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September 5, 2009 5:52 PM   Subscribe

2 weeks out from my wedding, and future mother-in-law is creating drama about future father-in-law's partner, who is roundly despised by all involved.

I'm a bride 2 weeks out from my wedding, which is happening on the opposite coast. As one might expect, I have plenty of little details to take care of before flying out in a little more than a week.

FMIL is awesome and I love her. FMIL and FFIL's marriage was broken up by an evil, life-draining harpy (ELDH), who was FMIL's friend at one point. FFIL realizes he made a mistake, and has never married the ELDH.

ELDH is a real bitch. She's passive aggressive when sober, openly aggressive when not. Out of courtesy to FFIL, she is invited to the wedding. I plan to ignore her. FMIL's stated plan was to ignore her. ELDH is not going to ruin my wedding. However, now it seems like FMIL is going to let her relationship with ELDH create awkwardness.

FMIL and FFIL, respectively, are arranging / paying for the rehearsal dinner, a 40-person catered affair in the yard of our rental house. I had planned the seating arrangements so that bride, groom, moms, dads, partners, sibling would be sitting together at a table. The rehearsal dinner, in my mind, is an icebreaking affair where the important people in the lives of the bride and groom are able to mingle. Our parents have not all met prior to the wedding.

This is what I received from FMIL on the subject:

I don't wish to put a wrench in your plans, however, I was unaware you were having a seating plan for the pre-wedding dinner. I am hosting this party and won't be sitting with ELDH. I thought I made myself clear about our experience after baby N's birth. I don't bend in this direction anymore. I would prefer to sit with my sisters, my son N & family and K's family.

I will not be sitting with ELDH. If you go back in the emails,you will find my clear and present statement on this subject. ELDH can sit at "table #1 "- I won't be there. Everyone is used to me just sucking it up , sorry if it rocks the boat. I have spent too many years trying to not cause a problem for my children , now they are old enough to to realize that sometimes what they ask is too much.


This not only screws my plans for seating, meaning I'll have to spend time juggling everyone so that she can sit where she wants, but it screws me and FH into sitting with the Evil Life Draining Harpy. Without the buffer of FMIL, her partner, her son and his wife. Talk about a bad time!

Not only that, but this makes me think that the WHOLE WEEKEND is going to be awkward because of how FMIL dramatizes her relationship with ELDH.

I don't have time to worry about this, and she needs to get over herself. Or she doesn't, but then she's going to create unnecessary drama at her son's wedding. But how to tell her this? Right now, I'm thinking twice and saying nothing. But the wedding is in 2 weeks!

How do I handle my FMIL? Her anxiety and drama are really whipping me up into a frenzy.

How do I handle the ELDH? She is guaranteed to drink too much and say something rude. Can't I just un-invite her?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (66 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
It's your wedding. Your spouse-to-be may have more influence with FFIL than you, so put the ball in said spouse's court to either lobby FMIL or get ELDH not to come.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 5:58 PM on September 5, 2009


I don't get something. If FFIL realizes his mistake and never married her, why is she invited at all? If he gets that she will cause drama, you shouldn't have felt obligated to invite her for his sake. I don't get why she is even coming.

But it is much harder to uninvite someone. But maybe that is what needs to happen. If no one really likes her or has a relationship with her, then it shouldn't be undoable. Awkward, yes, but less so than a whole wedding weekend with her there. It's your wedding, have the people be there that you want and that will make it pleasant for you.
posted by Bueller at 6:04 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sounds to me like your FMIL is being very reasonable. She's right, you're asking too much. Especially if she already made it clear that she didn't want to sit with ELDH. You're planning to ignore her, FMIL is planning to ignore her, sounds like the original plan is a good one. However, it would extremely difficult for FMIL to ignore her if she's sitting at the same table!

Simple solution: Do away with seating plan completely at rehearsal dinner. If you make it a more relaxed and informal event then I bet everyone will enjoy it more, including you. Then continue to ignore her, make FFIL deal with whatever drama she creates, and you and awesome FMIL enjoy the wedding.
posted by raisingsand at 6:05 PM on September 5, 2009 [18 favorites]


I'd rejig the seating arrangements for your FMIL and get ELDH away from your table. Either make it so that bride and groom sit with their biological families (minus parents' partners) or that bride and groom sit with the wedding party. The parents will all meet, so don't worry about that. ELDH might not be in your life forever, especially if, as you say, FFIL has realized his mistake, but your FMIL will and she sounds like a nice, sensible lady (I wouldn't want to sit with ELDH either and I think her request is reasonable). Don't stress about seating arrangements for a rehearsal dinner; that's just crazy-making when you have a lot more to plan and a lot more to look forward to the next day.

Doesn't sound like you can do much about ELDH. Let her embarrass herself -- it's on her, not you. Perhaps pull FFIL aside and ask him to have a chat with her about proper wedding etiquette.

And congratulations! I hope your day is wonderful.
posted by pised at 6:07 PM on September 5, 2009


Can you bump the ELDH to another table? Explain that the #1 table is for biological parents, or something.

Do you have an understanding aunt/uncle who can be entrusted to look after the ELDH and keep her away? (Not fair for them to do this the whole time (ie, the wedding as well), just for the rehearsal dinner in this more intimate setting...) Keep her away from the booze, the bride, the FMIL, etc.

Ditto Inspector.Gadget to get the future spouse to sort something, he might have more sway with his Dad on this issue.
posted by titanium_geek at 6:09 PM on September 5, 2009


I will add that I was uninvited to a wedding at the last moment. It was the wedding of my first long term boyfriend to his wife. He invited me and we were still long distance friends and I was friendly toward his wife as she was to me. But the day before I was to leave to go to the wedding, his mother called me and very politely explained that she (his wife) was not comfortable with me there, she was very sorry she made a mistake and she would be happy to see me at some other time but could I let her have this day for herself.

