Witches of the Weddings
Momsters, Smothers of
the Bride or Groom, SIniSTER/SIniSTERs-in-Law and Dadulas
Jun-Dec 2000 Archive
Jan-Jul 2003 Archive
This story is about my sister-in-law Tara, who is a year
and a half older than my husband and the Drama Queen of the family. Tara
loves to call attention to herself and if something isn't about her, you
can bet she'll somehow WILL make it about her. She's very grumpy and not a
great person to be around, plus she thinks the whole world owes her
something because of the horrible life she's had (which is insulting to
her parents because they did everything for her!).
Anyway, when my husband and I first began to date, Tara
had just broken up with her ex-husband. At our first introduction, she
seemed pleasant enough, even going out of her way to talk to me and such.
Well, all that changed when my husband (her brother) got engaged after 7
months of dating. Now, it doesn't seem like a very long dating period and
Tara never failed to point this out. But, you have to understand that both
my husband and I consider marriage very sacred and very special, and our
engagement and impending marriage was not decided lightly. So, on a
beautiful August afternoon, hubby proposed and I accepted.
That same day, we went back to his parents' home (he still lived with them
as he worked and went to school) and after a few hours of discussion,
decided on a wedding date three months later.
With our date set for November, we told his parents who
were pleased. Well, fast forward to about a month and a half. Hubby is
home, talking with his parents, when Tara saunters in for a visit. She
makes quite a showing of talking with her hands, prompting hubby to ask,
"What's that on your finger?" To which Tara giggles and replies,
"My engagement ring; I'm getting married, too!" Well, hubby and
his parents don't know what to say as they didn't know she was seriously
dating anyone. Turns out, Tara reconnected with Mark, an old boyfriend of
hers that she had once been engaged to, but broke up with about a year
ago. So what to do? Everyone smiles and congratulates her, even though it
is a bit odd.
Two weeks after that, I am over at my future in-laws'
home, finalizing our wedding plans: we've already ordered and received the
invitations/announcements, addressed them, reserved and put a deposit down
on the reception hall, and completed our fittings for tuxedos and dresses.
While I am there sealing envelopes, FMIL enters the room, clearly upset.
When asked what was wrong, she said she'd just received a phone call from
a hysterical Tara. It turns out, Tara and Mark finally decided on a
wedding date...exactly two weeks before mine. As I sit there stunned (the
ENTIRE family knew when our wedding was set for!), FMIL proceeds to tell
me that Tara realizes how close together our weddings will be and is
afraid that the out-of-town guests will only want to come to ours because
hubby is liked better. (HUH?) So couldn't we change our wedding date for
later? Hubby and I look at each other, clearly flabbergasted among all of
our invitations. NOTE: Tata and Mark have only decided now on their date
and haven't ordered their invitations yet, whereas we've had ours for
almost a month now! So I say, "No, I'm sorry. We've already finalized
everything." To which FMIL sighs and says, "I understand; but it
will make things so much easier for Tara." EXCUSE ME?! So
now I'm on Tara's crap list and I could care less.
With every family gathering, she never fails to mention
how no one will come to her wedding and how she won't see any of her
relatives, blah, blah, blah. I say nothing and for the most part, everyone
ignores her...well, except for FMIL. Tara has mastered the art of
emotional blackmail of her mother, which always ends with Tara getting her
way. Well, except for this time. When she realizes hubby and I are going
to go ahead with our wedding plans, she is so infuriated, she does not
speak to us until the day of her wedding. And that is only because she
needs hubby to play the wedding march. Need I say she is like that:
refusing to speak to someone until she needs something?
Anyway, both of our weddings were great. The out-of-town relatives came to
both celebrations and all enjoyed good times and food. But, looking at
Tara's wedding pictures, you wouldn't know it; she's frowning in EVERY
picture! Hubby and I have been married for 7 years now and we still laugh
A full eight months later, I still need to get this off
my chest. I met and became engaged to a wonderful, professional,
successful man from a very down-to-earth New York family.
Because my first marriage ended in divorce 5 years earlier after a 7
year run in which we tried counseling, religious instruction, a trial
separation, vacations, etc., etc., I was thrilled that I had finally found
my Mr. Wonderful and looking forward to a life with a partner after 5
years of grieving a lost marriage.
After a full 3 years of knowing each other through
business and a year and a half of dating, I accepted his proposal (and the
beautiful engagement ring I never had before) at an elegant dinner at
a 5-star restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. My 8-year old
daughter had met, spent substantial time with him and liked him. My
ex-husband and his wife (we share custody of our daughter as reasonable
adults) had met and liked him. We had mutual friends who wished us
the best; my brothers and sisters met and adored him. We were of an
appropriate age to take our responsibilities seriously (I am 33, he is
41). All was progressing perfectly.
Enter my parents. My parents have never been to
one of their children's weddings. I am not kidding. I have 2
brothers and 1 sister. All of them had invited my folks--there was
always some reason why they couldn't make the effort. Not this time,
I thought. I booked a simple but lovely and elegant ceremony and
dinner for 60 close family and friends at the beautiful 5-star resort at
which we had been engaged 7 months after our engagement dinner. I
assured my parents that because this was my second marriage and I was
older and made a nice living, that I would pay for the entire event, so
that money would not be a sticking point, even though my parents are quite
well-off. I told them that I would also fly in my fiancé's family
from New York at considerable expense and put them up at a nearby hotel so
that the wedding would be on the west coast, WITHIN 45 MINUTES OF THEIR
HOME. I paid for my father's tuxedo. I chose my mother's dress, because she claimed helplessness at
going to the shop. I would have arranged for a car to drive them,
and told them that they could stay at my maid-serviced and beautiful home
the night of the wedding (it would be completely empty) so that they would
not have to make the drive home after midnight. Then I began to
remember why I had eloped the first time...
My father began by writing me an email that was so
outrageous, even months later, I am still in tears. He called me a
tramp (that's a nice way to say it), said that he wouldn't come near the
wedding, that I was a bad daughter and a horrible mother to be thinking of
marrying again, and after I moved to New York, who would care for them in
their old age? (They are in their early 60s). I couldn't even
reply. True, he was angry that I did not come to the hospital after
my mother had a pre-arranged surgery because I was at my final week of
work for that particular company and I wouldn't be able to get home in
time to pick up my daughter from school, but never mind that I had asked
her to please schedule it either the week before or after so that I could
be by her side (she had a three-month window to decide). I
went 2 days after the surgery on Saturday to check on mom, called her
immediately after she woke up, grilled the doctors by phone and sent flowers, but apparently that wasn't good enough.
I am convinced that he was just using it as an excuse to exempt himself
from yet another one of his children's weddings. What a meanie.
Long story short, I held out until the end. I
called and wrote pleading emails, I apologized verbally and in writing
about not being there for the surgery, all to no avail, but I was still
convinced that they would come, even after they began to visit my daughter
at my ex-husband's house behind my back. I ordered and set aside
corsages for my mother and grandmother, booked their dinners at
considerable expense and saved the front row for them. Not only did
they not show up, but my grandmother and mother's sister sent regrets that
they would not be there either, using outright lies as reasons.
