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When Pizza Is More Important Than The Anniversary

We didn’t have much in the way of money for our wedding day so my husband promised that I could have the wedding of my dreams for our fifth anniversary. I felt that having a wedding after already being married was a little strange, however, I thought a vow renewal would be amazing. So for five years, I plan our vow renewal .

Two months before the day, I send out invites. Just a small gathering, family and close friends, which probably totaled 20 people. I reserved the community room and began earnestly putting things together. I got some flowers to place here and there, a small cake that simply stated, “Congratulations on Five Years of Wedded Bliss,” a variety of music from everyone, wrote my vows and got a lovely but casual dress. About two weeks before the date, my mother-in-law starts making comments about how tacky a vow renewal is, how anniversaries are for couples to celebrate amongst themselves privately, how rude I was being expecting this kind of thing. Since she always made the comments under her breath and never to me directly, I let it go.

The day arrives. I come home from work, get the kids all cutely dressed, get all dressed up myself, then head down to the community room with the kids and get set up. An hour after the start time, I realize that no one has called, let alone shown up. Not even my husband. I make some calls but I don’t get any answers. Another hour goes by and I begin packing up, it’s finally sunk in that no one is coming. It’s still early in the evening, only about 7pm, so I pop a movie in for the kids while I try to figure out what to do with the flowers and cake. At quarter to 8pm, I’ve changed into my usual jeans and t-shirt and the kids are in pajamas. My husband walks in as they’re brushing their teeth and I’m just finishing up in the kitchen. He wants to know where I’ve been, that he was at his parents’ house and I never showed up. ((Side note: his parents have always had pizza night on Tuesdays and our fifth anniversary landed on a Tuesday.))

I asked why and he said that it was pizza night, so I informed him that it was also our fifth anniversary. He said that he thought it had been cancelled because I had decided that anniversaries should be celebrated privately between the married couple only (gee, who does that sound like??). After further inquiry and more phone calls over the next week, I found out that my mother-in-law had called everyone who’d been sent an invite and told them that I had changed my mind so the vow renewal was cancelled. Yet no one had bothered to confirm with me? Lovely.

Ya’ll should’ve seen the fit mother-in-law threw when I couldn’t get the time off work for her anniversary party about less than two months later. 0611-14

While what your mother-in-law did was reprehensible, my first thought was that you have serious marriage problems.   The communication between you and your husband appears to be almost non-existent and even if he believed anniversaries should be celebrated privately between the couple, it was abundantly evident that he preferred to chow down on pizza at his parents’ home than arrange a lovely, private evening with you to celebrate 5 years of marriage.  It’s quite troubling that your husband makes a promise to you and then nonchalantly forgets it in his quest for pizza and that your party is cancelled yet he does not hear this news from you.

And your MIL knew the entire guest list, including who your close friends were?   How did she know this?  Even your closest friends did not promptly call you to get the dirt on the changed plans?  My friends would have been burning up Facebook and email wanting to know if I was OK if I cancelled like that.

Your MIL was right in that you committed a fairly huge faux pas in inviting people to a wedding vow renewal right at a meal time with no plans to feed them that meal.     Did you really think people would come to a party after working a normal work day, at dinnertime (5 pm in your case), watch a vow renewal, eat some cake and dance the night away on an empty stomach?   To be honest, if I were your friend, I might not come either.   You appear to have spent 5 years planning a party that wasn’t particularly hospitable for your guests.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tracy W June 17, 2014, 2:35 am

    What the MiL did was terrible! Sort of thing that calls for cutting off contact!
    I suspect she manipulated the husband into going for pizza night. I do think that communication between you needs to be better, because your m-i-l sounds like a manipulative disaster, and in that case husband and wife need to be on the same side in every way possible.
    What a ghastly horrifying m-i-l!

  • Rosie B. June 17, 2014, 2:52 am

    I’m a little confused–wouldn’t your husband have noticed you were still talking about and preparing for an event that had been “cancelled”? I suppose your MIL could have called everyone on the day of the event to cancel it, but even then it seems strange that your husband wouldn’t have at least called you to confirm or to figure what to do with the flowers and cake you’d already purchased. And why didn’t you call him when he didn’t show up for the party, and if he was expecting you at pizza night why didn’t he call you? This story seems a bit strange to me.

    I believe your MIL was incorrect to say that vow renewals are inherently wrong, especially since your actual wedding wasn’t what you wanted it to be. However, I do think that the way you framed this particular vow renewal was a bit tacky. Wedding receptions are supposed to be for everyone to enjoy, not just the bride and groom. Throwing the party on a weeknight without providing dinner suggests that you were more concerned with having the wedding of your dreams than with the needs of your guests. If you ever decide to have another vow renewal, try to focus more on “thanking” your friends for being there for you in your marriage–and maybe have the party on a weekend.

    • Kiki June 17, 2014, 9:37 am

      I totally agree with you. Something about this whole thing seems off to me. The husband didn’t bother to find out where wife was at pizza night. Everyone not coming, including her friends/family. I’m not sure I believe this one in its entirety.

      • Anna Wood June 17, 2014, 2:48 pm

        I feel sorry for the OP Dump the guy and his family, you can to better.
        To those who think the OP is lying, I send you my story
        This happened to me once. DH & I and another couple planned a party at our house , all our ‘friends’ were invited. Etc. Only one couple showed up. The other couple phoned everyone else and told them the party was cancelled. I was devastated. We lived in a small town.
        My MIL did the same thing when I was to be at a barbeque at her Daughter’s house 10 miles away. I was pregnant an due that week, relatives had travelled to our town to be present at the birth of DH’s first son. No one came to pick me up, my DH did not know why I wasn’t there ( He went there straight from work). I didn’t have a car and even after I called no one came to get me. I was berated the next day for not being at the barbeque.
        I no longer live in that town. I am also no longer married to that man. My ex SIL (the other one) is the only person who speaks to me.
        I now have a wonderful Husband, a marvelous circle of friends and am living happily ever after.
        I still wonder why people do some of the things that they

        • Em June 19, 2014, 1:29 am

          it’s not that the mother in law doing something like this couldn’t happen. …it’s that the details don’t make any sort of logical sense.

      • Em June 19, 2014, 1:28 am

        And the children. I woumd be wortied about where my kids were if I were him.

    • WMK June 18, 2014, 3:54 pm

      Yeah, something seems a bit strange here.

      I know my husband can have ‘selective’ hearing at times, but if I didn’t show up to an event that I was expected, or vice versa, one of us would be on the phone/text the other.

  • Brit June 17, 2014, 3:14 am

    This story’s sad.

    Sad that the OP spent 5 years planning a vow renewal, right after she got married.

    Sad that nobody cared about her enough to find out why the renewal was ‘cancelled’ or to call her.

    Sad that her MIL is a horrible, horrible woman who would do that to her.

    *Incredibly* sad that the OP’s husband left her AND THEIR KIDS to have pizza, and didn’t care enough to call them to find out where they were. Bad enough his wife, but his own children?

    The OP lost her a way a bit on this, but if this is how her husband and ILs treat her, I’m not surprised. What she did was a minor faux pas/mild obsession compared to that. No way would I celebrate being married to a ‘man’ like that. What a pig.

    • Calli Arcale June 17, 2014, 11:49 am

      Yeah, I’m pretty stunned; if we take this at face value, there must be almost zero communication between OP and her husband. And he must consider the children to be 100% her responsibility. (Are they from a former marriage, or from this marriage, I wonder?) I can see a few errors in party planning — always request RSVPs so you know how many are planning on attending (so if they don’t show, you know who to ask), and if you aren’t including a meal, avoid mealtime. In terms of party planning, those are fairly minor and they’re common beginner mistakes, so I don’t hold them too much against her. I’m just utterly blown away by how her husband and mother-in-law treat her and her children. I mean, wow. I have to wonder if there’s anything worth salvaging in this marriage.

  • Rusty June 17, 2014, 3:36 am

    I find this story a bit hard to believe. So you live in the same house with a man who has no idea that you are having a party that night? Do you communicate at all? How does your mother in law know who you invited? If my husband didn’t turn up in the circumstances you describe, I doubt I would be calmly cleaning up the kitchen when he arrived home! Sorry, but this does not strike true.

    • Susan June 17, 2014, 4:28 am

      I agree.