It was not a big deal, I understood that these types of awkward situations come up, I wasn't upset, and I just didn't go. I ended up visiting them about six months later and had a nice visit.
posted by Bueller at 6:09 PM on September 5, 2009


This doesn't read like drama to me. This reads like a woman who has been extremely patient and forebearing for a long time, who has calmly and rationally stated her limits. She won't sit with that woman. I can't blame her -- obviously you don't want to sit with her either, and you're not the one who was injured by ELDH.
You can't uninvite people. You just can't. Perhaps your fiance can talk to FFIL and get her not to come, but you can't just uninvite her. It seems to me the easiest thing to do would be to throw out the seating charts entirely (for the rehearsal dinner, I mean) and let people sit where they want. People can get up and mingle if they want.
I went to a rehearsal dinner where the mother of the groom and the recently-out-of-the-closet father of the groom barely spoke. We all got to sit at tables of our choosing, which meant that ex-Mrs. didn't have to sit with her husband's family, with whom relations had gotten fairly tense. We all still mingled adequately, bride and groom didn't have to stress about seating charts, and nobody who wasn't in on the drama in the first place had any clue that there was a problem.
I think you're catastrophizing. I don't think your FMIL, who you say is a wonderful person, is going to ruin Your Day. Don't force her to sit with a woman she rightfully dislikes, don't make a big deal of it, and be glad you have a FMIL who is overall so awesome.
posted by katemonster at 6:09 PM on September 5, 2009 [9 favorites]


ooh, on non-preview, I really like the "do away with seating arrangements" informal = fun idea!
posted by titanium_geek at 6:11 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sounds to me like your FMIL is being very reasonable. She's right, you're asking too much. Especially if she already made it clear that she didn't want to sit with ELDH.

Look, no one wants to sit with the ELDH. ;) We are inviting her out of courtesy to FFIL, who is still with her, regardless of their marital state.

It is worth noting that her words "if you go back in the emails,you will find my clear and present statement on this subject" are not true. I checked. ;)

We've spoken about ELDH, about how we all expected her to be out of FFIL's life by now, about how we all hope she doesn't do something stupid, about how FBIL has orders to tackle her if she acts up and about how she isn't going to have any part or recognition in the ceremony.

But this absolute insistence on having things her way is something new.

It may also worth noting that we have had many back-and-forths recently regarding wedding details where she had her head completely up her ass. She is very stressed about this event, and stress makes her very anxious and forget what she said and, well, flip out.
posted by Seppaku at 6:15 PM on September 5, 2009


Drama two weeks out from the wedding is SOP. If it wasn't this, it would be something else. In my case it was SIL, who is the sister of my heart, deciding she hated my dress and that I could not possibly wear that awful thing. Yes, I ended up with a new dress. Don't ask. For her I also had to change the name chosen for my unborn daughter as well. Ah, family.

Is FMIL's solution an "offer" or a "threat?" If it's an offer, it seems reasonable to me unless redoing seating arrangements truly is an insurmountable problem and not just a "why do I have to deal with this shit" hassle. If it's a threat, you're going to need to talk her down. If ELDH is not still your father's partner, yes, uninvite her, as you will never see her again so who cares what she thinks. If she is still your fathers partner you can't uninvite her so there are three solutions:

• Let FMIL choose one of the other seating options she has concocted (i.e., call her bluff).
• Move FFIL & ELDH (I love the acronym, btw) to another table, but it will have to be another #1 table, i.e. with other equally important guests
• Talk FMIL into doing this ONE MORE TIME and sit at the head table and that's it I promise forever and ever in secula seculorum cross my heart and hope to spit.

Choose the one least likely to result in thrown crockery.

Finally, tell the bartender not to serve ELDH more than two drinks, and/or tell FFIL that he has to take her home the second she gets abusive (and you get to define that line). He's welcome to then come back to the party without her.

I am so not looking forward to my kids getting married. At least I still like their father, so I guess that's a good start.
posted by nax at 6:17 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and congratulations. You're going to have really great wedding stories.
posted by nax at 6:17 PM on September 5, 2009


Sorry not father, FFIL. Also, I like the open seating, not arranged, option. That sounds like the best idea.
posted by nax at 6:22 PM on September 5, 2009


If you would rather not have informal sitting, consider that it's the FFIL that should be moved. It was he who started this whole mess by having an affair. If anyone should be assigned to a table at the fringes of the event, it is him. Does he really think that it's no big deal to flaunt his mistress in front of his former wife at his son's wedding?

He made his made, now he should have to lie in it.
posted by oddman at 6:24 PM on September 5, 2009 [7 favorites]


You're helping the drama along by allowing all this. Move FFIL and ELDH to another table. Your FFIL with surely understand why, and FMIL will be happy. It doesn't matter if she brought it up in an email before or not. It's not a huge request that she's making.

Congrats and good luck.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:25 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Redoing the seating should take all of fifteen minutes. Just do it, or do away with seating all together. This is a party at FMIL is paying for. I don't think its too much for her to ask that she not be forced to sit with, eat with, and possibly speak with the woman who was party to destroying her marriage.

Drama would be her saying "If this woman comes then I won't come". She's not saying that. She's just saying that she won't sit at a table to share a meal with her.

Don't worry, your parents will meet.
posted by anastasiav at 6:25 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


You're getting married and this woman has paid for this huge event to celebrate YOUR wedding and you've dictated the seating arrangement? You want to tell her she has to endure the company of a woman who ruined her life because of your passion for a seating arrangement? This is what you are freaking out about?

I wish I had your problems. You should go with no seating arrangement as everyone says and worry about the next thing on the list a spoiled person who doesn't pay for things would worry about.
posted by vincele at 6:29 PM on September 5, 2009 [16 favorites]


A month out from my own wedding, so I hear you on the drama. However, my instinct is that the best bet is to give up your plans for arranged seating completely, as katemonster suggests. People shouldn't be uninvited. And you can't control the emotional responses of others. You can change and relax your own expectations, though--and forgoing a little bit of control over things like seating will put some power back into the hands of your guests (like your FMIL) to sit and speak with the people they please. It will really, really be less stressful for you that way--promise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:31 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Chiming in to agree with those that say FMIL has a point, and you don't need to sit next to ELDH if you don't want to either. I'm not usually okay with people placing their own demands above the needs of the host, but really, sitting at the same table as the person who destroyed your marriage does seem like a bit much. I'd move FFIL and ELDH somewhere else.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:33 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is FMIL's solution an "offer" or a "threat?"

This is my biggest concern.

Of course, re-seating everyone would be a pain, and not having my own / my new family sitting around me would be suboptimal, but I really don't care about that. When I'm not on the phone with moms, I'm as serene as can be.

What this out-of-the-blue email from FMIL indicated to me was that there is drama brewing with ELDH. What I understood previously was that we were ignoring ELDH. FMIL went to FFIL's father's funeral just a few months ago and successfully stood in the same room as ELDH, ignoring her. To me, ignoring doesn't mean rearranging heaven and hell so that FMIL is not too close to the kryptonite.

