This topic contains 73 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by Chrissy 1 month, 2 weeks ago.
- January 5, 2017 at 11:21 am #667419
Hi everyone. I need some advice.
My boyfriend and I are talking about getting married sometime in the not really distant future. I know he’s going to propose this year, to provide context. But the thing is that.. well, he wants a wedding. And I don’t. And I don’t because my family is awful.
I moved to my current state when I was 17 to get away from a very bad situation involving my mom’s boyfriend. When I moved, I moved to be with my Dad and my stepmom. My mom hates my stepmom because my Dad cheated on my Mom with her; my stepmom really looks down on my Mom because she thinks my Mom makes really poor decisions and generally fails at life, basically. I don’t share that sentiment, and I’ve also forgiven my stepmom for what happened so long ago.
My mom may or may not be able to attend a wedding because it’s difficult for her to get time off to travel (she doesn’t get paid time off work.) She insists she can and will be there, but only if my stepmom “is attending in a closet.” She refuses to even be in the same room as my stepmom. My stepmom says she’ll be totally civil, but I know her, and I know how passive aggressive she can be. If I have my stepmom attend, my mom will be hurt and angry – if I have my mom attend and not my stepmom, my stepmom will also be incredibly hurt. If I have both attend, it might become the most miserable day ever. At this point, I’d rather get eloped and avoid the whole mess, but an actual wedding is important to my boyfriend.
Doing two ceremonies is out of the question (one here, one in my mom’s state) because of finances. My boyfriend’s family is all here. I have my friends here but only my stepmom for family – the rest are in the other state, and probably won’t attend. In total, I might have all of 10 people on my side (10-12 on my boyfriend’s), so it’s not like there will be enough people to keep my mom and stepmom away from each other.
What should I do? Can I even do anything? I feel like I’m in an impossible situation here because they both refuse to be adults, no matter how much I try.January 5, 2017 at 11:21 am #667420
BumpJanuary 5, 2017 at 11:35 am #667424
That is a miserable position to be in. Have you explained all of this to your boyfriend? Since he really, really wants a wedding, you might want to make it HIS job to come up with a solution that works. And do it BEFORE you start looking at venues or thinking about save-the-dates.
You know your stepmother will attend if invited. You don’t know if your mom will, and she claims she will not if your stepmother is there. It seems like they may jointly make choices that work out. Your stepmother will be there, and your mom won’t. Is that a scenario that works for you?
You can’t have two ceremonies, but could you ask your mom to host a get-together at her place for the rest of the family who couldn’t make it to the actual wedding? It could be very inexpensive if it’s at someone’s home with homemade food.January 5, 2017 at 11:36 am #667425
Why is having a wedding so important to your boyfriend? Is it because he wants to share a special day with them? Wants to proclaim his love for you in front of the other people who matter most to him? Just wants to be center of attention at a party? You/he can accomplish all of these things in a party after your elopement. I say you go to a courthouse or go on a weekend getaway trip or combine an elopement and honeymoon and go somewhere fabulous to get married and then come home and have a party with friends and his family or whoever you want to invite. You can send “we got hitched” postcards to people to share the news and to give visual proof that there was no wedding that anyone was excluded from. Your mom doesn’t have to know about some after-party following the elopement. With any luck, someone else — like your husband’s family — may even volunteer to host the party, in which case, you’re kind of off the hook for doing the inviting anyway.
If your boyfriend is adamant about having a wedding, despite your misgivings and discomfort (Which in itself is a bit of a red flag, if you ask me), invite whom you want to invite and if that includes your mother and your stepmom, take their word for it that your mom won’t come if your stepmom is invited and that your stepmom will be “civil” if your mom does show up. If they both decide to come, you might want to talk to your dr about getting a Rx for some anxiety medication you can take the day of your wedding to help calm your nerves and let your enjoy your day without focusing so much on the hysterics of these women in your life.January 5, 2017 at 11:47 am #667428
Northern Star – I’ve explained to him the situation, but he hasn’t really thought seriously about it the way I have – mainly because I’ve had years of thinking “well, I’m not going to get married anyway,” while he’s been picking songs he wants played and all that. Complete opposite perspectives growing up, I guess.
I mean, I’d like for my Mom to be there. I love my Mom. I would accept it if she wasn’t – she wasn’t there for other “big moments”, like my college graduation. But I suspect she will be extremely hurt if I invite my stepmom knowing it will lead to my Mom not coming.
My Mom lives a bit far from other family members, but the boyfriend and I could maybe visit her and my extended family at my grandmother’s place (more central) and do a little get together there, once we both have the time and money available post-wedding. That’s not a bad idea, as long as there aren’t any hurt feelings.
Wendy: I think it’s almost a flip on gender stereotypes – I grew up figuring I’d never get married, and he grew up dreaming of what that day would look like. He also had his best friend and her ex-husband elope and then, he says, they didn’t “act like they were married” and ended up getting divorced. I disagree that an elopement has any impact on that, but that’s where his head is.
