Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I am in a quandary that is threatening to destroy my relationship with my future mother-in-law!
Here’s the problem: I am engaged to a wonderful man who has never been married before – and this will be time number three for me. We decided we wanted a small wedding, with just family and a few of our closest friends. When my future mother-in-law found out, she got upset. She says that just because I’d been married before shouldn’t override the fact that this is her son’s first marriage and that he’s entitled to a large, splashy wedding with all the bells and whistles. In truth, it is she who wants to play up the role of Mother of the Groom and walk her son down to the chuppah as if he were a twenty-year-old; we are both in our mid-thirties.
I tried to reason with her, as did he, to no avail. She has gone to visit halls, speak to photographers, florists, caterers, printers and musicians and then asked me which venue I prefer. It’s not even like she is paying for anything, we have decided to pay for the wedding ourselves and have it the way we want it, small, intimate and elegant with all told, about eighty-five people.
When I told her that we’ve already given deposits, she absolutely lost it and threatened not to come if her guests, all two hundred or so of them, were not invited. She doesn’t want to be embarrassed by the “ridiculously small and poorly planned affair” – her words exactly – we were throwing together. She does have a reputation to uphold.
So here we are, four months away from our November wedding and I am at my wits end. I don’t want to have anything to do with her, but I know how upset my chosson is by all of this. He has suggested that we go through with our plans and, if she doesn’t come, so be it, or that we threaten to elope and then she wouldn’t have to come!
Mrs. Bluth, why can’t she see that we are not children anymore and have both lived away from home for many years? And can’t she understand my preference for a small affair, given that I’ve been there twice before and choose not to play the “blushing bride” in front of a world of people I don’t know or care about.
Any advice on what we can do to make her see our point of view?
First, allow me to wish you mazal tov on your upcoming wedding and wish you much strength, tenacity and perseverance for what lies ahead.
I do understand your desire for a small, intimate wedding, and the fact that your future husband respects that is indicative of the kind of husband he will be.
Now, what to do about the shvigger! This will not be easy as your mother-in-law appears to be set on the idea that her son should have a wedding with all the trappings, pomp and ceremony of a first timer.
However, let’s start slow, by having all three of you sit down and, without anger or malice, have an adult conversation. Give her a chance to have her say; perhaps she may impress upon you certain points that are valid and that you may not have considered. Then, you tell her what motivated both of you to choose a small wedding, bringing into the mix the fact that you’re not teenagers but mature adults and choose not to put on a show. Impress upon her that this is your day and it should be celebrated according to both of your wishes. Make it clear that it would greatly minimize the joy of the day, should she decide not to come, but you and your betrothed have decided that this is what you both want. You might also make her aware that if she continues to be an obstacle, she may be forfeiting the joys that lay ahead.
I think this may work.
However, should I be wrong and she’s far more stubborn than logical, you can enlist the help of someone she respects – a close family member, a rabbi or anyone she will listen to – to get your message across. If all else fails, go ahead with your plans and leave her to do whatever she needs to do to appease herself.
I have a gut feeling it will turn out alright. I think that once she sees what she stands to lose, she’ll come around and I’m sure you’ll have a lovely wedding, as planned. No mother I know would be willing to lose her child over a small hall, a short guest list or a chance to cuddle delicious grandchildren in the future!
The best of luck to all of you!