If FMIL is willing to upset the apple cart now, how is she gonna be the day of? I almost feel if I don't nip this in the bud right now, there's going to be even more DRAMA coming from FMIL in the time to come. I appreciate her feelings, but it's not my problem. Why is she making it my problem, NOW?
posted by Seppaku at 6:33 PM on September 5, 2009


Oh, and it's pretty gracious of FMIL to be okay not sitting at your table, considering she's hosting and paying for the affair.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:34 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


FMIL is not paying for the rehearsal dinner.

The deal was: if FMIL arranges the rehearsal dinner, FFIL will pay for it.

He hasn't, yet.
posted by Seppaku at 6:34 PM on September 5, 2009


To me, ignoring doesn't mean rearranging heaven and hell so that FMIL is not too close to the kryptonite.

If FMIL is willing to upset the apple cart now, how is she gonna be the day of? I almost feel if I don't nip this in the bud right now, there's going to be even more DRAMA coming from FMIL in the time to come. I appreciate her feelings, but it's not my problem. Why is she making it my problem, NOW?


She's not. She's stating what she needs clearly to be comfortable--it sounds like she's far more likely to "upset the apple cart" if she's forced into a situation that, for her, is emotionally uncomfortable and understandably volatile.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:36 PM on September 5, 2009 [13 favorites]


My father's parents were separated and dating people at the time of my parents' wedding. As a direct response to this, they didn't have assigned seating, and all went wonderfully. This is a meal in a yard. I'm sure it's going to be lovely, but there's no reason to insist that people cannot mingle and cannot switch tables.

I assume that FFIL is currently dating ELDH, otherwise this story doesn't make much sense. In any case, you can also try to separate out FMIL and FFIL at your table and put their partners at separate tables (which you'd need to okay with the FILs before you planned it -- it sounds absurd, but it might work in some families).

It sounds like FMIL and FFIL get along okay, all things considered. If this is the case, you can ask them to work out a seating arrangement (or agree to no set seating) that they are both comfortable with. I am sure that all the parents will make an effort to meet during the meal. (Obviously you should make it clear to your parents the parameters of who is sitting where and why so there's no confusion.)
posted by jeather at 6:38 PM on September 5, 2009


And seeing that you posted a follow-up immediately after what I wrote: Do you really not see the difference between being in the same room, and being at the same table? How do you ignore someone when all of you are sharing the same conversation?

Stop worrying about what FMIL might do in the future, and start thinking about what she's asking about now. What she's asking is reasonable. To refuse it because you're afraid she might be unreasonable in the future is just begging for escalation.

Also, this: "I appreciate her feelings, but it's not my problem"? It comes across very badly, like you don't appreciate her feelings at all. This is not like she's demanding you serve carrot soup. This is her telling you that sitting at the same table as the person who destroyed her marriage is simply "too much" for her. She's telling you the limits of what she can gladly do, and doing that gladly, and you're demanding more. It is your problem, because you're the one demanding that she conform to your (in my mind, unreasonable) expectations.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 6:43 PM on September 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


good point Seppaku, in other threads like this people tell the askers to stand up to their future inlaws/parents. I guess you have to tread lightly, but assertively.

I would suggest phoning her up, as email has a funny way of obscuring emotion. Discuss some of the solutions suggested up thread, like moving FFIL + ELDH, no seating plan, etc. Say you think it would be really cool for FMIL to get to know your parents well. Maybe clue in your mom and get her to buddy with FMIL?

And: if you are going to have a seating plan, arranging it when you get there might be best.
posted by titanium_geek at 6:43 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's faster and less of a pain in the ass to vape the seating chart entire, then call your FBIL and point out that as ELDH's designated bouncer-- which he already knows he is-- his job is not just to tackle her, but to prepare an interception every time she starts heading for FMIL.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:43 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know weddings can be very stressful but it does sound like you're the one that is freaking out. The email request sounds very sane and reasonable. Like katemonster said, your FMIL is the injured party, not you. The right and respectful thing to do is to respect your FMIL's wishes. Very few things in life are big deals. This is not a big deal. It's a rehearsal dinner for Pete's sake. All future parents will meet eachother and mingle. Don't fret over this and get stuck on the idea that FMIL is creating drama when you're the one creating it. Maybe you don't like being told what to do because this is your day and all that jazz, but she is paying and she is family and you say that you love her so go ahead and show it.
posted by Fairchild at 6:47 PM on September 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


I think you need to cut FMIL some slack. "it screws me and FH into sitting with the Evil Life Draining Harpy. Without the buffer of FMIL, her partner, her son and his wife. Talk about a bad time!" You don't want to sit with her but you think FMIL should be fine with it? You describe her as Evil Life Draining Harpy, but you think FMIL should be ok with having to sit with her and look at her dumb face at an event that's supposed to be a celebration?

From the answers you marked as best it looks like you understand why FMIL is upset, but still, you need to cut her some slack. Just because she's saying all this stuff right now doesn't mean she's going to be controlling and trouble-making later on for stuff that's none of her business. Give her a chance, you can always be mad at her later on if she does stuff that really makes no sense.
posted by amethysts at 6:53 PM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


I thought I made myself clear about our experience after baby N's birth. I don't bend in this direction anymore.

Her reason is somewhere in here. My guess is that either baby N is your child, or her ex-husband's child with ELDH.

Why not just be honest with her: You're glad to rearrange the seating, but you are worried that this is a sign that she will be uncomfortable throughout the wedding events. Then, rearrange the seating and be done with it.

Your MIL will be in your life for as long as she lives. Rearranging seating is trivial compared to a lifetime of bitterness from her. Mentioning to the FIL that he made a mess of your seating chart by having an affair might also lead to a lifetime of bitterness from him. You can hold your ground and be technically right, but it could still make problems for you later.
posted by Houstonian at 6:54 PM on September 5, 2009 [5 favorites]


Good Lord, just post the seating arrangement and we'll fix it. Or do it yourself. It will take fifteen minutes.

Your future mother in law's request is reasonable, and you should waste no additional time granting it. You're going to be her pal for decades, and she'll always be grateful to you for not putting her in what she has made clear would be an extremely uncomfortable position at the rehearsal dinner.
posted by gum at 7:02 PM on September 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


It seems to me your FMIL's request is entirely reasonable, and isn't necessarily an indicator of additional issues, but we aren't giving you the answer you want. I'm sure everyone is a bit frazzled at this point with all the last minute things a wedding involves, and I think making an issue of FMIL's request will exacerbate the potential for drama. Same thing goes with univiting your FFIL's partner. As tempting as it may be, don't do it.

