Future mother in law issue?

by DIY wedding planner on September 4, 2012

My future mother in law loves crafts & scrapbooking. She keeps pushing the idea of DIY invitations, favor boxes, etc. Honestly, I’m really not into doing those and I really don’t have time to do it myself due to my full time job and school. My fiance and I both knew that she really wanted to be part of wedding planning. So when she volunteered to throw us a couple shower, we told her that she can do it however she wants to do it. We thought this will keep her busy. But she started ordering Thank you cards for wedding, buying scrapbooking stuff for our wedding guestbook, etc without consulting us first. Both my fiance and I are doing the wedding planning together, but since I’m the woman, she comes to me to talk about all the ideas she has for the wedding. I have a hard to saying no because she gets this dissappointed look. But we really want her to just focus on the shower and leave the wedding to us. What do we do? How do we tell her that without hurting her feelings?

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

ptcanon September 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Sounds like a simple communications issue. The two of you (your fiance and you) need to schedule a dinner out with mom and discuss the arrangements. Just be straight with her. Sounds like the real issue is that neither of you are prepared to simply tell her that it is your wedding and you want to make the arrangements. Maybe as a team, the two of you can do it. Going into the date with a game plan and stick to it. Make sure that both of you have a part to play because neither of you wants to leave the other out hanging to be the bad guy. No one has to feel bad if everyone can act like an adult. And yes, she may be disappointed. Just explain to her that she is a guest and it is her job to enjoy the party and not get sucked into stressful debates over what sorts of invitations you want. It is your big day and your choice. Don’t be a bridezilla about it. Just be straight. If you’re old enough to get married, you should be old enough to communicate something so simple.


oneonone1010 September 4, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I have been where you are!!! You basically have to sit her down with your fiance and tell her in the nicest way possible that it’s your wedding . Reassure her that you both really appreciate everything she is doing but that your wedding is your special day and you and your fiance are the one’s who want to plan it. Then to soften the blow let her know that her shower ideas are gr8 . Just remember your wedding is your special day and it should be as you both want it !!


Tammy September 4, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Make sure you thank her for her efforts but politely explain that you have been dreaming of this since you were a little girl and you have your own ideas.

She might be a little upset for a little while but in the long run she will respect your honesty more.

Oh yeah, as for the scrapbook, let her know that you would be extremely excited if she would compile one for you and you need to make sure to save the things she asks for. That should help to make her feel more involved.


Lily S September 4, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Oooh…this is rather troublesome.

Smile sweetly and tell her how much you appreciate her doing all the shower planning, and how she must be sooo exhausted, so she can relax and leave the rest to you. Wink and hint that you and your fiance have something nice planned for the wedding, and wouldn’t she like to be surprised? It’s the only way to let her down gently, I think, but you have to do it or else there will be other times like this when the two of you are married and the mother-in-law wants to make decisions for you.


SexRexRx September 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm

There is nothing you can do to not hurt her feelings. Getting her feelings hurt is somethating only she can control.You have to be assertive or run th risk of having her want to run other aspects of your wedded life! You have to tell her to stop doing what she is because your decision has to be respected. Do not feel responsible for her reaction for that is something totally out of your reach! Congratulations on your wedding!


leon September 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm
apharknesswulf September 4, 2012 at 11:31 pm

I would say if it is your fiance’s mother and even he is getting upset, he should talk to her. This way, she doesn’t hold a grudge against you (if she’s that type of person), and he might even feel like your knight in shining armor.


Leapling September 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm

She only wants to be involved – its a big day for her too.

Surely there is some job you can give so that she can be involved and you could discuss your plans with her – get her opinion on stationery etc.

Her making a scrapbook of your wedding plans sounds like such a lovely idea – I think you should encourage her in that.

My wedding was made extra special by all the little things I got the crafty members of my family to do. One grandmother made favour bags, one made pew ends, my dad designed my stationery, my sister embroidered my dress.

Its a question of managing – instead of saying ‘No I want to do it my way’ you say ‘I’m so glad you’ve put so much thought into this, I’d been thinking of this way but I’d really value your opinion on it.’ That way you say no but you don’t make her feel left out.


Dee September 5, 2012 at 12:01 am

Well, it depends on how important it is to the both of you. Keep in mind that this woman is going to be your mother-in-law and if you do ANYTHING to bend her nose out of shape this early on, you could face years of uncomfortable situations where you have to be in the same room with her.

