General chatter - How to have a wedding when the two families hate each other?




sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 01:00 PM
I won't be getting married for a couple of years yet (waiting til we are out of college), but this has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.

I have always imagined this huge, southern wedding with lots of food and people, but I fear I will probably not be able to have it. My family and my fiancee's family hate each other. It's such a long story, I don't think you all would understand if I tried to explain it. I just can't imagine them being civil to each other long enough to allow us our day of happiness. His mother is constantly talking bad about me, and telling my finacee that he should find someone better...and even though I know that has never crossed his mind, it hurts to think someone thinks so poorly of me. I have been nothing but Molly Sunshine to that witch, and she continually repays me by slandering my name to every person she meets. I wouldn't even WANT her at my wedding.

They just seem to think they are so much better than me and my family because they were born into money, although his mom and dad managed to squander every penny they had, and now live in a trailer (not that there is anything wrong with that, it is just a huge jump from the big fine house they had before)

It is not like I am some homeless money hungry bum...I am from a middle class family that has always lived comfortably, if not just a little pinched for money sometimes. Why can't they see me for the person that I am, not the family that I come from? I have goals, I am going to college, I am making my OWN way in life...

There's a ton more to the story, but I don't feel comfortable discussing it openly.

Anyway..Just wanted to vent, and see if anyone had succeeded in having a nice wedding in a similar situation...


kaplods
07-23-2007, 01:31 PM
Yikes! My husband and I had only a tiny concern overy our family at our wedding (and it was bad enough). His parents' divorce had not been a friendly one, and he was concerned that they would not behave at the wedding. He sat down with each of them and told them what behavior he expected of them at the wedding, and if they couldn't follow through he didn't want them there. They both agreed, promised to be nice, and were.

Your situation is much tougher. If there's real animosity between the families, even if everyone does agree to behave (and even manages to in the end), planning a big wedding is going to be SOOOO stressful for you, as you spend months - and the big day - worrying about what people might do.

My advice is to plan a wedding that you can enjoy - both the planning of and the actual event, even if that means a smaller wedding. One suggestion might be a smaller, shorter reception. If you think alcohol might contribute to tensions, don't serve any or serve champagne at the table, not an open bar. If you think everyone can behave for a short period of time, but not all day, you might choose an early morning wedding with a champagne (or not) breakfast reception.

A friend in a similar circumstance handled it by choosing a destination wedding on the beach in Florida. All of the family and friends were invited, but there wasn't a full reception, just cake and champagne in the hotel after the ceremony. Not many people attended, but they could at least say it was because of the expense of travel, not because they hated the other family. Both sets of parents and grandparents attended (and had been given a similar lecture to the one my husband gave his parents - behave or don't come).

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 01:46 PM
But see, I don't know how a small ceremony would help, because the primary animosity would be between my mother and his mother..His mother is the one I worry about the most because she LIVES for gossip and starting drama..very negative and catty. She's a "stay at home mom", who hires someone else to do her cleaning, and the one son who is not old enough to move out stays with us or his grandparents half the time..So her primary occupation iis to start drama. (Did I mention she recently relocated from a town two hours away from us to the same city we live, and about 5 minutes away???)

A small ceremony would mean no people to distract our immediate families from killing each other LOL. I am thinking I will either go big, so they can easily avoid each other (and tell FIRMLY we DON'T want them there if they are going to start trouble, and it would be best if the two families didn't fraternize) or we will run off and elope(which I really don't want)

Thanks for your input!


ThinGirl in FatBody
07-23-2007, 01:49 PM
Honestly, I think I'd be getting married on a cruise ship or tropical island. I'd invite those who I love and who love me and have a wonderful & warm, stress free ceremony & honeymoon.

Good luck!

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 01:53 PM
But it wouldn't it be terribly unfair to my fiancee to say "My family can come but yours can't" ?

phantastica
07-23-2007, 01:53 PM
Ditto, ThinGirl ... I'd elope.

Perhaps, in a few years by the time the wedding happens, she will have gotten over herself.

Kae
07-23-2007, 01:53 PM
Oy! That's a tough situation. I feel for you. I can relate to where you are coming from in some sense. I dated a guy whose family I didn't really get along with. His mother drove me nuts. I remember I was dating him the last time I lost a significant amount of weight-- she would always be so offended and rude about my never eating at her house (she cooked so fattening, ick!) I always just made excuses not to eat there. Anyways, his family criticized me. I know how that feels and it is a tough situation. I-obviously- am not marrying him because it didn’t work out. So I wish I could give advice in that regard.

