Dear ESB: The mother of the groom needs a swift kick in the butt

Categories   Wedding Advice

Ah East Side Bride. She get’s some GEMS coming through her inbox, doesn’t she? This one is a doozy, you guys. There’s an unlikely cat fight brewin’. Rrrar!

Dear ESB,

My very best friend (from kindergarten) and I have been working our butts off for 16 months on her wedding to make it absolutely spectacular and everything she could ever have dreamed of. It’s going to be a homemade, hands-on, DIY, awesome wedding. While I was able to do the majority of MOH planning on my end at my old job, I recently started grad school and have been tea-staining doilies while reading books on the migration of the Indo-European language (riveting, let me tell you). So, now I’ll get down to the brass tacks of this and why I’m even more frustrated now than before since I’m killing myself to get everything done for the wedding and school now.

The bride’s family has always lived on a tight budget, but her parents graciously gave her $10,000 from their savings to put toward the wedding of her dreams; she and her FH planned on picking up the rest of the bill. After they gave her this money, she told her future mother-in-law (whom I will refer to as FML…how appropriate) how excited and grateful she was that her parents wanted to help her out. The FML made a snide comment along the lines of, “Where are you going to have the wedding? A carwash? You cannot afford anything with $10,000.” Of course, this reduced my friend to tears. Also, FML then made it explicitly known that she and her husband would not be helping to pay for the wedding at all. Now we can jump forward to present.   

In planning the rehearsal dinner, FML did not want the bride to know any of the details because the rehearsal dinner is “a party for her son,” not the bride; the wedding is the bride’s party (FML’s words, not mine). Well, these details are what make me want to push the FML into a pile of mud. The rehearsal dinner is at a ranch very similar to where the wedding is being held (actually just down the road). For this dinner, there is a party planner, a florist, a caterer, a band, and a photographer. All-in-all, FML is dropping $8,000 on this rehearsal dinner. Here are the details of the wedding: the bride and I are the wedding planners, the bride is bartering some of her handcrafted dessert trays with the florist to get all of the flowers she wants, her dad has a lot of chef friends from culinary school that are catering the wedding, her aunt is making the cake, there will be a DJ because she wanted to put more money towards the photographer.   

Here is the big problem — the bride hasn’t told her parents anything about the rehearsal dinner because she knows it will make them feel bad and like they haven’t given her everything she wants for her wedding. She is afraid that she will be reduced to tears on the night of her rehearsal dinner (I think I might be too) depending on how her parents react to the extravagance of everything. My parents want to boycott the rehearsal dinner. I must add that FML decided that the bride and groom didn’t need an invitation to the rehearsal dinner –she showed it to her son, but would not allow him to take a copy home to the bride. I’m mailing her mine after I begrudgingly RSVP to this ridiculous party. Although this is an extremely nice gesture, the FML is throwing this extravagant party is for the wrong reasons. From watching her interact with everyone (especially the groom) at showers and such, it is easy to see that FML doesn’t like it when the attention is not on her.  

So, I come to all of you to ask what on earth I should do about all of this. I don’t think the bride wants to rock the boat with the wedding just about two weeks away, but she called me almost in tears today to discuss all of this. I’m tempted to drive the 300 miles to the FML’s house and hit her in the face (not really, but I wish I had the balls to do that). My mom has suggested that I pour all of my frustration about this and love for the bride into my speech for the rehearsal dinner and emphasize how love, not money made the wedding that everyone will be attending the next day. I really want to encourage the bride to tell FML how she feels about all of this. Her FH is grateful that his mom wants to throw this party, but he doesn’t see it from the bride’s perspective. I have been to weddings where the rehearsal dinner trumps the wedding by far…and it’s always kind of sad. After all of the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into this (and yes, there have definitely been tears since I started balancing school and the wedding), I don’t want the wedding to be upstaged by the rehearsal dinner. FML has swooped in and shit all over everything.

So, help…

A really pissed off Maid-of-Honor


Well, you can’t ask the bitch to cancel the rehearsal dinner. The only thing you can do, really, is be gracious.

Your mom pretty much nailed it. Except: Don’t you get to make a speech at THE WEDDING? Usually the father of the groom* gives his toast at the rehearsal dinner, and then anyone else who wants to talk can grab the mike. But the father of the bride** gives a toast at the wedding, as do the best man and the maid of honor.

So yes. Emphasize that love made this wedding. There’s no need to make any mention of money. (Those who attended the garish rehearsal dinner will read between the lines.)

And guess what?? Feel free to tell me I’ve gone totally cheeseballz, but I fully believe that the wedding will be better than the rehearsal dinner because it was planned with so much love.

Photo: Anais Pouliot by Greta Ilieva for Zoo #32 via Fashion Gone Rogue

*And sometimes the mother of the groom. I wish more mothers gave speeches at weddings.
**And, at my wedding, the mother of the bride, thankyouverymuch.

