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Feeling left out in son's wedding plans, what should we do?

Started by sadsadmom, November 23, 2010, 03:53:11 pm

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My son will be getting married early next year. My husband and I don't have a bad relationship w/ him or his fiance (so far). They have been living together for 2 years and seemed fine. Now that they are getting married, we invited her and her family for a dinner, just to celebrate and talk about the arrangements of the wedding ceremony and offer any contribution to the wedding. We were told that they don't want any type of contribution (not even gifts) and that we are not supposed to invite anyone also.
It was very clear that they are paying for everything, they are in control of everything, and we don't have anything to do with the matter. We felt very hurt, just shut up and swallowed because we didn't want to create a conflict. But we also don't feel comfortable attending the wedding either, since the mother of the bride made clear that she is paying 120.00 for each guests to be at the reception. We even feel that we are costing her 240.00 dollars.
We still didn't get to talk to our son after the meeting and don't really know how to approach the situation. My son seems to be totally under their control. We are just surprised to find out that they are 2 control freaks and just don't know what to say or do. WE definitely don't want to go to the wedding, but don't know how to tell this to him. PLEASE HELP.


That is so disgusting. It feels like they have declared war. Can you ask you son what he wants and go with that?
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


If they declared war, they have not found an enemy. We don't want fight and never showed them any type of animosity or that we wanted to impose anything. I tried to talk about the subject with my son before the dinner, and I think he feels pressured by them. He also doesn't want to create a conflict and said that her mom has been planning her wedding since she was born. When I tried to argue that he has also a family and that the wedding is for both of them; he said that he didn't feel like talking about this, and that we please change the subject. Then at the dinner he seemed to be 100% with them. I felt very sad and just don't know how to approach him or her again without creating a conflict. We think that starting a marriage with people angry is not a good start. I think that at the end we will show up at the wedding and be the only people from his family. Definetelly we won't feel comfortable then and never in any other "family reunion". It is just to sad and nothing close to what I have dreamed.


Good for you for not responding. I still think they declared war...by taking over like that and shooting you down. If you hadn't raised a great son, there wouldn't be any groom or wedding! It's really nasty and tells you what's ahead, I'm afraid. I don't know what else you can do but what you have done...turn your son over to them and bow out. Let's see what the others here have to say. I wish I could be more positive. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


I am so sorry sadsadmom.  That is so very hurtful of them.  I think as MOG's, we expect that most of the wedding will be about the Bride's needs, but to be totally excluded and told you can't invite anyone?  I find that very cruel.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


And I will echo what Luise just said, be prepared for this to be a sign of what is to come in the future regarding holidays, birthdays, visits, etc.  I too hate to sound so negative, but if this is already starting, it doesn't bode well for the future. 

I can say this out of kindness, because I wasn't prepared and got shocked.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


I've been trying to think what I can do to minimize the conflict. I don't want to loose my son at the altar like someone else posted in another forum, but I don't know how I can prevent it. I am trying to keep cool and thinking what to do. Starting a war it is not going to help and maybe it will be even worse. I know he felt that we were sad because he called me a few times the next day and asked me if I was ok. He didn't directly mention the dinner at the day before. I didn't mention either, because I didn't want to talk it in a phone conversation. We will meet for Thanksgiving and see how it will go. I do need a good advise. I am thinking of looking for a professional family counselor.


We have many women on our forum who have lost their sons at the alter. I think counseling might be wise. I know I sound like the voice of doom but it's my very sad impression that you have already lost your son. He had a chance to stand up and say, "No way, these people are why you have a groom!"...and he didn't. He feels badly, his calls reflect that but he's not changing anything. When that happens...it's all over. Sons become besotted robots. And If I sound angry...I am...for you.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Are they officially engaged?  If not, how about an engagement party for your side of the family only.  Also, I think I would offer to pay the $240.00.    If an engagement party would not work, how about some sort of celebration for your family and friends.


yes, they are officially engaged and I already tried to have an engagement party of course with no success. I offered to have the rehersal dinner/party and inviting everybody - rejected. I offered a party for all his/her friends and family after the wedding - rejected. If we decide to go to the wedding, we are planning to leave the money in an envelope. Then they do what they want. I still didn't give up. I am thinking of anything possible.


Welcome, Sadsadmom. This is a new low. They are certainly right up front about their intentions to cut you out of your DS's life! Most of us were at least shmoozed until the wedding. It's not sounding very positive, I'm sorry to say.

I'm glad you've decided to go. Take a camera since you probably won't see or receive any wedding pics (trust me; been there.) Have an escape plan if it gets to be too much for you to handle. Wear something fabulous - since by their request you're not an involved MOTG, you don't have to "wear beige and shut up."

Does your DS understand what's at stake here? Is he ready to be totally absorbed by this family, completely forsaking his FOO? Is there any way you can get through to him? Once he understands what's going on would he speak up if he didn't want to go along with it?