At the end of the day, you don't care for or care about ELDH, but you are very fond of your FMIL. Accommodate the person you care the most about, and who you want to be very involved with in the future. Doing away with a formal seating arrangement solves things quite nicely. Since people will choose their own seats, no one can be offended about where you have seated them, and these two women will naturally steer clear of each other. You also won't have to spend any more time or energy worrying about this. Your parents will mingle often throughout the wedding festivities, so I wouldn't worry about the rehearsal dinner being a significant bonding moment. Congratulations & good luck!
posted by katemcd at 7:22 PM on September 5, 2009


I appreciate her feelings, but it's not my problem.

Be careful. I'm sure your very caught up in things right now, but your wedding one day, and it is not your special princess day. It's important that you treat your mother-in-law with respect and compassion.

It sounds like you're turning into a bridezilla. Don't.

Either rearrange the seating, or have open seating. Your mother-in-law will appreciate it, and that means a lot more than who's sitting at the bloody table during a rehearsal. Get over it.
posted by Hildegarde at 7:23 PM on September 5, 2009 [11 favorites]


I assume that FFIL is currently dating ELDH

FMIL and FFIL divorced 10+ years ago. FFIL has been living with ELDH ever since. They own a house together.

FFIL still calls FMIL on 'their anniversary.' FMIL could care less, but ELDH hates FMIL for attention FFIL still pays to her. FMIL has left channels open because he is the father of her children. She has had her own partner, who is totally awesome as well, for more than 7 years.

This is not like she's demanding you serve carrot soup. This is her telling you that sitting at the same table as the person who destroyed her marriage is simply "too much" for her.

Look, this happened 10 years ago. FMIL and ELDH have managed to attend funerals, christenings, births, graduations, parties, etc. many times over the years. I do understand where she's coming from, I absolutely do. We have discussed the subject at length. Including some nasty things ELDH said at FMIL's grandson's birth (FBIL's son). But for reals, this is the first time I've heard that she will absolutely not sit at the same table as ELDH. This wasn't in an email I missed or ignored. This is not me forcing something down her throat. This is in response to a single sentence in a long email I wrote her several days ago that said I had made a seating chart and would send it to her.

What's more, I intend to honor her request, but I am resentful that she has pulled out the "I planned the rehearsal dinner" card. Now maybe FFIL will play the "I paid for it" card. Then maybe I can play the "it's my wedding" card, which trumps all. How ridiculous. This is not the level of discourse I wish to have, days before my wedding.

THAT is what I am most concerned about. FMIL has gotten more and more frantic as the wedding has gotten closer. I am worried that, if I can't talk her down, that she is going to have me just as worked up.

Based on your responses, I will probably just do away with the seating chart altogether. It's not the first aspect of my wedding I've changed for someone else, and it won't be the last.

But I feel that I do need to address FMIL's anxieties, as Houstonian suggested. Because this email came out of the blue, and because I know her, I know that this sudden concern indicates a growing storm of anxiety on her part, that may well affect how SHE enjoys the day. This is why this is "not my problem;" though it's not my ideal situation, I will change the seating chart, or do away with it all together. But there is nothing I can do to change her relationship with the ELDH. That's her problem, but if I don't talk her down, it's going to be my problem, as in, her anxiety is going to take over the wedding.

I know weddings can be very stressful but it does sound like you're the one that is freaking out.

Sadly, no.
posted by Seppaku at 7:32 PM on September 5, 2009


If FMIL is willing to upset the apple cart now, how is she gonna be the day of? I almost feel if I don't nip this in the bud right now, there's going to be even more DRAMA coming from FMIL in the time to come. I appreciate her feelings, but it's not my problem. Why is she making it my problem, NOW?

I agree with the others; I'm not sure that, given the stress of the upcoming wedding, you're cognizant of how this comes across. Do you really think it's reasonable to ask someone to sit at the table with a woman who destroyed her marriage?

Let me ask you this: If your father destroyed your family by cheating on your mother, would you tell your own mother to suck it up and sit at the table with that woman without making waves? I can't help but feel that you're treating your mother-in-law in a way you would not want your own mother treated.
posted by Justinian at 7:32 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


It sounds like you're turning into a bridezilla. Don't.

Let's not have this thread go there, because that's not what's going on.
posted by Seppaku at 7:33 PM on September 5, 2009


Let's not have this thread go there, because that's not what's going on.


It certainly is, the way you've explained it.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:35 PM on September 5, 2009 [14 favorites]


I can't believe that for one second you had them all sitting at the same table. There's animosity and hurt feelings there, why would you do that to anyone?

My parents divorced twenty-five years ago over my father's affair. I woul not DREAM of asking my mother to sit at the same table as him and the Other Woman, even if it would make my seating chart easier. I think your MIL's request is perfectly reasonable and you should apologize profusely for making the mistake in the first place.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:45 PM on September 5, 2009 [10 favorites]


Let me ask you this: If your father destroyed your family by cheating on your mother, would you tell your own mother to suck it up and sit at the table with that woman without making waves? I can't help but feel that you're treating your mother-in-law in a way you would not want your own mother treated.

FMIL has chosen over the last 10+ years to maintain contact with her former husband, and they have both attended many family functions with their respective partners. She didn't indicate, prior to this email, that she would absolutely, positively not sit at the same table as the ELDH.

I am not asking her 'to suck it up.' Either by asking her to do something that she hasn't done before, or by asking her to do something that she clearly stated she didn't want to do. As I said, several times, this is the first I've heard. I am positive of that. Over the last week, she has forgotten or garbled several things we have already arranged, rented or done. I think this response is based on a conversation she thinks we had.

In any case, I intend to honor her request, because I love her and I want her to be happy, and because, contrary to green's predisposed notions about brides, I am not attached to very much about the wedding, and definitely not seating charts. I just want her to have the best time possible, and I am dismayed by the tone of her email (seeing as this is the first I've heard) and the subliminal threat ("I'm hosting it") that it conveyed.