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ZLou on Sep 29, 2011

I do agree that I have a gut feeling the WEDDING will trump the rehearsal dinner as it was lovingly put together... Nothing like things made with love and care. So, don't fret! Love will always triumph and all your guests will be touched by it! :)

Michelle M on Sep 29, 2011

I think the FH needs to intercede on his bride's behalf. If he's not sticking up for her now, this pattern of behavior is just going to continue in the future. He needs to clearly take his bride's side and let his mother know that her behavior is not acceptable.

JenM on Sep 29, 2011

Whenever someone is this colossal of a c-u-next-tuesday, they will only see themselves as a victim when faced with opposition. Take the highroad. She may not get it, but everyone else will.

stephd on Sep 29, 2011

PLEASE let us know how it goes!! I agree with Michelle M, I have this same situtaion with my in-laws where my husband doesn't adress the problem (which we never had before we got married). It's not a pretty site sometimes. We have been married almost 14 years now and we are currently dealing with this!

RogueBride on Sep 29, 2011

I can't believe the bride isn't RUNNING in the opposite direction. Is she sure she wants to marry into that family? I don't know if any man is worth that FML. I totally agree with the advice though. You can only be gracious because she is throwing a beautiful pre-party. Yes, it's for all the wrong reasons, but you can't do anything about that. Please do make the speech at the wedding though, with the focus on love. Restrain yourself from making pointed and cutting remarks because that will only serve to remind the bride and groom of the FML's lack of consideration. The wedding will be far, far better than the rehearsal dinner, no matter what. Remind the bride of that. I just can't believe the bride is signing up for a lifetime of dealing with that woman. Especially when her FH isn't manning up to deal with the situation...

Bre on Sep 29, 2011

I agree with Michelle M as well, I have seen this type of behavior play out in my own parents marriage of 31 YEARS! Time to nip FML in the bud! And I do agree, every wedding I have been to that was special and fun was because of the personalized touches, and the love between the couple, not the expense or extravagance of the event. Your friend's wedding will be beautiful because love will truly be in the details! Best of luck! P.S. Do try and trip FML at the rehearsal dinner and/or wedding ;)

al on Sep 29, 2011

I think if you are getting married, you should pay for your entire wedding yourself. That way, no one has any say or can hold anything over your head because they have given you money. If you can't afford it, wait until you save up enough to afford it--or change what you are doing to something less expensive. Also, the bride needs to find her voice. If you don't kindly voice your opinion, you will get more of the same. If she doesn't like it, too bad!! It's your wedding! If you are old enough to be getting married, you are old enough to stand up for what you want or else you will spend your life with people walking all over you. Stop the crying and refuse to be a doormat!

Catherine on Sep 29, 2011

This same thing happened with my wedding- we had a $0 budget, so everything was handmade/homemade- I asked friends and family to make food for the reception, had an iPod playlist, etc. My MIL was a total Bia and said that since the wedding was going to be a shabby potluck at least the rehearsal dinner will be nice (said this to MY mother) and they blew lots of money on it- I had a total breakdown in the bathroom at the dinner and hated every moment of the "show" they were putting on- like they were classy. All this to say though, you can't buy class- people don't remember the rehearsal dinner or the stupid stuff my husband's family said- they remember our sweet, intimate wedding that was "us" and about no one but us. Your hardwork and the bride's will shine through and true -despite the FML's plans to sabatoge and outshine the true meaning of the bride and groom's day. Love will WIN!

Bitch please on Sep 29, 2011

Get this one- my brother's wife was super thrifty and DIY with her wedding- got married in a back yard- mother made wedding dress, father married them- pot luck type dinner in the driveway (which is fine) My parents had not met her or her family before--- my parents flew in for the wedding--SHE took it upon herself to book the rehearsal dinner. IN A CASTLE. invited her whooooole family and my parents- when the $4500. bill (just for food) came - she stuck it to my dad. Happened 10 years ago, didn't lay too good of a new family foundation.

JTT on Sep 29, 2011

I would say to the Bride to just talk with her FML. It all deff sounds like she has some control issues, also concerned to let her son go and not be the #1 anymore, afraid of being pushed to the side, ect... not to say that is right at all. It just sounds to me that she has some serious issues and isn't happy in her own life. I would tell the Bride to first try and set her anger/hurt aside and just address her maturely and unemotionally. Let her know that she appreciates what she is doing, but at the same time the way she is doing it makes her feel "insert feelings here". I think that sometimes all that needs to be done is just being honest with one another and express the hopes you have for a great relationship in the future. Maybe the FML would really respect her for this?? I am talking from having experienced something similar with my friends wedding last month. As one of the Bridemaids I got the inside scoop of the FML and couldnt help but get sooo angry and I deff did not like her! But then my mind changed when I made the effert to give her a chance and then I understood why she was a lil crazy and appreciated her gestures. I sooo wish you two the best and hope you can if anything just ignore her if she keeps it up. Goodluck!

