Broke-Ass Tag: family drama


Real Bride Amy The Mom Factor
For Mother’s Day, my mom and I went away for the weekend.  We had nice time, and chatted here and there about the wedding. While we don’t argue, I will say we are totally not on the same page. We aren’t super close, my mother and I. We aren’t estranged, but we also aren’t Rori and Loreli either! The wedding is just an example of how my mother just doesn’t get me. We have different priorities and come from very different generations. A wedding in the late ’70s and one in 2016 are just a little different.
It’s hard, because I want to involve her, but I don’t want to start an argument that I know is unwinnable because she doesn’t see things the same way. For example, she asked me why I would hire a photographer.  Yes, that was a serious question. I laughed out loud.  For me, this is one of the few things I would bust the budget for. Good pictures are important to me. She looked at me confused and asked “Can’t people at the wedding just take pictures with their cameras?” WHAT! She also thinks open bar encourages drunken foolishness and is a waste of money, and thinks I should have bridesmaids to essentially get my due since I did so much for other people. She also asked me “Are you going to wear a dress?”  As opposed to what? I mean, I have a shoe closet and proudly sport pink lipstick; I’m not the pants-suit type.
Then there’s the growing list of people she wants to invite. I’m having a small wedding, which I explained to her. My guest list is too big as it is, and there are people I want to invite that I won’t be able to, and it’s my wedding, so I don’t think she should be able to invite other people. It’s going against the goal of my wedding, to keep it small and only have people I really care about there. Her friends that I see once every two years do not fit that criteria. I won’t look back and say “Geez, I really wish my mom’s friend from work could have been there.” Nope. She doesn’t see anyway not to invite them, and already has despite the fact that Save the Dates haven’t even gone out! Needless to say, this conversation is ongoing.
I’m envious of friends whose mother helped to plan their shower and made favors with them. My mom would just question why I’m even giving favors. I’m basically just doing things and filling her in after the fact because I can’t deal with having to try to explain or justify things up front. I probably won’t even take her dress shopping. I don’t mean to be cruel, but this whole process isn’t easy to begin with. And that’s not even mentioning my future mother-in-law. Don’t even get me started there.

So what’s a bride to do? Did you involve your mom in every step? Or go your own way? Is it complicated if your parents are contributing financially?

  • 3/6


    Credit: Life’s Highlights

    Last week, I got an email from a bride who didn’t have a problem yet, but was anticipating a huge one. She and her fiance want a small wedding, surrounded by their good friends and close family. She was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen once her mother got ahold of the list. What if her Mom insisted on inviting the 120 family members that she would probably want to add to that list? There’s a ton of you worried about the same thing. I know there’s a few (unnamed) couples on my roster who are, for sure.

    So, how to combat that? For starters, stop thinking about it as a battle. It’s a wedding, its not a war. And if you keep looking at everything as a potential conflict, that’s exactly what you’ll find. I’m not so zen that I’m saying the guest list won’t be an issue. I…have parents, too. And what I (eventually) figured out was that it’s easier if you manage their expectations of your expectations. You’re not going to be able to avoid the conversation with them, but you can certainly put it into context.

    Get specific with your numbers

    Sit down with your fiance and make a list of everyone the two of you want to invite. It won’t take long, but go over it a couple more times to make sure you didn’t miss anyone, and that you included their significant others. Now, given that list, how many more people are you willing to have at your wedding? So, say you come up with a list of 50 people, or 25 couples. Are you willing to have another 50 people at your wedding, to bring it to 100? Another 25 people to bring it to 75? Think about it as people, and think about it as tables. 50 people is five tables, 100 people is 10. What feels right to you?


    Be straightforward, and tell the truth: “We want to keep the guest list to 100 people, and we have 50 people that we want to invite. Can you help us and give us a list of the 50 people you want to invite by [make up a date in the next couple of weeks]?” This is what we want, this is what we have so far, this is what we’re asking from you and here’s the date we need it by. We really appreciate your help! DO NOT under any circumstances, apologize. You’re not being mean, you’re not being rude, DO NOT get defensive. Just state what you want, which is a wedding with this number of people. Ask for their help. And then change the subject as quick as you can. Check in a couple of times before your deadline. Be prepared to have the conversation again. Express gratitude for their help as often as you can.

    Bonus points: Get specific with the costs

    For extra credit, if you’ve already booked a venue and/or caterer, figure out out how much it is going to cost per person and for the entire group, and give that to her, too. So, say, your venue is $2500. if catering is $75 per person, plus tax and service (30% here) = $97.50 per person, or $14,750 for 100 people. See? You’re trying to be reasonable by sticking to a reasonable budget, whether they’re paying for it or you are.

    They’ll be thinking about those numbers while they’re going over their own list. And, again, Do NOT apologize! No, “I’m really sorry about this.” For one thing, that’s a lie. For another, you’re not doing anything wrong. Ask her for help. Thank her for her help. Take a deep breath, and smile.

    So, really, how many of you are facing a massive guest list from your folks that you don’t want? Got any questions about my advice? Let me know in the comments below!

    See you at the end of the aisle,

  • 2/26

    As brides, we have a lot to stress over. Whether it's the environmental stress of an industry demanding we spend, spend, spend, the intimidating task of pleasing everyone, or the stuff we completely make up (I'm not alone in that, right?), planning a wedding can wreak havoc on your chill. I knew before I got engaged, hell, before I was even sure that I was…

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    Two weeks before Thanksgiving, I found out that the current number of Mrs. Coopersmiths would soon be increased by one  -- my husband’s little brother got engaged. Yay! But then I looked at the calendar again and frowned. Two weeks before Thanksgiving. Seven weeks before New Years. Here we go. The best part of the Holiday season is the number of chances you'll have to spend…

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    The holidays tend to bring out that big, nasty stress monster in nearly everyone I know. Even Metro and Dolly are a little more catty. All of this hustle, bustle, pressure and travel can often lead to taking the ones nearest and dearest to us -- who also tend to be our own personal shelters from the storm -- for granted. And that's pretty sucky. This…

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  • 7/1

    Hi all! First of all, let me apologize to my friend, Rachel. Rachel got married a few years ago and I was hurt that she didn’t invite me or any of her other friends from junior high through high school. Now, as a Broke-Ass Bride, I totally understand and apologize for being mad. OK, let’s talk about one of the most difficult aspects of your…

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    Jennifer Yin via Flickr Creative Commons Dear Heather, How do you handle a seating chart with multiple family situations and conflicts making it mind numbingly hard!? Shelby Dear Shelby, You have two main strategies here: (1) Seat people wherever the hell you want and assume that they are grown-ups and can handle themselves for a single day; (2) Knock yourself out and do your absolute…

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     Sisters! I am extremely close with my family. Of my three younger siblings, it's difficult for me to think of three people I would rather hang out with. I was convinced that all the horror stories I heard from friends about family members going crazy during the wedding planning process would not happen to me -- no way, no how. Then my younger sister, Tegan,…

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  • 3/18

    Real Bride Peach: Bridal Failure

    This is my face. No one tells you how shitty planning a wedding can make you feel sometimes. I was simply not prepared. Before I expound, I have to make this humble request: If there is actually a 100% tested-and-approved rule book to follow for not pissing people off when planning a wedding, please order it for me on Amazon and send it my way.…

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