Thankfully, my brothers were there, my sister called that day (her baby
was due the following day and she couldn't get on a plane) and several of
my cousins (children of the aunt who declined) showed up and we had a
wonderful time together. It was still an elegant and beautiful day
to remember, but my in-laws still haven't figured out how my parents could
have turned out such wonderful kids and still be such
jerks. I can't even imagine the snub they must have felt after they
flew all the way out to the west coast and my parents didn't even have the
decency to introduce themselves, much less invite them over for a meal.
By the way, the rest of the family hasn't stopped
talking about what a beautiful event we had. Every detail was
perfect and I feel that we appropriately celebrated our marriage, even
though it was my second. I did wear an ivory-colored very simple
gown for my fiancé's sake--it was his first marriage. My little
girl was a beautiful flower girl. It would have been wonderful for
them to see.
Needless to say, my relationship with my parents is
very strained; my husband can't even talk about them without flying into a
rage. Now that I am expecting a baby and my hormones are in
such a state, I can't even listen to my mother's infrequent voice mails in
which she claims to "love me." I still haven't
received acknowledgment that they received an invitation to the wedding,
much less a card to congratulate us.
I enjoy your site and have several fun tales from my
wedding. For now I’ll just tell the first one, the touching story
of my engagement.
My dear husband and I had been dating for quite a
while, and had discussed getting married for several months. He
finally picked out a ring and asked me on the weekend of his birthday.
It was a really romantic moment and I was very excited. We saw my
parents first and told them we had news, and my mother immediately guessed
that we were engaged. In other words, this wasn’t really a
surprise. Then we called my husband’s parents to tell them.
He called and I was on the extension, and we both told them the news.
They made appropriate congratulatory comments, asked about the date, and
so on. Then we hung up but I stayed at his apartment as we were
having dinner there that evening with friends.
About a half an hour later, the phone rang and my
husband (then my fiancé, of course) answered. It was his father,
calling to tell him how deeply hurt his mother was, how shocked they were,
what a terrible mistake he was making, that *I* was far too immature to
get married. Apparently he didn’t consider that I might still be
there and his shouting could be heard even though I was not directly on
the phone. Notice that he didn’t come at it saying he was upset,
but rather telling us how hurt my future MIL was. This has been a
pattern for nearly 20 years now – very polite to my face, then Dad talks
to my husband privately and tells him how hurt Mom is. I’m not
sure she ever really does get that upset. It was not an auspicious
beginning for a relationship with them, but it certainly got my DH’s
dander up to the point where he was willing to tell them it was his own
life and he thought I was the perfect choice. My husband was the
first to marry, his brother married a perfect woman (just like his own
mother in nearly every way) and then the younger ones unfortunately
married people like me! I love to socialize with them, and we
compare tips on how to cope.
My sister and her fiancé were living in Chicago before
their wedding, as this is where the groom and his family are from.
They chose to have the wedding at our parents' home in Alabama. A
block of rooms was reserved at the closest hotel and when the reception
was over all of the out of town guests, and there were many, returned to
the hotel and continued the party there in the suite of the parents of the
groom. My sister's new FIL began a baby pool. Everyone chose a
date that the couple's first child would be born and contributed a dollar
to the lottery. My sister's new MIL thought this a fine idea and
began a lottery of her own...A DIVORCE POOL for the new couple.
Needless to say, everyone was shocked and appalled and the after party
ended quite quickly.
My 80's wedding was a nightmare. Me being the bride of
this horrible wedding, started at 6:00 a.m. with my very drunk father
telling me to get out of my childhood home and take my mother with me. He
was notifying us he was bringing a new women there.
I arrived at the church at 7:00a.m.me being homeless at
the moment. I noticed the church was very hot, this was a August wedding
in the south. The ac was broke and couldn't be fixed in time. As the day
progressed I thought everything might be ok. WRONG,it gets worse.
My wedding consultant tells me my father is too drunk
and would not be able to give me away. At the last minute my uncle would
perhaps be a standby. My father being a stubborn man, decides
to carry me down the aisle. I can hardly walk due to holding him up and balancing
myself with my huge southern belle dress remember the 80's. At the last pew
of the church my huge veil becomes entrapped and falls off my head. During
the ceremony one of my bridesmaid faints, besides its just 90 degrees in
the church. My father screams out and cries during our wedding song, the
unity candle doesn't work, and the ringbearer plays with his pillow until
he breaks it, and he refuses to walk up the aisle with the flower
The reception doesn't get better. My still drunken
father follows me around the whole time crying, and no one cuts the
wedding cake. Our wedding was talked about for years, I can happily say
our marriage is still going strong and we have 2 beautiful children, I now
help other people with their weddings.
My wedding, boring as it was, went off with out a hitch.
This is about my brother, Bill's, wedding. Bill was marrying
Kathy, who was nice enough, but a bit eccentric. She would pretend to fall
asleep during family get-together to let us know she was done.
As Kathy's parents were throwing the wedding, my parents
were putting together the rehearsal dinner. They reserved a local
restaurant. They called the bride to ask if there were any special
requests or needs. None. My mom ordered spaghetti for everyone (it
was an Italian restaurant). At the dinner, it turned out the sauce
was a meat sauce, and it was Lent. So, the mother of the bride turned to
my parents and said, "How could you serve this during Lent??"
She refused to eat the dinner and made a scene about it.
The MOH was the sister of the bride. She and the bride
ran to the restroom. So, my sister and I followed them there. When we
entered, they looked at us and immediately stopped talking. We refused to
leave until they did (trying to cut off any opportunity to bad talk our
parents). This happened 3 times. During the dinner, the MOH,
kept leaning to the bride and making snide comments about our parents.
Finally, my brother stood up and said, "Thank you
everyone for coming, but the wedding is off!" The bride started
pointing at each of the brothers and sisters in our family saying it was
our fault for being so judgmental of her family (imagine, not wanting
people being rude to our parents). After much screaming
and yelling, everyone finally left the restaurant. My brother was
extremely upset, needless to say. Nicest guy in the world, hooked up with
nuts. He finally worked things out with her.....spring forward
to the morning.
We arrive at the Church, but no MOH. She finally
pulls up in front of the Church---yells to the bride through an open car
window that there is no way in HELL she will be part of this wedding, and
pulls away. Nice way to treat your younger sister. I don't care if I HATE
the guy, you show your sister all the support and love she needs.
Especially on her wedding day. So, the poor girl is without a MOH.
She chooses our 12 year old niece to do the duties! Poor
At the reception--the room was literally split. The
families wouldn't mingle, and the MOH showed up. Simply to throw
elbows while dancing. She got me a few times but I refrained from
retaliating for my brother's sake.
When my husband and I started planning our wedding, my
mother-in-law-to-be started planning her "family reunion".
Little did we realize that she meant for them to coincide...not a day
apart, but on the same day. Yes, my lovely mother-in-law
took advantage of the time period between our wedding and reception to
split the entire wedding guest list in half. My family and friends
went to my mother's house for hors d'oeuvers and my husband's family went
to his mother's for a "reunion."