I also know what you mean because there are people in my own family who I would much rather not be there when I get married. The destination wedding is really a nice idea---if you can feasibly afford it. My sister did that and only a few people, the people she really wanted there (though some she did couldn’t afford it) showed up. The others just used finances as a way of getting out of the wedding and everyone was ok with that. Otherwise, like it was already stated, you could try talking to people ahead.

Good luck!

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 01:56 PM
HAHA I don't see her getting over herself in this lifetime. I have been with my fiancee for 4 1/2 years now, and things just get progressively WORSE with her.

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 01:58 PM
I also know what you mean because there are people in my own family who I would much rather not be there when I get married. The destination wedding is really a nice idea---if you can feasibly afford it. My sister did that and only a few people, the people she really wanted there (though some she did couldn’t afford it) showed up. The others just used finances as a way of getting out of the wedding and everyone was ok with that. Otherwise, like it was already stated, you could try talking to people ahead.

Good luck!

When your sister did it, who attended? Did your immediete family go? I would feel like a terrible person to only invite my friends and my more docile family members (aka my grandma LOL)...I feel like I would hurt so many people's feelings!

kaplods
07-23-2007, 02:03 PM
Oh, ok - so your situation is actually much more like ours than I thought. It is much simpler if you don't have to worry about one whole family being pitted against another.

When my husband sat down with each of his parents (separately of course) and told them that they weren't welcome if they didn't behave, each had the same response, basically saying they would never start anything (in other words, if any animosity came out, it would be the others "fault"). He told them that if either of them misbehaved, he would never talk to either of them again. He meant it too.

If you can psych out the mothers, you might be able to turn it into a "who can be the best behaved" contest. If they're competitive, each of you could "confide" in the other's mother that you have concerns about your own mother's behavior at the wedding, saying something like "I know you would never act so shamefully at your (son/daughter's) wedding, no matter what your personal feelings were about the person."

Kae
07-23-2007, 02:11 PM
She invited them all. The thing is-- the people you are not a fan of, generally aren't a big fan of yours either. So the people with ill will didn't make an attempt to attend.. and it was an easy out for everyone because they were able to use the financial aspect of it as an excuse not to come. In the end, mostlty the wedding party attended and a few others. Both of their immediate families, siblings and parent, and a few friends.

bargoo
07-23-2007, 02:12 PM
The worst part of all this is not just the wedding. she will be your mother in law for life. I would consider moving far, far away. not just for thew wedding but forever.

Kim_Star060404
07-23-2007, 02:42 PM
A similar thing happened to DH and I. We were worried about his mother's behavior at the wedding, but were both full time students and working and so didn't have time to really sit down and discuss it. At the wedding, she was the picture of composure and handled herself beautifully. She even hugged my mom! Prior to our engagement, this woman had banned me from her house and told my sister in law I did drugs (my sister in law was closer to me and knew better). She also spread rumors to her side of the family about DH and I having numerous abortions. TERRIBLE! But, she came through. In spite of her wedding behavior, DH knew she was a time-bomb and he took the job offer after college that was furthest away (about 7 hours thank goodness). The sad thing is that she ended up divorcing DH's step-dad later that year, her other son moved away (to live in the same town as us) and she lost her joint-custody rights of a little girl she had taken in while her mother recovered from drug abuse (she had tried to remove the biological mother's custody rights in spite of the fact that she had been clean for 7 years). She's alone and has nothing to show for her life. I'm guessing that's where your future MIL is heading.

Also, I would definitely advise against not inviting some or all of his family. It would be unfair and even though he says it won't now, it may come up later as a grudge he holds against you. I know you have faith in him not to, but you have to think how you would feel if he didn't want to invite your mother or other relative for similar reasons. Even though you would know the truth about her character (as I'm sure he does about his mother), it would make you feel terribly guilty for agreeing to not invite her. I think you should just strive to be a gracious bride and suck it up. Just have your bridesmaids and groomsmen on the alert and ready to escort anyone who causes trouble at the wedding out. I think your best defense is to rise above it and not give them any reason to set their lips wagging. I know they will anyways, but at least you will know there is no reason for them to spread those rumors.

harrypotterybarn
07-23-2007, 02:42 PM
My SIL went through pretty much the same thing with her wedding (theirs was an old-money vs. new-money thing). She started out really worrying about having all the family members there, especially the mothers who didn't get along at all. But in the end she invited everyone she could think of and everyone was so bent on having a great time that when her future MIL got rip roaring drunk before the ceremony and tried to start arguments the other guests just shut her down. Eventually she gave up and they went home early, and the rest of us danced the night away under the stars without thinking twice about her. Would it have been nice to have her really participate in the festivities? Of course! But that wasn't going to happen in this lifetime.

