Chloe
Dedicated July 2023 Cornwall

Struggling to keep the peace and stressed out by Fmil's expectations already... and we've only been engaged 10 days!

Chloe, 11 January 2022 at 11:14 Posted on Planning 0 13
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Ugh, FMIL.

So, FH and I had been talking about getting married for a while - knew exactly where we wanted to get married, when, and pretty much the guestlist. We want fun and intimate, immediate family only and filling the rest of our small guest list with friends (50 people, total, ceremony and reception). My parents are kindly paying for the venue and food, so we've already booked our day (yay!), and my family are being lovely and supportive about us being able to choose exactly what and who we want there (double yay!).

*Cue Jaws soundtrack*

FMIL has now discovered that we're not inviting aunts and uncles. She's not happy. Trying to convince FH to add them because "it'll mean a lot" and "it's only a few extra people" or "you can decide later" - not thinking about the fact that we know exactly who we want, how small the guest list is and how bad it'll look if we invite FH extended family and not mine. FH is now feeling so panicked that his mother will feel awkward that he's tempted to cut some of his best friends to invite these people - he's sweetly thinking he'd cut them so that I don't have to cut anyone I really want, but I want him to be happy and have his best friends there. I know having the whole extended family is not what he wants, because we've been talking about this for months and months, and he's admitted he's only tempted to do this out of guilt and fear (FMIL is not used to not getting her way!). It's also making us feel like we can't send out of full list of save the dates in case we're forced into this - which is then making us feel like we can't send like half of them because who do we cut!

Bubbling under the surface is an implication that she might pay for them and bump the numbers. A few problems here: (1) it could cause a family v. family argument as my parents, the ones paying, think that is super rude if FMIL only chips in to add the guests she wants and feel that if she wants to contribute it should be going towards something else that we want/need like the flowers; (2) if I don't then equally extend on my side, my family would probably then feel awkward on the day that only my parents and brother are there while FH - who already will have more family there as his immediate family is more extended and his grandparents are still alive (and invited) - adding his aunts and uncles would basically fill half the guestlist with his family and leave my side feeling very small/like it's not a shared day; and (3) ultimately bumping the numbers starts to mean the little wedding we really want is not so little any more.

Can anyone help? Feel like I need a short and simple line that I just keep repeating (both to FMIL and to FH to help him not feel like a terrible person for doing what he/we want!).

Side drama, we think FMIL is likely to expect FSIL to be a bridesmaid. Neither of us want this. FH thinks she definitely wouldn't want to do a reading or a speech or anything, and FH doesn't want her as a groomswoman. I keep asking if he can think of a role for her that's not bridesmaid and he has zero ideas that he thinks she'd actually want to do. I feel like I need to potentially keep this as a bargaining chip as, while I wouldn't choose it and wouldn't feel super comfortable on the day, I don't think it would actually ruin the day (basically, "FSIL can be a bridemaid but we're keeping control of the guestlist"), but is this how a wedding should be? Does everyone make these sorts of negotiations and concessions? Or should I just be putting my foot down on what we want and deal with the fall out?

Feeling exhausted already and dreading seeing FMIL in a few weeks Smiley sad

13 replies

Latest activity by RomanticGreenStationery27135, 19 January 2022 at 09:28
  • Kim
    Curious August 2022 West Yorkshire
    Kim ·
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    Tbh i think u both need to put ur foot down as u say u and fh have been talking and planning for months and u both know what u want and it ur wedding day at the end of the day not theres xx
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  • Charlotte
    Super April 2022 Wiltshire
    Charlotte ·
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    This is like reading my own story!! Why do people thin they have a right to dictate your wedding and get offended! My mum has been a nightmare with her demands and opinions. Our Ceremony venue is 50 people max (deliberate choice on our part to avoid the issue of inviting the world and his wife!) I have 5 aunts, 4 uncles and 28 cousins/2nd cousins on my side alone, so we have made the decision to not have them at the day but open the evening up to everyone. My mum said it is not right, weddings are about family and you will upset them! I responded I doubt it as I rarely see them and not close and bottom line, is our wedding so we want people to celebrate with us that have been part of our journey and we actually have a relationship with, and like you want a more intimate relaxed day. She has been very opinionated on lots of aspects to the point I stopped speaking to her for a few weeks, BUT i eventually bit the bullet and sat her down and explained that whilst she is entitled to her opinion, she needs to respect our choice and actually, it is hurtful to make comments and judgments. You absolutely need to stand your ground, I would not allow her to offer to pay for people, as I agree with what you are saying it opens up a can of worms but also completely detracts from what you want for your day. It is so hard as you want to keep the peace and not upset people, but flip it round, why should you ne upset by their demands. Regards the SIL being BM, if it is not what you want and you are not close, please do not give in or use as a bargain chip as once you do it once there will be other aspects later on that she may try to bring up and she will expect you to back down. your FH needs have an honest conversation with her, as in honesty it is his mum and you shouldn't be stressed, i would bet that if he stands up to her she will back down more than if you do. The the main thing is to do what you 2 feel comfortable with. wishing you all the luck, stay strong, you got this!

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  • Chloe
    Dedicated July 2023 Cornwall
    Chloe ·
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    I so appreciate this reply! And really feel for you going through the same thing!!

    I think this is what I needed to hear - especially what you've said about FMIL's opinions being hurtful to me. I hadn't thought about it like that but it's so true.