My heart goes out to you. Please take care.
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


This feels like very odd behavior from your son's new in laws. Is there any reason you could think of that they would want to keep your side away? Perhaps you can suggest to your son that he and his fiance get pre-marital therapy to set up the framework for a healthy marriage. I would not put this in the context of getting what you want in regards to the wedding--I would tell him that it is important that he and his wife iron out any potential challenges in their relationship. I am so happy that my DH and I did that! We had a few issues that were worked out and I think it made us much stronger as a couple. A therapist might be a good neutral third party to discuss the issue of control and boundaries with your son and his new bride. Obviously, a wedding is an important day--but it is more important that they have a healthy and happy marriage, which they won't be able to do if her parents are running the show and inserting themselves into this marriage. As I have said before--only two people fit in a marriage! Good luck.


One more thought--is this a small wedding? I ask because my DH and I had very few family members at our wedding (just our parents and brothers and sisters and a few cousins on my DH's side. The only family I had were Mom, Dad and sister because I really consider my friends "family" more so than any of my cousins or aunts/uncles--I barely know them). We wanted a small wedding with only our closest friends and relatives there. My DH's parents wanted to invite more people, but we said no (stress on the "we"). We didn't say no because we didn't want them to have any say...it was because we wanted our wedding to be an intimate affair, with only the people we love most in the world (we only had 50 people, including the 2 of us and the priest). DH actually wanted even fewer people than that!

However, it sounds like your new in laws may be a bit crazy, so this is probably not their reason, but I just wanted to offer an alternative perspective.


Sad Mom.. please do not alienate yourself from your son and miss his wedding.  I know it's hard, I too felt that at times that our family was simply providing the groom.  My son came to me and and said that he felt that certain aspects of the wedding were getting out of hand.  Unlike yourself I was hosting the rehearsal dinner I did have quite a bit of communication with the brides mother, but was informed that this was her daughters wedding and that whatever she wanted is what she would get. 

You know I get it to a certain extent, since girls were little they have been taught that this was going to be the most magical day of their lives, that they have one shot to make it perfect. It's their day to shine, to be admired, their passage into true womanhood.. I get all that but.... what about the groom and his family?  We made the best of the wedding day.  We felt a little like outsiders at our son's wedding, but he was never privy to our innermost thoughts.  I smiled, I was truly happy because he looked like he was very confident with his decision to enter into marriage with a woman who he felt was his perfect bride.  The one thing that my son stood firm on and against the future in-laws and brides wishes was that his Best Man to be, his brother could not attend as he was out of the country attending college.  Instead of replacing him with a good friend, he chose to do a missing man formation, he said that no one could fill the spot of his brother.  After I heard him say that I knew that we would never be outsiders in his heart.

I would with your son, provide a guest list of your family and friends that your son feels should participate in his day.  Tell him how important it is, and explain to him why your feelings had been hurt and I'm sure he will realize that his family has to be there to celebrate his special day with him as well.  Certainly his bride to be and future mil could not possibly look him in the face and tell him that his family is not welcomed. 

This is a tough situation.. I hope you feel better after having a chance to speak with your son.

As far as the money goes.. let them pay, order a few extra glasses of wine on their dime.  Take the money that you had allocated for the wedding, and in the future, book a cruise for you and the young couple where you can celebrate their happiness in a more intimate surrounding.  Oh yeah, and don't invite the in-laws  ::)


I relate to everyone's anger at the in-your-face manner in which this young couple is making a wedding a political football event.  My husband and I have been there.  It also is indeed unpleasant to attend a wedding and be elbowed aside. 

However, speaking as one who was required to pay and pay and pay for a very expensive, out-of-control wedding that my son and DIL could ill afford, I do feel that the only bright side here is that you will save the money, which will be ill-spent if their behavior continues.  You are finding out immediately before you are presented with big bills what this situation is and is likely to continue to be.  Laurie's suggestion of spending the money on something special for yourselves is brilliant, though I question whether the young couple will be willing to come along on a cruise, particularly without her entourage. 

It may sound amazing, and there was a time I wouldn't have believed I ever would say this, but I wish my son and DIL had been this up front at the time of the wedding; it would have saved years of pain, frustration, confusion and, of course, doling out ever larger sums of money.  I wish they could have said, "Look, DIL does not like you; her family is paramount and they don't want you around; we'll always go with them, no matter what the event or the issue, and we'll participate in and enjoy slights and put-downs; but we do accept any money you want to throw our way."  That would have been an honest assessment of the situation as it was going to play out.  At least this surgical strike happening to you is focused and quick, possibly making your recovery period shorter.  I truly hope so.

With the others I so much wish there was a better outlook for the future and I hope it will resolve positively for you.

Good luck,