Nervous about family drama

lovekcdillas

My fiance's parents are divorced (father re-married, mother did not). My future FIL and step MIL have a friend who has generously offered their spectacular backyard for our venue. I learned (when we told her who the people hosting were) that his mom and the man who owns the home have some 'history' (business related and not good), and her reaction was a bit over the top (as she often can be). I've already made it very clear to my fiance that I don't want to have to worry about his mom flipping out on the people who are hosting our wedding, but it's also his mother, and I don't like the idea of her not at our wedding. He's assured me that if she does do something outrageous, she will be escorted out - he is very matter-of-fact about these kinds of things and has been stern with his her before (due to her alcohol problems), so I know that he would throw her out if she acts inappropriately. However I don't want to even have to worry about something like that when I know there will be plenty of other things for me to be anxious about that day! Does anyone have any advice on how to handle this situation?

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sushipup1

Find another place for your wedding, a neutral site. It's a nice offer, but too complicated. You're the bride, you should be in control of these things. Just find some place else.

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lovekcdillas

This offer is free with no restrictions on catering, time, date, bar, etc., and can accomodate our large group (~175 people). So that's where it becomes difficult to turn down.

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sushipup1

You are asking for trouble. So here you have free+drama vs. paid for and no 'history'. Don't blame your fiance's mother if there is drama, it's a perfect set up for her. If you don't want drama, you know the answer.

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lovekcdillas

Well I think the only way to truly avoid any drama (regardless of the venue) is for his mother not to be there, as harsh as it sounds. Her affinity for alcohol tore their family apart, and even my fiance knows that there's no guarantee that she won't drink (or drink beforehand), in which case she can become very irrational and emotional.

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hounds_x_two

You fiancée said he would deal with her, should there be a problem. Let him do that. Not a good idea (even if that's what you really want) to get her banned from her son's wedding. It is his wedding, too. Not just about your worry-list.

Wishing you good luck and happiness.

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lovekcdillas
Please don't misunderstand, I'm by no means trying to ban her from OUR wedding. She's a very nice woman and it wouldn't be right for her not to be there. Unfortunately, her behavior can be sometimes be unpredictable; I'm just worried she will cause an unnecessary scene.
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lovekcdillas
Because of the unpredictability, I more meant figuratively that the only way to truly assure that there was no drama is if she wasn't there.
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nancylouise5me

That is an extremely generous offer from the in-laws friend. Something you may not want to pass up. If you pass on it, your future MIL may cause a scene where ever you choose to have your wedding. I would graciously accept the offer and take your fiance at his word that he will deal with his mom. He could have a talk with her before hand. At the wedding have a designated someone keep an eye on her discreetly. If she looks like she may start something, have your fiance step in. Something could happen at any venue you choose. If the backyard is as nice as you say, have it there. Best wishes and congratulations to you both!

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gellchom

I feel strongly that your fiance needs to take the lead on this. It's his mother, so he knows her better and is in a better position to assess how likely it really is that she will make a problem and if so whether that problem will really be all that big a deal.

Is the venue that big a factor? Like, is she very likely to make a problem if this is the venue and very unlikely if not? Is there a lot of time for her to get used to the idea? Or do you pretty much have the same issue no matter what venue you use?

If the venue really is a big factor, then I to would vote to pass on the venue, as tempting as I know it is. (Don't be too certain that you save that much money, either, just because it's free. With that big a group, you may well need to arrange and pay for chairs, port-a-potties, tables, linens, ramps, dishes, bars, staff, valet parkers, insurance, and so forth that other venues provide.)

I do sympathize with your concern. But you need to be kind, too, not just RIGHT. Don't make the mistake of pretending that if you can rationalize things in your own mind, you can control how others will feel. I know it is your wedding, but a child's wedding is a big day for a parent, too. Their feelings are important, too, although of course secondary to yours. And no matter what she is like, she is your husband's mother and will be your mother-in-law. For a long, long time. So consider the effect hurting or humiliating her will have.

It's really easy to say "If she causes a fuss, we will just have her escorted out" or "She can just stay home if she doesn't like it." But either would become a huge point of focus of the wedding, perhaps even the main thing people would remember. I know you don't want that. And being able to rationalize it or put the blame on her won't help a bit.