Thanks for some great responses!
posted by Seppaku at 7:52 PM on September 5, 2009


I wonder if she's getting all worked up because it's a wedding. That probably brings a lot of of feelings to the surface. You mention that she and FFIL have attended many other functions without this drama - but I'm willing to bet it's now because it's a wedding. That's gotta give her pause. It may somehow be symbolic to be sitting at the table with FFIL and ELDH.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:59 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe she is pulling out the "I planned the rehearsal dinner" card. Maybe she didn't tell you before, and is just doing it now out of the blue. What are the reasons that either of these might be a problem? I can think of three reasons:

1. This is evidence of the fact that she's freaking out, and thus might freak out more at the wedding.

2. She's being unfair to you by asking this stuff / playing this card.

3. You're afraid she's angry with you for not having taken her feelings under consideration earlier, which you couldn't have done because she didn't tell you earlier, so you feel defensive.

Let's look at these in order. If it's 1, if she really is freaking out, then your best course of action is to do your best to be over-cognizant of her feelings. Help her calm down. Right? Getting angry with her because she is freaking out won't do anybody any good. Feeling self-righteous because she's freaking out, and she shouldn't be, doesn't help anything. Label her mental state if you like: "yes, she is freaking out", but then let it go.

If it's 2, and you think she's really being unfair for asking this: well, read all the responses in this thread. I don't think that's it, though, given your follow-ups.

Possibility 3 you should consider; I know that I would feel defensive if I'd gotten an email like that. And sometimes defensiveness can get transmogrified into anger or frustration. But in this case, it's just not worth it right now. Be the big person and let it go. Seriously. Deal with the seating arrangement now, try to be nice to FMIL, be nice to yourself, and maybe talk it over again after all is over and done with.
posted by wyzewoman at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


er . . . I think I meant ironic instead of symbolic.
posted by Sassyfras at 8:00 PM on September 5, 2009


You're getting married and this woman has paid for this huge event to celebrate YOUR wedding and you've dictated the seating arrangement? You want to tell her she has to endure the company of a woman who ruined her life because of your passion for a seating arrangement? This is what you are freaking out about?

I wish I had your problems. You should go with no seating arrangement as everyone says and worry about the next thing on the list a spoiled person who doesn't pay for things would worry about.


If you don't have my problems, or a non-snarky answer, then feel free not to answer my questions.
posted by Seppaku at 8:02 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


You say this will be a 40-person event? Can you mix everyone up? Like, seat FFIL and ELDH at a table with the best man, his date, and a couple cousins; seat FMIL with your parents and your maid of honor. You and your husband-to-be can sit with... your favorite aunt and uncle and the flower girl. Maybe you can get smaller tables (if you're renting), which would mean you could have better control over who is grouped together.

Yes, yes, redoing seating charts is a total pain. I don't know why your FMIL would wait until 2 weeks out to say something, but you can't change that, and once she says she's not comfortable sitting at the same table as her former husband and the woman with whom he cheated on her, I think that's something you a) have the right to silently be annoyed by the timing of, and b) have to respect. I know, I know, she's kept in touch. It's weird. I don't know if there's a rational explanation as to why this table thing is such a big deal to her, but it is, and given the circumstances, I'd do my best to honor her wishes.

I don't think it makes you a bridezilla to be confused and frustrated by this situation. But I also don't think this is the hill to die on.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:16 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


What I did when I was a bride with divorced future in-laws (FMIL and FFIL had finalized their divorce during our engagement and FFIL had remarried since the divorce) was essentially forgo the rehearsal dinner and have FMIL and family join my family for dinner one night, and have FFIL and his new wife join us another night. There was still drama, and to the day I divorced my ex, there was wrangling about who should have paid for one of those dinners, but it did forestall a confrontation at the rehearsal dinner.

It may be too late to forgo this now, but since the "who is paying" card has been brought up and the dinner doesn't seem to have been paid for, I thought I might suggest it. Otherwise, I'd go to open seating and chalk it up to "funny wedding stories to dine out on down the line". Good luck to you; it sounds like you'll need it.
posted by immlass at 8:27 PM on September 5, 2009


Wyzewoman, you hit the nail on the head.

As I said in my initial question, I am thinking twice and saying nothing because it DID make me feel defensive, and I didn't want to respond to her until I had sorted out my feelings.

Meg, yes. It's weird. It's like she blurted it out, like she was afraid to say it. And of course I couldn't make her sit with ELDH after this. This is most certainly not the hill I die on.

The hill I die on is the one where ELDH insists that she is taking part in the ceremony. ;)

Imm, there's no turning back. The wedding is on an island. This rehearsal dinner is happening, even if there is a hurricane.

And vincele? Mr. Seppaku and I are paying for our own bare-bones, afternoon cocktail party wedding ourselves, using the money we scrimped and saved over the last year despite being affected by the economic downturn. Our parents have graciously offered to pay for a rehearsal dinner and breakfast brunch. I don't know what your deal is with wedding-hating, but call off your wahmbulance and check yourself for being nasty and presumptuous.
posted by Seppaku at 8:53 PM on September 5, 2009


"Look, this happened 10 years ago. FMIL and ELDH have managed to attend funerals, christenings, births, graduations, parties, etc. many times over the years."

Well, Seppaku, that's true, but in the email you quoted from her, your FMIL said, "Everyone is used to me just sucking it up , sorry if it rocks the boat. I have spent too many years trying to not cause a problem for my children , now they are old enough to to realize that sometimes what they ask is too much."

That's pretty clear to me. Move the ELDH/FFIL, your FFIL will know why. There's only 40 people there, sheesh, it won't be that bad to do some rearranging. Because you love your FMIL, call her up and say "OK, I hear you - this is going to be difficult, but I'm willing to do this for you." I really don't see your FMIL causing more drama at the wedding/reception itself, she's just stressed now, and doesn't want to even consider sitting down on this happy occasion with that thieving bitch that used to be her friend.
posted by HopperFan at 8:57 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think your future mother in law loves you and cares for you and thinks a great deal of you, and wants to have a super relationship with you for the rest of your life. Honor her commitment to you. Respect her request and grant it. Generously, unconditionally. And then congratulations and welcome to the rest of your life with people you care about and love.
posted by gum at 9:02 PM on September 5, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am very late to this party, but I add one thought. I got married under VERY similar circumstances. My darling bride's and my solution was to have our own table, for two, at the wedding so that we either pissed everyone off or no one (not sure which and did not care). Each parent and spouse had their own table with their own family or friends, their choice. At the rehearsal dinner, my ELDH caught on to the fact that she was an issue when we seated her at a table of old biddies and told her that the main table was for the people in the wedding, the reason we called it a rehearsal dinner. She conveniently was not feeling well the night before the wedding and rather than risk missing the wedding, she stayed home from rehearsal dinner.

