Having a bride and groom with parents wedding onlyy
January 15, 2014 7:12 PM   Subscribe

Hi, Guys Me and my boyfriend recently decided to get married and go from boyfriend status to a married status after a short engagement f 1 month. We know we love each other and that it is working.

All good so far, but now we are planning a wedding that is very casual and simple by the end of February. Therefore in 1 month and a half I will be his wife. We really loe each other. We decided that we do not want a big party, because we do not have many friends and because we do not like attention. We do not enjoy much social events, and do not really need or want to invite our whole family.

My fiancé didn't even tell his family about our decision until today. When his mom found out she got shocked and a little upset that why are rushing to get it done now and not have a big party. We tried to tell her is the money and because it is not our style. My fiancé thinks she is fine, but I really felt she is shocked that we get married so fast fter 8 months engagement and why not making a big deal.

Instead of a big ceremony we will have an officiant in a nice winery and have along all 4 parents.

Do you think this is weird? Any ideas how to make this a little more special for my mother in low? I feel so stressed out now because I know she is kinda dissapointed.

The thing is if I invite one person I have to invite 50 others cause I can't just pick and choose and that's why we will only have immediate family- parents and siblings.
posted by barexamfreak to Human Relations (26 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Did his parents know that you were engaged before you told them that you wanted to have the wedding in February? I'm not sure if his mother is reacting to the fact that there won't be a long engagement/big wedding so much as that you're getting married after having been in a relationship for 8 months. She might be feeling that you are rushing the relationship (but isn't exactly saying so).

That being said, I don't think a small intimate wedding is weird - it's what I would want for myself - but some people feel that weddings are meant to be Events. You probably can't please those people and yourself/fiance at the same time, you'll need to pick a side.
posted by sm1tten at 7:22 PM on January 15, 2014

Maybe try to make it a bit more traditional. Would it be possible for you to be married in a chapel-like setting instead than in a winery? Other than that, a small, intimate wedding is fine. Lots of destination weddings are small.
posted by francesca too at 7:25 PM on January 15, 2014

My fiancé thinks she is fine, but I really felt she is shocked that we get married so fast

If your fiance feels like his mom is fine, trust his judgment. He has known her his whole life, you have known her 8 months. (Or less.) You can make her feel special by:

-giving a wonderful toast
-some kind of gift/favor that you present at the dinner
-having her walk him down the "aisle" (even though you're not having a big ceremony, you could still do a little short procession up to the officiant, you know?)

I had a tiny wedding, not as small as this but basically parents, siblings, very best friends. Some people were likely a little disappointed but everyone got over it, and the smallness meant we got to really make our guests a part of the day, not just a blurry backdrop. FWIW my mom has said she really liked it, even though initially she balked at the smallness.
posted by like_a_friend at 7:26 PM on January 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Is there some way you can make a big deal of her? Asking for her advice, or asking if she and her family have any traditions they would like you to incorporate in the wedding, or having her shop for your dress (or her dress) with you? She may just feel cut off from the planning -- in the US, six months is considered a minimum amount of time to plan a wedding -- and if you're ok with it, asking her to help plan in some way might help.
posted by jaguar at 7:31 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I don't think this is weird. I did exactly this...just parents and siblings. I took everyone out to a nice lunch after. I had no desire for a big party, and I don't regret doing it that way. I've participated in a number of weddings, and they're stressful for most of the people involved.

Your MIL always has the option of hosting a party in honor of your nuptials, if she thinks there should be a big blowout. She can do this some time after the wedding. I don't think you should feel pressured to make your wedding any more formal or extravagant than you and your fiance prefer.
posted by nobejen at 7:31 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend reading a lot of the resources on APW about eloping and planning small weddings. Part of choosing that path means dealing with the feelings of other people who expected something different (but there are huge benefits too!). And don't trick yourself into thinking that if you'd planned a traditional wedding you'd be able to avoid all that. Part of planning a wedding is accepting that you simply will not be able to please the many people who have strong opinions about what you should do. The most important thing that you and your fiance can do is be on the same page, listen openly to your in-laws, but ultimately do what is best for you. Good luck!
posted by leitmotif at 7:32 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

My wedding was in the courthouse. I had my parents, his parents, and his sister.