      • Cerys June 17, 2014, 6:02 am

        As do I. Seriously – the OP would have to never talk to her husband for this to happen. Unless she’s one of those people who blithely goes about her life only hearing what she wants to hear. I suppose her fixation with the renewal might explain a little of what happened – but did she not question why *she* was doing all the organising, when her husband had been the one who made the promise?

      • Cat June 17, 2014, 8:24 am

        I am with both of you. My friends would have called even if only to find out why I had changed my mind so suddenly and why I had not called to cancel, but had my MIL do it? What am I, five years old or five years married with children?

        A husband who would think I wanted to spend my wedding anniversary with my MIL and pizza would be spending the next anniversary minus a wife.

    • JKC June 17, 2014, 6:52 am

      Yeah, it seems a little weird. People like this do exist though, sadly.

      • Library Diva June 17, 2014, 1:07 pm

        I guess what I have trouble with is that an awful lot of stars would have to align for the OP and her kids to be at the venue minus husband, family and friends. MIL would have had to obtained the full guest list, managed to make contact with 20 different people and be so persuasive with each and every one of them that none of them brought it up again, not even an offhanded “Sorry you’re not having your thing anymore.” OP would have had to have been so circumspect regarding her plans that the husband didn’t notice she was going ahead with the event BUT still get the kids there, the hall decorated, cake and flowers ordered, etc. Then, the husband came home ON HIS ANNIVERSARY to an empty house, went to his parents’ house without even thinking about it and stayed there for several hours without even a concern as to where his wife and children were — meanwhile, ignoring his ringing phone, along with all of OP’s friends and family. I guess it could happen, but I’m skeptical.

    • Jill June 17, 2014, 7:39 am

      Me too, I call BS on this one…

    • Colleen June 17, 2014, 8:56 am

      If my husband didn’t show up, I’d be calling him to find out if he was OK not just assuming he was blowing me off.

      • Colleen June 17, 2014, 8:58 am

        I realize she called but not getting an answer would set me off on a quest to find out if he was OK since this was such a big day! (hit submit too soon)

        • Kendra June 17, 2014, 11:11 am

          Unless he’s blown her off lots during the past 5 years, and his not answering the phone was par for the course.

          • Colleen June 17, 2014, 2:03 pm

            If that were the case, I wouldn’t be celebrating 5 years of that marriage 🙁

    • Kiara June 17, 2014, 9:18 am

      Agreed. I’m not sure this story is true.

    • Melissa June 17, 2014, 9:29 am

      I agree.

      I cannot imagine how my husband would have no idea I was throwing a party…..He didn’t notice when she was buying a dress, cake, flowers, decorations, invites, or renting a space? How the……

      And my MIL knows very few of my friends and they would certainly call if she reached out to them with plans…..

      On top of the ridiculous notion that you need a huge celebration for a whole FIVE years of marriage, this all just seems….weird….

      • Angela June 17, 2014, 9:57 am

        Am I the only one who is confused that a person would buy herself a cake that says “Congratulations on five years of wedded bliss”? This seems like something that would be ordered by a third party hosting something for the couple, not the couple hosting something for themselves.

        I’m confused by the whole vow renewal thing myself. I’ve been married 20 years and my idea of a celebration is a nice meal or weekend away without all those people you might invite to a ceremony.

        • kjr June 17, 2014, 10:38 am

          My thoughts exactly. And agree with everyone else – this story sounds made up, there are just too many holes:

          Husband wouldn’t notice that you have a cake and flowers? You diddn’t discuss that morning/night before of his/your/the kids attire, and the plan? You wrote vows, but didn’t check on your husband doing the same? You didn’t call your husband when nobody showed? How about the person performing the vow renewal, was that cancelled too?

          Lastly – if your husband really believed that you suddenly thought “anniversaries should be celebrated privately between the married couple only” – what the heck was he doing at his parents house on your anniversary? Wouldn’t he take that as a clue to “celebrate with you privately”?

          Sorry – totally don’t buy this one.

        • kingsrings June 17, 2014, 10:40 am

          I’m also strongly suspecting that this story might be a fake. It just sounds skeezy from the start. All 20 of the invited guests never checked in with the wife when they heard it was cancelled? And never once her husband?? I suppose there could be marriages where communication really is this bad, but this story is still doubtful.

        • Calliope June 17, 2014, 10:45 am

          No, you’re not the only one. The whole thing is just odd.

        • kit June 17, 2014, 10:49 am

          I can see how, if she had no party for wedding, she wanted to have one later. I myself, after being severely disappointed in our official wedding photos, organized us a new photo shoot in our wedding outfit for our 2nd anniversary (couldn’t do it on 1st as I was very pregnant that time and I wouldn’t have fitted into my wedding dress). Also I have been to a 10-year anniversary part, which was a decent party (weekend and a lot of food). I agree that organizing one for weekday evening is a problem.

        • Dee June 17, 2014, 10:55 am

          The cake wording is indicative of the planning as a whole. IF this story is true, it should be noted that no where is the husband in agreement with this party with the exception of the promise he seemingly made at time of the wedding. Fast forward five years and OP sets up a celebration BY HERSELF. Check out all the “I” words in the story; no one, not even the hubby, is involved in this charade. Again, IF the story is true, I wonder if OP has delusions of grandeur and regularly makes up huge schemes involving others but without their agreement. That would explain her “friends” not phoning; they may already be burned out from all the previous dramas OP has tried to drag them into. It could even be that all parties tried to warn OP all along but she refused to hear them. She doesn’t even mention getting any RSVPs from the guests. Did no one reply, or did they all say “no”, and she ignored that? She clearly ignored her husband’s complete absence from the get-go, the singularly most important person (besides OP) in this drama. How telling is that?

  • Rebecca June 17, 2014, 4:19 am

    I think it’s a bit harsh to suggest that nobody wanted to come because there wouldn’t be food. If my good friend invited me to a party such as this, I’d think it a bit strange to have it at dinnertime with no food, but I would work around it. Have a snack beforehand, eat cake, or eat cake, then have dinner later…whatever. (Unless there is more food there that the OP wasn’t mentioning). At any rate, it does sound as though people RSVP’d yes, so that doesn’t seem to be the issue.

    I do find it hard to believe the husband didn’t know there was a party going on that evening, while his wife scurried around getting cake, flowers, and so on. Had they spoken in the last few weeks at all?

    • JKC June 17, 2014, 7:22 am

      I’m with you on the food thing. We have a couple of friends who, though they are otherwise wonderful company, have a habit of throwing parties that start around 6 p.m. and include very little in the way of food. We don’t boycott their parties over this, we just make sure to stop for a quick dinner on the way so we’re not hungry when we get there.

    • Cat June 17, 2014, 8:25 am

      I was wondering if they lived together. No discussion as to what he would be wearing to the renewal of vows?

      • Melissa June 17, 2014, 1:43 pm


        When DH and I are planning even just to go out for the evening for dinner, show, what have you, we usually bring it up the day before in a “Hey, what are you wearing? Do I need to wash that pair of slacks you like while I’m doing my dress?” kind of way…..it’s just….well…married small talk. Where is all the married small talk in this marriage?!?!?

  • Skaramouche June 17, 2014, 4:44 am

    Something about this story is very off. My heart goes out to the OP if it’s true but there are many parts that make no sense. I have no children but WOW, if my friends and family treated me in a similar fashion, they would get an earful. The only thing I can think of is that the OP, in an effort to keep things casual, made everything seem too casual. Hence, no one was surprised by the cancellation. It blows my mind though that her husband was also clueless. The most charitable thing I can say is that he’s a well meaning ignoramus and really doesn’t understand his wife. The worst possibility is that pizza was more important than his family.

    Having said all of this, can someone please explain vow renewals to me? 😛 If they are another excuse to party, why not just say that? Were the wedding vows not serious enough the first time that they need to be renewed? If it is a religious thing, I understand but I doubt that that is the driving factor in most cases.

    • Cat June 17, 2014, 8:32 am

      The renewal of vows I have seen have been religious. It’s not a new commitment, but a reaffirmation of the promises already made. My church will have everyone who wishes to make a renewal stand up and repeat their vows on special feast days.

      Other people have a ceremony at certain anniversaries and still others, having had a nightmare of a wedding, want to make a renewal when they are calm ,collected and can concentrate on what they are doing. Some are religious in nature and some are because the couples wants to renew the commitment for their own personal reasons.

      The ones I don’t like are those made by couples who are already married, but who are pretending that it is a wedding rather than a renewal because, “We eloped and didn’t get the presents we deserve.”