You're doing the right thing by focusing on removing obstacles to having your own good time. It was our single focus in the planning including my insistence to have two bars not one so that anyone who wanted a drink could get one, stat. The problem here is ELDH not FMIL. Do not forget that.

Mazel Tov.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:42 PM on September 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I think you are reading way to much into her email. Her claim that she planned the party? Well, that was a favor to you, and even if she meant to make you feel guilty, she isn't in the wrong in being upset. Yes she is extremely frustrated, but I would be too. If I had to see the woman who stole what I thought was the love of my life at family events for a decade, always smiling and always dealing with her petty bullshit, and then I get an email from my future Daughter in Law with a seating chart placing me, who I've already obliged to try and ignore, squarely in this bitch's path, I would be frustrated. Perhaps, since you are about to get married, she expected you to consider what her marriage may have meant to her and how difficult the situation is. It doesn't matter how much they've been forced to interact or how long ago this was. This is a tough situation, and by putting right at the center of it, you would be starting the exact trouble that you think this email is a sign of (which it's not).

Also, consider whether her email saying she would ignore her is the email she's talking about, because you can't ignore someone sitting across from you, staring at you while you eat. It's possible that at those Christenings, birthdays, etc. your FMIL sat across the room by herself feeling miserable eating her cake and putting on a strong face for her kids' sake.

I don't want to sound mean, but you have to redo the chart. This is common sense 101 to me. I know you think she is being unreasonable, but shoving a woman she's vowed to ignore i her face comes off as plain rude. She didn't ask you to rearrange everything even; it seems like by requesting to sit with her other family members she is giving you a perfectly good out, a sign that she is trying not to cause frustration with her email. With an informal, backyard affair, especially a rehearsal dinner, you're not breaking any etiquette rules by moving a chair to another table, even if the numbers are uneven. Just be sure to take a minute to walk your parents to her and introduce them. Or maybe you could break it out to separate bride and groom family tables and site her with your family, the excuse being that she feels like family to you and you want her to meet other people you love so much. That kind of touchy-feely MIL crap will smooth it right over.
posted by itsonreserve at 10:53 PM on September 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Your FMIL's e-mail sounded like it came from an incredibly kind and pleasant and worried person, to me.

Here's how I read it: it sounds to me like your FMIL is meek. Or, at least, incredibly bad at standing up for herself. She's put up, for ten years, with this horribly hurtful situation. She's swallowed her feelings. She's tried very hard to smile and be kind and pleasant, because, otherwise, she'd "rock the boat." She'd make people upset. She knows everyone else wants to just have a good time and ignore the bad blood, so she does everything she can to keep it under wraps.

But people have their limits. And I don't know why you think the 10+ years it's been since the divorce should matter at all--sometimes, wounds just don't heal. Sometimes, being forced to interact with the jerk who stole your husband hurts, no matter how much time has passed, how many funerals and christenings and other events you've been forced to smile through.

Your FMIL's e-mail, to me, sounds so very nervous. She sounds afraid that you're going to be mad at her (the way that EVERYTHING you've posted so far makes it sound like you actually are mad at her). She sounds like she's trying to justify this request (a request, as everyone's pointed out, is incredibly reasonable) so that you won't hold it against her. She's giving reasons why you should let her have this one thing (lines like the "I'm hosting it" that you seem to find hostile), and she's trying very hard to make it clear that this is something that matters to her. She just won't be able to take sitting next to that woman.

I don't understand why you're having trouble comprehending such a position or a request. I don't understand why you see your FMIL's obvious discomfort as an unreasonable burden.

Honestly, I just don't understand your worries.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:22 PM on September 5, 2009 [14 favorites]


rearranging heaven and hell so that FMIL is not too close to the kryptonite.

For god's sakes, get over yourself. You're being asked to make a minor adjustment to your plans in order to spare the feelings of a lovely but worried person who is going to become a major part of your family from here on out. It sounds like her family have for years used her kindness and passivity against her and forced her into situations that make her uncomfortable and miserable, and now for once she has grown a backbone and is trying to stand up for herself a little. And you want to crush her for your own convenience. Nice.

Then maybe I can play the "it's my wedding" card, which trumps all.


Only a bridezilla would think so, and only a bridezilla would refuse to consider even for a minute that she might be one.

but call off your wahmbulance and check yourself for being nasty and presumptuous.


Pot, kettle. Sheesh.
posted by hazyjane at 1:45 AM on September 6, 2009 [11 favorites]


Only a bridezilla would think so, and only a bridezilla would refuse to consider even for a minute that she might be one.

I'm guessing that your sarcasm meter needs some calibrating, and that you should re-read what I responded.

I have absolutely no intention of putting her in an awkward position, now that I know her feelings, but I was blindsided by them.

Many respondents have preconceived notions about brides and MILs and my relationship with mine.

Lesson learned: never use ask.metafilter to question about a personal relationship. There have been a few good responses, but those tended to refrain from personal attacks and judgementalism.

You guys sure do hate brides.
posted by Seppaku at 3:10 AM on September 6, 2009


Seppaku: You guys sure do hate brides.

I think it's worth considering that you yourself may be understandably stressed out and under pressure and that could be colouring the way you see the responses you've been given here. You asked a question that basically boils down to "Is my FMIL being unreasonable?" and you're going to get answers that say yes and answers that say no. It's not The Knot, where everyone is seeing things from a largely similar point of view because they are all in largely similar boats.

We went through similar seating chart drama for our own wedding, and despite doing the very best possible job, I still found my MIL sobbing over her ex, my FIL, in the bathroom. Not because we'd fucked up, but because this is a highly public and emotional event and holy God, do people drag in all kinds of baggage with them when they show up. And honestly, watching you kid get married when your own marriage has broken up and your spouse is there with the woman who broke it is particularly... poignant. It's hard.

What we did, and what worked well, is what has been suggested previously. We had no Table 1; all our tables were rounds. We did two tables for the wedding party and sat at one of them. We put together a table for MIL after asking her who she'd particularly like to sit with - one of her sisters, that sister's husband, and their son's family - and did another table for FIL with his 2nd wife and some old family friends. We made sure those tables were separated, and specifically seated these people not facing each other.

