Family woes

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  HappyG 2 years, 11 months ago.

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    In an attempt to give my FH a break from these issues, I thought I’d give a vent a try :)
    My family has been lacking enthusiasm for my wedding pretty much from the get go.  Although my FH and I have been together for nearly 7 years and marriage was a forgone conclusion, it has still hurt that they haven’t been that supportive.
    Firstly, upon telling my mum about our engagement and the initial planning for the wedding, she kept telling me ‘its just a day’ and ‘don’t get caught up in it all’ – I understand many people try to give a soon-to-be bride some perspective when they get all stressed out, but I had only just started planning the wedding and was getting these comments.  It felt like she was not impressed with FH and I deciding to have a traditional wedding and was almost encouraging us to elope like my two sisters have done in the last 12 months.  She has mentioned to me she was a bit hurt by the fact that my sisters eloped, yet seemed to be encouraging me to do the same…very confusing.
    Secondly, my mum has been having a giant spaz out about my dad’s involvement in the wedding.  They separated when I was a teenager and, although amicable now, have not maintained a lot of communication over the years and my mum is of the opinion that my dad was fairly absent in our lives after they separated.  As such, she took offence to me wanting him to walk me down the aisle and have the father/daughter dance.  I tried to tell her that dad gets me for those small, traditional moments, but she would be with me for all the other stuff (shopping, getting ready etc) – but that still doesn’t seem like its enough.  It is almost like she is upset she won’t get the ‘public’ recognition of everything she has done. 
    Lastly, my younger sister (who eloped in Feb 2014) has decided that she wants to have a receiption with family/friends to celebrate.  I don’t begrudge her this; however I was a bit upset that she chose the Saturday before our wedding (which is on Anzac day, the following Friday).  If I lived in QLD, this would not be a huge deal, as I would have held my Hens night on any other night preceeding the wedding and had plenty of opportunity to look after the last minute arrangements in person; however I am living in a remote area of WA and only flying back into town the Friday before my wedding. 
    My family doesn’t seem to understand that i’m a bit hurt that my sister would choose to have her reception so close to my wedding and be so dismissive of my feelings about it.  Yes…it makes logical sense as everyone will be in town already as they are travelling for my wedding.  But, FH and I pushed our wedding date back from September 2013 to April 2014 as my sister was originally planning her wedding for October 2013 and we didn’t want to impinge on her day (even though they were eloping).  Since then, she pushed it back to Feb 2014 and then chooses to have her reception 5 days before our wedding.  Its just annoying that everyone has focused on the ‘logic’ of the situation and completely ignored the ’emotion’.
    The last straw was when my mum told me I had to be responsible for my dad when he flew into town for the wedding.  He has been living with FH and I for 6 months (and we nearly killed him!! a very frustrating man) and only recently moved to Perth.  He will be travelling back to QLD to attend my sister’s reception and then our wedding and Mum offered to let him stay at her house while he was in town.  I tried to tell her that I would be busy getting the final arrangements done for the wedding and that I wouldn’t be able to run around after Dad as well – and she effectively told me I was being selfish and hung up on me.
    AHHH….i’m just so over the lack of support and every time i’ve tried to talk to her about it, she gets all passive aggressive and then doesn’t talk to me for weeks.
    The wedding is 22 days away and I always thought it would be a really enjoyable experience, sharing the planning and days preceeding with my Mum and two sisters.  But, it seems expectations don’t fit reality, so i’ll just have to turn to my totally awesome MOH to help me out (she is offering to screen calls for the days preceeding so I don’t get more stressed).
    Ok…vent over :)



    Wow, I am sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time of it!
    My partner and I have been together for 7 years this year too. We also live together. Like you, everyone knows that marriage is going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. Perhaps your mother’s reaction is more to do with the fact that you already live together – so the only thing that is going to change is that you will have a piece of paper that declares you man and wife (and perhaps your name). I know that this is how my future SIL feels about things – she only married her partner because it was something he wanted. And perhaps her encouragement to elope is due to her fear that you will just end up doing this anyway, seeing as both of your sisters have – she doesn’t want to get her hopes up over something that may not happen.
    My parents also separated when I was a teenager – except they are regularly in communication because I have a little sister who is still only 11 (she was very small when they separated, still a baby in many respects). I lived with my dad for many years, however, so he was very much present in my life. I can understand your mum’s desire for public recognition, especially if she was the primary parent after the separation, so perhaps you could honour her by presenting her with a rose during your wedding ceremony? We are doing this to both our mums and my step mum as a thank you for all they have done in our lives.
    Now, I can see both sides of the issue with your sister’s reception – yes, it is logical to do it when everyone is in town and yes, she is probably stepping on your toes a little bit. Please don’t get me wrong – I am a firm believer that brides get ONE day, but when you are flying in for the wedding and will have all of these last minute things to organise (not to mention, you said this was supposed to be when your hens night was held) I do sympathise with you a little. I also think that she should have asked you first before organising anything to make sure that it wouldn’t clash with any of your plans (like the hens night). 
    As for looking after your father when he arrives in town – remind yourself that he is a grown man and is completely capable of looking after himself! Tell him that your mum has offered him a place to stay but that it is up to him to arrange something else if this is not what he wants. Don’t stress yourself about what he’s doing in the leadup to the wedding – he is perfectly capable of amusing himself if need be.
    You sound like you have an excellent MOH to rely on, so try not to let all of these things get you down!