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lovekcdillas

Thanks for your advice everyone, I truly appreciate the different perspectives.

gellchom, though we had previously discussed, my fiance and I talked about this deeper last night; he feels there is the potential for drama regardless of venue (if it's not an issue regarding the venue, it could be an issue with his father/stepmom or their family). His opinion of the matter is that his mom is lucky that he is inviting her to be a part of the wedding considering her past detrimental behaviors and belligerent alienation within his family (which I considered a bit harsh; it is his mother after all). He also said that he planned on informing her that if she is unable to abstain from alcohol for that day, she would not be welcome.

I have no intentions of wanting to humiliate or hurt/offend her; I'm very much the non-confrontational, 'can't we all just get along?' type, but he has no qualms about telling her how it is. I think you're right in him taking the lead on this; these are issues he dealt with firsthand for the last 15+ years, whereas I've only heard the stories.

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luvourhome

@lovekc--Hey there, congrats on your wedding!

Here's a straight on point you need to *seriously* consider. Are you sure of yourself with every ounce of your fiber that this is the right person for you? If you can answer yes to the best of your ability beyond a reasonable doubt, then you need to go a step further.

Would you be absolutely okay if it was just you 2 in the world? Because if not? Then DO NOT marry this person.

Families are complex, and people even more so. If you are having issues with your future MIL now, they will only multiply after the wedding. They will not shrink.

It's all well and good to have your fiance handle things to a point, but that does not let you off the hook. There will be lots of times during a marriage when people will try to interfere, give all sorts of advice, create drama, fight and argue, and be unwelcome.

Your MIL is not as easy to hide in the closet as a broom is. She will be protective and vocal and will likely create plenty of drama with or without alcohol. What about when children come? Holidays? Vacations?

Alcohol is a HUGE red flag in many regards. If she is drunk, would you want your future kids to see that?

The wedding venue sounds like the least of your problems. Wanting everyone to "get along" is great in theory, but can be difficult to execute in practice. People are complex. Alcohol makes people even more complex a lot of the time.

What sort of a relationship do you currently have with this woman? What sort of relationship do you want with her? What about your relationship with her as a couple?

You need to be able to assert yourself and make your own needs known. Otherwise? MIL will be making all of your decisions for you.

A wedding is one day. 1. A marriage is for a lifetime. (We hope). Concentrate on building a strong foundation for your marriage with your fiance, go for pre-marital counselling, and ask each other LOTS of tough questions.

Stop at nothing! Really get to know the person you are starting your life with. AND also his family history, including drug and alcohol use, criminal records, and such.

The bottom line is that yes, you are marrying one person, but you are entering into a new family unit from your fiancé's side. If his family is so into drama, then you need to be aware of the odds. The odds are that things get worse.

***As far as the venue goes? FIND another one!***

Find a neutral one that BOTH you and your fiancé like AND can afford to pay for yourself. Why? Because a wedding is stressful enough without risk of nutty stuff happening.

If you can't afford to have a full reception for 175 people? Scale it back. Hint: One of THE most expensive things at a wedding reception is food and alcohol.

You could have fewer people, have your ceremony during the early afternoon (but after lunch) and a cake and punch reception for everyone for an hour immediately after the ceremony and then bye-bye! Then you can have your smaller and more formal dinner at 6 for just a few people. (It will be easier for MIL to be curtailed for one thing).

Or limit the alcohol you provide to only 2 drinks; a champagne for toasting and a wine with dinner.

Don't have an open bar. Or strictly limit what you serve--beer and wine. Or have the 2 drinks free, then cash bar for a couple hours. Research options and be creative!

I personally cannot stand drunk people. I put my foot down for our wedding and saved thousands of dollars, but still there were people that drank too much. And yes, it was the people I was concerned about. They have problems with alcohol.

It bothered me. I would have been soooo happy not to even have them at the wedding, but it was impossible not to. (His nutty family). And they skirted the safeguards anyway.

***And they were crazy before the wedding, and even on our wedding day even at the church. They are still nutty, but this gal holds her own. I have not wavered from the beginning about my views on alcohol (for one thing), and I don't attend functions if at all possible. It hasn't been easy, but they have come to respect me in their own weird way because they will know at all times where they stand with me. No BS.

That's why I commented on your ability to be okay to handle things as a couple. It sounds like your fiancé is prepared to do that if necessary and to put you first over his Mom. That's admirable in a husband! He sounds like he might be a keeper :-)

**Listen to your fiancé about his Mom!! He knows her best!! And if even HE doesn't want her at the wedding? That tells me a lot. She's Trouble. She is not changing anytime soon. Nope.

