Author Topic: My son got engaged this weekend.  (Read 1245 times)

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Peppergirl

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My son got engaged this weekend.
« on: June 23, 2014, 08:40:21 PM »
They are both 26, and I'm happy for both.

As the mother-of-the-groom, what's expected of me?  Is it still considered traditional for the groom's family to pay for the rehearsal dinner?  Is it okay to sit back and wait for the plans to unfold, or is it better to advise that I'm available for any future discussions as to plans?

The bride's mother seems a bit of the pushy/bossy/take-over type, and did rub me a bit wrong once or twice at the engagement event on Saturday, so I'm really hoping for some sound advice as to what's expected of me.

Some background:  I'm a single mother, divorced for years and his father lives almost 1000 miles away and isn't a major part of his life.  My parents were quite involved in helping me raise him (both financially and practically), and we all live in the same town. 

Thanks in advance for any advice! :)

camlan

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2014, 10:28:42 PM »
Congratulations!

I'd wait a bit and see how the plans develop. While you are waiting, if you want to make a financial contribution to the wedding, work out exactly how much you can afford. Then, when the subject arises, you can tell the kids that you'd like to help out and tell them what they can expect.

Certainly offer to host the rehearsal dinner if you want to. That could be your contribution. But make sure you and the Happy Couple are on the same page about the size of the dinner--some people come from a tradition of "wedding party and immediate family only" and other come from the "all out of town guests must be invited to the rehearsal dinner." Offer only what you can afford.

Why not just ask your son how involved he'd like you to be, or to let you know when he'd like your input.

The mother of the bride gets to set the level of formality for the mothers' dresses, so do ask her to let you know when she's picked out her dress, or at least to let you know what type of dress you should be looking for.

Really, aside from the rehearsal dinner, there's no traditional role for the parents of the groom. You can discuss with the Happy Couple how involved you'd like to be, but they get to set the parameters on that.
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Kaymar

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2014, 11:12:05 PM »
Speaking as a bride, thank you for wanting to help in any way! In this modern age, no one getting married should have any expectations of the families of origin. I know I don't. That said, if my future mother in law wanted to host an event or otherwise be involved, I would be thrilled. So from my perspective, if you want to host or play a role in some way, please do make whatever offer makes sense to you. And congrats!!

Peppergirl

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2014, 01:26:45 AM »
Thanks so much for the well-wishes and advice, I do appreciate it.   :)

aussie_chick

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2014, 06:18:01 AM »
I think it's lovely that you're aware of this and want to be considerate.
I agree with others, perhaps ask the HC if they would like your involvement/opinion/help/advice/whatever. But at the same time let them know you'd like to help - but not interfere or control - and i'm sure they'll appreciate it!

Lynn2000

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2014, 10:50:00 AM »
Congrats!

Just to echo the others--think to yourself about how much you can afford to help (not just financially but also time-wise, etc.) and what your ideas would be, but let the HC take the lead and decide how involved they'd like you to be (up to your upper limit). Also, I would advise clear communication, erring on the side of over-communicating if necessary--never assume that they want this or that, whether it's about the guest list or the date or whatever. Certainly, if you think something is a bad idea--like if they're proposing an A-list/B-list for dinner--you can voice your opinion about why that would be hurtful to people, but if they want to do it anyway, I think you just have to step back and let them, and let them live with the consequences, if any.

If the bride's mother is going to be pushier and perhaps over-involved, think of yourself as a soothing contrast. :)
~Lynn2000

Hmmmmm

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2014, 11:02:28 AM »
I think a lot of the rules have changed. I'd have a conversation with your son about what his expectations are. Are he and the bride planning to pay for the wedding, is her family contributing, and does her family expect you to contribute to the reception cost? How much does your son plan to be involved in the planning?

I had two nephew's marry last year.

Sis1 - Bride and MOB did not want her involvement at all. Sis and her Ex paid for the rehearsal dinner that Sis planned after getting agreement from the couple about the arrangements. Sis1's friends and I did host a bridal shower for the couple.

Sis2 - Bride and Groom wanted her involvement (though MOB was less happy about it). Sis2 had originally offered to host the rehearsal dinner and was quit surprised to learn the bride's family expected her to also contribute to half the cost of the reception. They finally agreed to the Bride & Groom paying for their guests, the Bride's family paying for theirs, and Sis paying for her guests. But with this financial arrangement she was also included in all aspects of planning the reception. The couple had their heart set on a specific venue for the rehearsal dinner so they pretty much planned it but Sis2 and her DH paid and made all the final type arrangements. All the other stuff like bands, flowers, clothing the couple di don their own. The bride's mom was put out that she wasn't involved in all aspects of planning so Sis2 remained the "calm, I just want you to have the wedding you want, you can talk to me about anything and I want get upset" mother which has really helped her ongoing relationship with her new DIL. (Of course, then Sis2 would call me and let off steam about how overbearing and ridiculous the MOB was being.)


