The other day I was talking on the phone to my mom just about regular old stuff. She had recently gone to a funeral for a distant relative and saw some of her cousins there. My mom and her one cousin are close in age (62 and 64) and this same cousin’s stepson had just gotten married the previous year.
As they were getting caught up on things, the cousin said to my mom:
“Well, you must be really busy with the wedding coming up soon!”
To which my mom replied with a short, “No. No I’m not. They’re taking care of everything themselves.”
Then my mom’s cousin started telling stories about all the tasks she had to do for her stepson’s wedding and how busy she was in the months leading up to the wedding.
Two thoughts occurred to me as my mom was recounting this conversation.
1) Shit. Should I have done more to involve my mom?
2) What am I doing “wrong” in this whole process that I’m not needing to reach out to others for help?
I mean, sure, my fiancé and I are busy doing stuff we wouldn’t normally have to do, but it’s not like overwhelming us or requiring us to reach out to others for help. And I know typically you’re supposed to enlist the help of your bridesmaids for wedding-related projects, but never once have I felt the need that things were so crazy busy or overwhelming that I needed others’ help and regretted the decision not to have bridesmaids.
And I guess, because I haven’t felt overwhelmed, I didn’t involve my mom that much either. Well, there may be a few reasons for this upon further consideration.
1) My mom and dad don’t have much money and my dad’s health has been tumbling for the last two years. My dad’s medication is very, very expensive (think $1200/month for just one medication), and they always have to go through a laborious process to get it subsidized. Therefore I never, ever wanted them thinking even once about paying for something for the wedding given that they can barely afford medication.
2) Money is a very, very taboo subject in my family (which is the polar opposite of my fiancé’s family who all talk very openly about their credit card debt and bankruptcies). Therefore, I never had the budget “talk” with my parents (or my fiancé’s parents for that matter) after we got engaged.
3) I always feel like my parents are judging me when I spend money, so I have barely told them what I’ve even purchased for the wedding, so I guess that also led to me not involving them much. They always buy things cheap, no matter the long-term cost. For example, they’ll pay a few hundred dollars to get their car “halfway” fixed, only to have to pay even more a few months down the road to get it fixed again. The judge on “The People’s Court” has an interesting phrase, “The cheap becomes expensive.” Anyway, I digress. I’ll give you an example when I’ve felt judged. I discovered that buying linen tablecloths was cheaper than renting them, and I told my parents about it. When they asked how much they were, I said they were $8 each to buy and that I would need about 30 of them. They immediately encouraged me to just buy those plastic roll tablecloths because they would be much cheaper. And, they about flipped out when I told them how much our photographer cost (which, I didn’t even tell them the real amount, of $2900. I just said it was “about $2000”). My mom also firmly believes in the cash bar concept, because if people want to drink, they should pay for it themselves.
So, to avoid the judgment, I just stopped telling her about the things I bought. Because seriously, if she knew we spent $41 on custom luminaries from Etsy or that we spent $290 on 7 cases of wine (even though that’s a great deal!) the judging would continue.
All those things compound I guess to not involving her much at all in the wedding.
But what do you think? Should I have involved our families more in the wedding planning process?
No. You have valid reasons for not involving them, and your spending sounds completely reasonable, so it’s not like they’re legitimately staging an intervention. Keep the negativity out as much as possible, and involve people who embrace your vision for your wedding and can help you carry out what you need without judgment. If they can’t do it without out extraneous commentary, then it’s not helpful.
Seriously, your family sounds more like mine every day.
Thanks! Yeah, I definitely think that limiting their involvement has been a good thing, but I just wonder if my mom is secretly resentful or anything.