Not only did my mother-in-law make an obvious
split between the bride's and groom's family, she took all the groom's
relatives from the wedding party with her! (I was surprised she
didn't demand my husband's attendance!) You can't even
begin to imagine the hurt and embarrassment my family had to face at the
obvious absence of part of the wedding party and all my husband's
relatives. Instead of a blending of two families, my mother-in-law
drew a line in the sand. Little did I know that this was a
foretelling of things to come!
My family has never been fond of "assigned
seating" at weddings. We always felt that we'd like to choose
who we want to sit with rather than get placed with whoever the bride and
groom chose for us. As I planned my wedding, I chose not
to assign seats. My family was very small and would have comprised
embarrassingly few tables. In addition, this is just not something
my family believes in.
Hearing this, my mother-in-law-to-be tried to convince
me to create a seating chart. I explained my reasoning to her and
thought that would be the end of it. Four times, she came back and
pushed for assigned seating. Then, it happened. I can
still remember sitting in my living room with an uncomfortable silence. I saw
my future mother-in-law nudge my future father-in-law. He cleared
his throat and said, "About this, uh, seating chart, uh, we think
that....." and he proceeded to recite the speech he had
rehearsed. Well, once again I patiently explained that I was not
going to have assigned seating and that I was caught between what my
family and I wanted and what my mother-in-law wanted. My
mother-in-law even suggested that I just have assigned seating just for
her side of the family. Well, now that would be tacky!
That was the end of it, or so I thought.
Then, it happened. At my wedding reception, there
was my mother-in-law, right by the door, waiting for the guests to arrive.
As they came in, she ran through a mental seating chart and then ushered
her family to the seats she had "assigned" to them.
Needless to say, she managed to place all of her family at the very front
tables! So, in spite of my wishes, she got her way and offended my
family (who didn't get ushered to a table) at the same time.
I'll never forget the picture the photographer took of
her at the reception. There she was, in all her glory, standing
straight and tall, hands clasped, expectantly waiting for "her
guests" to arrive so she could usher them to the right table.
My husband and I hired the very best photographer
available for our wedding. Having excellent wedding pictures was important
My mother-in-law was thrilled about our wedding
because she looked forward to having all her family together. In
fact, our wedding ceased to be "our wedding"; rather, it became
her "family reunion". That's all she talked
about..."the family reunion". I still remember it
clearly. At the wedding reception, there we were, ready to cut the
cake when we asked, "Where's the photographer?" He had
been suspiciously absent for quite a while. Finally, we
found him toward the back of the hall, standing in front of a group of
seated people, looking very overwhelmed. And, there was my
mother-in-law with him. She had corralled him with a
list of all the different family members and all the different
combinations of pictures she wanted taken. Off she'd go, grabbing
this one and that one for a picture. Then, she'd go in search of
someone else for another picture. And this went on and on while the
Meanwhile, the clock was ticking on our
wedding reception and our precious memories were being lost on
"family reunion" photos. I couldn't believe
how disappointed my mother-in-law looked when I announced that the
photographer needed to come and take cake-cutting pictures. Then, I
heard it. She announced to those present, "We'll resume taking
pictures as soon as the cake cutting is over."
My fiancé's Step Mother insisted on throwing us an
engagement party in order to get gifts because AND I QUOTE "We have
been giving other people's kids gifts for years and now its our turn to
get the gifts..."
First off, I read that it isn't proper etiquette to have
gifts at the engagement party not to mention a party that a family member
throws for you.
So, in an effort to offset her barbarian greediness and
lack of etiquette, I asked that we not open gifts in front of
everyone because its tacky. Also, I didn't feel it necessary to make a
showing of who gave what, seeing as my family isn't
"nouveau-riche" like they are.
She told me AND I QUOTE YET AGAIN that my fiancé
"could open the gifts by himself then."
Poor poor etiquette ladies...and downright rude.
I might have to counter by losing her bridal shower
invite in the circular file.
I love my husband with all of my heart. He is a
wonderful, kind thoughtful man. After almost two years of marriage I have
decided he must be secretly adopted. I know many people have problems with
their in-laws but our issues seem to get worse over time.
While we were dating, I got along well with my husband's
family. He used to dread spending time with them, but I always thought
they were fun. His mom is fairly gossipy and loves to "dish out the
dirt on people", but it was kind of amusing. We would have dinner, a
couple glasses of wine and she would tell hilarious stories about which
ever one of her friends or family members was currently on "her
Everything was fine until the day we announced our
engagement. Our parents knew about the proposal before I did. He had asked
my parent for permission the day prior. However, we wanted to meet with
each family and celebrate. This was the beginning of the end.
My husband's sister is a troublemaker. She is the black
sheep of the family, i.e. - needing to be bailed out of bankruptcy,
relationships, jobs, etc. My husband is a lawyer and I work in counseling.
We have both been called in several times to help this woman through one
crisis or another. However, her parents are totally blind to her flaws and
make excuses for her.
The day we were to announce the engagement, SIL was
supposed to be at their house so that we could have lunch with them and
celebrate. She was very late, and they kept trying to push back the time.
Eventually we informed his parents that we were supposed to meet my
parents for dinner, so if they wanted us to visit it would have to be
soon. They were livid that my parents were getting in the way of this
"family" event. After we finally arrived, his mother told me
that she would "have to wait and see if there was room for me in the
Over the course of our engagement, his sister tried to
sabotage our wedding. She tried to talk him out of marrying me stating
that she "didn't feel sisterly towards me." I tried to offer an
olive branch by asking her to be a bridesmaid. She accepted and I made a
concerted effort to befriend her.
I brought all the bridesmaids to a local shop to let
them select their dresses, and took them to lunch to show my appreciation.
I figured it would give them a chance to get to know each other. It was a
very nice lunch. We all chatted and laughed. I made sure to sit next to
SIL so she wouldn't feel awkward around my friends. I always try to be a
good hostess and I made sure not to let the conversation drift to topics
that would leave her out.
My husband-to- be called me later and asked what we had
talked about at lunch, because his sister went home in tears. I was
stunned. The day had gone smoothly. She told his mother a huge pack of
lies. She pretended that we had picked on her and tortured her all
afternoon. She claimed that we had all gone for my bachelorette party and
intentionally did not invite her. That was a complete lie. The girls
started discussing my MOH's bachelorette party and I very clearly
explained to SIL that we had MOH's bachelorette party a few weeks earlier
as her wedding was also approaching. That it was a tradition, we would
probably have one for me in a few months and she would be invited. Then I
tried to steer the conversation to a more inclusive topic. There was no
way she could have been confused. She this and several other complete lies
to my future MIL.
She complained to her whole side of the family that all
of my friends were mean to her while they were planning my shower. My
friends all say that she never returned one single phone call or even the
RSVP. They had no contact with her. She arrived at the shower just before
I did. They had to scramble to find a place for her at the head table.