G on Sep 29, 2011

"From watching her interact with everyone (especially the groom) at showers and such, it is easy to see that FML doesn’t like it when the attention is not on her. " If other people see her behavior too they'll know exactly what it's about. Highly doubtful the groom doesn't understand what's going on, he just can't do sh*t about it because he knows exactly what his mom is like and she's never changed, not for anyone (this is why I always say don't bother trying to change anyone because they never will.). Whenever I see people who do stuff like this, try to upstage weddings in one way or another, it always looks bad on the people who are doing such things. Don't have the bride talk to her FML at all. Not now, at least. Hethus christ, it's like people have never encountered drama queens before. Get married and then put your gd foot down, find your voice once the deal is done and there's no way out. That's when you tell your guy, "LOL, so the deal about your mom? This can't ever happen again and I only put up with it for my own sanity and lol if you think she's going to boss us around as a married couple."

MrsMooney on Sep 29, 2011

Oh pretty girl. You are so sweet to be helping with the wedding this much! I had a similar problem-- not that anyone was trying to "trump" anything, but because we paid for the wedding ourselves and therefore only invited our nearest and dearest, there were other parties (a "Shower, but without presents" and a "Wedding Celebration After-party") where both my mother and mother-in-law got to have their say about what food was served (dairy, though I'm allergic) and decor (tragically boring). But at the end of the day, it was my husband and I against the hug, you kiss, you ignore everyone else (even you, the most helpful Maid of Honor in the world! I would that mine had been like you!) and then you hop on a plane for the HONEYMOON!! And I'll tell you, there are very few ways the family can ruin that. xoxo.

megan on Sep 29, 2011

Dude, the wedding is going to be way better than the rehearsal dinner. Don't even worry. The details at the wedding are going to be full of meaning and style that resonate with the bride and groom. The day is going to be filled with love and emotion and happiness that money can't compete with.

Teresa on Sep 29, 2011

First off, since when is $10,000, nothing? Om, what I would give to have that kind of money for my wedding. But really, I agree with most everyone on this. But here's the thing: FML has the purse strings for the rehearsal dinner, so let her spoil you (although with that comment about that being a party for her son, I would ask if she even wants anyone on the bride's side - including the bride to show up. Long shot, but she might pick up that hint). Don't worry about the comparison, only snobs will compare the two - and who cares anyways? Your wedding is not about the amount of money you put into it - a wedding is about the beginning of a marriage. More people need to realize that. No matter what, a rehearsal dinner will never out-stage the joining of two people in love. Let the FML have her moment in the spotlight - anyone that matters will see it as such and handle her accordingly. The most important thing: The bride has GOT to let her parents know about the extravagent rehearsal dinner setting. I'm sure they will understand, but to let them be surprised by that will add salt to a possible wound. Also, if they haven't met before, I think she might want to warn them about the FML - just as a "brace yourselves" kinda thing. Lastly - kudoos to you for helping out as much as you have. You don't get enough credit. But, I will say this, don't get too aggressive with the FML. It won't look good on you. Just be as sweet as you can - kill 'em with kindness - people will get the idea.

Sarah S on Sep 29, 2011

A) yup, the wedding will be awesome because it is authentic, heartfelt, and soulful. THAT is what makes an event memorable. honestly, the rehearsal sounds really lame. B) i know the writer is not the bride, but the bride needs to talk to her fiance, even a simple "You know this is f*cked up, right?" to lay the foundations that this behavior, while they have no control over it at the rehearsal, will not continue and divide them in their marriage. If he doesn't think it's a F'ed situation, the bride and groom need to start talking, fast. C) keep your head up, hold the bride's hand on the rehearsal and know that people are going to see right through all this bull. goodluck!!

Kayla on Sep 29, 2011

This happened in my family. I can tell you from experience that her husband needs to step up and defend her NOW. This is not your place, as much as you wish you could help. This is drama between two families, a new baby family and an older family. My sister's MIL is EXACTLY like this woman, but was planning her wedding not the rehearsal dinner (well, that too). My brother-in-law stood up for her during one wedding crisis and laid the law down that if she didn't respect their new family and their wishes she could forget seeing much of them or their future kids. Everything was fine after that. His brother, on the other hand, didn't stand up for his wife and they now have a very strained relationship that has always been bitter, and it only got worse after they had kids.

Molly on Sep 29, 2011

Totally agree. Also, this is a super important point when dealing with overbearing in-laws: The groom has GOT to support his fiance. It sounds like he's just shrugging his shoulders and saying, "Oh, you know how my mom is." No bueno! He may not totally get how she's being passive aggressive, but he needs to support the bride if she chooses to fight this battle. Even better, he should be the one to bring up his future wife's concerns with his mother.

Molly on Sep 29, 2011

P.S. I usually don't encourage retaliation, but in this case, I kinda want the bride to check out of the rehearsal dinner early. "Oh, it's been a nice party, but I really need my beauty sleep. Tomorrow is the big day, you know."