Alcoholics will get their fix no matter what. They are a pain in the axx that way. So even if you don't have alcohol at the wedding, there's always the idiots that show up to the reception on the way to being hammered and then they just fill their tank on your dime.

Anyway...plan AND pay entirely for your own wedding. That way you can call the shots. No pun intended.

Good luck!

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Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek

RUN.

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luvourhome

Okay, just re-read a few things. It's been a long day and it's late...

CORRECTION!! This woman already ruined one family and WILL ruin yours!! I second the above poster's sentiments.

Life and marriage are hard enough as it is without an alcoholic being in your life--even as a MIL. You might not know if she drank while pregnant, or if she mixes drugs and alcohol, etc.

Duh, it's been a long day, but I'm just grieving a painful situation regarding a death due to alcohol and driving. It is clear that my "friend" is either hiding information or being black-mailed into keeping quiet. But an innocent man was left to die at the side of the road. I didn't know her that well, but well enough to know what a hole she's in...and how 2 families have been ripped apart.

There are lots of great people in the world that don't have problems with alcohol that want to fall in love and get married.

Re-think the marriage. RUN!!

P.S. There IS a genetic component to alcoholism. That has been proven. Also, the birth defects are horrific.

Did I say to RUN???

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jmm1837

OP - your fiance sounds like he's got his act together. Let him take the lead on this. If you think, as you seem to, that he's capable of laying down the law to his mother, and then enforcing it, let him do it. He seems prepared to take a tougher approach than you would. Let him do so.

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bossyvossy

Maybe future MIL is as anxious as you are facing people that see her as the train wreck of the family and she won't go. But there will be other benchmark events where you will be faced with this decision all over again. Most everybody has a weird/undesirable family member so I can't advice not marrying your guy b/c of relative but do know this issue will be with you for as long as you r married to this guy. Focus on the strength of your relationship w/him so you can weather unpleasantness as a united front. Many people survive family drama and so can you, whoever keeps the most wits about themselves wins.


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lovekcdillas

@luvourhome - I appreciate your time taken to respond, and am sorry for your recent loss. I am certainly aware of the detrimental effects alcohol can have on relationships and lives in general. While I also understand that alcoholism can be influenced by genetic factors, it's not inevitably inherited. My paternal grandfather had some unsavory drinking habits, but neither my dad (and his sisters), nor my brothers, no I have had problems with alcohol. Likewise, my fiance is very different from his mother in that regard, and I also know that the drinking did not start until the kids were a bit older. The relationship that I have with his mother is good, she has welcomed me with open arms from the beginning - as I mentioned before, I have never personally had an encounter with her drinking excessively. I do, however, find it a bit hypocritical for you to tell me to run from the man that I love and with whom I've started a life when you also have a husband with 'nutty family'; I'm sure you knew from the beginning that his family wasn't ideal to you, but (I can assume) he is worth that challenge to you, which is why you continue to hold your own so that your marriage can continue on in a healthy manner.

As bossyvossy mentioned, more families than not have at least one person that (to put nicely) may not be perfect. My fiance very much respects my opinions and concerns, and is very amicable to me in that regard; I'm not afraid to tell him that something bothers me. He is the less forgiving of the two of us (and like you, has a very 'no-BS' attitude), and in your concern of drinking in the future (i.e. with our kids, etc.), I know that he would have zero tolerance for it. He has cut her out of his life before, and I don't doubt that he would do it again should he feel the need to.

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luvourhome

@love--it sounds like your eyes are wide open. That's good. Good luck and happiness :-)

Hypocritical? No. I didn't want anyone drunk at our wedding. Friend or family member. I only wanted champagne for a toast and wine with dinner. DH family's "had to have beer and liquor."

And I didn't want more than 50 people at our wedding, but DH has a huge local family, and I have a huge extended family. We had to make it 100 just to allow local friends to come so that I had someone that I knew and felt comfortable with. We would have had to invite 500 people just to accomodate my family's side alone! We had it as small as we could, but if it were just up to me? Only a handful of his family would have been invited. That's how badly they treated me before the wedding.

Some of them didn't even bother to RSVP one way or the other. That was mild.

I didn't start out with a beef with them. It developed. And the minute you let your guard down, that's when they pounce. Fortunately my own friends stood up for me and negated some of the nuts.