      • kingsrings June 17, 2014, 10:44 am

        Really? I’ve never ever heard of presents being given to the couple in the vow renewal situation.

        • Cat June 17, 2014, 12:04 pm

          Kingsrings, No, presents are not given for vow renewals. There are “…couples who are already married, but who are pretending that it is a wedding rather than a renewal because…” It will help explain it if you read the last paragraph I wrote.

          People get married before a JP or in Las Vegas and don’t tell anyone. Later, they usually ask their parents to pay for a big, white wedding, with a full reception and are given wedding presents.

          It’s not really a wedding because they are already legally married and have been for some time. It’s a renewal of vows, but no one who is invited knows that. We have dealt with a few of those on this site.

      • yadayada June 17, 2014, 11:14 am

        We had friends who were not religious when they married and had a somewhat odd wedding ceremony (no details necessary). Many years later they became dedicated to their religion, and so opted for a second wedding in their church, with a pastor, with a very spiritual meaning.

        • Cat June 17, 2014, 12:06 pm

          I had a friend who married a Jewish girl in a Jewish wedding ceremony. He said he did not “feel married” because he had had to make his vows in Hebrew, which he did not understand. They later “remarried” in a Christian ceremony which was really a renewal of vows.

      • CaroC June 17, 2014, 2:57 pm

        My parents renewed their vows after they’d been married 20 years, it was done after the Sunday service once everyone else had left, just my parents, me & my sisters and just to celebrate 20 years of happy marriage, short and quite lovely, nothing fancy. What was funny was one of the church stewards (a terribly upright proper type of lady) trying to encourage the late stragglers out of the church so that we could go ahead. I heard her say to one of them that my parents were going to get married ‘for the sake of the children’ – the look of shock on the other person’s face was priceless 🙂

        • Mary June 17, 2014, 5:31 pm

          That’s awesome!

    • CarrieN June 17, 2014, 9:26 am

      I’ve never understood vow renewals except in the case of a separated or divorcing couple that later reconcile. Once is enough for a lifetime in my opinion.

      • Angela June 17, 2014, 9:59 am

        I don’t know anyone who has had a renewal ceremony but a number of celebrities have done so. I’m pretty sure they’re all divorced now.

        • Daphne June 17, 2014, 2:43 pm

          I’ve noticed that as well–that a vow renewal is usually a precursor of divorce. So for that reason I have to say I agree a little bit with the MIL. What she did was disgusting of course and inexcusable but she’s right about vow renewals. They are kind of tacky.

    • Yvaine June 17, 2014, 10:13 am

      I know a couple who had a vow renewal, and it was largely an excuse to party. 🙂 It was a glorious party, too.

    • Calli Arcale June 17, 2014, 11:55 am

      A vow renewal can be done for a variety of reasons. A couple I know did it because first of all, they couldn’t afford the wedding they wanted at the time and wanted to do it now that they had the money, and second of all, they’d just come through some really seriously trying times together and wanted to celebrate their victory over misfortune. It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever seen, with nary a dry eye in the church even though they’d been married at least a decade by that time.

      The other vow renewal that I attended was to accommodate unusual circumstances around the wedding; the mother of the groom was very ill and couldn’t travel, so the wedding was held in the chapel at her nursing home. She died not long after. A few months later, they had the reception for friends and family, and decided that they wanted them to be witnesses to their marriages as well, so added a vow renewal.

  • Double You June 17, 2014, 4:59 am

    I see so many “plotholes” in this story that I have trouble believing it:

    – in the days leading up to the vow renewal, the OP never discussed or went over the final arrangements with her husband, never asked whether he’d written his vows yet, never discussed what he was going to wear to the event?
    – on the morning of the event, when (I assume) the OP and her husband both left for work, neither of them breathed a word about the special evening that was ahead of them?
    – when the husband and none of the guests turned up at the venue, the OP waited for an hour before making ‘some calls’ which nobody answered, so instead she waits another hour and then starts to pack things up without any further attempts to get hold of her husband, her in-laws, her friends, her own relatives?
    – meanwhile, the OP’s husband apparently assumes that – even without even one conversation between husband and wife about the “cancellation” of their vow renewal – the OP will instinctively know that “Plan B” for their anniversary will consist of attending pizza night at her in-laws, and when the OP fails to turn up, the husband doesn’t find this in the least suspicious, does not attempt to contact his wife, does not answer the phone when she tries to call him, and simply enjoys an evening with his parents before heading home?

    I’m sorry, but either this story is made up, or we’re only getting a very fragmented, one-sided and incomplete account of events.

    • Miss-E June 17, 2014, 6:06 am

      I agree. Weird story. And if the husband really believed that anniversaries were meant to be spent privately…why wasn’t he spending it privately with his wife? “Oh, I thought you decided that our anniversary should be just us….so I went to my parent’s for dinner.”??? What the what??

    • Huh June 17, 2014, 7:48 am

      And he thought she believes or he believes (doesn’t matter either way) that an anniversary should be celebrated privately between the couple and then doesn’t discuss what they want to do instead of the big party? Or believes that weekly pizza night with the in-laws somehow qualifies as celebrating “privately?” And then basically does nothing at all to celebrate?

      Yeah, if any of this is at all remotely true, it’s time for a long talk with basically everyone in your life.

    • JO June 17, 2014, 8:06 am

      I agree with this. It’s really hard to make heads or tails of this whole thing…while I can believe it probably isn’t entirely made up, it sure does sound a bit fishy.

    • Library Diva June 17, 2014, 9:27 am

      I have to agree. It’s a sad story, but so many details are missing and confused. I actually hope it’s made up, because I’d hate to think of a group of people behaving that way, and I’d hate to think of someone finding out that her husband, in-laws, and family and friends don’t actually have any regard for her whatsoever.

    • cocacola June 17, 2014, 9:42 am

      I have to agree. If this is true though, OP and husband have far more serious marital issues than a monster in law.
      The problem also seems to lie with the OP’s “close” friends and family. Finding it very sad that all of them apparently just took MIL’s word without question instead of following up with the OP. Also very strange that she couldn’t get a hold of any of them.

  • inNM June 17, 2014, 5:06 am

    I would have a lot of reconsidering to do if I was the OP…
    … Reconsidering my marriage if my husband couldn’t have the need to call me to find out where I was and why I was hours late (or in pre-cell times, to go looking for me) and instead, happily munching on pizza. Add to that, the lack of communication with him being oblivious to what is going on in his own house.
    …. Reconsidering interactions with my in-laws who are manipulative and apparently don’t want to see me happy unless it conforms to their views
    … Reconsidering my my friends since not one person thought they should contact me to find out why the supposed change of plans


    • The Elf June 17, 2014, 6:45 am

      “… Reconsidering my my friends since not one person thought they should contact me to find out why the supposed change of plans”

      I’d give the friends a pass under one condition. If, while canceling the event, MIL mentioned to them that they were instead going to have a romantic evening together alone. Then the friends would probably wait until the next day to call rather than risk disturbing the happy couple.

    • badkitty June 17, 2014, 11:57 am

      If the MIL wanted to be smart and sneaky about keeping the party from happening, all she’d have to do is tell each person she’s calling that OP has realized that the whole idea is tacky and she’s embarrassed that it ever entered her mind; she can’t even handle telling the guests herself, which is why she wants MIL to make the calls for her – that all OP wants is for the whole thing to fade from the community memory.

      If I got that call, not knowing anything about the snark MIL had been slinging beforehand, I’d certainly leave my poor embarrassed friend alone for a few days. Especially if everybody else got the same call.

      • June First June 17, 2014, 1:30 pm

        Yes, I could see a monster-in-law being sneaky like this if she really wanted to “get” the DIL. But there are still a lot of holes in the story.

  • Marozia June 17, 2014, 5:23 am

    Absolutely right, Admin! OP, you have to have serious marriage problems if you have to plan a vow renewal just after getting married. That, to me, sounds tacky and vulgar!!
    What MIL did was disgraceful, but why did your friends take that at face value? Why didn’t they call you and demand answers.
    AND, what the heck is “A Wedding of My Dreams”? And why would you want one after 5 years of marriage and children?

    • Library Diva June 17, 2014, 9:23 am

      I can understand why on both counts. For one thing, it wasn’t “just after,” it was five years after.

      Also, the whole wedding thing is pretty deeply ingrained in our culture. Very few people reach marriageable age without SOME aspect of the whole shindig holding some appeal to them, even if it’s just the part where friends and family gather in celebration. I would never begrudge anyone this sort of celebration, especially if financial constraints prevented it the first time around.