Lisa on Sep 29, 2011

Everything Teresa said. X10. Tell the parents. You can all curse FML together.

east side bride on Sep 29, 2011

@Molly I'm feeling that.

hannah webster on Sep 29, 2011

For sure the wedding will be better than the rehearsal. It ill be personal and full of love and hard graft. That is what makes it special. Not cash. Pft. FML sounds like SUCH a bitch. be the better person. Be gracious at the rehearsal and just make sure to praise the bride for her hard work and gorgeous nature and say how fabulous the wedding is during your speech.

celia on Sep 29, 2011

i'm willing to bet the eight grand that crazy bitch spent on the rehearsal dinner that the wedding will be MILES better. :) also, fh needs to take his wussy pants off. his future bride is the woman in his life now, not his mom.

LB on Sep 29, 2011

oh boy. in laws. Firstly.. it isn't the MOH's issue.. it is the bride and grooms issue. The FML sounds like a nice subtle gentler version of mine. Playing devils advocate ... the FML is upset. Her son is being married and she has had no input into the day.. no say in how it goes.. nothing. The bride is off with her friends doing everything ..poor her. insert victim cry here. HER SON is getting married and she wants to be a part of it. People assume mothers have waited for daughters weddings... i have learned mothers also wait for sons weddings. let her have the rehearsal dinner. She has paid for .. and they didn't have to stretch the 10K even further.. let her have it. Let her indulge in it and enjoy planning it and choosing things and be super grateful she left the wedding day alone. If the groom doesnt stand up to his parents now... he never will. (i say this with 12 years experience). The bride can stand up for herself though... She can draw lines in the sand and say.. this is my boundary. If she did so earlier the rehearsal dinner issue could have been avoided (either show me the invitation etc or i am not showing up.. therefore it is a party .. not a rehearsal dinner) but really... if someone is throwing you an 8,000 dinner.. for whatever motives have to be a lil gracious and grateful about that. I vote she sucks it up and goes.. and then has a lovely wedding day the next day, celebrated as she always intended it. There is no need to change anything or be hurt or angry. She may want to address things with the FH tho... cause they are in for a bumpy ride with the FML if he continues to back the wrong woman.

FK on Sep 29, 2011

Not worth the drama. At all. If the bride is worried about her parents' reactions, she should talk to them about it. The FMIL sounds like royal bitch, but it doesn't sound like her bitchiness is actually going to happen in a way that will fuck anything up if y'all don't let it. YOU KNOW it's not a competition even if she thinks it is. The WEDDING is the main thing. People are there to celebrate some good ol' love. I do think it is SUPER WEIRD that the FH is going along with not showing the invite to your friend. That is super, super weird to me, and, in my opinion, problematic. You can't control FMIL, so just try to enjoy the dinner and the beautiful wedding you're helping make. And WOW, I am impressed by everything you're putting into it. At the end of the day, it's very outside of your control, and you have enough to worry about. Just keep on loving your friend and helping her out, and try to help her see that a fabulous rehearsal dinner in no way negates a fabulous and hand-crafted wedding. But if her man is being a wimp, she can most certainly ask him to man up! But, again, it sounds like you are doing all you can do.

Teresa on Sep 30, 2011

Dear pissed-off Maid of Honour, I couldn´t agree more with what East Side Bride had to say. The wedding is definitely going to be better than the rehearsal dinner. I´m a wedding photographer, so I´ve seen a lot lof weddings, and let me tell you: money is SO not what makes a wedding beautiful, or memorable. I think the most important thing is that both you and the bride don´t let yourselves be stressed out by the whole thing. Relax - be joyful... everything else is going to fall into place! To quote Oscar Wilde: "Forgive your enemies! Nothing annoys them more..."

Ang on Sep 30, 2011

Totally disagree. Keep it out of the speech, I recently went to a wedding where the bride and her melodramatic mother had met their match in the mother of the groom. They not only tried to get their jabs in during the parents speeches, but everyone noticed that the officiant gave it a nod in his ceremony! So tacky, no matter how stealth.

Reggie on Sep 30, 2011

Idon't know if you and the bride are Beatles Fans, but it sounds like an "all you need is love" theme would be appropriate for the reception, or reception speech. Just sayin. :)

Jane Doe on Sep 30, 2011

I totally agree - it's not your place to do or say anything to/about the FML. I know, it SUCKS! All you can do is be there for your friend (listening, letting her know her wedding WILL be amazing, and letting her know that she's not crazy to be upset), and have the most amazing time at the wedding (fun is contagious!). My FML (not a mean upstaging bitch, actually a giant sweetheart) was sort of planning the same thing, because that's what they did at her other son's wedding - threw a kick-ass rehearsal dinner that some say was more fun than the wedding (which was put on by the bride's family). My fiance and I explained that the wedding IS the party, and that we are BOTH putting it on. His mom was upset for a short bit, because she wanted to do a kick-ass rehearsal again, but we were firm about wanting something inexpensive and low key. In the end she came around, and maybe we let her do a little more than we had imagined, but hey - got to compromise! Sadly there is some weird tradition still existing that the bride's family pays for the wedding and the groom's the rehearsal dinner...which I say is a LOAD OF CRAP! After future hubby's not providing for me financially in the future; I actually make more and pay more on our mortgage, so why should my family foot the bill? And sadly, there's often times almost a competition between the rehearsal party and the wedding party if two families are putting it on. It's not that people are trying to necessarily be malicious, lots of times they just think that something amazing is expected of them and they need to live up to it! The most fun weddings I've been to have often times been DIY and budget. It's usually the fancy ones that I have less fun at because they feel a little more rigid - like you can't be silly or let loose. Her wedding will be amazing I'm sure. The rehearsal dinner may be more extravagant, but I do think the wedding will be the fun event. I agree too about leaving the 'money' part out in your speech and only mentioning how much LOVE went into it. People can read between the lines...and it's better that you remain nice and not sink to a mean level too. Have an amazing time!