I never have and do not need his family. However, they have needed me. More than once! They will need me again! It's always interesting watching them grovel, beg and squirm and their hearing the word, "No," from me. They can't push me around. They still try, lol, but I'm always steps ahead.

I am a naturally strong person. They under-estimated me. They can't free-load off me or break my house rules in my own home. And they can't push my DH around nearly as much as before. He says, "No," all the time now.

They thought pies and turkey dinners and e-cards is going to make it all sunshine and puppy dogs, lol. Nice try. I can and do forgive, but I have a good memory.

And the interesting part is how correct my pre-wedding or early marriage predictions were in terms of who would break-up, situations with kids and such, etc. I warned my husband x,y,z is going to happen. He didn't believe me, but does now! He no longer questions my intuition or judgment.

If I say I'm not doing A, he will not argue. And if I say B or C is not welcome in our home? He has finally accepted that, too. The interesting part is seeing positive changes happen in those persons over the years. It may be possible to have them in our home again down the road one day!

In the meantime? They know our marriage comes first. They have tried all sorts of crazy stuff to break us up, and have finally accepted I'm not going anywhere, lol.

Be prepared for a bumpy ride, that's all I'm saying. And if your sweetie cuts his Mom out of your lives? He's doing you a favour. That just might be the rock-bottom she needs to clean up her act, drinking and life.

**Just don't engage too deeply with her. Smile and be pleasant, but keep it arm's length. Don't play her therapist. Play dumb to whatever family gossip she tries to pass along. If she senses any weakness in you? She WILL try to come between you--intentionally or not. Alcoholics are some of the best liers and manipulators alive. They also live in the River Denial. "No, I wasn't drunk at your wedding. No, I didn't tell lies about you. No, I didn't cause a scene at the church. No, I wasn't speeding. Yadah, yadah."

And sadly a lot of the birth-defects were not known by us until after the wedding. The children affected were already in our lives. Blood testing tipped us off. Send the kids back for a refund? Lol.

Free tip: Live as far away geographically from any problem in-laws as possible. Distance is magical at creating all sorts of havoc with cost of travel, weather, delays, cancellations, and so on. It will save your sanity!

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lovekcdillas

Thank you for the well wishes and recommendations :)

We are also struggling with the guest list, as we both have large families, and almost all of mine are local and we are close with.

That's unfortunate that his family treat you poorly before the wedding, I can definitely understand your position with them and not wanting to partake in events with them. I wouldn't want to either!

I'm confident that my fiance will not let his mom interfere with our lives, and I'll make sure to point it out if I see something before he does. We make a good, reasonable/logical team and aren't afraid to tell each other how it is when necessary - that's one of my favorite things about him.

Not to prod and please don't feel inclined to answer should you be not comfortable doing so, but I'm curious as to what type of birth defects are you referring - physical, psychological? (I work in biomed so these kinds of things are always intriguing to me)

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luvourhome

Thank-you for the condolences.

Ah, yes, the guest list! Lol. Wait until you do the seating chart, lol.

A. can't be by the music because of hearing loss, but B. can't be beside E. because of issues. F. is now engaged to S. but is the Ex. of E. And so it goes, lol.

Birth defects? Some major ones. I'll give a few. If I give some specific rare ones, it will reveal who I am. I don't want to do that for the sake of the kids.

FASD, cranio-facial deformities and disproportionate skulls, endo-dontal deformities, naso-labial deformities, GI tract issues, a number of syndromes, Autism, Asperger's, ADD, and a couple of really rare things. If I share those, it will break privacy. I'm not doing that to the kids. Nope.

I get chastised all the time for loathing alcohol. I drink a little wine for a special occasion or the odd mixed- drink (Margaritas, etc.) but it's so few that it less than 10 in an entire year or two!

Anyway, I have other reasons for despising drunk behaviour/alcoholics and I'm not going there. But I'm lucky to be alive and I'm grateful.

:-)


What are your wedding colours?

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lovekcdillas

I'm tempted to just have open seating and make them figure it out ;)

That's awful. It's heartbreaking to see kids with preventable defects because the parent's are irresponsible during pregnancy; it's so unfair to them. Thanks for sharing.

I totally get your stance on alcohol - the older I get (I'm in my late 20s now), the less I want to be around it. I had my fair share of fun and partying in college, but that's pretty much where I left it. I still enjoy a beer or margarita occasionally, but just don't see the appeal of getting wasted every weekend like some do - I like to be functional the next day! I was with an ex boyfriend for over 3 years that would often get really mean when he drank, until I finally snapped out of it and realized the kind of person he really was. Better late than never, I guess.