Never underestimate the desire of your wedding party/guests to make your special day perfect. You take care of the dress and the cake and the flowers, let the families handle themselves.

Or you could do what I did....elope to Vegas. That's fun too!

ThinGirl in FatBody
07-23-2007, 02:44 PM
But it wouldn't it be terribly unfair to my fiancee to say "My family can come but yours can't" ?

I'm surprised he would even want them there considering how you say they treat you & speak about you. I certainly would not let anyone who was cruel to me attend my wedding, I don't care who they are.

Slashnl
07-23-2007, 02:50 PM
Just a question here. How does your fiance handle it when his mother is like that to you? I don't mean to be negative, but that stuff never really goes away and if you spend a lifetime hearing it, it can really cause stress in your marriage. There have been so many, even on this site, who have complained about their spouse/SO not sticking up for them to the other family.

Let me just say again, I don't mean to be negative, but the wedding is such a small part of the overall commitment. I would be more worried about the future confrontations!

By the way.... eloping is a good thing!

Kim_Star060404
07-23-2007, 03:03 PM
My DH honestly didn't want his mother there, but she's his mother. What kind of son would turn his back on her that way? I couldn't and wouldn't have asked DH to not invite his mother. I remembered one good thing about her through all the drama - she gave birth to and raised the man I loved. Even with all the things she'd done - she deserved to see him get married. Or at least be given the chance to. If she didn't want to be there, it was her option to not attend, but I wouldn't let it be on my account. While I'm sure he hates the things she's done to you, and I'm sure he sticks up for you (and if he doesn't, I agree with Diane and would be questioning the marriage altogether), I'm also sure that he still loves her in spite of that.

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 03:11 PM
A similar thing happened to DH and I. We were worried about his mother's behavior at the wedding, but were both full time students and working and so didn't have time to really sit down and discuss it. At the wedding, she was the picture of composure and handled herself beautifully. She even hugged my mom! Prior to our engagement, this woman had banned me from her house and told my sister in law I did drugs (my sister in law was closer to me and knew better). She also spread rumors to her side of the family about DH and I having numerous abortions. TERRIBLE! But, she came through. In spite of her wedding behavior, DH knew she was a time-bomb and he took the job offer after college that was furthest away (about 7 hours thank goodness). The sad thing is that she ended up divorcing DH's step-dad later that year, her other son moved away (to live in the same town as us) and she lost her joint-custody rights of a little girl she had taken in while her mother recovered from drug abuse (she had tried to remove the biological mother's custody rights in spite of the fact that she had been clean for 7 years). She's alone and has nothing to show for her life. I'm guessing that's where your future MIL is heading.

It's like you have the exact same MIL lol! Mine accused me of drugs (when she is the one who ruined her life because of meth), STEALING (and it turned out it was her own husband who actually "stole" the jewelry in question), I have been banned from her house, because in one of her manic tireades I had the nerve to stand up to her crazy ***. She is NEVER wrong..even though she has the mentality of an angry toddler most times. UUUGGGHHH. How do you deal with completely irrational people LOL.

Thanks so much for sharing this. It really gives me hope.

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 03:15 PM
Just a question here. How does your fiance handle it when his mother is like that to you? I don't mean to be negative, but that stuff never really goes away and if you spend a lifetime hearing it, it can really cause stress in your marriage. There have been so many, even on this site, who have complained about their spouse/SO not sticking up for them to the other family.

Let me just say again, I don't mean to be negative, but the wedding is such a small part of the overall commitment. I would be more worried about the future confrontations!

By the way.... eloping is a good thing!

When she starts in on him about me, he just tells her not to talk to him unless she has something positive to say. I told him the next time she does it, give her my number (which she alread has), tell her if she has a problem she can talk to me about it, and just don't say another word. She just does it to try and get an arguement over it. He has stuck up for me on numerous occasions, but eventually we understand that no matter what is said to her she is going to keep spouting BS.

sockmonkey70
07-23-2007, 03:17 PM
My DH honestly didn't want his mother there, but she's his mother. What kind of son would turn his back on her that way? I couldn't and wouldn't have asked DH to not invite his mother. I remembered one good thing about her through all the drama - she gave birth to and raised the man I loved. Even with all the things she'd done - she deserved to see him get married. Or at least be given the chance to. If she didn't want to be there, it was her option to not attend, but I wouldn't let it be on my account. While I'm sure he hates the things she's done to you, and I'm sure he sticks up for you (and if he doesn't, I agree with Diane and would be questioning the marriage altogether), I'm also sure that he still loves her in spite of that.

That's how I feel about it too :)

aphil
07-23-2007, 06:21 PM
Hmmm....

Stressful situation.