ActsofBeauty on Sep 30, 2011

To me he most worrying aspect of this story is that the FH doesn't see the problem. If the bride does nothing else she needs to communicate to her man why this is hurtful to her and ask him to be on her side - for them to be a team. After that, forgiveness and a sense of humour about other people's bad behaviour are the way to go.

ERH on Sep 30, 2011

You're a great MOH to be so invested in helping the bride through this uber frustrating situation. The bride could try talking to the FML, but it's really the FH's responsibility to talk to his crazy mom. Even if she is over-bearing and will probably never change, he has to grow a pair and stick up for his FW, PERIOD. There's not way around it--he can't let anyone, not even his own mother, treat his wife like this. In the end, the wedding will be better, and guests will see right through this charade of a rehearsal dinner because it's so blatantly tacky to try to out-do the wedding, but the kind of comments the FML has made to the FW are absolutely unacceptable. FH needs to say something now or I worry he'll never stick up for his FW.

aw on Oct 1, 2011

I just don't understand!!!! Why wouldn't she put all of that money toward the wedding if she felt $10K wasn't enough! This is heart breaking to me even though I don't know any of these people. I think this bride is very lucky to have such a great MOH who is painstakingly helping her and by her side.

Wanda on Oct 6, 2011

The bride MUST tell her parents- they are on her side after all. The best revenge to this situation is for the bride (and her team) to show up at this party glowing. The night IS about the BRIDE and the GROOM. She needs to knock everyone's socks off with confidence and graciousness. Steal every moment in the spotlight by giving an Oscar winning performance! Make the over-the-top hoopla pale by shining like a star - because she is!! Just a small warning-any negative emotion the bride shows is going to be used against her FOREVER!!! At least from the way the MOTG is being described. I definately wouldn't give her any ammunition! She can be put in her place by you being the STAR of her show! In my opinion having a discussion with either the MOTG or the groom right now is only going to cause you and the bride stress. Why put yourself through that???? The time for this talk should be after the wedding because she DOESN'T NEED THE DRAMA!!! However, after the honeymoon, she MUST tell her husband how this all made her feel-especially the part about him not standing up to her. He needs to confront his mother on both of their behalfs-that is HIS responsibility.

Bre on Oct 7, 2011

It sounds a bit like the issue of the in-law is one that future bride needs to be talking about with her husband. Which means you might need to step back. If she feels he's not willing to stand beside her on this and work with her to come up with a solution, there's is a lot more trouble brewing than a difficult mother-in-law. In the end, these are just parties, they are not the marriage and that is far more important to support. I agree that future mother-in-law's behaviour and attitude is not admirable, but her son won't be able to change her, let alone her future daughter-in-law or you, so it's a bit of a waste of time to worry about that. Let it go because it's the only thing you can do. As for your own frustration as maid of honour, it sounds like you're doing a really great job of just listening to the bride and really supporting her as a loving friend. Go to the party with a good attitude, it will go far to support her. The extravagance is based on different values than the wedding, but that doesn't mean you have to feel threatened by it. It frees you up to concentrate on the wedding and deflecting bitchy comments in case they arise. With a sweet smile: "I'm sure your opinion is valid, but I don't share it." Do NOT tell the bride! You might want to consider that future mother-in-law might feel a bit put out that you are helping so much and she isn't. Maybe being so involved with this party is her way of making it up to herself (agreed, not a good motivation, but let it go), and maybe her super-mean attitude to bride is her way of letting her know she feels excluded (very immature behaviour needs to be counter-acted with very adult behaviour - quietly and spotlessly rise above it).

Kitty on Oct 9, 2011

I very much sympathize on this matter as a friend of mine went through a very similar experience. I will pass on this little nugget of advice that she received by a very wise grandfather. Let it go, your wedding is not a competition and if you sink down to that level you will be very unhappy. No one wants to be an unhappy bride. It is very hard to do, but don't make this a competition. The bride should tell her parents about the dinner. And BOTH the groom and the bride should tell the parents how much their gift of money meant to them but also let the family of the bride know how much the time and effort has meant to them. Emphasize that working together has built or strengthened relationships and bound the family tighter. Remind the bride that her family and friends pulling together is a far greater gift than anything. She should revel in the effort she and her family have put forth and enjoy it. Also remind her that in some misguided way FML is doing what she thinks is "right" and to be gracious (I know it is hard) and enjoy the party, remind her (and yourself MOH) to enjoy some part of this party, even if it is just a great selection of drinks you don't have to pay for =) Also, I don't believe that other commenters are correct in directing her to confront her fiance. He is under pressure too, I'm sure just like she doesn't want to upset her parents he doesn't want to upset his mom. It is hard to remember but the male side has to deal with some of their own issues and I'm sure he didn't exactly get a say in this party either. Remember you can't change someone over night so don't bother with FML.