One month before the wedding, my future husband called
me and sounded as upset as I had ever heard him. Apparently SIL was
suffering from kidney stones, her doctor had called MIL and told her not
to worry they weren't going to attempt treatment until after the baby was
born? THE BABY?!? This was a big surprise to everyone as SIL is unmarried.
She was 5 months pregnant and never mentioned it to anyone. So they had a
huge family crisis over this. Her parents were mad at all of us and sure
that I would "kick her out" of the wedding. But as it was the
year 2001 and not 1801, and SIL was a 32-year-old woman, I let her decide.
My seamstress worked wonders and got her dress to fit and she chose to
remain a bridesmaid.
When I eventually did have my "girls night
out" and I did not invite my SIL. I was honest and told my MIL that
although we had discussed it earlier, at this point I wasn't including SIL
as we would be in a smoky bar and she would be over 5 months pregnant. I
also mentioned that I didn't trust her enough to be alone with her as she
had a history of making up stories about me. My MIL in denied that her
precious daughter would ever lie, but she took it is stride, or so I
Two weeks before the wedding, my MIL called my on the
phone screaming about what a horrible person I was not to invite SIL to
the night out. She called me a liar and a troublemaker. I cried for hours
after we got off the phone. I usually get along with everyone and I
couldn't (and still can't) believe my future MIL hates me. For one second,
I even considered called off the wedding, even though I love my husband. I
figured that maybe they could see something that we couldn't, as they were
so dead set against the wedding. My husband convinced me not to take it
personally; it would have been the same no matter whom he was marrying. He
decided that enough was enough and told his mother that we would be
focusing on our wedding for the next two weeks and not to call either one
of us with anything relating to SIL. MIL had a fit and told us that she
might skip the wedding.
She did come and she was nasty all day. Our wedding
video shows her complaining about me several times to other family
members. It also has her leaving a message to us relating to how sons need
to stay close to their mothers and not let their wives steal them away.
Even FIL looks embarrassed by her behavior.
SIL, however, stole the show. She was obviously six
months pregnant in her formal wear and MIL had forbidden anyone to mention
it. SIL and her boyfriend took inappropriate pictures with our camera,
nearly knocked down some elderly guests, and danced very provocatively. At
one point we went into the lobby of the country club to take pictures and
we caught them changing the letters on the kiosk. It had originally read
"Congratulations Mark and Lisa". They switched it to read
"Today is your low score Mark and Lisa". My husband was
embarrassed and mad. I told him to laugh it off, as it is really no
reflection on us. Every wedding has little problems mostly it was
Since then we have not had much contact with SIL. MIL
pressured me into helping her during SIL's baby shower. I know, I know,
family shouldn't throw the shower, but SIL does not have any friends.
Also, pointing out an etiquette breach would not be wise, so I agreed to
help, to ease family tensions. But SIL has continued to tell lies about
me, so I have no contact with her now. FIL tried to pick a physical fight
with my husband at a Christmas party over the SIL issues. SIL no longer
speaks to MIL and FIL because MIL and FIL tried to convince my husband to
help them sue SIL for "grandparents rights." He declined the
case. FIL also threatened to call a hit man on us. It was very bizarre.
MIL, FIL and my husband have tried counseling to no
avail. MIL is still horrible to me, jealous of my family and plays games
every time we see her. The nicer I am, the meaner she gets. I cannot win.
They claim that I am a "primadonna" and my husband it "too
big for his britches" because we leave situations rather than engage
in public screaming matches. She also complains that we don't see her
enough. I wonder why?
It has been almost two years of this garbage and we are
about finished. My husband and I are trying to start a family and while I
cannot imagine my children not knowing their grandparents, neither can I
imagine allowing these toxic people around them. It is all quite sad. My
advice, weddings are stressful for everyone. Try to respect everyone
involved because the marriage and family relationships are much more
important than wedding day.
First, I really enjoy your website! Thanks!
My story is about my brother "Mike's" wedding,
when he married "Kay."
Mike and Kay decided to get married fairly young- he was
22, she was 20. They'd only been dating a year. Now, naturally, my mom was
concerned that they might regret this decision and wanted them to think it
through thoroughly. In other words, she was being a perfectly normal,
concerned mother. However, after discussing it with him, she decided that
he was over 21, was convinced this was what he wanted to do, and she would
Now, my dad, who is deceased, was an only child. Mike is
the only son in our family. So Mike had about 4 or 5 heirloom rings to
choose from to present to his bride. My mother, in an effort to show her
support, offered her the ring that our father had given her, which Mike
accepted. The ring was lovely, and Mike had it reset, which we all agreed
made it the perfect combination of old and new. He presented it to Kay on
New Year's Eve of 2001-2002, and we were all very happy for them.
The first battle came when Mike and Kay began to chose
their date. Originally they wanted to get married in August of 2002. The
only issue with that was that my husband and I were getting married in
October of 2002. We'd been engaged since October of 2000 and already set
our date. My mom was concerned that not only would it steal our thunder
(which I had resolved just to keep my mouth shut about), but that our
family already had to travel to my wedding, and now they would be asked to
travel to Mike's wedding two months before that. She felt it was too tight
on people's budgets, and asked them to reconsider their date.
Well, national politics ended up dictating the date
anyway. Both Mike and Kay are in the Air Force ROTC, and Mike was
graduating from college and being commissioned in May of 2002. In order to
improve their chances of being stationed together and hoping that Mikes
"married" status might help keep him home, especially with the
political situation being what it is, Mike and Kay decided to get married
a week after Mike's graduation. My mom agreed to this date, and all seemed
So things move forward. Mom provides the guest list.
She's a bit dismayed at how few people she's allowed to invite, but the
bride's family insists on paying for the wedding, so I tell her that it's
going to be fine. Everyone will understand. (The bride's mother has six
sisters, so you can see where that family might take up a lot of the
budget.) The bride's family very kindly hosts the couple an engagement
party, to which they invite me and my fiancé. I take the 4 hour bus ride
to my finance's house, then we drive 4 hours to the engagement party. On
the entire trip, I see Mike for 45 minutes.
Well, I say to my fiancé as we're driving back, Mike is
under a LOT of stress. And he truly was. The week before he and Kay had
been in a BAD car accident. I mean, the car was totaled. Less than a month
and a half from now, he's graduating college, getting commissioned in the
Air Force, starting a military life (with the threats of war being rather
constant), AND getting married. The poor boy is allowed to be stressed. As
the weeks go by and my mother complains about how little contact she's
having with Mike, my sister and I repeat this as a litany. Just let him
get over the stress and he'll be back.
My sister and I were SO naive.
Fast forward to the weekend of graduation. Graduation is
a royal pain for my fiancé and I to attend. I have to take the bus out to
my fiancé's place, and then we have to drive nine hours. But we do it,
because my little brother is only going to graduate college once. My
92-year old grandmother gets a ride down. My parents drive 13 hours. So
does my sister, who could be working that weekend (her only income as she
is putting herself through nursing school). The graduation is a two day
event, and during the time we also host a little bridal shower for Kay
since none of us could attend her real bridal shower... and my brother
barely says a word to any of us. Okay, now I'm starting to get annoyed.