It wasn't a big deal to do, and I'm glad we made the effort.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:55 AM on September 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Whatever you do (and I absolutely agree that FMIL shouldn't be at the same table as ELDH), I really like the idea someone mentioned above of putting your mom, or both your parents, in charge of making FMIL feel comfortable, safe, and a particularly honored participant.

Your FMIL sounds pretty awesome, and this might turn out to actually be a good thing - a way to cement your relationship and exhibit your concern for her feelings and well-being that will create a special closeness between you two. Think of this as a challenge to your creativity! You can come up with something graceful that will put your FMIL at ease as much as possible under the circumstances, and your wedding will be all the more lovely for that. I bet it will turn out great!

As for how to handle ELDH... The FBIL strategy is good, but would it be possible for your husband-to-be to ask your FFIL to just take her and leave if she starts anything? Whisk her away? What a pain.
posted by taz at 5:48 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this thread should be required reading for everyone planning to get married. It's a microcosm of our attitudes toward marriage. OP sums it up beautifully-- "I planned it" "Well I paid for it!", "But it's MY wedding!"

Unless you elope and have the ceremony in some registrar's office with two strangers as witnesses, weddings are not just the Bride's Special Day, they are the community's public approbation for the new members of the "adult" community. (Just look at the furor over gay marriage. If it's not for the whole community, or indeed society, why would anyone care?) It is one of those moments where we formalize the passing of the torch to the next generation. The wishes and expectations of the entire community must be honored, in diminishing importance through the expanding rings-- the bride and groom at the center, their immediate families next, then extended family and close friends and on out into all the people you couldn't invite and the children and new friends to whom you will tell the story of your wedding. It is YOUR marriage, but it is everyone's wedding.

Because it is very very clear to everyone that we don't get to dictate the terms and relationships within the marriage itself, the prior generation, the parents, are bound to see a wedding, this moment, as their last chance to help their former wee ones out into that scary world (okay, now I'm tearing up). Bound to be some anxiety there. I still get slightly nervous when my adult children (and there's a phrase that says it all) cross the street by themselves.

OP is feeling the opposing pull of these two societal expectations-- the traditional one to "honor thy mother and father" and the 21st century one that it's her wedding so stfu. Sounds to me like she's balancing these two pretty well. Personally I think that successfully navigating this will bode well for the marriage, because unless financial hardship or family tragedy hits, planning a wedding is about as awful as it gets.
posted by nax at 6:40 AM on September 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


I would suggest a phone call to FMIL right now-- you and she need a good long chat about feelings and weddings and the future and the past. Give her a sympathetic ear. Tell her about how you are stressing. Cry. Laugh. Commiserate. It would be great if the two of you could sit down together and have a glass (or two) of red wine and share a box of kleenex, but for now it will have to be the phone.

Many, many wishes for a wonderful wedding and a glorious, joyful future.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:53 AM on September 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Lesson learned: never use ask.metafilter to question about a personal relationship. There have been a few good responses, but those tended to refrain from personal attacks and judgementalism.

You guys sure do hate brides.


Seppaku, I'm sorry you don't feel that your first ask.metafilter question went well. Something you should know about asking questions here, particularly questions about interpersonal relationships, is that you'll almost always get responses that address parts of your question, or even the phrasing or tone of your question. This has come up on metatalk quite a bit lately; the community seems about split as to whether this is a bug or a feature of metafilter. And if you approach responders in ways that might be read as aggressive or defensive ("let's not even go there"), you increase the changes that people are going to read you as aggressive or defensive about the issue at hand generally. Tone is hard to interpret correctly on the tubes.

But I can assure you that, generally, metafilter doesn't hate brides--many of the responses disagreeing with you came from people who stated they'd been in the same place before.

Anyway, mostly I wanted to chime in again and suggest the Offbeat Bride forums as a place that might seem a little more open to hearing venting about your problem, or other issues that might come up over the next two weeks--search for the "Bridal Bitching" section once you sign up. I recently had a completely irrational freak out about our rings not fitting, and the other ladies on there were really, really good at sympathetically talking me down.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:13 AM on September 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ditch the seating charts for such a small party. Serendipitous seating is nice -- people can mix and mingle and tell great stories. You don't have to control this event to have a great time, and your FMIL will feel so relieved. It's the right thing to do.

But -- can you assign a good friend of your own to be the Harpy's minder? Seriously: get an unflappable friend with a great sense of humor, tell her/him a little backstory, and have this friend spend an hour or two (or intermittent smaller pieces of time) taking up her time, conversation, and energy and deflecting her Harpiness. Friend can interrupt her to ask her if she needs a drink, tell her a joke to keep her attentions on him/her and away from being the bad fairy at your function, and generally play Zookeeper -- "Harpy, can you help me for a sec in the kitchen?"... "Harpy, can I make you this totally awesome drink?"... etc etc.

Bonus points if you have 2 friends/family members to do this for both Harpy and long-suffering FMIL, who probably needs an occasional distraction and drink herself.

I have been that friend, and was honored to play the role of Keeper. :-)
posted by mdiskin at 9:03 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seppaku, I'm also one who thinks parents, and especially divorced parents, need to suck it up sometimes when it comes to their kids' events. Children do not choose to have divorced parents. We just end up dealing with the consequences.

When I got married, the freaky mother was my own. She and I had major communication break downs over the most minor of issues. We had a pretty simple wedding (at our house, no formal wedding party, etc), and I decided to get simple flower corsages for the parents--two for two dads, two for two moms, and out of respect for my dad, one for my stepmom. She and I never had a great relationship, but it seemed like the easiest thing to do. My mom had a fit and said she'd refuse to wear a flower like my stepmom's. It was absurd. No one would confuse my mom with my stepmom, aka at times the most miserable person in my life. I think it was all about her insecurities. Mind you, my stepmom had nothing to do with my parents' divorce and didn't meet til years later.

We did have a formal lunch about the same size as your rehearsal dinner. From the start, our seating arrangement was to have spouse and me at the front table with my sister and her husband and my husband's brother and his wife. Something like that. Then we seated my mom with a few family members and my dad and stepmom with a few family members.

In your family, I'm wondering why everyone finds fault with the FIL's partner and not the FIL. Seems to me he was the one who actually broke his marriage vows. But somehow he's okay? And the fact that he didn't marry the woman is irrelevant. They've lived together for ten years. No one should pretend they aren't serious partners.

I think you should bounce this to your spouse to deal with his parents. I think it sucks it's on you.