      • Colleen June 17, 2014, 9:51 am

        But “wedding of my dreams” that she planned for 5 years was a Tuesday night, get some cake and have 20 people over to a community room with casual dress? That seems like a lot of obsessing over a small party. Granted it might be the wedding of her dreams but wouldn’t the groom be part of that?

        • Calli Arcale June 17, 2014, 11:56 am

          It makes me wonder how causal the actual wedding was. I’m guessing it was just an afternoon at the courthouse.

        • MM June 17, 2014, 4:41 pm

          to that point, perhaps OP felt she couldn’t have a big fancy re-wedding after 5 years. note that her letter didn’t ask if a wedding renewal ceremony was tacky. she probably made it as casual as possible to mitigate the tackiness (I don’t really agree that a renewal ceremony is inherently tacky; I think they can become tacky with the wrong-headed planning). Or maybe with kids and an apparently clueless husband/controlling mother in law she couldn’t plan a big to-do.

          Although I do feel some empathy for the husband. maybe this is just one of those things that OP does–plans stuff without telling anyone, or imagining things to be one way without following through. we don’t know much about this marriage because the letter has some holes. I lso agree that it’s either fake or really vague to elicit sympathy from the comments/Admin.

  • Alli June 17, 2014, 5:51 am

    A lot of stuff here doesn’t make sense, to the point that I think this letter has to be made up.

    1) It sounds like this event was scheduled for 5 PM on a Tuesday. That makes no sense because that would be an incredibly silly time to schedule something – most people have to work to 5PM or later.
    2) It makes zero sense that the MIL would be able to call everyone and cancel, because A) she wouldn’t know who was invited and B) presumably the LW invited some of her friends and family, who the MIL wouldn’t have contact info for, or who would run things by the LW.
    3) It makes no sense that the husband wouldn’t be aware of what’s going on, unless these people never spoke to each other. Also, your friends/family? Surely your parents/best friend/sister/etc. would have been invited and been someone you talked to. And absolutely none of these people answer their phones?

    There are just too many holes in this story for it to be real.

    • Anonymous June 18, 2014, 1:22 pm

      1. Maybe 5 p.m. on a Tuesday was the only time the community hall was available, and maybe several of the OP’s guests don’t work 9-5. It’s possible–for example, I’m a yoga instructor, and so, I generally work during time slots that everyone else sees as “down time,” like evenings, and Saturday mornings, because a lot of people like to do yoga in their down time. Other people in my life include my friend who works odd hours at a café, another friend who makes and sells jewelry for a living, and of course, other fitness instructors. So, if one of my friends scheduled an event for a Tuesday at 5 p.m., I could be there, but an evening or a Saturday morning might present a scheduling conflict for me.

      2. With the proliferation of Facebook and other social media, and with people using the term “Friends” rather generously within the context of social media, it’s entirely possible that the MIL would have been able to contact the other guests. She could have sent just one mass message, and ended the whole party within less than five minutes.

      3. Maybe the husband was aware of what was going on, but was acting under manipulation from MIL. Maybe she said something like, “If you go through with that tacky party with that awful woman, I’ll never speak to you again. Just go through the day like everything is normal, because if you confront OP, she’ll have a temper tantrum, because she’s irrational.” Maybe the MIL did such a good job convincing the OP’s husband, that he just went along with it, and maybe she’s convinced him that the OP will just forget about everything the next day, because she’s so “deluded.” None of this makes sense to any of us, because we’re all polite and rational people, but to a toxic person (like MIL), or someone under the thumb of said toxic person (Husband), it’d make perfect sense.

  • vanessaga81 June 17, 2014, 6:24 am

    Yeah, I think this story is made up. I would have called my husband, at the very least, if he didn’t show up to this vow renewal and that’s assuming that we wouldn’t have been talking about it right up to the day that it happened. I would actually have been afraid that something had happened to him if he didn’t show up to something that important.

  • The Elf June 17, 2014, 6:42 am

    I agree that there are serious communications issues and what MIL did was – Wow! – beyond outrageous. I really don’t think I’d be able to have any sort of meaningful relationship with her after that. It would be coldly civil for husband’s sake only.

    I don’t see anything in the story about refereshments, either being there or not being there. Yes, any event around dinner time should include dinner, but I have no idea from the post if OP was going to serve something or not. I’m going to assume yes.

    So, now assuming dinner would be served, I’ll answer the question Admin posed. “Did you really think people would come to a party after working a normal work day, [eat dinner], watch a vow renewal, eat some cake and dance the night away [having eaten dinner]?” If it was a close friend, yes. Absolutely yes. I’ve done weekday events before, though never a vow renewal, and it’s fine. If I can spare the leave or shift around my schedule, I take the next day off work. I wouldn’t do this for any friend, but I would for a close one.

    I planned my husband’s 30th birthday on a weekday because he was working weekends at the time and couldn’t take time off. It was his day off, but no one else’s. We had a full house, and yes, there were parents among our guests. Only a core group stayed late to party, but everyone stayed through dinner and dessert.

    • Yvaine June 17, 2014, 10:15 am

      Yeah, I’m not quite sure what a community room is. If it’s just a meeting room and the cake was all there was, that’s one thing; if that’s more like the private room at a restaurant and there would be a restaurant meal in addition to the cake, that’s something else entirely.

      • Library Diva June 17, 2014, 1:15 pm

        I have usually heard this term used to describe a room in a church, apartment building, dorm, public library, etc. that simply functions as a multi-use space. Usually it’s for use by the residents of a big living complex or the members of the church. Typically, they are very plain and utilitarian — which is another thing that makes me scratch my head about this story. I hope I don’t come off as a snob, but the vow renewal that OP had planned sounds more to me like what people settle for when they truly have no money. How much could a cake, flowers and a nice dress cost? Spaces that are described as community rooms are, in my experience, generally free or really cheap (like under $100) to reserve. And this took her five years to plan? Something seems off here.

      • Heather A June 17, 2014, 2:26 pm

        In some apartment complexes/housing developments there will be a “community room” that’s basically just big empty space you can rent out from the HOA or Management Office to have a birthday party or a meeting. I’m assuming that’s what this space was.

  • The Elf June 17, 2014, 6:46 am

    I don’t understand why vow renewals would be tacky. Never went to one, never held one, but it seems pretty straight-forward. You wouldn’t treat them like a wedding, but I could see it being nice especially if the actual wedding was rushed or the couple had problems and decided to do this as a re-commitment to each other.

    • Daphne June 17, 2014, 2:55 pm

      I think they are thought of as tacky because lots of people do treat them like another wedding. They often seem like an excuse for a bored housewife to be queen for another day, plan a party & a trip, and make everyone watch as she talks about how great her marriage is. Vow renewals can seem very self serving and narcissistic.

      • The Elf June 18, 2014, 6:40 am

        Okay, that makes sense.

  • The Elf June 17, 2014, 6:53 am

    I do undestand the desire to do something special because the wedding wasn’t quite what the bride wanted because she couldn’t afford it. When we married, we were broke too. To host a wedding, we used the money my parents had put aside for my last semester of college (I had graduated early and they gave us the funds for that purpose). Thanks, Mom & Dad, for both a college education and a wedding!

    Anyway, there was enough for the wedding but not for a honeymoon. I had always wanted to travel, so my husband promised we’d have a great trip for our 5 year anniversary. Well, we were still somewhat broke by then – not so broke that we lived off ramen and peanut butter, but broke enough that an expensive trip was out of the question! But on our 10 year anniversary, we had saved enough and had a lovely trip. Finally, the honeymoon of our dreams….. 10 years later!

    • Skaramouche June 17, 2014, 11:19 am

      That sounds lovely….a fabulous trip for your 10th anniversary! I hope to be able to do the same thing. We weren’t planning a big honeymoon anyway because of an upcoming international trip to visit my grandparents but I did have a weekend getaway in mind. Didn’t happen. My husband’s elderly rabbit got very sick, lost the use of his back paw and needed multiple feedings/care during the day. We didn’t trust anyone else to do it so we stayed. It’s probably one of the stranger reasons to cancel a trip but we were very attached to the rabbit and he passed away within two months so I’m glad we did what we did. No regrets on that front. Like you, I hope that we’ll do something awesome for our 5th anniversary, finances permitting.

      • SamiHami June 17, 2014, 12:10 pm

        Aw, Skaramouche, you and your husband have wonderful hearts. I hope you are able to have a fanstastic, romantic trip sometime in the near future.