Taia on Oct 18, 2011

Huh, is the rehearsal dinner in a car wash? Cause last time I checked, $8k is LESS than $10k. It really is sad when someone tries to trump what should be a beautiful day filled with the love of two families joining. It sounds like she is the kind of FML that thinks no one will ever be good enough for her son, and is trying to convey that by belittling any contributions you or your family makes. The best advice I can give here is to make sure your FH is very aware of how you are feeling about this. He needs to let his mother know that this sort of behavior is hurtful and needs to stop. If she keeps on being overbearing and awful, just bide your time, there are plenty of crappy nursing homes she can go to lol.

mobile crusher on Oct 21, 2011

Everything Teresa said. X10. Tell the parents. You can all curse FML together.

mobile crusher on Oct 21, 2011

After that, forgiveness and a sense of humour about other people’s bad behaviour are the way to go.

LP on Oct 22, 2011

This happened to me - although without the cattiness. My father-in-law chose not to contribute to the wedding, and instead threw an extravagant rehearsal dinner at the fanciest place he could find in town. In what little input I could have, I said I didn't want to have it there, but it was there anyway. It was very clear that it was his party, thrown in the style of his family. When I said I was planning to do an audio slideshow (which I do for work), it was clear he was kind of irked by it. The situation bothered my mother more than it bothered me, I was just happy I didn't have to deal with it. The rehearsal dinner went off well, but everybody recognized that it wasn't our style - tiny quail legs wasn't us. Several people made jokes about it to me. The wedding was planned and executed by my husband and me - and completely trumped the rehearsal dinner (besides the slideshow, maybe!). Many, many people mentioned what an accurate and beautiful reflection it was of my husband and me, and said it was the best wedding they'd ever been to. So I wouldn't worry about the rehearsal dinner "trumping" the wedding. It sucks that the bride will have to deal with a nasty MIL all her life, but she should just focus on making her wedding beautiful and not worry so much about how the guests will compare the two. You know she'll enjoy herself more at the wedding.

Adalita on Feb 21, 2012

I don't understand why people these days have a rehersal dinner anyway. I would just say politely that you don't want a rehersal dinner at all. Its not what YOU as the bride wants! You seem like a good MOH!

k9whpr on Mar 5, 2012

This makes me feel better that I'm not alone. My daughter's mother in law to be is making my life a living nightmare! If she makes my daughter cry one more time I'm going to lose it.

Susie COlho on Mar 24, 2012

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Anna on Apr 12, 2012

Oh goodness... I am in nearly the same situation is this poor bride/bride's family. My FMIL has been absolutely horrible throughout. I feel for these people. Seriously, it is almost the EXACT SAME situation! My parents have generously offered financial help for the wedding, Almost-Mother-In-Law and Father in Law offered nothing but opinionated advice... all she cares about is the GD rehearsal dinner. Our wedding is in less than two months and between the groom's lack of wedding help (about 0% help with anything) and his awful parents, I am seriously debating cutting my losses (my parents' losses, which I will work on paying back over the next 10 years) and calling off the wedding altogether. Never been so frustrated in my life. This poor bride... I hope everything works out. What a great Maid of Honor she has!!

KS on Sep 7, 2012

As the MOG, maybe you could look at this differently. Sure we all say things that we wish we could take back, thats called "toothpaste tube mouth" However, she is right in saying that the rehearsal is about the groom. The wedding day is the brides day. In my situation, the MOB has done absolutely nothing for this wedding thats coming up in 3 weeks. For 18 months I have been planning and creating and buying and helping in any capacity that the bride needed me to. We (grooms family) threw an engagement party, a shower (her only one) a bridal luncheon and of course the rehearsal. I did this because she will be my daughter in 3 weeks, but also because I never wanted my son to ever say "How come no-one gave her a shower or honored her?" He has been around enough females to see the hoopla that goes on with an engagement. I never wanted him to feel his bride was slighted in anyway. The brides mother had one job....find a caterer. The bride finally found a BBQ last week that will cater, the MOB handed over a credit card. The rehearsal dinner will be a sit down dinner with candles and decorated tables, the theme is based my son would like...this party honors them both, but its for my son.

Narelle Rogers on Feb 10, 2013

Grow up - Maid of Honour - really its none of your business.

Matt Martin on Jun 1, 2013

I'm distracted by the hot chick on the fence that has nothing to do with this article!