    JessicaFay said a lot of what I was planning to say, so I’ll leave it at this:
    I think to some degree you may be getting a little caught up in assuming your mother’s motivations; when really the best thing to do is to discuss your feelings and how you feel her actions have affected you. It may simply be that you have been with your partner so long that it was expected to some degree, or perhaps they can see that you are excited/stressed and want to support you by helping you to remain calm. I certainly think it is worth taking a step back from the situation and considering the possibilities. Generally if someone says ‘Don’t get caught up in it all’, it isn’t a critique of you or your partner, your mother may just be saying that you’re getting a tad consumed by the wedding planning.
    As you mentioned, your siblings are also married, and in some cases this can reduce some of the excitement and anticipation for friends and relatives, it is no reflection of you, but simply that it may feel like it happens frequently (for example, getting invited to a birthday is fun, but after 5 in a row it’s inevitable that you may not be as excited).
    I think to some degree, the father does have a lot of involvement with the bride, and the mother of the bride can tend to feel neglected or left out of a more traditional ceremony. I think the first step is instead of telling her how you want your father involved, ask her how she would like to be involved. It may actually be an obvious or simple answer that she didn’t know how to articulate. Her jealousy stems from a number of things, namely the amount of involvement they’ve each had in your lives, she probably has pre-concieved notions on how involved she should be in the wedding as a result of that (regerdless of whether it has any merit or not).
    As for your sister, I do think you’re being unreasonable. Chances are this was planned or thought about/talked about for quite some time (probably before they eloped) and it is a time that is just as special and personal to them as your ceremony is to you. In the end they have chosen a time that fits with their lives and obligations (such as family, work etc.). You need to think about it from their perspective as well, she may have the same feelings about you choosing a date not long after hers. You each have your own plans and schedules, and need to work around each other rather than fight about who is inconveniencing who; again, it is best to tell her about your plans, not to make her change hers, but to make her aware of what you are doing and what headspace you’ll be in, including your availability for her functions and vice-versa.
    I can understand the family’s perspective to some degree, it sounds like you changed dates without consulting anyone, and it has all gone awry. You probably didn’t even need to go to all the trouble of re-arranging dates etc. In fact, if you’d discussed some sort of schedule/plan of attack with other family members, you may have been able to organise it so that no-one had to change. I think your heart was in the right place, you wanted to spare everyone, but without that communication you were working on assumption. Unfortunately plans have been made, and it is hard to change them again, so the best thing to do is to let it go, try not to take it personally and enjoy planning your special day with the person you love.
    I don’t know your exact family dynamics, so I can’t really comment on you looking after your father, but this is possibly something you could delegate to your bridal party (looking after him at the wedding, helping him find accomodation etc.). In the end he’s a grown man (assuming he doesn’t have any medical issues or need 24/7care) so he should be able to handle these things on his own without you; however, if he does have issues that you’re struggling with, enlist the support of a professional carer who can help to manage his daily life. It isn’t fair to either of you to take on something you can’t handle.



    Thanks for your opinions guys – I know that every bride probably gets somewhat annoyed with family at some stage during the planning process – I suppose I just hoped they would all be a bit more excited.
    HappyG – for clarification, my wedding date has not changed in the 14 months since we set it, my fiance and I were thinking (but never mentioned to anyone) about September, but after deciding we didn’t want our date to be too close to my younger sister (who had already told us her wedding would be overseas in October), we decided on and set the date for April this year.  It was only after we set our date (booked reception venue and all) and told my family that my sister changed their eloping to Feb (for their own reasons, and I totally understand wanting more time to save) and then choosing to have her reception 5 days before our wedding.
    I have tried to talk to my mum about my feelings/concerns; however, whenever I do, she either gets all upset and hangs up or just changes the topic.  I understand the lack of visible involvement may sting, but I told her at the time, my dad gets me for 2 seconds down the aisle and for a 3 minute dance – she would be with me the entire day in the lead up as well as being involved in other critical moments, dress shopping, hair/makeup etc.  I suppose what hurts the most is the fact I can’t talk to her about it. 
    My Dad is a fully capeable (if hopeless) man, so it is not a matter of looking after him, rather running around after him.  Again, it was more the thoughtlessness of the comment of ”he’s your responsibility’ and that I would obviously be free and available to run around after him, even though I have flown into town for the specific purpose of my wedding!
    I’m really not trying to come off as a bridezilla and expecting that everyone drop everthing for the entire week because it is our wedding, it is just that overall lack of enthusiasm in the lead up to the day that hurts.  At this point in time, it feels like my family will be like any other guest – they have received an invitation, RSVP’d and will turn up on the day, seeing me for the first time walking down the aisle. 
    Oh well….they say you can’t choose your family :)



    No, I think it’s really great to get extra information. In the end we’re all trying to get an impression from one postt so it’s hard to get a picture of the whole situation.
    Based on what you’ve said about your mother, I think she wants to be more visible as part of the ceremony, rather than involved with you personally on the day. Unfortunately, for some parents,  they see a wedding a sort of ‘status’ symbol or a way to show off that their child is getting hitched. It’s frustrating, but she may just feel like she’s not getting the ‘glory’ for being part of your life. This doesn’t excuse that perspective at all, but it may explain it.  She probably just wants to be more visible on the day.  Have  you considered having them both do the walk with you? (It’s getting more popular).
    Well, considering
    your Dad is totally capable, I don’t think it’s really your responsibility to look after him.  After all, you’re planning a wedding and it is a lot to ask (does that sound cold?). Can the bridal party take over for you?
    I certainly don’t think you’re a bridezilla; but it’s important to remember that it’s easy to get caught up in the stress and take people’s comments, attitudes and problems on board; especially when you’re already dealing with the planning and travel stress. Family issues tend to boil over, everyone is on edge and it can become overwhelming,  sometimes you just need to shut off all the outside noise (or at least that’s what I’ve learnt in my experience). If the family don’t seem excited, don’t take it too personally, in the end the people who should be most excited are you and your partner.

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