Anyways, our colors are primarily a grayish slate-blue with rose and lavender colored accents. I'm trying to talk my fiance into the groomsmen wearing a light suit (like a khaki or tan color) to contrast the bridesmaid dresses - I think he'll go for it as long as he doesn't have to wear it ;) Going for a sort of rustic summer look.

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luvourhome

Good for you! :-) Smart lady.

Yeah, well, hindsight is 20/20, but the Mom is dead. I'm sure she would do some things differently now...

Anyway, open-seating sounds like a plan!

And here are some flowers for your wedding. I used to be a florist, so it's still fun to Google possible bouquets, lol.

I'm opening my own flower-shop when I retire from nursing. (Years from now). But that's the dream. (One of many). Always has been. We will see how life pans out, lol. I actually want the flower shop to employ disabled persons. It will be a training centre and store/gift-shop/tea-house. I want to get it going and then train them to basically run it by themselves. (With support of course ;-)

I'd like to sell local crafts and ethically-sourced products from poor countries and provide employment and life-skills for those difficult to employ because of various barriers.

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lovekcdillas

I love those! That first bouquet with the anemomes is so pretty. I like 3rd one too with the lavender, less traditional style bouquet but very pretty. A florist seems like such a fun job - get to use your creativity and try new things, and everyone is happy to get some pretty flowers! I really like the trend of using succulent rosettes in bouquets...I saw a really pretty arrangement with some blue echeveria with peach colored roses that was just gorgeous. I'm considering something like that for my bridal bouquet. Hopefully you can carry out that plan sooner than later, it sounds like a great and very fulfilling thing to do.

What kind of nursing do you do now? Like I said, I'm working in biomed research now, but I am a licensed veterinary tech. Basically an animal nurse :)

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chas045

While you guys have a moment there, I'd like to get back on topic. I know that some of you folks have thought more about weddings than some of us guys, but one point has only been half covered. Almost everyone said that you will have to deal with THIS woman from now on. Yes, that's true. And this is a ritualized formal occasion. And she is supposed to be there. For your own future good, I think you should ask for her help with something useful (that could be done by someone else if necessary) and that you really think that she needs to be there for You and her son. You really need the rest of your life to go well. You may as well start out on the positive foot.

Your initial concern of conflict between the hosts and Mom seem like a minor issue because presumably the hosts have heard about Mom before and are probably already prepared and perhaps ready for any 'entertaining' and long memorable event that you will hopefully only have to relive once or twice from the future retelling that everyone else will enjoy.

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Tribbletrouble44152k7 Trek

An alcoholic relative disturbed my brother's wedding. He was marrying into a culture that puts bottles of spirits on each table. The man got worse and worse until he exposed himself on the dance floor during formal speeches. The wedding cost a fortune, and was very formal. The family in general have not forgiven him, though I still have contact. He wasn't invited to any more weddings in that group.

At my wedding we did not have an open bar or table service of alcohol, and there was only beer and wine, with soft options. He was well behaved.

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luvourhome

I would have been MORTIFIED, oh my gosh...I'd send him the bill for the entire wedding. That's terrible. What a shame that happened. :-(


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حور الشمري

I also love that we can have such vastly different opinions in this thread and that everyone is so respectful elrdar.com to each other. This kind of debating is yalla-shoot always يلاشوت so interesting ;)

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nycefarm

Enjoy the generous offer, have a chaperone (baby sitter) for MIL who will escort her out at the first sign of trouble. Do not stress over her possible behavior, that is not your problem!

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Nat Kay

I would go forward with your plans to take up the generous offer for venue. Regardless of place it is being held an alcoholic will always be a loaded gun. You cannot control the actions of an adult , I like nycefarm's idea of having a chaperone for her to escort her out at the first sign of trouble.

This could be her date, a friend of hers, whatever - you can find out who she plans to attend the wedding with and discretely approach them, or if that is not a possibility/you don't know the person well enough and they turn around and tell her (which may upset her), sit her at a table with someone you trust will handle her for you in case something goes wrong


I was recently at a family wedding with a similar situation, bride was worried about actions of mother as well (also alcoholic) and interaction with certain guests she did not normally get along with/had issue with, etc. In any case I just thought I'd let you know that it went well, nothing happened, person in question was on their best behaviour and everyone had a great time.



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