PM on Oct 31, 2013

My son got married a few months ago and I felt somewhat excluded from all the excitement and preparations for the wedding, even though I offered many times to help in any way I could. It got off to a bad start when my son asked me to go with him to meet the bride and her parents at the venue to check it out. The bride pitched a fit the entire way, as my son was driving me there, he was talking to her on his cell. She didn't want me to be there because I would somehow "prevent her parents from being able to negotiate with the venue manager". So I was reluctant to even get out of the car when we arrived there, and her mother came over to my window and I hesitantly got out and went in with them, feeling very awkward knowing I was intruding. In fact I apologized for being there, saying my son insisted. My son told his fiance later: "My mom didn't ask to be there, I WANTED her to be there". I expressed my approval of the place and was very agreeable, saying nothing negative at all, and actually thought it was a great choice and conveyed that. All was well and didn't hear much from them after that, and tried to keep a low profile, still offering to help, but getting no interest. Then came time to plan the rehearsal dinner. I called the bride's mother and asked if she'd like to meet me at the restaurant I thought would be a good choice for the event the next afternoon. She met me there, and my son and his fiance came as well. We discussed menu choices, liquor, etc. with the event planner and talked by ourselves once our kids left. It was an upscale steakhouse that had a private dining area, and the dinner was going to be about $75 per person, but I figured with only about 30 people attending it wasn't going to be a huge expense. I ordered some flower arrangements for the tables, but nothing too extravagant. We are much better off financially than the bride's family, but I was in no way trying to upstage the wedding, I just wanted to have a nice, enjoyable dinner in honor of the bride and groom. I realize you only get one chance to do these things, so why not do your best? The bride didn't want assigned seating, but I wanted to avoid anarchy and went ahead and made a seating chart and had her and her mom look it over to see if there were any changes they wanted made - they said it was fine. I made the placecards myself, using a fancy font: Lavendaria, and it made for less confusion when everyone knew where they were to be seated. The rehearsal dinner was wonderful and everyone said how much they enjoyed it. I never thought that they may think I was trying to upstage the wedding, but you never know what's in peoples' heads. The wedding was wonderful as well, and my only complaint was that they didn't reserve a table for the groom's family, only for the bride's family and the bridal party. So my husband, daughter and I had to shlep around looking for a place to sit. We finally found a spot for the two of us way in the back after a couple left, and our daughter sat at a different table with a bunch of strangers, that were our friends, but they were strangers to her since she lives out of state. We had my brother and his wife move over to join us once another couple left our table. I felt very un-special and quite dishonored. We were so far back we didn't get to see important moments like the cutting of the cake, etc. In fact, I only saw the cake in photos later. I never said a word to my son about this and just figured it was an innocent oversight. The brides' family all sat at a big round table in front near the bridal party table. We never met some of their family members, as no one made an effort to introduce anyone, and we were at opposite ends of the room. Some were at the rehearsal dinner, but many others were not. So it was a mixed bag of good and bad. But I knew better than to voice my discontent - I kept my mouth shut like a good MOG!! Since the wedding, the parents of the bride had us over to see the wedding gifts on display at their house, and we had a nice visit. Bride and groom left to move out of the country to attend school, which we are paying for. Since that time, I called the bride's mother to see how she is doing and ask to meet up for lunch. I sincerely wanted to talk about the wedding and relive all the excitement with her. She didn't answer her cell, so I left a message, never did hear back from her. So I called again a few weeks later, this time she answered, and I said I'd like to meet for lunch one day when you have time. She doesn't work, but her answer was, "yes, that would be nice, I'll call you Monday and we can plan a date to meet". This was on a Monday, so she was going to call me a week later to pick a date. Of course that call never came - it's been a few months now. I feel like I have tried to be cordial and genuinely wanted to have a good relationship with them, but keep hitting dead ends. At this point I feel awkward calling her again, so I guess I will just let it lie. The kids will be home for the holidays and we'll see what happens then. At this point I pretty much can go either way - I feel the window of opportunity for a relationship with them is about closed. I'll remain open to a relationship with them, but not holding my breath. If it never happens, so be it. I feel I've done all I could to be a good MOG, and have no regrets.

Louise on Feb 5, 2014

Wow! It's good to know that I have so many others in my position. Reading the story and comments has made me feel better though so thank you all! :)

Linda on Feb 14, 2014

Why are future brides so intent on making enemies out of their future mother - in- law ? A little jealousy ? Don't make the future husband decide who's right in this case... he loves his mother too Cut the woman some slack. She's losing her son... and she knows it. The rehearsal dinner is up to the parents of the groom... (by tradition and etiquette) so let her enjoy giving her son ( and future daughter-in-law) a gorgeous rehearsal dinner. It's the last celebration for her son... that she does. The future bride should be more understanding and show more compassion for her future mother-in-law.. After all, she might be a " Mother of the Groom" herself some day.