I’ve seen people seemingly nice just turn and snap over nothing and be pissed at someone from then on out, forever and ever. As unfortunate as it is, some people are like that and you usually never see it coming.

She might be very excited about this and it’s an excellent opportunity to bond with your future husband’s mother. Believe me, getting along with and being able to talk to your mother-in-law is a far cry better than having a rift there.

You could always take your fiancee with you (always talk to her together concerning the wedding planning so you don’t look like you’re the only one opposed to her involvement) and try to sit down with her to talk. You could always make her think you’re consulting her for her excited and informed opinion, it sounds like she really wants to be involved, and tell her that work and school are making it to where you are so pressed for time that you need help with ***whatever task you wouldn’t mind giving to her***. You could pick something out that you trust her on like maybe the catering or menus, the guest “gifts”, the bridal registry or even something like the candles or flowers.

I know it’s awfully irritating when someone who only means the best tries to step in and take control of the tasks like that. It could mean that all throughout your marriage she will try to control certain elements of your married life (you might want to get used to it now and just suck it up to keep the peace). Most control freaks are good at getting the disappointing look when you seem to refuse their “assistance”, and for the most part when you don’t have to be a part of their family it’s okay to “set them straight” but I simply cannot put enough emphasis on how it’s your responsibility to maintain peaceful relations within both of your families. I know that dignity and grace are sometimes very hard to hold steadfast, but once again it’s better than her having a chip on her shoulder at your for all of your married life until one of you dies.

I know it’s your wedding and your important day, but in a situation like this, taking the high road is what might be best. That is…if you and your fiancee are opposed to lying. If you didn’t mind “stretching the truth” just a hair, there’s lots of stuff you could tell her to back her down a little bit.

You could always drum up a story to her that the wedding plans have changed. Come up with something about how you two found out about a wedding cruise…or decided to do a change of wedding venue and will require different invitations and plans…and since it’s just in the planning stage that you two haven’t fully decided on what to do, but should know soon. But would really appreciate it if she would please carry on with the shower. Tell her that you appreciate her doing it and give her that look of pleading like you still need her help and the shower is so very special and important.

She may even just want to feel needed and wants to be counted in on something special with her son instead of being a control freak. You never know.

When she comes to you to talk about the wedding, just say “I’ll have to talk to your son and see what he says.” whenever she suggests something. Or, call her before she calls you and say, “Well, I’ve talked to your son and that wonderful idea that you had about ***such and such***, he said no…” or “He said he’d rather do this…” and hopefully she’ll get the point. You can always laugh and say, “Haha! I’m not going to plan anything else without him. He’s so picky!” She won’t get mad at her son, but she’ll sure get mad at you and for the hundredth time, you want to keep the peace with this woman!

Good luck and congratulations!! I’d love to hear what resolution you come up with for this problem!


kala September 5, 2012 at 12:01 am

Let her carry on with her scrapbook, then make your own.I’m sure the shower will be fine if she is putting that much work into the other parts. Your best bet is to keep her busy before she gets involved in picking your dress and making you a homemade veil.


lonnie September 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

It sound as if she’s excited and enthusiastic..which implies she sanctions the marriage…good, life will be easier that way. Mothers of the grooms have less to do for the weddings, generally. You had a great idea of giving her a project….that would have been my first thought. Now what?
There are sooo many things that need doing in wedding prep., you may have a bonus you’re not utilizing. Ask a couple of recently married friends, if they had had one extra set of hands to help, how would they have used them? See if you can carve out a role for her..like follow up phone calls to venders, seamstress, florists. Have a meeting with her first. Tell her you love her willingness to help and since it’s your wedding the two of you want to make all decisions, but you would welcome her assistance in bringing them to fruition.She has brought to you what she considers her long suit, but you don’t need that now, so use her energy a different way. And a little bonus down the road….she’ll probably be adored by your future children….I am a project/craft/art type grandmother, my g-kids have a ball with me. Just last week one of my grandsons and I made his Indian costume for a school presentation…he and I keep our bond strong, mom has time for other things..it’s good. I wish you the best at your wedding , for your marriage and with good family relations. Cheers!