As we're leaving, my mother asks if she can talk to
Mike. He insists that anything she needs to say, she can say in front of
Kay. She insists she'd like to speak privately. (What she wanted was some
mother-son time to tell him how proud she is of him. My family is
extremely close, and Mom and Mike have always been even closer.) This is
where my mom has her bad moment- when Mike refuses again, she starts
screaming at him in the parking lot. She was especially upset that,
despite the time and trouble my family went through to witness his
graduation, he couldn't be bothered to spend any time with us. My
stepfather, fiancé, and I pull Kay away from Mom and try to calm her
down, reassuring her that Mom sometimes blows, but she never says anything
truly hurtful. She just turns up the volume.
Anyway, Mom talks to Mike and calms down. Then, very
calmly and very civilly- and very sincerely- she apologizes to both Mike
and Kay. She doesn't try to explain away with "You made me so
mad", she just says she had no right to act like that and she's very
sorry. She also apologizes to the rest of us. Now, I don't expect instant
forgiveness- my Mom screwed up. But she took responsibility, she
apologized, and she was willing to work. And as much as my brother was
under stress, my mom was too, because it was her son that was graduating,
getting married, and getting commissioned in one week.
So the next weekend is the wedding. I take the bus
ANOTHER four hours, and my fiancé and I drive down again (another four
hours). We are unable to attend the rehearsal dinner, because my fiancé
had just gotten off the plane from Reno and couldn't make the drive in
time. (In a side note, my sister tells me the minister told her that she
was going to Hell for concentrating on her career and not being married
yet- my sister is all of 25 and had broken off an engagement earlier that
year.) We don't see Mike at ALL before the service, even when my fiancé,
sister, and I take their wedding present over to the place where he is
During the day of the wedding, Mike forgoes the one
request my mom makes, which is to spend a little time with him. Realizing
he was busy, I had suggested he bring her along to pick up the tuxes or
eat lunch with her- all were ignored. So my mom is quite upset. As we meet
up with my grandmother, she is also upset. Mike had picked her up from the
airport... and ignored her ever since. Not good.
The wedding is a rather nice affair that I wouldn't
laugh at so hard if I wasn't so bitter. It wasn't Kay's wedding- it was
Kay's mother's wedding. The theme (did you know weddings have themes?) was
"In the Garden." This is Martha Stewart's long-lost cousin,
apparently. And I've got to give the devil her due, the place looked
lovely, the food was good, and the overall presentation was very nice. But
something was off, and my sister, fiancé and I realized it as we sat down
to dinner. We were seated with a collection of people we'd never met
before. Now, these people were very very nice, but I had two cousins there
that I never see, due to geographical constraints. They were seated across
the room from us. And my step-siblings, whom I also rarely see and get
along with quite well, were seated somewhere in between. In fact, no one
in the groom's family was allowed to sit together! (But the groom's
friends were.) Apparently, we were being used as filler!
Okay, so that's annoying, but how long do you sit at
tables? So the three of us keep our mouths shut and make small talk with
the very nice people seated with us. Afterwards, my fiancé seeks out my
grandmother while I'm talking to my step-siblings. My grandmother is
furious. Mike and Kay have already done the rounds of their table (she was
seated with my mom and her husband, the bride's parents, and the
minister), and Mike did not say a single word to her. Kay said a few
things, but aside from that, nothing. My grandmother is especially mad
because she gave Mike $1000 for a graduation present and gave them $1000
for a wedding present, both of which they knew at this point. She's also
mad because Mike got upset at our mother. Mike and Kay had a less
traditional guest book, where guests could sign longer messages. Mom wrote
a very long one, but because she was constantly getting distracted and
everyone was talking about it, rather than signing it "Mom and
Will" she signed it "Mom and Mike." He was furious.
Around 10:00 I'm talking to my grandmother, and my
brother finally comes over and asks my grandmother to dance. She turns him
down. So he asks me. I accept, and as we're dancing I ask about the
groom's cake, which looks really good. He says that's being served at the
after-hours party at Kay's parents house. There has not been one single
word about this party to the groom's family. Being annoyed enough already,
I switch the subject, and mention that the wedding is very lovely and the
people we sat with were very nice. He kind of makes a face and tells me
that Mom was such a pain during the seating process, saying that she'd
like to seat her own guests. I wonder to myself what's wrong with this,
and change the subject again, saying that I really enjoyed being able to
celebrate his marriage with him, and I'm looking forward to dancing with
him at my own wedding. As soon as the song ends he's off. That's the last
we see of him that weekend, because apparently there's a day after brunch
as well. Not that we were informed of this, mind you.
Two weeks later, Grandma calls Mom. She's very worried
about the check she gave Mike and Kay- it hasn't been cashed yet, and
she's concerned that something happened to it. Mom had already talked to
them since they'd returned from their honeymoon, and was aware that Mike
felt she was being too clingy, but decides to call the couple anyway,
because it's not often Grandma gets worried. She leaves two messages. The
next day she gets home from school, and there's a message on her machine.
"Mother, I will call you when I'm d@mn well ready."
Well, he's finally ready and calls her a few days later.
After clearing up confusion about the check, he goes into a long rant.
She's too clingy (she wants him to call once a week). She treats him like
a child (he's been the man of the house since he was 12). She didn't
accept his wife. (Remember what ring Mom gave him to give to Kay???) She
needs to get counseling. She tells him that she is seeing a psychologist
(which is true). He tells her no. She needs to get counseling with a
pastor. She needs to find God. (My mom has not attended church much since
my father's death, because it is extremely painful for her.) And she needs
to focus on her relationship with Will. Now, I've been angry with my
mother before, and to this day I maintain rightfully so. But I never, EVER
would have spoken to my mother the way he spoke to her. After hurling more
abuse at her, he tells her he will call when she is ready to talk to him.
It's been a year and 2 months, and he still has not called her. When my
sister and I tried to discuss it, we were told "it's not pretty"
and he "didn't want to get us involved."
Well, I took that to mean he was still talking to me,
and since he called in June of 2002, I think that's a fair assumption.
Since his wedding was over I felt free to discuss mine, and he mentioned
that because he was going to be in training, he might not be able to make
it to my wedding. I assured him I understood, and when he got the
invitation, not to bother returning it right away. I realized he might not
know he could come until he was on a plane flying out. With that
particular situation, if we ate the cost of his plate, it wasn't a big
Well, we send out invitations and all, and four days
later I receive his response card. He and Kay aren't coming. So, I call.
Eventually, (he was in training and had no access to phones) he calls me
Okay, I can understand that he might not be able to make
it. Fine. But there is no apology. No "I wish I could be there."
And most importantly to me- absolutely NO mention of the fact he was
supposed to walk me down the aisle. None whatsoever. Although it was a
perfectly civil conversation, I have not heard from him since. And when
the wedding comes, there is no phone call. No card. No email. Absolutely
nothing to say he was thinking of us that day. (We've been married ten
months and there still has been no acknowledgement of the wedding.)