Marie on Feb 19, 2014

I completely agree with Linda. The mother and father of the groom are usually left out of the wedding plans. How do I know? Because I'm the mother of the groom, and I found this blog by googling "What to do when the grooms parents are excluded from wedding plans." When my son became engaged, I asked my future daughter in law what type of wedding she envisioned, and I told her that I'd help in any way possible to make her and my son's wedding day a happy occasion. I also told her that my husband and I would be willing to help monetarily because the bride's parents shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the cost. She told me that her parents were "Old fashioned" and would insist on paying for the wedding. My husband and I told her to remember that we'd be glad to help in case they changed their minds, and we were expecting to plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. She and my son picked a venue, and then a few weeks later, my son informed me that his fiancée had found another venue that she liked better, but he hates it and told her it wasn't to his liking. The bride's mother sends me an email and says her daughter found the perfect venue and she wants to book it within a few weeks. I returned the email and informed her that I'm under the impression my son doesn't like the venue, so lets wait a bit and let the two work it out between themselves before we book anything. Then the bride sends me an email and is pleading for me to please help her convince my son to use the venue she loves. I return that email asking her to please remember that the groom should have an opinion in the planning process, and maybe if she waited until he had a day off so he could actually view the venue rather than looking at pictures of it on the internet, that may change his mind. The next thing I know, the brides mother is blowing up my son's telephone with text messages chastising him and saying he should support his future wife and stop being selfish...just let her pick the venue and be happy with her decision. And I received an email from the bride, a nasty and disrespectful email that states that my husband and I only have to pay for the rehearsal dinner food while her parents are paying for everything else, we should support her decision about the venue and mind our own business. And by the way, her mother is planning the rehearsal dinner, so all we have to do is just pay for it. My husband said it would be a cold day in hell before he allows some broad he doesn't know to plan a dinner and think she can hand him a bill and expect him to pay for it. My husband and I were excited about planning the rehearsal dinner as well as paying for the other grooms responsibilities such as tux rentals, bouquets and boutineers, the license/marriage fees and also the honeymoon. It's very upsetting to be snidely told that we don't have any say because we aren't "Paying for the wedding." I would also like to add that my husband and I purchased a home for the bride and groom to live in as a wedding gift, yet we aren't "Paying for anything." We are at a total loss about how to handle this situation, and I'm very sure our son is so disgusted by this recent development that he's going to break off the engagement. He said he is willing to compromise on the venue but isn't going to be hounded into giving in, nor will he allow his parents to be disrespected. It's a very sad situation.

Mel on Mar 25, 2015

I think what went wrong for the ML that just posted is that she TOLD the son's future ML how she should resolve the problem of the new venue because her son didn't like it. She should NOT have replied to her right away. She should have called her son herself and told him his the future ML was requesting a different venue and that he needs to speak with his future wife to decide where they want it so that you can reply to his future ML. By her telling you her parents were traditional it was a polite way of saying "our family will be making all plans". It wasn't your place to tell the brides mother your son didn't like the new venue. He could have told you he didn't like it better than the other place, but it might not of been as important to him as you thought and he was willing to have it there. I do think you wanted to make your son happy and since that was the part of the marriage you were able to plan, the "location" became more about control instead of what it should have been. This is also why you then got your planning privileges taken away. If you had offered to pay for flowers at the wedding and your son didn't like the color would you then refuse to pay? Most grooms don't have planning experience and most women have planned get togethers or helped someone else plan. Maybe there were other reasons the bride liked the other venue better and your son didn't even know or think about. More bathrooms, better parking, easy access? You should have just called your son and asked him to speak with his future bride about it and graciously not give your opinion so the two of them could work it out. You don't want to put your son in a position where he would have to take sides...mommy or wife. Also never ever "give" advice or tell people what they should or shouldn't do, let them ASK for your advice. They will love you for it. Nothing is worse than hearing "this is how my son likes....","this is how we do it at our house", and for the love of God DON'T give her tips on how to be a wife to your son............I know your a loving mom and just wanted to make your son happy, but stay in your lane or you might find yourself quickly excluded.

Michele on May 28, 2015

I COMPLETELY agree with Mel! Very well said. I'm also having issues with my daughter's FMIL. My daughter opted for an intimate wedding at an "Old Town" B&B rather than a grander affair at our home, which could have accommodated up to 100 guests. The limit at the B&B is at exactly 40 guests. FH's family is quite large and would need about 60-70 invites for their side alone. They were EXTREMELY unhappy about the decision and intimated that we (as the bride's parents) skimped out. In reality, however, this 40 person weddng at an exclusive B&B is costing AT LEAST as much, if not more than the 100 person wedding at home. But his was my FSIL and daughter's decision. So we went with it. FMIL/FIL withdrew funds for rehersal dinner, tuxes, rooms, etc. because they decided to have a second wedding, in their location, the following weekend. Apparently, it will be quite a huge gala and a slap on the face to my husband and me. Our wedding, which we are providing for our own daughter, is just not good enough. They invited us, of course, but, naturally, we politely declined. I confess, I'm somewhat bewildered that my daughter would even agree to this. She does try to play it down . . . "Oh, it's only a wedding the very most just a second reception." However, she has a second beautiful wedding dress that FMIL purchased and that's truly difficult to overlook. Oh well, we did our best! Unfortunately, the whole affair has just left a bad taste in my mouth about ANYTHING concerning our wedding or theirs. I'm trying to keep cheerful and supportive for my daughter, though, sometimes, it is EXTREMELY difficult.

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