Having said that... yeah, re-do the seats and then ignore all other drama.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:40 AM on September 6, 2009


Move the father-in-law and his girlfriend. It's unreasonable to expect your mother-in-law to sit with her, but it's also unreasonable to expect the girlfriend to sit by herself with people she doesn't know. Or un-invite the girlfriend.

Get your spouse to be the "enforcer" and have him explain and back whatever it is you two decide- it's his family.
posted by spaltavian at 11:19 AM on September 6, 2009


Then maybe I can play the "it's my wedding" card, which trumps all.

I guess what you're seeing are a lot of people disagreeing with your charactization of what a wedding should be. Some people see a wedding as a celebration intended for the guests and not just the bride and her groom. I think the princess-ization and emphasis on the bride's wants is inappropriate for an event that involves so many people with different stakes in the event. It also seems almost obscene to spend large amounts of money on events destined to make no one happy. That's just one way of looking at your problem. I'm sorry it's not the perspective you want.

The solution so many have suggested (no assigned seating) seems tailor-fit to making everyone comfortable. From the perspective of a guest, no-seating sounds like most fun because you get to mingle with whomever you want. Your families have the rest of their lives to get to know each other, so go with the solution that eliminates stress for you and, from what you presented here, a very kind future mother in law.
posted by vincele at 11:20 AM on September 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


You say this will be a 40-person event? Can you mix everyone up? Like, seat FFIL and ELDH at a table with the best man, his date, and a couple cousins; seat FMIL with your parents and your maid of honor. You and your husband-to-be can sit with ... your favorite aunt and uncle and the flower girl.

This is the best advice.

Remember, you and everyone else should be up and about, working the room and getting sloshed. If this is a buffet, put the food on one side of the room, and the drinks on the other, which forces people to get up and move and talk to each other.

Eat with the aunt/uncle/flower girl combo, then get up and "visit" the other tables equitably. No one will notice the enforced separation if you're moving around.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:48 AM on September 6, 2009


Then maybe I can play the "it's my wedding" card, which trumps all.

I guess what you're seeing are a lot of people disagreeing with your charactization of what a wedding should be. Some people see a wedding as a celebration intended for the guests and not just the bride and her groom. I think the princess-ization and emphasis on the bride's wants is inappropriate for an event that involves so many people with different stakes in the event. It also seems almost obscene to spend large amounts of money on events destined to make no one happy. That's just one way of looking at your problem. I'm sorry it's not the perspective you want.


Once again, to re-clarify, for once and for all that was a sarcastic comment, intended to point out how stupid the princess fetish is with regards to weddings and brides. I don't even HAVE an "it's my wedding card." I have been very careful throughout the entire process to be inclusive and accommodating. However, many readers seem to seize upon that comment completely out of context. How ridiculous, I said. That is not me, I said.

What's more, I intend to honor her request, but I am resentful that she has pulled out the "I planned the rehearsal dinner" card. Now maybe FFIL will play the "I paid for it" card. Then maybe I can play the "it's my wedding" card, which trumps all. How ridiculous. This is not the level of discourse I wish to have, days before my wedding.

Anyway, my question has been answered to the point of redundancy, and I have spoken with my FMIL. Before I even had a chance to say anything, she apologized for making the demand, but I stopped her immediately and said that she was entirely within her right and that we would absolutely make it work for her so that she didn't have to be within range of ELDH at all. That I love her and that I want her to have a good time. She completely understood how I might be feeling, and I understood how she might be feeling. All is tranquility, love and kindness.

I do appreciate much of the advice I received from ask.mefi on how to understand what is going on in FMIL's head. However, I am astounded, absolutely astounded, by the lack of reading comprehension and level of personal attacks in some responses. In the end, I think that this question was far too complicated and nuanced a topic for ask.mefi, and that I will stick to questions about operating systems, recipes and dog food from now on.
posted by Seppaku at 1:04 PM on September 6, 2009


Ok, I'm a little late to the game, but here is how I see it.

You are upset because FMIL just threw this at you two weeks before the wedding. It's been 10 years of her "just sucking it up" and so you thought that she was fine with that. Basically the status quo has been her sucking it up and for her to suddenly want to upset the status quo for your wedding, of all events, is upsetting. I mean of all the events you are supposed to suck it up and play nice is your son's wedding right?

Also, her email was very civil, but it was also quite harsh. It implied you should have known this would upset her, when all you knew was she's been acting like she's fine with the status quo for the last 10 years. That really isn't fair to you.

But here is the other side of it, the status quo has been incredibly unfair to FMIL. In fact it has been supremely shitty. Now this is in no way your fault or even your battle, but even so the status quo just sucks for FMIL. Was this the right time for her to take a stand? Eh I don't know, but I'll cut her some slack. She's obviously reached her breaking point.

Which brings us to the second reason you are freaking out a bit, you are worried that FMIL has reached her breaking point with the status quo and is going to use your wedding as the backdrop for a grand freak out. I think this is unlikely. FMIL seems upset, but pretty sane. There is a big difference between sending a private, snippy email and causing a scene at her son's wedding. Your FMIL may be secretly miserable at your wedding, but there is nothing that you have mentioned about her that makes it sound like she is incapable or unwilling to put on a brave face when she needs to. I realize you this has thrown you for a loop, but give FMIL some credit that she has no intention of ruining your wedding or making things awkward.

She's told you she really doesn't want to sit at the same table as ELDH. She should have made such a request in a far better manner and way in advance, but it sounds like you are still able to rearrange things, so I would. I get you didn't want to be doing this 2 weeks before your wedding and this is not the kind of thing you spring on a bride 2 weeks before her wedding, but FMIL sounds like she's been pretty good to you so I would let this one go.
posted by whoaali at 4:36 PM on September 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Amazing story. For dealing with strictly the wedding table planning portion of this, I'd suggest Perfect Table Plan, a piece of software that gets rave reviews and has an active developer behind it (though I haven't used it myself).
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:08 PM on September 8, 2009


Metafilter: This is a meal in a yard.

I am so sorry, I had to. And will probably get tongue lashed to MetaTalk. But that statement puts a wonderful perspective on everything. This is a meal in a yard.

Ideally, you would not be put in this situation. But you have. The thing you need to do is just placate your future MIL. She is going to be around for a long time. ELDH will hopefully write herself out of the picture before any grandbabies are born, otherwise I have given you another heart attack right before your wedding and for that I apologize.

Best of luck to you.
posted by 8-bit floozy at 4:26 PM on September 19, 2009


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