I LOVE the idea of doing a courthouse wedding or a little getaway trip and then having an after party. His mom actually suggested that idea. But, of course, he wants his mom at that courthouse/getaway, and then I feel my stepmom will wonder why she wasn’t there on the other side, so it doesn’t totally make the problem go away.. (and if we do that without his mom, she’ll be very hurt too. Sigh.)
If there’s an actual wedding, I definitely foresee needing some Xanax, because no matter what, someone’s going to be upset.January 5, 2017 at 11:47 am #667429
To answer Wendy’s question, I’ll guess that bf wants a wedding, because he knows his parents want a wedding, possibly for religious reasons or possibly because they want to share this milestone with their son.
LW could get married in a very simple ceremony with just her bf’s dozen invitees present, either taking them to wherever their community holds civil ceremonies or in his parents’ church.
LW’s mother won’t be happy, but she’s the one who laid down the “I won’t attend if…” line. LW can invite her father and stepmom if she wishes.
With perhaps 15 people in attendance, it’s not like we’re talking about a WEDDING here.January 5, 2017 at 11:54 am #667431
Ron: his mom is somewhat religious, but I think it’s more of him just wanting that typical sort of milestone for himself, or whatever. I genuinely think he wants it for himself. And hey, if it wasn’t for my family drama, I would be totally onboard with it.
I wish I could just have, like, my best friend, maybe two of my other friends, and his mom and his two best friends, and call it a day. Then have a party later with his family and my stepmom, and a get together in the other state with my mom’s family. But I’m not sure if that’s one too many get togethers, ha.
I’m sure my boyfriend could invite 45+ people on his own, as he has a very huge family, but I only have less than 10 on my end, plus my own anxieties, so I would love to keep it to less than 20 max. But, you know, the smaller the better.January 5, 2017 at 12:00 pm #667433
Hey drelliot, we did the courthouse elopement with ‘huzzah, married!’ cards and several parties afterward! It was amazing and so much fun. if he really wants, his family (and your friends/step mom) can have a more formal party while maybe you just take your mom out to a nice dinner to celebrate when you’re in town. but yeah.. i think he needs better examples of elopements that worked wellJanuary 5, 2017 at 12:09 pm #667437
What a crappy situation. I just want to say I really think it sucks for your mom to put that on you. My daughter’s only 3 and I’m happily married to her father, but even if something that awful went down in our marriage, even if he got remarried to the actual Medusa, hell and high water could not keep me from attending my daughter’s wedding if she wanted me there. And I’d be proud of her for being an adult enough to understand that her parents/stepparents have flaws and having functional relationships with them anyway. If not being with in the same room with your stepmother is a higher priority for your mom than seeing her daughter get married, that’s just shitty.January 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm #667440
I’m holding an immediate family only wedding ceremony and brunch. Later that evening, we’re throwing a party at our place and inviting local friends. A couple weeks later, we’re heading to my hometown and throwing a family BBQ at a park. We’ll also hold a suburban BBQ at his family’s place if wants to do that, but I don’t think he really cares. There’s a very strong chance we’ll do a first dance at our party that night.
I know another friend, who like 9 years ago, got “married” three times. They had several little ceremonies and parties in three different states to make sure people were included who they wanted to include. They’re still happily married, FWIW.
There are so many things you can do that makes this special to both of you. Don’t get boxed in with only one line of thinking on this.
My fiance did the whole big catholic wedding thing and party, and divorced not even a couple years later.
Anyway… talk to your partner. Throw out ideas. Come to an agreeable compromise that makes the day special to both of you. Good luck!January 5, 2017 at 12:18 pm #667441
I want to add, if your mom won’t suck it up and act like an adult for one day, that’s on her. Same with your stepmom and the passive aggressive remarks.
You two do what works best for you and makes you both happy.January 5, 2017 at 12:20 pm #667442
I think you first need to have a candid talk with your boyfriend about your family situation. It sounds like you guys have talked about weddings in kind of an abstract way. You’ve heard about his theoretical dream wedding, he may not have thought yet about what his actual wedding to you might look like. So ask him to think about it. Lay out your concerns explicitly.
None of us get our “dream” weddings (for those of us who imagine them beforehand), even those who don’t have family drama. When reality sets in, we all have to navigate budgets, family input, the preferences of the real live person we’re actually about to marry, yadda yadda yadda.
If you have, or have had that conversation, and he’s totally immovable, yeah, I agree that’s kind of a red flag that he’s not willing to accommodate your wants and needs at all. This will be your day together, you’re not a prop in his wedding so if he’s not going to bend to make sure this is a happy day for you too, that’s a problem.
Now, assuming you two decide to go forward with some sort of ceremony in which both your mom and step mom are invited, well, invite them both and then there’s only so much you can do to control their reactions. It would be nice if they both came and controlled their behavior on your behalf, but you can’t make them nor should you try. If one of them declines, just say this “I’m so sorry to hear you won’t come. You will be missed”.