Handling a Pushy (Future) Mother-in-law

Dear Ms. Demeanor

I am planning a wedding for June of '99. My future mother-in-law has remarried and effectively adopted her new family. They all live in another state and I have met none of them. She wants to invite all of them to the wedding: about 25 people. My side is small: just 30 people total. My fiancé's side including paternal family and friends and his mother's new family would come to about 65. That would make me too uncomfortable. Only because I want this to be a nice intimate wedding. Having people I have never met who will not mean anything in my life ever only because she wishes it is hard to swallow. My fiancé and I are saving for the wedding and his mother has offered to reimburse for the added cost. She does not understand that that is not the issue. What would be the most diplomatic thing I can do?



Dear Melissa

Better set your boundaries now, as politely and firmly as possible. Say something like, "As much as I'd like to please you, Jim and I decided long ago that we want a very simple, small wedding. Since it's our choice and our only wedding, it's best we stick to that plan. We appreciate your generous offer to help financially, yet that just isn't the issue."

Here again, you'll need to deliver your lines firmly, without even a hint of apology in your tone or body language. You might even practice into a tape recorder and listen to yourself until you feel comfortable.

A final, key point: I hope your intended husband is willing to back you up all the way!

Ms. Demeanor

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