Good luck.

SamiHami

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2014, 12:00:25 PM »
Well, traditionally the family of the groom is supposed to reach out to the family of the bride for a "getting to know" you thing, maybe a dinner. The grooms family has traditionally paid for the rings, the rehearsal dinner and sometimes the flowers.

That being said, it's 2014. At 26 this couple are both adults and will most likely be responsible for their own expenses. It's far more practical for you to decide what you want to contribute and, depending on the amount, ask them if they want the money or if they prefer you use it to do some of the traditional stuff (rehearsal dinner or whatever).

Someone upthread said  "The mother of the bride gets to set the level of formality for the mothers' dresses, so do ask her to let you know when she's picked out her dress, or at least to let you know what type of dress you should be looking for." That isn't so. The bride and groom determine the level of formality and the mothers should dress accordingly. As MOG you should know not to wear white, and it would be appropriate to ask what color the MOB is wearing so you don't look all "matchy matchy" by mistake. But other than that, you can wear any color or style you deem appropriate. Don't let them convince you that they can dictate the color of your dress...you are not a bridesmaid so if that nonsense starts, put a stop to it immediately.

The bride & groom will do the majority of the planning, so don't be hurt if you aren't too involved in things. It's wonderful to offer to help as long as you don't push yourself on them or criticize their decisions.

As for the MOB...hopefully she'll calm down after the wedding!

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jmarvellous

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2014, 12:22:09 PM »
Unless you think your son is going to be completely hands-off with the wedding planning, I'd ask him what he wants or needs from you.

Speaking for myself, as a 28-year-old bride last year, we were very grateful that our parents' money came with only one string attached (inviting their siblings).

My mother was itching to help some more, so I accepted her offer to do welcome bags, transport lots of supplies, and do the day-of decorating. She was right in her wheelhouse; my MIL watched and helpfully unpacked some vases, but she was just not as interested.

We paid for the night-before dinner entirely on our own, but other posters are correct in saying that if anything is traditionally the responsibility of the groom's family, it's that. If  you do decide to plan/pay for it, make sure to give them lots of input; if they seem itchy to do more, let them.

I would suggest asking the bride or groom whether they care at all about what you wear, just as a courtesy. 

Hmmmmm

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2014, 11:08:03 AM »
Well, traditionally the family of the groom is supposed to reach out to the family of the bride for a "getting to know" you thing, maybe a dinner. The grooms family has traditionally paid for the rings, the rehearsal dinner and sometimes the flowers.

That being said, it's 2014. At 26 this couple are both adults and will most likely be responsible for their own expenses. It's far more practical for you to decide what you want to contribute and, depending on the amount, ask them if they want the money or if they prefer you use it to do some of the traditional stuff (rehearsal dinner or whatever).

Someone upthread said  "The mother of the bride gets to set the level of formality for the mothers' dresses, so do ask her to let you know when she's picked out her dress, or at least to let you know what type of dress you should be looking for." That isn't so. The bride and groom determine the level of formality and the mothers should dress accordingly. As MOG you should know not to wear white, and it would be appropriate to ask what color the MOB is wearing so you don't look all "matchy matchy" by mistake. But other than that, you can wear any color or style you deem appropriate. Don't let them convince you that they can dictate the color of your dress...you are not a bridesmaid so if that nonsense starts, put a stop to it immediately.

The bride & groom will do the majority of the planning, so don't be hurt if you aren't too involved in things. It's wonderful to offer to help as long as you don't push yourself on them or criticize their decisions.

As for the MOB...hopefully she'll calm down after the wedding!

Actually, traditionally it is true. Traditionally, the parent's of the bride were hosting the wedding and reception and as the hostess, the MOB set the level of formality. I'm sure in those times there were lots of behind closed door's arguing between moms and daughters about wedding arrangement, but as the hosts, the parents had final say.

Peppergirl

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Re: My son got engaged this weekend.
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2014, 01:55:58 PM »
Thanks!

I'm hoping the MOB will settle down a bit, I have to say so far I'm not a huge fan..she's just a little too pushy for my tastes. 

It could be generational.  I'm only 44 and divorced, and she's the other end of the spectrum - had the kids later in life, been married for years, etc.  Not that one is better than the other, we are just very, very different people and seem to have nothing in common, so far.  I'm laid back to a fault and she seems to be...decidedly not.  >:D

Anyway, I'll sure I'll have more stories and scenarios to come throughout the next few months.  Thanks so much, everyone!  ;D