mother trying to force party on us

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2003
mother trying to force party on us
7
Tue, 09-11-2012 - 1:52pm

My fiance and I are getting married later this fall. To make a long story short, we would have just gone the courthouse/champagne toast route if it weren't for the fact that quite a few people would feel left out. In my mother's case, she refused to attend a courthouse wedding (her words). She's a religious zealot and insists that our wedding won't be blessed by god. Ok, fine.

So, we planned a small wedding in neighborhood we've been living in for the past two years. I'm in my late 30s, my fiance early 40s, have good jobs and are paying for this ourselves. Well, from the get-go, my mother has been unbelievably difficult about us not having a traditional religious wedding in my hometown-- a place I have little to no connection to at this point. I haven't lived there for years, only my parents and one younger sibling live there, and all of my childhood friends are long gone. Despite her protests, we went forward and planned something here.

Now, all of a sudden, she is insisting we let her throw us a dinner party around Christmas and that I invite our guests-- who are already coming to our wedding as it is and most likely do not want to attend yet another celebration for us. When I told her I really have no one I'd invite to, nor who would want to come to, a second party, she said she has a bunch of friends from their neighborhood and her old job she wants to invite. I told her point blank that this sounds like a party she's really throwing for herself. She got huffy and said, "So what if it is? I deserve to have a party for my daughter who just got married." I told her it's pointless, that we're going to have to pay a lot of money just to travel there, we already have other travel plans for the holidays, that I don't even know these people, will never see them again and wouldn't even feel comfortable accepting a gift from them becuase I don't know them. I've discussed this with my fiance and he really doesn't want to have to sit through another wedding party long after our wedding day. He sees no point, and neither do I.  I tried to explain this to her nicely, that it just isn't a good idea and that if she wants a party she should hold one for another reason-- and she said no. I then said firmly that we do not want this party, and she flew off the handle calling me an ungrateful daughter who is denying her what is rightfully hers as a mother. I know that all she wants to do is show her friends with married kids that she and her own kids are normal too because she's been to elaborate shin-digs held by her friends for their kids. Quite frankly, I could care less what her friends think of her, or me. 

As far as I know, she's gone ahead to begin planning this party. I told her we don't have the time nor money to travel out there for this party and that, again, we don't want it. She doesn't understand that my wedding isnt about her. All I know is this will be the most uncomfortable party in the world for my fiance and I. We'd be sitting in a chair holding court while my mother talks about her old job and church. I wish she'd stop it already.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-23-2010
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 7:39pm
No is no...if you continue to give in to your Mother's every demand then you continue lose a piece of yourself. This is your life and you need to stand up to her!

San
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Sat, 09-15-2012 - 6:52pm

I disagree that the OP should honor her mother's wishes. 

Not sure what the OP and her fiancé's work and financial situations are, but most young people these days are struggling, and most companies allow barely two weeks' vacation.  It doesn't make sense for the OP and her fiance to spend a lot of money to feed her mother's friends and waste her precious free time to be "shown off". 

If I had a daughter, I would most certainly not want to do anything to cause unnecessary stress to the relationship between my daughter and her fiance, and unnecessary expense to the newly-weds' budget.

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 8:12pm

I hear what you're saying, give her an inch and she'll take a mile.

If you two as a couple haven't been spending Christmas with her all along then no need to start now just because you're officially married. If you were going alone, well the game has changed and now holidays are done as a couple; and you get to decide whether its with relatives or off in a cabin just the two of you etc. You will need to be careful about equal time with your mom and your in-laws of course. She sounds as if she likes to insert herself into your business and that's probably nothing new.

As for the wedding-related dinner, you can tell her that it simply cannot be at Christmastime and work together on coming up with an alternate date. You can point out to her that the holiday season is a bad time for something like that because many people are already overbooked with events and shopping and holiday prep, and also your airfare will be higher than at other times.

My advice was just to graciously let her give the party in your honor, not to let her dictate your social schedule LOL! Are you an only child? Has she always been kind of controlling? Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-07-2003
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 1:10pm

Thanks for your feedback on this. I guess one of my issues here is what agreeing to this (very inconvenient and unneccessary, at least for us, the couple) party tells my fiance.  I feel like it's a bad way to start off a marriage-- insisting that we upend our holiday plans as a newly married couple and spend a lot of money just to let my mother put us on a pedastal and show her friends whatever she needs to show them. If I were in his shoes, my first thought would be, so, the rest of my life will consist of dropping everything and keeping my mother-in-law happy?

I'm concerned that agreeing to this is going to give her the green light to make other demands (i.e., she has already said she expects me to spend every Christmas with her. When I said I can't promise that, she pitched a fit and got vicious.) For what it's worth, his parents are not demanding at all. Although we live far from them as well, they never put up a fight when we nicely tell them we can't do something. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 12:33pm

A lot of wedding receptions include guests who are invited because the parents want to reciprocate the invitation or they want to impress someone etc., or because the parents are friends with the people and want to share their happiness. So I don't see your mother's idea of hosting a party to be attended by her friends unusual. If you were a young bride having a wedding in your hometown paid by your parents this would probably be happening. You might have also had a bridal shower attended by a bunch of ladies that you hardly knew.

The issue seems to be more about control and willingness (or lack of) to please your mother. Your mother does sound overbearing but realize that she may have had a fantasy for years of helping to plan your wedding. You are not responsible for fulfilling your mother's fantasies but try to understand how she might feel. Since you are paying for the wedding you get to make the decisions regarding location and guests, and I agree that there's no good reason to make everybody travel to your hometown since you feel no connection there.

I do think that you ought to let your mother host a party for you in her town. If Christmastime doesn't work for you then maybe there is another time when you could go there? I realize that you and your mate will be uncomfortable being the guests of honor among strangers, but surely both of you are mature enough to act graciously for a few hours? You've both probably endured business-related functions that were worse than this party will be. If you absolutely cannot tolerate a dinner party maybe you can get her to make it a cocktail party or dessert reception.

Neither of my grown kids has married but if they decide to have weddings in their respective cities rather than in their hometown (where I live) I will probably want to host a party for friends who wouldn't be invited to an out of town wedding. I'm pretty sure that my kids would go along with it even if they didn't relish the idea, but then they were raised to understand that there are certain sacrifices to be made for the sake of making relatives happy. OTOH I won't be telling them how to run their wedding so there will probably be less resentment than in your case.

I understand that its your wedding and your life and you should get to run it however you want but in the long run you may feel better for taking your mother's feelings and wishes into consideration. Its one weekend out of what will hopefully be a long and happy marriage for you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2004
Wed, 09-12-2012 - 12:00am

I can see that it isn't appropriate for her to have a party for you and invite her friends just to show you off even though it might feel good to her to be able to share your happiness with her friends.  Sounds like you don't have much of a relationship with your mother since you "don't care" what her friends think of her (or you).  You said you already have plans for that time period, don't want to go or don't have the money, so it seems what Mom wants isn't really that much of an issue for you. 

Thank her for the offer (because that's polite) but say no thanks you can't make it.  I'm sure her feelings will be hurt ,and she'll let you know, but it seems you already have a fairly distant relationship, so don't sweat the small stuff.