We are baffled by this entire thing. Incidentally, I can
say that my mom was completely fine during the process of planning my
wedding. No wicked witch in sight. In fact, because her own mother had
planned her first wedding down to the smallest detail and she'd recently
planned her second wedding, she was very mindful of not being overbearing.
Both my sister and I remain close to her.
But the absolute and complete kicker came in December of
2002. My mom sent him and his wife two cards. One was a Christmas card,
one was a graduation card as Kay had just finished college. Both were
signed simply "Love, Mom and Will." Because she'd had other
things returned to her, she opted not to put her return address on them.
Mike and Kay wrote Mom's return address on, and wrote "Return to
Sender" on the cards. I have never seen anything so rude in my life!
I truly had the mother in law from hell. I say 'had'
because I am now divorced, and about 50% of the reason for that is because
When planning my wedding the only thing I requested from
both my mother and my mother-in-law to be was that they do not dress in
white, or any kind of close shade (cream/beige) because I wanted to be the
only one in the wedding party in white. My main color scheme was a pastel
floral for the bridesmaids and solid pink for the flower girls. My mom had
a beautiful periwinkle dress that complimented the bridesmaids nicely. I
'suggested' to my MIL that maybe a nice blue or light green might be
really nice. She went for months before the wedding without finding a
dress. Said nothing really caught her eye.
Well 3 wks before the wedding she comes over with it.
Unveils it and its WHITE!!!! Wait, no - she called it 'champagne' - but it
was a winter white. It was so ugly too! Was a flared skirt with a jacket
top that was all lacy. It was HIDEOUS!!!! I said to her "I asked you
not to get a white dress!" and she would reply with a smirk and a
sneer, "It is not white, it is champagne". I asked my fiancé to
talk to her, but being the mama's boy he is, he refused and told me to get
Fast forward to the wedding day and the photos. Whenever
we were taking photos that had both sets of parents in them, they would
stand dead center, with my parents on one side, and us on the other. In
the photos it appears to be their wedding, not ours! Then she wanted one
of her son kissing her ON THE LIPS!!!! It is the grossest picture you have
ever seen - and she had it blown up to an 8x10!!! I burned mine (seriously
- right in the woodstove it went!). She constantly meddled in
the plans for this wedding, and I could give you a book full of stories on
So any women out there who are going to get married,
take one piece of advice from me. If your fiancé will not stand up to her
before the wedding, it gets 10 times worse afterwards! She even went
as far as being so disappointed that her new grandchild (this was 2 yrs
later) was not a boy, that she went out and bought my new daughter boys
clothes and toys, because she could not handle the thought that the family
name might not be passed on!!!
I've been best friends with "Crystal" since
high school. After high school, she went off to college 800 miles from
home where she met her boyfriend "Dan". Dan went to professional
school out of state while Crystal waited for him and finished her own
degree. They had rough times while Dan was away, racking up a giant school
loan, but finally in his last semester, they decide it's time to get
married. By then they had been dating for a total of 7 years. They want a
May wedding, right after graduation.
When Crystal rang me up to tell me the news, I was
thrilled and when she asked I agreed immediately to be her MOH. Since both
the bride and groom's family lived near me, the wedding would be in our
hometown. I'd be helping her with a large part of the planning since she
would be out of town until after her college graduation.
Crystal isn't the ostentatious type and with both being
starving students barely out of school, Crystal wanted a small, private,
inexpensive, no frills wedding. Trust me, with Dan's loan, they didn't
need more debt. Their budget was $4000. I suggested Vegas, where for a
couple thousand dollars, they could have the small, private wedding she
wanted and every detail taken care of by the hotel of their choice.
Crystal loved the idea.
Now in comes the Mother of the Groom from the deepest
parts of Hell. Dan's family is Catholic. (But trust me when I say Dan is
not exactly an altar boy.) MOG's AGHAST at the very thought of a Vegas
wedding, declaring that only "sinners pregnant out of wedlock"
would have a Vegas wedding. No joke. She insists she can plan them a small
church wedding and reception in 4 months to fit their budget of $4000.
Crystal agrees as she knows that Dan always wanted a Church wedding and if
MOG can do it within budget, fine. Most of those attending would be the
Groom's side anyway since most of Crystal's relatives are overseas. I'm
skeptical and leery of MOG but agree to help my friend out the best I can.
As for Dan, through all of this, he just wants to please mummy.
In the hands of the MOG, the small church wedding turns
into a full blown Catholic Mass with double the number of guests, a choir
and a violinist. Just the wedding itself was now over budget and there was
still the reception to pay for. When I point out to Dan that this is WAY
beyond their budget, his reply was "What's another $5000 added to my
$250,000 loan." I couldn't believe the MOG would allow her son to
sink deeper into debt.
It doesn't end there.
Crystal was a very private person and was HORRIFIED at
the MOG's suggestion that they show childhood pictures of both the bride
and groom at the reception full of people who were strangers to her. When
Dan told his mother to scrap the idea, all hell broke loose because she'd
already picked out his pictures to use!
MOG liked to make plans for Crystal and Dan to meet with
the priest, have lunch with the priest, talk with the priest, all without
consulting either of them first. We constantly had to shift our pre-made
plans to appease this woman. She also told Crystal and Dan, being the
sinners they were, they had no authority to decide what kind of wedding
service they were going to pay for! But of course, she did.
MOG at one point wanted to know if Crystal and Dan were
going to spend their wedding night at HER HOUSE. EEEEWEE! I offered to
gift them a night in the honeymoon suite of the classiest hotel near home.
MOG called them every night to hound them about the
details of the wedding, throwing crying fits and tantrums when Crystal
wouldn't agree to something she wanted.
With Crystal out of town, I was the one who went with
Dan, his father and brother to hash out the details of the reception
dinner. When asked about the color for the table linens, Dan says GREEN. I
was shocked because since the beginning of the whole fiasco, Crystal made
it clear that the wedding color would be lavender. I insisted the linens
be lavender to match the chosen color and Dan thought it was
"odd" that the table linens needed to match the color scheme for
the wedding! That was the only major snafu that day. Afterwards, I heard
from Crystal that Dan's father found me to be domineering!
Through all this I supported my friend, lent her an ear
to rant about the loony MOG and consoled her frustrations. Thankfully,
Crystal came to her senses and extracted herself from this psycho family a
month before the wedding date.
I guess this experience traumatized her heavily because
she went completely in the opposite direction when, six months after her
breakup with Dan, Crystal tells me she's met the man of her dreams?! 2
months later she tells me they plan to get married and she's moving back
home to move in with this new man "Josh". 2 weeks after moving
back home and the first time I hear from her after her move she sends me a
2 sentence EMAIL telling me she and Josh had gotten married at the local
The following year Dan's brother got married. They got
married in Vegas, and it was a STAR TREK wedding. I wish I could have been
there to see the look on crazy MOG's face.
This pales in comparison with some of the horrific
things I’ve read about on your site, but here goes.