        I have to agree with others that this letter seems to be a fake.

  • JKC June 17, 2014, 7:10 am

    Personally, I’ve never liked the idea of “vow renewals”. I mean, those vows were supposed to be for life when you took them originally; they don’t have an expiration date that would require them to be renewed every so many years like a drivers’ license or a passport. Why not just call it a 5th anniversary party, throw a fancy dinner, and skip the ceremony? Regardless, the husband in this case agreed to the plans, and it’s very odd that he would not a) want to ask the OP why it was cancelled, b) want to talk to her about alternate anniversary plans if he thought it was and for that reason, and c) get all the way through pizza night with the parents without worrying about what might have happened to his wife and kids.

  • Shannan June 17, 2014, 7:38 am

    Seems a little strange to me that the “wedding of your dreams” is a ceremony that takes place on a Tuesday night and barely gives people enough time to get there after work. Also that so little is discussed with your husband that he thinks it’s cancelled and goes to his parents house for their usual pizza night.

    • babs June 17, 2014, 7:33 pm

      My thoughts exactly. I didn’t have the “wedding of my dreams” so I planned for 5 years to throw together something for 20 people in a community room and serve cake. Hummmmm…

  • Shoegal June 17, 2014, 8:01 am

    This has to be a fictional story. How could the OP have 5 years of wedded bliss with a man who never talks with his wife, ever – or just completely ignores her if she did speak about this vow renewal. How could the mother in law know about the entire guest list? This has to be the calmest woman on earth. If any of the following happened to me, I’d be beside myself. Even if I got over this and didn’t divorce my husband I’d be damned if I even considered going to my Mother in law’s anniversary party 2 months later.

    If this is true – then it is the saddest thing that I’ve ever heard. I think it was also very harsh to criticize her for having it on a Tuesday night and not planning on a dinner. This is the actual day she got married 5 years ago. Maybe it was important to her to have it on that special day. I also think it sounds if she was trying to do it on a budget so she put it together on a dime and didn’t plan on food. Perhaps she failed to mention there was a crock pot full of spaghetti available afterwards.

  • imc June 17, 2014, 8:04 am

    I agree with all other commenters on everything that sound off in this story.
    Furthermore, I understand that all of us have different tastes and different dreams, but it seems really weird that the marriage of OP’s dreams consisted of reserving the community room, have some flowers here and there and have cake with 20 guests. If that was, in fact, the wedding of her dreams, it’s really perplexing that her husband and her couldn’t have afforded the same thing 5 years previously, since it sounds like the only expenses were cake for 20, a few flowers, and a simple dress for the bride… expenses which can be easily adjusted to any kind of budget.

    • remi June 17, 2014, 5:09 pm

      It sounded to me like it wasn’t supposed to be the wedding of her dreams, since she said that having a second wedding seemed silly. It was the vows renewal that appealed to her specifically, not the party itself.

  • Hanna June 17, 2014, 8:05 am

    This is a husband problem more than it is anything else. As admin suggested, you two obviously have really bad communication issues. How can your husband just hang on to his mommy’s words like that, believe the event was cancelled, and never even considered asking YOU, his wife, why it was cancelled, or if it even WAS cancelled? Serious case of mama’s boy right there.

    But to be honest, if my MIL did that, she would be hereby cut off.

    P.S. I think in general a vow renewal after only 5 years of marriage has to be tacky in and of itself, right?

  • Lo June 17, 2014, 8:08 am

    MIL-from-hell aside, the problem here is your relationship with your husband. What you’re describing is abnormal. How does your MIL convince your husband an event you are organizing to celebrate you and him is cancelled without even checking with you? If you are relaying everything exactly as it happened then there is a severe lack of communication/trust/interest in your marriage (pick one or all three). And I would forget about the party and focus on maybe getting into couples therapy.

    Your mother-in-law is… not a good person, to say the least. But you can’t play divide-and-conquer with a healthy marriage. It’s impossible. She shouldn’t have been able to do such a thing. She’s not your biggest problem here.

  • James June 17, 2014, 8:31 am

    Unless the unspoken end of this story was “and then my husband called his mother, told her how apallingly she’d behaved, and to this day has never spoken to her again”, then OP seriously needs to consider the future of her relationship.

  • JeanLouiseFinch June 17, 2014, 8:35 am

    I don’t like vow renewals, but the husband basically promised the LW that she could have the wedding of her dreams as a vow renewal if she sucked it up for their actual wedding. While the husband sounds like a clueless jerk, my real criticism goes to the evil MIL. If the LW spent any money at all on this party, the MIL now owes her repayment of this amount. If it were me, I would let everyone else who was invited to the party know what happened and further let them know that MIL is a manipulative liar and that they need to watch their backs around her. I would send my husband to live with his mother until I can be sure I won’t set the bed on fire while he’s asleep. If they are old enough, I would certainly let my children know they cannot trust Grandma. Maybe the husband can come back when Grandma pays back the money she owes the LW for interfering with the party and he does something great for his wife that is sufficient to make up for his jerkiness (that might include some pain on his part.) If this seems too extreme, keep in mind what the husband promised his wife to before they got married. He sounds like he got his ideas of honesty and honor from his trashy mother.

    • The Elf June 17, 2014, 11:09 am

      “If the LW spent any money at all on this party, the MIL now owes her repayment of this amount.”

      Absolutely! She’ll never get it, but she’s owed it.

    • Lil June 18, 2014, 11:32 am

      I would love to see this on Judge Judy. Woman sues MIL for cancelling her party. Judy would have a field day!

  • Wild Irish Rose June 17, 2014, 8:42 am

    Personally, I’ve never understood the whole “vow renewal” concept. Either you meant your vows when you took them the first time, or you didn’t, in which case “renewing” them is meaningless.

    That said, I’m not sure I buy this story, either. Seriously, what bride of five years wouldn’t be sobbing hysterically if this happened to her? And if my husband had chosen to go to his parents’ home for pizza on our anniversary, regardless of whether or not we had planned a “vow renewal,” he’d be sleeping on the couch for a week. 🙂 This story just doesn’t add up.

    • Huh June 17, 2014, 12:58 pm

      “And if my husband had chosen to go to his parents’ home for pizza on our anniversary, regardless of whether or not we had planned a “vow renewal,” he’d be sleeping on the couch for a week.”

      Right?! And didn’t ever call to find out where the OP was for hours?! Just shows up at home at bedtime, effectively missing the whole day? I would be very upset.

  • SML June 17, 2014, 9:01 am

    Let’s not jump to conclusions and just assume that our poor OP’s submission is too far fetched. She’s already had a horrendous experience from the sounds of it.
    Vow renewals are lovely and kudos to the OP for not planning a lavish wedding part deux and playing bridzilla. It’s an honour to be invited to share in any sort of celebration regardless of whether food is provided or not. What MIL did was abhorrent. There’s no excuse for her to have done that. DH does sound like he dropped the ball perhaps the marriage does need some TLC from his end too.

  • lnelson1218 June 17, 2014, 9:06 am

    I have to agree with many of the other posters here. If this is a true story, that MIL is a witch. I do find it hard to believe that no friend would have not asked about what’s up with the change of plans. As far as a little to do after work with no dinner. I didn’t find that so strange. Instead of happy hour, cake hour? For someone’s special occasion? It sounds like it wasn’t going to go that late into the night. For a friend I would do it.

    Also there is clearly something wrong with how you and your husband communicate if he takes his mother’s word over your on something, one would assume, was very important to you. I do sincerely hope that you gave your MIL a piece of your mind or she will forever more have more control over communications with your husband and friends than she should.

  • Markko June 17, 2014, 9:07 am

    Perhaps the OP is like my wife was the first few years of our marriage. She would plan things and arrange circumstances without consulting me at all, assuming that I would be fine with anything she wanted to do because I was her husband. I could easily have seen myself in the OP’s husband’s position back then; she made a hint or casual statement, and presumed that knew all about it and was fine with whatever she planned. Her actions were similar to the OP’s, getting upset that nothing went the way she thought it would, and that nobody cared about her.
    If the OP’s husband is like me, after a few of these episodes he will escort her with haste to a psycologist. Odd as it may sound, some people do not understand the basic concept of communication at all. It took almost five years of counseling before my wife could plan an event that everyone knew about and could attend. This greatly helped our marriage as well. I think if the OP is as far off the mark as she seems, couple counseling to introduce the basic concepts of communication MUST be done. Believe it or not, some people have no concept of what communication is at all let alone how to do it.
    I will add that If my mother ever took it upon herself to do something like this and I found out about it, I would give her about a year of silence to consider wether or not she wanted us in her life or not.

