

    Just tell her I’m making the decisions for my wedding.It’s nice of you to throw ideas but I’m not happy with some of the ideas you have in mind.Straight up,girl.Put your foot down.

  16. Jan409 says:


    tell her it is you and your fiancees wedding and you are not prepared to make any decisions or commitments without him
    being there

  17. Zerachiel says:

    first thing girl.. drop a pair!

    your letting your MIL step all over you because you don’t have any balls. hell even in this you sound meek. you just don’t say “i don’t want to commit to anything big with out my fiance” no you need to stand up and say “no we don’t want this so we’re not having it” and tell her that this is YOUR wedding not hers. she had her wedding already so she needs to back off yours.

    as long as you sound meek and weak your MIL is going to step all over you as will the rest of the world.

    my advice. drop a pair and grow a back bone and stand up to her.

  18. Sandy Ego says:

    Just repeat yourself over and over again. Verbatum if needed. “I don’t want to commit to any major decisions until gets back into town.”

    P.S. When your fiancé is back, *he* needs to step in and handle his mother and tell her off if need be.

  19. michelle g says:

    Well, the good news is that you probably won’t get permission for the full-on nuptual mass (and you have a good reason for not wanting one) since you’re not Catholic. You could have a simple ceremony with only the vows and readings, it’s an elegant, simple and solemn ceremony. Your MIL cannot force any of the religious things on you, the priest would need to meet you and your fiance to discuss everything. So that’s probably why she hasn’t booked the Cathedral yet, she knows the priest won’t do it. But is there any particular reason why you’re against a Catholic ceremony? If there is then tell you MIL and be honest about it.

    If you’re fiance is a practising Confirmed Catholic and you’re a baptised Christian of any denomination then you can get married by the Catholic church. You, as the non-Catholic, would have to attend a pre-marriage course, agree that any children would be baptised and raised Catholic and that you would not block your husband from worshipping as a Catholic. You would NOT have to convert.

    But if you are against a Catholic wedding then there are other options, like having a wedding officiant perform the ceremony and asking the priest to be present and to bless the union.

    As for handling her: duck, dodge and dive! You’ve been doing well so far so just carry on with that. Everytime she starts going on to something that you don’t want her to organise the tell her that you’re waiting for your fiance to come back before you organise whatever it is. Especially things like religion, guest list and venue which your fiance should have a say in, just be consistant when you tell her you’re waiting. If she starts trying to organise other things then tell her that you’re busy with that already but thank her and tell her that you’ll think about what she said. If push comes to shove, tell her that it’s not in budget and you’re looking at other alternatives.

    About the best thing you can do is give her something to organise. Maybe have her put together the bridal shower or engagement party or something. If she’s busy with that it’ll mean she’s leaving you alone.

    Good luck with the planning, I also had to plan my wedding without my fiance there so I can sympathise.

  20. Vashti says:

    Do you live with this woman?

    If you do, find somewhere else to live.

    If not, quit taking her phone calls or answering her e-mails.


    She has no power and no authority to do anything.

    Ignore her.


  21. God Bless America says:

    If you don’t put your foot down now, she will control the rest of your life. Tell her politely that you and her son have already decided on what you want to do. Tell her you would appreciate her help in finalizing the plans that you have already made and that it is too late to make any changes. Be nice, but be persistent. Tell her you appreciate her in-put but that you have already made up you mind and have put the plans in motion. If she doesn’t understand this, then get ugly. Besides, its your wedding, not hers. She has the part of planning the grooms dinners, parties etc. and tell her to focus on that and do what she wants but leave your wedding alone. This is your day. Congratulations on the wedding and i wish you the best.

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