A bit of background is necessary. My boyfriend’s
mother died when he was a baby, and he was raised by her parents, both of
whom have been deceased for some time. He has never been close to
his remaining relatives, consisting of aunts, cousins and in-laws. In
fact, they view him as an outcast because he’s never had as much money
as they. However, one of his aunts is fanatical about preserving the
image of a happy, tight-knit family (to hell with reality), and she goes
ballistic if we don’t attend every family shindig. It’s easier
to just go than to endure abusive phone calls from her.
My boyfriend and I were invited to her daughter’s (his
cousin’s) wedding. We RSVP’ed and we attended. It was a
huge, very formal extravaganza held at an exclusive country club. I'm
guessing the price tag was in the tens of thousands of dollars. The
ceremony went smoothly, but when we stepped inside for the reception,
things rapidly deteriorated. We found that there were no namecards
for us at any of the tables. This was not a mistake. Despite the
fact that we’d RSVP’ed (on time), no seats had been reserved for us.
When we asked the bride's father what was up, he very curtly told us
to find a place at the table with the photographer, the make-up artist,
the videographer and other paid personnel.
My boyfriend couldn't believe that we were told to sit
with the hired help. Everyone else who was part of the family was
seated with family and friends, not with total strangers. Despite
the obvious snub, we did try to find a seat, but there was no room at that
table either. We selected an empty table, and as the waitstaff began
bringing dinner rolls to the tables, I tried to catch the eye of a
waitperson. Every time I did, they snapped their head in the other
direction. Since we were not at an assigned table, they thought we
were crashers. Other members of the family saw us sitting at this
table, alone and not being served. They said nothing.
Infuriated but not wanting to make a scene, we quietly
got up and left.
It’s been almost two years, and my boyfriend still
hasn't gotten over his anger at what happened to us. No one has ever
apologized. In fact, his aunt told we were in the wrong because we
weren't more aggressive about seeking a seat. !!!!!! Why were
we forced to look for seats when everyone else (even the hired help) had
an assigned place?
We’re now planning our own wedding, and part of me is
tempted to seat his cousin, her husband and her parents with the
photographer. However, the guy I’m using is a friend of mine, and
I wouldn’t want to subject him to these people.
Now, granted, it's been three and a half years since our
wedding, but we just found out about this.
Background: My husband's siblings and his father hadn't
spoken or seen each other in 20+ years. There was some bad feeling going
on, which I won't go into. But when we announced our wedding plans, he
made it very clear to everyone that EVERYONE would be invited to our
wedding. I even made sure both sets of family were invited to the
rehearsal dinner, along with my husband's best man and her husband. (You
read that correctly. She'd been his best friend until I came along, and I
loved the idea of her being his support. And since I wanted my brother to
stand up with me, along with my sister, that worked out great).
Now, FIL has been known to have a drinking problem, so
when I saw him with a glass of wine in his hand I was concerned -- but he
behaved himself. (I suspect his lady-friend had something to do with that.
She kept him on a tight rein, or so it seemed.)
The wedding day itself went without a hitch, as far as
either my husband or I could tell. There were no fights, no drunken guests
(we didn't serve alcohol), and everyone seemed to get along.
Now comes the horrible part. It seems that nobody
bothered to tell us, but during the reception, my FIL made a pass at my
SIL (my husband's brother's wife). Evidently, this was a very blatant
The family (except for BIL and the aforementioned SIL)
has not seen FIL since, and after hearing this, I doubt we'll be visiting
him anytime soon either. BIL had gone to see him for his 80th, and
evidently he made a huge scene at the restaurant, as well as another pass
at SIL. Oh, and his drinking problem is back.
Just more fun with family.
Hi, Jeanne. I love your site. Here is my
etiquette hell story about my in-laws from my wedding.
While the day went beautifully and most of the planning
went well, my in-laws caused much stress. First, it
is important to note that my husband's parents are divorced and have both
remarried. FIL is generally kind of a jerk, I get along well
with MIL, but she can be kind of catty. Second, we were engaged for
just over two years (we were both in college at the time and wanted to
graduate before we married), so everyone had plenty of warning that the
wedding was coming up.
Anyway, as my then-fiancé, Frank, and I begin
planning the wedding, his father offers to help pay for whatever the
groom's family traditionally pays for. So we figure the alcohol, my
bouquet, the limo and the honeymoon (we went through many etiquette
books). We quickly find out we are mistaken, that he will only give
a certain amount of money which will not come close covering the these four
things, but fine, whatever, he was only interesting in paying for alcohol
(he is a very heavy drinker). We appreciated whatever he gave.
So we plan the wedding according to the budget we have
(my parents were paying for the vast majority of everything, Frank and I
were paying for the rest) only to find out a few months ahead of time that
he won't give us even half of what he originally promised. I
panicked, as we had already booked vendors and made deposits and would
lose a lot of money if we cancelled any of them. I finally told Frank
we would have to cut the guest list some, that my parents couldn't afford
any more and we were stretched to the limit as it was. Frank
thinks his dad is the greatest thing since sliced bread, so didn't want to
say anything, but eventually did. His dad did end up giving the
money to cover the alcohol. If he didn't want to give that much
money, or any for that matter, fine, but he should have told us in the
first place, not keep changing his mind.
Oh, and I am Catholic, but none of Frank's family is.
His dad's side is actually rather anti-Catholic. My FIL and
his brother (equally, if not more so, jerky- he told me I am fat)
kept asking me if the Pope would be at the ceremony.
My MIL wasn't too bad, but had her moments.
She kept quizzing me on what kind of cake we were getting and making
demands on what it should be (things like "I hate dummy cakes, I
think they are so tacky," and "you aren't getting that flavor,
are you? It's gross"), but she never offered to help pay for it, or
anything else, for that matter. Again, fine, but don't tell me what
you think everything should be if you aren't going to help out.
Any time I tried to include her in the planning, she wouldn't take part. She
also kept crying that she wanted to buy us a place setting of our china,
but couldn't afford it (it wasn't an expensive pattern). I felt
badly, but I wasn't going to change the pattern because of that-
it took Frank and I 3 months to settle on something we both liked.
Again, we were engaged over two years, if she really wanted to get us that
she could have saved the money- again it wasn't that expensive.
(What she ended up getting us was very nice, but cost more than the china,
so don't know what she was crying about.)
Then she tells me, not asks, that I have to have Frank's
sister, Tara, to be in the wedding. I had already planned this,
but I don't appreciate being told, especially since Tara is a bit,
The day of the wedding comes, and everything is
beautiful. The hairdresser was an hour late, but no big deal.
My bridesmaids start showing up at the house looking wonderful.
Except for Tara. She strolls in late looking like she just rolled
out of bed. Her hair couldn't have possibly been washed in days,
much less combed. I had originally asked that everyone wear
their hair up, I didn't care how, a ponytail would have been fine,
but Tara threw a fit because she "would have to let her hair
grow." I was not going to argue, even though it was plenty long
enough, so I told her not to worry about it. But I thought she would
have at least combed it. Two of my BMs, who are my cousins, wanted
to grab hold of her and brush it themselves, but decided that was
probably not the best idea.