    • June First June 17, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Interesting perspective! I think many commenters assumed (myself included) that she would have told the husband about the plans.

      That said, wouldn’t the husband worry about where the kids are? Unless there was no cell phone coverage and he truly didn’t know how to reach her…but if it were my husband, he’d already have been home pacing and worrying about whether we all got into a car crash since he couldn’t find us.

      • Markko June 18, 2014, 7:39 am

        Actually, what you touched upon was a big problem for me. My wife would loose complete track of time and be extremey late or miss events entirely. She would say she didn’t realize what time it was and similar excuses. After a few years of this, I attended events on time and let her deal with her own lateness. I did warn her that her habit of not calling when she was late or delayed MAY one day have serious consequences; if she had an accident or was hurt with no one there to help, my calling the authorities would not happen until many hours later because of her lack of communication and late habits. I wouldn’t find the delay and lack of communication unusual for her at all. I still don’t think she understands this, but the psycologist has convinced her that letting me know she is late and where she is is necessary for my well being. Counseling DOES work, although it may take a while….

  • Lil June 17, 2014, 9:15 am

    This story is really odd. Did it take place 20 years ago? I find it hard to believe that between 20 guests and her husband not one person was available to answer their phones. And no one mentioned to her that they received a call from her MIL? She never conveyed to any of her friends that her MIL was not supportive of the event which should have alerted them to the fact that something fishy was going on? Although maybe that is believable as she seems to exist in a world where no one speaks to one another! I usually give stories the benefit of the doubt but this one can’t possibly be true unless a HUGE chunk of info is missing.

  • Pam June 17, 2014, 9:26 am

    I would have been texting/calling my husband if he wasn’t there ON TIME…. there is something definitely “off” on one! “About an hour after the start time” you realize that no one has come or called?

  • NostalgicGal June 17, 2014, 9:28 am

    Sorry, b*llsh*tometer went off here.
    Too much strangeness about the whole story.

    1) Party planned, invites done, and cancelled at the last minute without the OP knowing ANYTHING? Nobody contacted her, even the day of, and asked ‘why did you cancel’?

    2) Nonchalance and Pizza is more important than a couple’s plans?

    3) Weekenight party after work and no food to speak of?

    4) Wedding Of My Dreams wouldn’t be that low key. My wedding was about as low key as they came, one step past the courthouse steps; and I have never wanted or needed a vow renewal or anything else. Planning the renewal for years to come right after the wedding? My mom tried to have HER wedding of dreams by planning out what I didn’t want when I was small and I refused the whole fiasco and I even suggested to her, if that’s what she wanted so bad she and dad should just go hold their Wingding and do their own Vow Renewal and be done with it.

    5) I wouldn’t have been calm when he finally showed up.

    6) Cellphones. I would have been on mine when nobody showed at the time, especially to the DH.

    This just smells. If indeed this was a MIL heist, that was the poorest taste and a major indication of major things wrong in relationship; fact that DH went along another major indication; I wouldn’t have sweetly sat there then been in a good mood after. Smells, smells, smells.

    • Abby June 17, 2014, 10:02 am

      I’ve spent enough time reading Dear Abby and Dear Prudence on slate to know that there *are* indeed MILS who would pull this kind of stunt while congratulating themselves on their brilliance, so I can actually believe this could happen.

      What I just can’t wrap my head around, no matter how much disbelief I am willing to suspend, is that this charming husband hears from his mother that his wife has cancelled the festivities, evidently goes straight to his parents house after work for pizza expecting to see her there (since he asked her where she was when he got home), then, upon not seeing her or their young children there, shrugs his shoulders, eats pizza, and goes home in a leisurely fashion. It didn’t occur to him that something might have happened to her? Or their kids? Even if this took place before cell phones, he didn’t want to rush right home and check on his family?

      If this is a true submission, I have a sneaking suspicion the entire guest list consisted of the husband’s family and friends, and the guests spent the weeks preceding the event to gossip about the wife and her vow renewal party in a disparaging way, and were only too happy to hear it had been cancelled and felt no need to encourage the wife to put it back on by calling her. In that case, the husband didn’t panic at the thought of his missing wife and kids because he knew they would be home, and planned to later blame it on a miscommunication.

      OP, your MIL may be a beast, but if this is a true story, by far, your biggest problem is your husband.

      • NostalgicGal June 17, 2014, 10:17 am

        Oh I’m not doubting the MIL *could* heist the event; it’s happened many a time.

        Sounds like this is recent, so in our interconnected lifestyles, there is just a gap in belief here that nothing went the OP’s way about ‘are you rescheduling’ or ‘well since you’re not having your vow thing, congratulations’ or a ton of stuff on Facebook going on or….

        If I called my DH because he was supposed to be somewhere and wasn’t, he better answer his cell.

        The fact the DH went to his parents, scarfed pizza ON his anniversary, and made no effort to find out where wife and small children are? His new roomie would be the lawnmower as he’s sleeping in the garage.

        Too much of this story still smells.

        Indeed if this is true, the biggest problem is the husband and the ‘his family’ relationship here.

  • elena June 17, 2014, 9:34 am

    I dont know about this. Sounds like there are three people in your marriage. And your mad at your mil? I dont think you are the one who invited her into your marriage. Sounds to me like you’re mad at the wrong person. Im guessing during your marriage to these two you have been hurt and humiliated more times than you care to count. And thats a real shame. Have you ever thought about professional help? There is no shame in it. A lot of places do it for free. Just dont tell that whatever inlaw of yours.

  • Dezrah June 17, 2014, 9:54 am

    I agree with others that this letter is fake. You could drive a bus through the plot holes in this story. I even considered the possibility that this story is taking place pre-Facebook and pre-cell phones. That would make this story about 10-15 years old. If that were the case, we would expect something along the lines of “This happened a while ago but it’s such an unbelievable story I have to share it with you” or “Despite all that, my husband and I are happy as we’ve ever been and will soon be celebrating our 15th anniversary, without MIL’s help.” Nope, nothing like that. Completely fake.

  • Jay June 17, 2014, 10:15 am

    I can’t even wrap my head around this one.

    Yes, what the MIL did was horrible.

    But how on earth is it possible that she didn’t call her husband that night to see where he was? Or any of her closest friends or relatives who were supposed to be there? Or talk to any of these close friends even once in the two weeks between the cancellation and the event? Or to her husband about it, during those two weeks when she’s doing all the prep work yet he somehow thinks they’ve cancelled?

    I’ll leave aside the secondary strangeness of spending 5 years planning a party that consists of cake and music at 5pm on a weeknight, for 20 people.


    • Abby June 17, 2014, 12:03 pm

      Regarding the second to last sentence in your post- I am still scratching my head over this. So, the husband promises a dream wedding to his wife of 5 years, but that sounds strange to her (which I would agree) so she instead says she would like a vow renewal party.

      This party consists of booking the community room (assume the family lives in an apartment or townhouse complex), with the idea that 20 guests will watch the bride and groom exchange vows (with apparently no one officiating, just the bride and groom reciting vows), and eat cake? On a Tuesday night? Yeah, that’s something I could throw together at 3 pm on that Tuesday. The whole thing is just very off. If this is a true story, I am starting to wonder if perhaps the OP is from a different country and has spent the last 5 years being bullied and belittled by her in laws and her husband.

      No matter how ridiculous a weeknight vow renewal might seem to someone, it really wasn’t asking much if the guests were all local. Eat an early or late dinner, watch someone you care about recite vows, and have a piece of cake. I am sorry that if this was her “dream wedding” -which was really, really basic- that her own husband couldn’t suck it up and make it a nice evening for her. Regardless of his level of planning in the event, unless the OP is outright lying, he knew she was planning on doing it.

  • WifeyDear June 17, 2014, 10:41 am

    While I think this letter IS a fake, I can relate to a few things regarding the husband. My husband is a super high-functioning autistic and he forgets almost every event I tell him about. Also, neither of us faithfully carry a cell phone, so I can also see, to some extent, not being able to get in touch immediately. While some of these things are true in MY marriage, I think the rest of this letter seems a little off 🙂

    • June First June 17, 2014, 1:44 pm

      But I would think those details would be included!