    It's interesting that you're opening up the reception to more people, we hadn't really considered that as our venue is 5hrs away (so basically treating it like a destination wedding even though it's still in the UK). We haven't even asked the venue if they'll allow extras at the reception as had thought it would be too inconvenient for people, but now I'm wondering if maybe it's an idea... that way we could extend a reception only invite that quite possibly would be declined because it's a long way to go not to be around for the whole day Smiley sexy

    Good luck to you - really hope you wind up with the day you want! Smiley heart

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  • Charlotte
    Super April 2022 Wiltshire
    Charlotte ·
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    I absolutely would explore the option with the venue, as that could be your appeasement to the FMIL, which I am sure she will say it is to far etc, but, at the end of the ay they are adults, then can decide if they want to travel, they may even want to make a weekend of it, I did it for an eve reception once that was 3 hours away, I was honored to be able to even be a small part of the day and was not offended to only have an evening invite. Again, it is your day, sadly some people may decline, but you respect their choice as they should respect yours to have your day the way you want. We are 108 days to the wedding and I am very happy with what we have planned, some quirky elements, but it is us, we don't want the pomp of it all, just a fun day with our closest people. Wishing you all the luck keep your focus and don't let others negativity stress you out, your happiness is all that matters, If you ever want to rant pop me a message xx

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  • E
    Beginner July 2022 Surrey
    Emma ·
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    I'm so sorry to read your dilemma as this isn't fair at all on you or your hubby to be! His mother is being completely unreasonable and it's unacceptable for her to comment or have a view on your wedding day! Firstly, she isn't even paying!!!! and yes, it would be awful for her to pay for a few select guests whilst your mum and dad foot the entire bill, please don't let her push you into that for your sake as well as your parents!

    We've just started planning our intimate wedding of 25 in July, there are so many reasons we want an intimate wedding (cost/we feel it will be more meaningful/bride and groom enjoy the day more not having to worry about speaking to lots of people during the day/we are both a little anxious and less people is a happier day for us) and also, and I'm sorry to use the C word but, covid. So I have an idea, you could say you have purposely kept the numbers to what they are in case there is another restriction put into place. Say that this is safer for all involved and we've already finalised all of the arrangements so this can't be changed.

    Your other half will need to be a strong grown man on this one and say the decision has been made, it's so important you have the day you want lovely, you will remember this forever. It's your wedding not hers! Stay strong you will be happy you did xxx

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  • Lucy
    Curious April 2023 Warwickshire
    Lucy ·
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    Families are super complicated! I think once youve sent the save the dates you can judt day youve made your mind up it cant cahnge now. In terms of future sister in law, have you thought about her being a witness? If she wouldnt want to do a poem or anything.
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  • H
    Dedicated May 2022
    HappyGoldBridesmaid18836 ·
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    So sorry to read this. I also think your FMIL is being extremely unreasonable and rude. It is up to you and FH who you invite to the wedding. As uncomfortable as it will be, I would stand your ground with this as otherwise you may find she takes over with other things in the future.
    I would try to avoid having FSIL as a bridesmaid (unless you genuinely want her) as I agree with previous poster that your FMIL may keep using it as a bargaining tool.
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  • Chloe
    Dedicated July 2023 Cornwall
    Chloe ·
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    That's so much, it's so lovely to talk to someone who gets it! Smiley heart

    What you've said about declines really rings true as well, as harsh as it sounds to have a B list, it has to happen and that's where I'd put the aunts and uncles. I like them just fine so if some of our first choice friends can't make it, I'd have no problem adding them in later. I guess no one likes knowing that they're on that B list though!!

    So pleased for you that you're so happy with what you have planned - wishing you a beautiful fun day!

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  • Chloe
    Dedicated July 2023 Cornwall
    Chloe ·
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    It's so nice to hear of other people going for intimate weddings! Our best friends and my family love the idea, but I feel like we've had so many people react like it's a bit unusual - we have the exact same reasons as you, including Covid! Ours will (weather dependant) be outside but my mum's vulnerable so I'm conscious of keeping it small with trusted guests for that reason, as well as all those other reasons you've listed!

    You're giving me so much confidence to stand my ground, thank you! I've been fretting that I'll come across like such a bitch for it... but I guess if there's ever a day you're definitely allowed to be selfish it's your wedding day!

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  • Chloe
    Dedicated July 2023 Cornwall
    Chloe ·
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    Funnily enough one of my friends suggested it last night! I think it's a really good idea actually - hopefully FH family think so too. And even if she says no then at least we've offered her a role so it takes the guilt away if she does wind up doing nothing!

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  • Lucy
    Curious April 2023 Warwickshire
    Lucy ·
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    Its a way to incorporate her, i was potentially going to do it to shorten my bridesmaid list down but still incorporate them
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  • Chloe
    Dedicated July 2023 Cornwall
    Chloe ·
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    Thank you - really appreciate this, it's really helping my confidence to hold firm on what FH and I want!

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  • R
    Super July 2020 Monmouthshire
    RomanticGreenStationery27135 ·
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    We had exactly the same problem with my mother, who expected me to invite all my aunts, uncles and cousins 'because they will be offended otherwise'. We also had threats of 'A won't come if B isn't invited'. Only problem was that inviting all that lot would have filled up the guest list completely, leaving no room at all for any of OHs family & friends!

    Our stock response was 'we're sorry to disappoint you, but our guest list is finalised and can't be changed'. If anyone tried the 'I won't come unless' argument, our response was 'we're sorry you feel that way, but we respect your decision'. We did not engage in any argument or explanation - e.g. saying things like 'we can't afford to invite more' just creates the risk of someone offering to pay for them. We just kept repeating the same stock phrase and changing the subject. And it worked.

    Your wedding is actually a PERFECT time to start setting some boundaries so FMIL realises she doesn't always get her own way. You have to think ahead - do you want FMIL feeling she has the right to dictate where you live? Or when you start a family? Or how you raise your kids if you have any? People who feel they have the right to control others don't just magically stop doing that - if you don't set some firm boundaries in place, FMIL is going to keep trying to control your lives until you do.

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