The ceremony and reception went off wonderfully,
Frank and I couldn't have asked for anything more- it was the best day of
our lives. After Frank and I got back from our honeymoon, however, I
found out some things that happened at the reception that still irritate
me. My FIL was going around telling people how much he paid for the
alcohol and that they needed to drink more, and that he saw to it that we would
have a nice honeymoon. I didn't know which to be angrier about-
that he told anyone who would listen how much he spent, or that he was
taking credit for the nice honeymoon we had. He didn't even help us
plan it, let alone pay for one meal while we were there.
To top this off, I also found out months later that
Frank's 6 year old sister, FIL's daughter (she is a little demon), punched
my 5 year old cousin and left a mark on her face at the reception.
When Frank told my FIL, he thought it was funny. What a jerk.
Sometimes I wonder what kind of family I got myself into.
I was married in 1993, to a good and kind man who had
the misfortune to be raised by a narrow-minded, high-handed, lower-class
snob of a woman. We began dating when I was 18 and he was 23, and
married five years later. I am no longer part of the family (neither
his fault nor mine nor hers), but he and I remain on good terms.
From our five-year span of dating, I knew that the
impending wedding would be an interesting exercise in restraint - ours.
I was not surprised when the FMIL turned down a pre-wedding lunch
invitation from my mother - just a chance for them to meet and chat -
since FMIL had avoided such opportunities previously. I was not
surprised when the guest list doubled at her insistence that this or that
un-known relative would be insulted if they were left out.
I was completely surprised when she suggested I take her
other son off the list of attendants. Here's how it went:
I have one sibling, a younger sister who has an amazing talent for music,
especially piano. My GTB had one sibling, an older brother, who
still lived at home at the age of 35 and played a lot of
Dungeons-n-Dragons (he's nice enough, though not very sociable, and had no
ambition in life whatsoever). GTB and I had easily decided on four
other attendants each; even pairing them up with each other, though most
had never met, went easily (after the 'honor couple', we matched them up
by height - so that the shortest male would not feel out of place with a
tall woman, and vice-versa). We had decided that pairing my sister
with his brother would reinforce the 'joining of our families' aspect of
the wedding. Since she was performing the processional music, she
would go in first - therefore, he too would go in first. We also wanted
them to carry in, together, a large Unity candle for the ceremony -another
I had been updating drafts of the guest list on my
computer, and printing off a fresh copy every time we went to discuss the
wedding with the MIL (FIL also a wonderful man - understandably quiet and
not given to voicing opinions in public). On the list, at the top,
was a section showing the order of entry into the church: Sister and
Brother, then friend and friend, and so on, then MOH and BM, then GTB and
me. She was happy as a clam until the day I specified that this
was order-of-entry, and that MOH and BM were the 'honor couple', not
Sister and Brother. She gave me a look I didn't then understand,
then said "Oh, that's too many people - you should just take Brother
off the list." Perfectly normal tone of voice, as though that
was what she really felt. Neither of us understood - "But he's
GTB's only sibling! We very much *want* him to be part of the
ceremony! We wouldn't think of leaving him out!"
Eventually the truth came out - "It's just a slap in the
face to make him last!" (I suppose being first-man-in, when the
BM is the *last* man in before the groom, might signify some sort of
insult, to those who think along those lines).
Even worse for me, part of her problem was racist in
origin - for our closest male friend, our BM, was purebred First Nations.
Even worse for her, obviously, was that "that (derogatory) fellow is
even ahead" of her darling older son! For a time, she
wasn't going to let him participate at all (*LET* him! A 35-year-old
man!); she even briefly threatened to keep the whole family away.
Knowing that this sort of tantrum wouldn't work on GTB, and certainly not
on me, I agreed that "if that's the way you feel, we will
understand." The threat didn't materialize, darn it! though she
did have the grace to keep her lousy opinions to herself.
After realizing that trying to placate her, without
giving up control completely, would not work, we went ahead and finished
planning our wedding, our way - and it worked wonderfully. The
ceremony was beautiful (my parents balked at the idea of my father 'giving
me away', in this age of female equality and independence, so we convinced
both sets of parents to accompany us both down the aisle, in effect
'giving' us to each other - and again reinforcing the family joining.
She went along with that, grudgingly, but FIL was proud as punch!);
Brother was pleased to escort the very talented Sister, and did so
with style, and the other attendants fulfilled their roles perfectly.
The only other dim spot was the toasts during the
reception - being part of a very informal group, we elected to spare our
guests the rigors of a formal back-and-forth toasting procedure, and
merely offered the microphone to anyone who had a comment. MOH
surprised me by spending half an hour describing several of my more
immature teenaged antics - with tasteless exaggeration intended to
get laughs - but succeeded only in making herself look crass; then an
older man, currently living with his appropriately-aged girlfriend and her
three children, proceeded to spend fifteen minutes berating *US* for
living in "sin" for so long. I still can't decide if his
comments were more rude to us, or to the woman that loved him enough to
Since leaving that family (I miss FIL the most), I have
met and now share a home with a wonderful man - and we have no plans to
marry. The best parts? My parents adore him (my mother makes
him a special side-dish of turkey stuffing at holiday meals, without
walnuts, since she learned accidentally that he isn't fond of them - she
*never* altered a family dish for the rest of us!). And he has no
family (and likes it that way) - so I have no mother-in-law!
Thanks for a wonderfully fun site - though I kind of think it's safer as a
look-back-in-relief than as a pre-wedding guide!
When I was in high school, my uncle got married. My
uncle and his fiancé had been living with his fiancée for quite some
time before they married, and at the time of their wedding they rented a
cottage from my parents on the same property as the home of my
Both of my parents, but my mother in particular, put a
lot of effort into preparing food, bought at THEIR expense, for the
reception. My parents didn't provide all the food for the reception,
but they did provide an awful lot. The ceremony and was to take
place on a Saturday afternoon, and my dad found out that morning that the
following Monday, my uncle and soon-to-be-aunt's rent check was going to
bounce. My dad spoke to my uncle about this before the ceremony, and was
rather sweet in his tone, as my parents figured they mustn't
have given my parents a bad check on purpose; my parents initially figured
that maybe their bank had made a computational error or something.
But my uncle rather flippantly said he would take care of it on Monday and
seemed to think it was nervy of my dad to be bringing it up.
To this day, I suspect what happened was that they spent
over their means on their contribution to the ceremony and reception,
and just figured that they'd give my parents a check on Friday because
they had to to avoid immediate trouble, and then they'd put out the fire
when the check bounced. Even though they had the ceremony on a public
beach, and the reception was at a friend's house, and they had a relative
do the food, if you're so broke that you can't afford to pay for your
wedding and pay your rent, maybe you need to wait to get married,
especially when your landlords are kin. You just don't screw kin over like
that, especially when they're the ones who provided a lot of food for your
reception! And my parents didn't even give them notice, and didn't even
force them to try to scrounge up the cash-- my dad just said, "You
MUST take care of this Monday."
Page Last Updated May 15, 2007