      “Did you forget your phone? I’ve been trying to reach you for two hours!!”
      “Of all the nights DH forgot his phone, it was that night.”

      I always feel sad when nobody shows up. I’ve had that happen before and it’s humiliating.

    • Jay June 17, 2014, 1:46 pm

      .. but you’d KNOW that, and remind him that morning of the big Vow Renewal party, right?

      • WifeyDear June 18, 2014, 1:23 am

        Oh yes, I’d remind him…and I bet you ten bucks he would have been surprised by the information when I did. Like I said, this story is too strange and has to be fake, but it tickles me a little too because it hits close to home 🙂

    • DanaJ June 17, 2014, 3:28 pm

      After reading other responses to the OP, I”m actually wondering if it’s the OP who may have a condition rather than the husband.

      For example, my cousin’s young daughter planned an entire Cindarella-style ball one weekend. Her plans included ponies and cake. Unfortunately, while her parents assumed her guest list would consist of dolls and stuffed animals, she managed to send real invitations to real people. Luckily, few adults would take her frilly invitations seriously without asking the parents. But just in case, my cousin and his wife did have to email everyone to make sure they all knew that their modest house did not have a ballroom and there was no actual party (or ponies) scheduled.

      There are too many “plot holes” in the OP to take at face value (eg/ where are the OP’s parents/family in all this?). However, it suddenly becomes believable to me if the OP has some kind of impairment, planned a reception, and had it cancelled by caregivers. It would partly explain why the “wedding of her dreams” that she’d planned for five years seemed so modest in scale, and why everything sounded very, VERY one-sided. It sounds like one person’s fantasy.

      • JO June 17, 2014, 6:49 pm

        The OP might have a condition that impairs her badly enough to have basically fantasized the whole thing, and need caretakers, but she is still able to drive and care for children on her own? Ummm no. that is just not plausible. Not that something doesn’t seem very off; it does. But I don’t think this is it.

        • DanaJ June 18, 2014, 11:12 am

          Actually, I was thinking bipolar because the scenario is very similar something my mom’s friend would do until her (grown) daughters intervened. My mom’s friend was perfectly capable of raising her kids, but would occasionally try to make grand plans happen that were ridiculous.

  • yadayada June 17, 2014, 11:23 am

    There were only 20 coming –that’s really not much when you consider a married brother or two with a few kids each, right? Meaning, we aren’t talking a lot of people here, perhaps only a few families–OP said she tried to make a few calls with no answer (why she didn’t call MIL’s house I dont know cause it sounds like they were all over there).

    I think OP just kept it soooo casual and perhaps left hubby out of it (there is a wedding right now going on in my extended family and the bride hasn’t let the groom in on hardly any of it, let alone the rest of us—lots of women do this).

    So I don’t see it as so far-fethched, although I think a few details are being left out. Why someone would call everyone behind OP’s back and cancel is wackadoodle, I sure hope hubby is taking care of that little issue.

    Very few people OP would be able to come right after work on a Tuesday. I know that stinks for you but by the time they get home from work, get the kids picked up at the sitters, and try to feed them, they just aren’t going to be able to make it–especially if there are ball games and ballet lessons to get to.

  • Justine June 17, 2014, 11:28 am

    10 minutes after the appointed time, I would have been calling my DH asking where he was. And if my DH heard something from his mom, and did not double check that with me (“really you canceled this vow renewal I know you wanted so much?!”) I would be making an appointment with a marriage counselor post-haste.

  • Tyler June 17, 2014, 11:44 am

    I would love to hear a response from the OP regarding this letter because as it’s presented, it’s too farfetched to be believable. Your “dream wedding” consists of a small gathering for cake at a community center at 5 PM on a weekday? You and your husband never discuss plans, and your friends immediately believe a random phone call from your MIL without questioning you? If this story is indeed true, I would certainly be reconsidering my choice of spouse and friends.

    • Tyler June 17, 2014, 2:41 pm

      An addendum to my earlier comment:
      If your husband thought that you agreed that anniversaries should be celebrated privately by couples, why was he at his parents’ house chowing down on pizza without any idea where you were?

      I’ve read this post over and over again, and the more I think about it, the more I’m willing to accept that it *could* be believable. My best friend comes from a family that never communicates, and I could definitely see a mishap like this occurring with them. That being said though, there still remain many odd quirks to this story that lead the casual reader to a state of confusion.

  • Ashley June 17, 2014, 11:57 am

    If by some odd twist of fate this isn’t a fake story, OP needs to seriously reconsider the future of her relationship. I honestly cannot believe that not one person contacted you to find out what was going on and I especially can’t believe that your own husband wouldn’t question a damn thing when he turned up at your in laws and you weren’t there.

  • JD June 17, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Joining the chorus here — either a lot of information was left out, this family has communication problems so severe they can’t even use phones, or this is fake. My question is, what is the motivation for faking this? The OP is cast as the victim, but a victim that generates very little sympathy because of her many odd behaviors. If she was looking for sympathy, she isn’t getting much. And why would she look for sympathy with a story as unbelievable as that one? As at least one poster pointed out, this little gathering doesn’t sound like the wedding of anyone’s dreams, even if everyone had showed up with bells on. And as others pointed out — Who doesn’t talk it over with others while planning? What woman wouldn’t check to see what her husband will be wearing? Where is her family? Way too many holes are here. Perhaps they can be filled in with details, but I think we won’t hear from the OP again, or if we do, it’ll be after she’s had time to dream them up. And I’ll beg pardon right now if it turns out to be true, but a whole lot more will have to be explained before I can believe it.

  • Calli Arcale June 17, 2014, 12:06 pm

    I’m not going to assume this story is made up. I’ve seen too many crazy things to assume this can’t be true just because I can’t imagine it happening to me. And that’s because while I can’t imagine it happening to me, I can definitely imagine it happening to other people. So I’m going to take it at face value for now.

    OP, you’ve got way bigger problems than an unromantic husband and an interfering mother-in-law. You seem to be very alone, and there is very little communication going on between you and your husband. Either he was so oblivious to your preparations that your MIL could trick him, or he knew full well what you were doing and wanted to spoil it. Honestly, the latter seems more likely to me. I think the two of you really should go in for marriage counseling, because there’s stuff wrong in your marriage and only by actually working on it together can you get to the bottom of it. Was he resistant to the idea of the party, and you went ahead anyway, with him cancelling it behind your back and blaming your mother-in-law, who may actually have been echoing her son’s sentiment and not hers? If so, he took a very cowardly way out of it, but it means both of you are failing to communicate and decide things together. Your friends — are they *your* friends or actually more his friends? You need a support network of your own. And you need to arrange things like this *together*. If he could feign ignorance, he can’t possibly have understood how much trouble you were going to and how much money you were spending. If money is tight, that’s a serious problem. Either he’s not taking responsibility or you’re not including him on things, or probably both, and that’s not healthy.

    This story is full of red flags for me, but not “it’s fake” flags but “this is a doomed marriage” flags. You need to decide if there is anything to salvage in this marriage and then see whether it’s possible to do so.

    • Kendra June 17, 2014, 1:21 pm

      “or he knew full well what you were doing and wanted to spoil it” This gave me a horrible vision of hubby sitting at parents house with all other regular players making fun of OP, saying things like “wonder how long she is going to be waiting there before she realizes no one is coming….ha,ha”

    • JeanLouiseFinch June 18, 2014, 12:24 pm

      I keep thinking that MIL made up some reason for the friends not to communicate with the OP, and that the whole cancellation was done by MIL at the behest of the husband. It would not surprise me if he just went to his parents house in order to avoid telling his wife that he was the one who wanted to cancel the party and later acted surprised that she did not show up at MIL’s (as he sat there guzzling pizza with his phone off.) If this is the case, the OP needs to communicate – with a lawyer.

    • Basketcase June 20, 2014, 5:10 pm

      “or he knew full well what you were doing and wanted to spoil it”
      As much as I hate to think it, my goodness I can imagine this being the case that makes this story true.
      Because having a small wedding anniversary party where you renew your vows, if its short and sweet on a weeknight with cake, sounds not-too-bad, if a bit difficult for a lot of people to get to.
      But my first thought on reading was NOT “this is fake”, but WAS “that husband is an ass, and divorce is well-flagged in the near future”

  • CarolAnn June 17, 2014, 12:19 pm

    Where does it say that she wasn’t planning to serve food? It just says that she bought a cake with a message.