Suz September 5, 2012 at 12:23 am

Is she doing the rehearsal dinner? Frequently (and traditionally), the groom’s parents handle the rehearsal dinner. You could suggest she take over the planning of the rehearsal dinner. She can make invitations for that. She can make centerpieces and/or place cards for that. She can plan the menu.

Tell her you do not have time to make favor boxes, due to work and school. Ask her if she will take over the favors for you.

I think if you get her doing shower, favors, rehearsal dinner and looking for a special dress to wear to the wedding . . . well, that should be enough to keep her busy.

Be polite but honest. Tell her you and fi want to handle the rest yourselves. If she persists, let fi handle her.

Many married folks find that it is best to let hubby handle problems with his family and let wife handle problems with her family. It generally keeps things more peaceful. So I would advise getting fi to tell mom to back off a bit. That way, she cannot get mad at you.


OZZIEGAL September 5, 2012 at 12:57 am

just as you have told us. both you and your fiance need to sit down with her and talk about it. why not take her out for coffee and dessert one evening, away from her home, a neutral area like a restaurant or starbucks or ??
that way you don’t feel intimidated by being on her turf so to speak. but it needs to be both of you together presenting a united front and she understands you are in agreement in this matter and there can be no misunderstandings later.
you could tell her you both love her very much and can’t wait to see what see has planned for your couples shower but this is the only wedding you are ever going to have, and as such you and your fiance want to plan it yourselves. if she has suggestions you would love to hear them but you two want to experience the fun making the final decisions and going to the shops to do your own ordering and such.
if i could make one suggestion, she may not look at the shower as being part of the wedding, so, if she is good at scrapbooking why not ask her to do the guest book? tell her what you would like as far as color and whether you want it very fussy or not, and then let her go at it! maybe that would be enough to make her happy! if not that can you find some other job for her? are you having favors? if so, is that a job she could do? it is a time consuming process if you were thinking of making your own and if she did them it would be a big job off your shoulders. just tell her exactly what you want right down to the color ribbons etc and ask her not to deviate from that.
wishing you the very best wedding day and a joyous marriage!


Heather V September 5, 2012 at 1:50 am

Take her to lunch and thank her for helping so much with the shower. Tell her that since you and her son want to do the wedding by yourselves and you both want to pick everything out that she has really helped by doing the shower. Keep comming back to the fact that you want to do the wedding alone


Celebrations by Christina September 5, 2012 at 1:56 am

Communication is key. Does she have a daughter? Is this her first son to get married? A lot of groom’s mothers want to be involved in the planning process, especially if they do not have a daughter of their own, but don’t know what to do to help. This can sometimes come across as over-bearing and pushy. It is important to stick to what you want for your wedding day, but try to incorporate her in other ways.

I think what you have done with allowing her to plan the shower is great. When you talk to her just mention that you have a theme for the wedding, and that neither you nor your fiance make decisions without consulting the other since you are doing the planning together, and that when she has ideas or inspiration about certain aspects of the wedding itself, if she could come to the two of you first before purchasing anything it could save a lot of time. But be sure to stress that she can be in charge of the shower completely so she can use her creativity there. When she comes to you first, instead of her son, instead of saying “no” tell her that you will talk to your fiance about it so that the two of you can make the decision together.

Just communicate! You don’t want to have resentful feelings toward her and I know you don’t want to hurt her feelings either. This can be a stressful time for everyone involved, and emotions are running high, and there are going to be inevitable moments of confrontation. Just try to reach a compromise that works for everyone, while still making sure it remains your day the way you and your fiance want it.

Congratulations and Good Luck!


valschmal September 5, 2012 at 2:25 am

The only thing you can say is this, ” Well, we haven’t decided on all the details yet, and are considering several options. Thanks for your input; I’ll keep it in mind.”

This is nice and non-committal. If her feelings get hurt, even when you are nice, then that is not your fault! People who become intrusive and pushy usually get their feelings hurt when things don’t go their way. That is just the way they are.

Now, the case may be that she is not really intrusive and pushy, but that she really does only want to truly help you, and doesn’t know how to go about it. She may not realize how she sounds!

Why not include her in the things you do want her help with?
Focus on the shower a lot! But isn’t there a rehearsal dinner she should be planning too? Possibly when she begins to bring up these other things, you could change the subject over to the shower & dinner & how the plans are coming with those. She might get the picture then!


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