The first thing I would do, is talk with your fiance about it. Ask how he feels. Also, how are the ground rules with the two of YOU regarding your families? How is the stress between the two of you, and its bearing on your relationship, when arguments and things happen?

If the two of you fight about them, then that would be something that needs to be worked through before marriage.


Also, here is some advice. :) This is one of the best bits of marital advice that I have EVER received, and I believe in it 100%:

When you and your husband have fights or arguments, don't call family to discuss it with them/vent. EVER. This is honestly one of the biggest things that causes in-laws to dislike each other. Seriously. A girl gets into a fight with her boyfriend, goes and cries to her mom and sister about it, then makes up with boyfriend. She forgives him, the mom and sis do not-because they are looking out for their sister/daughter. The same goes with the boyfriend if he spouts off about his girlfriend to family/friends. The more family that is in your business, the worse it is. :lol:

So, if you ever want your families to get along, that is the best advice I can give-unless it is a matter of cheating (where you plan on splitting up for GOOD), domestic abuse, or that sort of thing, etc. then keep it to yourself. Don't tell family about all of the little tiffs. :lol: You forgive and forget, they never do. :lol:

As far as the wedding...have whatever kind of wedding you want to have, but make your requests upfront. They behave, or someone will escort them out. (Get big burly friends as your ushers for the wedding/bouncers for the reception. :lol: )

Seriously. Let them know that this day is about the two of you, and not about everyone else's grievances...and you kindly ask that they keep it that way, or not to come.

kaplods
07-24-2007, 01:31 AM
I think there's a good possibility his mom will eventually come around, my mom did.

My mother has always been a bit overprotective, and hasn't had much good to say about anyone any of us have brought home. She had a laundry list of negative thoughts on my husband when we were dating (and listed them off to me every chance she got, whether he was present or not).

My husband (to be at the time) defended HER, telling me she was my mother, and that she had no reason to trust him yet, and she would eventually come around.

Funny thing, a few months ago my sister was dating a man my mother didn't approve of. She called us in Wisconsin and asked us to come to Illinois to actually check him out, and for David (my husband) to "have a talk with him." My husband did a background check on the guy, and we did visit (we thought he was indeed a jerk). We told Mom that we didn't like him either, but that Ann had to make her own decision, and that it might turn out fine as she hadn't liked David when she met him either (She said that wasn't true at all, and claimed to have no memory of any of the horrible things she had said about him).

I'm not saying his mom will ever become your best friend, but it's possible that she'll come to her senses, or at least make the best of it when she realizes you aren't going away.

freiamaya
07-25-2007, 01:17 AM
Your issue won't be the wedding, it will be the rest of your life dealing with an inlaw that you don't get along with. If your fiance isn't prepared to put you FIRST, and cut those people out of his life that are giving you grief, then your life will get worse. Much, much worse. You have to be able to do the same for him if necessary.
So, GIVEN that he puts you first, and you put him first, and your primary alliance is to each other and the relationship, your next concern is the wedding. Which, if I am to be honest, is probably a non-issue. We all have dreams of our "ideal day" - exactly who will be there and how it will go and everything. But the MOST important part of the day is getting married, and it is so easy to lose sight of this fact - just watch an episode or two of Bridezillas. And in hindsight, the wedding one has often isn't the same one that one would repeat -- I've lost count of the number of friends of mine who had big weddings and today think that they should have done things differently. SO, why not get married on the QT, with good friends as witnesses. Then, hold a BIG PARTY as a celebration. Invite everyone. If people get out of hand and stress you out, deal with them OR just leave. After all, the important part, the ceremony, has been done in a respectful, stress-free manner. You can always renew your vows if (and that's a big IF) things get better with the inlaws. And, without the stress of inlaws and who to invite and who not to invite, and worries over who will behave and who won't, your wedding day will be a perfect celebration of your committment to each other as a couple.

BoopRN
07-25-2007, 01:51 AM
Ditto, ThinGirl ... I'd elope.

I agree, just elope and save yourself from the stress and hassle of becoming a bridezilla.

kaplods
07-25-2007, 02:38 AM
In hindsight, I wish I had chosen a smaller wedding. We had a nice wedding on a small budget, but a more intimate wedding would have been much less stressful. I still would have invited both sets of immediate family, but so many of the people at our wedding we invited, because our parents had been invited to their children's weddings or because of some other matter of family and coworker diplomacy rather than because these were our closest friends.

sockmonkey70
07-25-2007, 02:49 AM
I don't want a HUGE HUGE wedding...Just my family, and my closest friends, some good food..And then whoever we have to invite on his side LOL..But I do want to be able to plan a nice little ceremony and feel like it is a traditional wedding...I have about 2 years to think on it anyway though LOL.