    • admin June 17, 2014, 1:06 pm

      It also says she contemplated what to do with the flowers and cake after realizing no one was coming. If there had been food, packaging this up to save would have taken time and would have been mentioned.

      • Yvaine June 17, 2014, 1:24 pm

        I’m still not sure it wasn’t at a restaurant, in which case the restaurant would have been either dealing with the excess food (if it was catered) or if people were just going to order at the restaurant, there might not have been excess food at all.

        • babs June 17, 2014, 7:40 pm

          She said it was in the community room, suggesting an apartment or residential complex which offers a meeting place. She didn’t mention a restaurant. If catering was involved, that would have provided another set of problems. She would not have left it out of the story.

          • Kelly L. June 18, 2014, 9:39 am

            Oh, is that what a community room is? I wasn’t sure if it was that, or the “party room” at a restaurant. It’s not a term I’m familiar with.

  • Cerys June 17, 2014, 12:22 pm

    I just had a sudden inkling that I can’t shake. The OP is writing a book or a screenplay and is using eHell as a resource. The plot holes are there because (a) it’s a first draft, and (b) s/he wants to see which holes are questioned first.

    • bloo June 17, 2014, 3:08 pm

      Love it. So far this is the only idea that makes any sense.

      • Moose June 17, 2014, 7:51 pm

        I dunno, I kind of think the OP might be having some kind of episode. I believe this person planned an event all by herself, but that’s about it. Invitations went out two months before. So who all RSVPed? Clearly some folks did because she got “a variety of music for everyone”. But here’s where it falls down for me:

        1 – She wrote vows, but doesn’t say “WE wrote vows”.
        2 – She bought a new dress, but says nothing about her husband planning his wardrobe.
        3 – She got a cake, flowers, and “set things up”. No one else was involved at all. No one?
        4 – The event is cancelled within two weeks and no one contacts her. Not one person among their “close friends and family” confirms this with her after getting second-hand information. Really?
        5 – Husband has no idea that there is a cake and flowers coming. Or food/beverages?*
        6 – A 5pm start time on a regular workday? Defies all common sense.

        And the kicker: No mention of the party at any time the night before or morning of that would alert the husband that it was still happening. No “What tie are you wearing?” No “Will you be home early enough to help me dress the kids?” No “Who will be the designated driver tonight?” No, “Please pick up some extra napkins on your way home.” No, “Do we have an extension chord for the portable stereo?” Nothing?

        The MIL only mutters the negative stuff “under her breath” never directly to the OP. What, like hearing voices? If this is not a fake entry, then I think the OP had grandiose ideas and no one else has any idea of the full extent of her expectations or ideas. There is something really wrong with the story as stated or else we have an “unreliable narrator,” IYKWIM.

        * I don’t think there was any food – “community rooms” or “common rooms” are usually just bare-bones, multi-purpose meeting spaces in apartment buildings or housing complexes. Usually food has to be catered. Either way, there would be some costs associated even with snacks and soda , or else there is some kind of kitchen and staff – Was there no discussion with the husband about what kind of basic food and beverages they should get (even chips and pop), how much they would need, what they wanted to spend, etc.

    • Lynne June 17, 2014, 6:34 pm

      Hear, hear.

    • mark June 18, 2014, 3:26 am

      In this case my only advice is she not quit her day job.

  • A different Tracy June 17, 2014, 1:38 pm

    I agree that there are too many plot holes for this to be believable. But on the off chance that any of it IS true, I’m kind of horrified that anyone’s response would be “Well, your party was tacky anyway.”

    • JO June 17, 2014, 7:04 pm

      Agreed! Vow renewals are not inherently tacky. They can be; but just because it’s not something *everyone* would do doesn’t make it automatically wrong. (And even if they were, that shouldn’t justify treating someone that way).

  • Melissa June 17, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Man, this is one time I WISH the OP would PLEASE reply and try to explain some of this craziness…..

  • Melissa June 17, 2014, 1:55 pm

    Another potential explanation:

    OP loves to set people up for failure. It’s apparent she doesn’t get on with her MIL. She’s got some frustration from DH in her tone as well. Did she just wait for MIL to sabotage her so she could play victim?

  • ChicaLola June 17, 2014, 2:09 pm

    When I got married almost 10 years ago, (this fall), I had just finished treatment for cancer. I was bald and poor….so there were things I wasn’t able to do. I did have a dream wedding, in that I married my best friend. But…..I missed having my hair done, and other little things. I always said I’d do a vow renewal at our 10 year. I’d throw a huge party, get my hair done, dress up, and have a great time. Now…..all that time has passed, and we have 3 kids. I’d be happy to have a night out…..but I think the idea can still be nice.

    And………..I really think this submission is fake. Yikes!!!

  • Laura June 17, 2014, 2:55 pm

    I hope this letter is fake because otherwise this is one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard: sad that the woman didn’t have any friends who helped her planned or was coming over to help her get ready; sad that she had no communication with her husband (no, “can’t wait for our party tonight!” no, “what suit are you wearing?”) sad that it took 5 years of planning for her to buy a dress and pick up a cake and flowers that can be done at any grocery store, sad that her mother in law has so much control over her she knew who her entire guest list was and how to contact them, and finally, sad that instead of cutting this horrible woman off, she went to her anniversary party 2 months later. So while presumably this is fake, I can also see how it might not be if the woman had severe self-esteem issues and was in a controlling relationship…and if so I hope she gets counseling and the help she needs. Everyone deserves to feel loved and appreciated.

  • Jays June 17, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Agree that it’s fake, for so many of the reasons others have cited.

    However …. OP, if you’re out there and that’s not the case, chime in, please? I’d really like to know more.

  • Margaret June 17, 2014, 4:01 pm

    We try to remember when our anniversary rolls around because it’s a great excuse to go our for supper, but there have been times when we didn’t realize it was our anniversary that day until late in the evening. It’s just not a big deal to us. My parents NEVER celebrated their anniversary, and I think his parents only had one big anniversary celebration. I find it unreal that so many of you say that your husband would be kicked out of the house or have to sleep on the couch for forgetting an anniversary. I hope you just mean if he blew you off for big plans, and not just for forgetting the date.

    I also have bad time judgement about parties, so I could totally see me setting up for something like this and scrambling to get it all done (even if it was just basic decorations) and not even noticing the time until half an hour or more after it was supposed to start.

    • Ange June 18, 2014, 12:21 am

      Different relationships have different expectations. Our wedding anniversary is important to me and my husband and we agreed to celebrate it in some way every year. Note: we agreed to celebrate it as a couple. If this is the case with the other commenters I could absolutely see why someone would be upset at their partner’s forgetting, it’s like a sign that they don’t care about what matters to you. It’s not hard to set a reminder in the phone after all.

  • Shhh its me June 17, 2014, 4:41 pm

    This is one of the few submission I think must have either a great many things added , changed,omitted or just plan fabricated.

    Firstly we have to believe this was before cell phones and even that no one had an answering machine. If your spouse , mom and best friend didn’t show up for a vow renewal wouldn’t you leave a message? “Mom /Sue (best friend )you’re not here are you ok?” , “Bob where the heck are you?”

    I believe it’s possible for a MIL to know her sons and DIL best friends and be able to contact them. It’s also possible that OP has no biological family or they live very distant. I might believe if MIL told the right lie friends wouldn’t bother OP directly that night, she very ill/the HC were in a huge fight, they went off for a romantic night. The lie would have to be on the day of. But , all these circumstances together seem very unlikely. Also it seems OP would have included “MIL told everyone I had a terrible case of the flu and was not to be disturbed.” Then if it was before cell phones how did MIL manage to cancel a party without OP finding out. I can’t believe for a second MIL cancelled this weeks before and OP had no clue till an hour after the event was suppose to start. I’m not sure I can believe the husband didn’t call home to see where his wife was and/or no one answered the phone at MILs OP didn’t call MIL.

  • Serena June 17, 2014, 5:55 pm

    I believe this story is true…but its been skewed, and perhaps in such a way to make the OP look like a victim…

    Maybe she divined up her MIL, and her husband played devil’s advocate all by himself? Maybe the event was cancelled because of a family emergency, but she still wanted her event so made up the latter part of the story or remained convinced people would still attend? Maybe she literally just doesn’t communicate with anyone, tossed her phone aside, and waited for people to come, but neglected the 20 missed calls in inserted an uncaring family?

    Who knows, but for reasons stated by other commentators, there is no way this can be 100% true. (And if it is, she better get out of that marriage ASAP.)

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