This is not weird at all. It was the best decision of my life to have a small wedding.
posted by Crystalinne at 7:32 PM on January 15, 2014 [10 favorites]

I did this. My parents also did it. Their parents did it. There is nothing weird about what you want. This is how I thought of it (if it rings true for you, maybe it helps explain to the in-laws): This is the most important promise I can make. I want to concentrate on the promise instead of worry about a dress, flowers, music, seating arrangements, dinners, etc.
posted by Houstonian at 7:36 PM on January 15, 2014 [5 favorites]

There are two things going on. One is getting married to someone you have dated for only eight months. The second is having a wedding with only four guests. There may also be cultural communication issues cropping up.

I would be concerned about anyone getting married so soon; of course the concern anyone would have is that the relationship does not have strong foundations to face future stresses. If moving fast in a relationship is new to your fiancé (previously he had dated for several years before moving in with his girlfriend, for example) it may be perceived, rightly or wrongly, that you are pressuring him and ulterior motives might be suspected (want a green card, you are a gold-digger, you are controlling and want to isolate him - I'm not accusing you of this - just some may wonder if something like that, instead of love, is the true motivation).

As to having a small wedding due to lack of a social group, your mother-in-law may worry that without friends, family, and a supportive social network you may be setting yourselves up for an implosion at the first sign of stress. Not wanting to spend money on a wedding may indicate to her that the two of you have not managed to live within your means and are unable to save for important occasions like a wedding (my wedding with 75 guests cost $2,000 so it doesn't have to be extravagant). Does she want an opportunity to invite you to her larger social group, or a reason for lovely pictures? There could be so many reasons why her reaction was not what you were expecting, and talking with her is the only way to figure out how she is feeling, her assumptions, and expectations.

Weddings and marriages have huge cultural baggages in every family, and every family is different. You and your fiancé should work together as a team but be sensitive to the dynamics of your families of origin. You have mentioned in the past about cultural clashes, you might want to reach out to her to understand her point of view and see if their are some compromises the three of you can make that everyone will be okay with.
posted by saucysault at 7:40 PM on January 15, 2014 [7 favorites]

it is not weird. you and your fiance are, or at least ought to be, in complete control of the circumstances of your wedding, and his mother can be gently reminded of the alternative that you go to vegas and get hitched by a faux elvis in a drive-thru chapel.
posted by bruce at 7:43 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

If they want all of those people at a wedding, it can be theirs, not yours.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:49 PM on January 15, 2014

Best answer: I think it is fair that your future mother in law acted shocked when her son announced he was engaged after only 8 months and then that he was planning to marry you in a month. In those situations it is very hard to control emotions, people act truthfully to how they feel when they are caught off guard like that.

Give her some time to process the information first and then decide how to proceed. She may think it over and be very happy with your wishes. She just needs some time to get used to the idea.

Mothers have their own dreams and wishes for their children, which maybe wrongly have a lot to do with what they think it is the right thing. At the end of the day a parent will want what's best for their child and accept what they choose for themselves. Give her some more time.
posted by Youremyworld at 7:49 PM on January 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

This is what my husband and I did, when we got married 25 years ago! There were seven people: the bride and the groom, the minister, and both sets of parents. It was lovely, and not weird at all. I have never regretted having a quiet, stress-free wedding.
posted by merejane at 7:53 PM on January 15, 2014

Having a small wedding is not weird. It's your choice and that's fine.

But honestly: marrying someone you have known for eight months will likely be considered a poor decision by many people that you know. Eight months is still very early in a relationship and at this point it is very difficult to know if you are compatible for the long term. Many people have been in longer relationships that were not able to stand the test of time.

I wish you nothing but happiness and success, but you should understand that other people may view your choice as rash and unwise.
posted by gnutron at 7:56 PM on January 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

Fwiw, I had a large wedding and totally regret it. Oh, it was nice and we had a great time, but if I were to do it over, it would be more like 20 people not 200.

I appreciate your recognition and concern for your mother in laws wants and needs, but those should be addressed within the context of what you and your fiance want.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:58 PM on January 15, 2014

I don't think it's at all weird to have a tiny wedding, or to get married shortly after getting engaged.

However, going by your question history, you've been dating for... eight or nine months? I wonder if your future mother-in-law is worried because you're rushing into marriage, not because you're rushing the wedding. And if she thought your fiancé was hiding the engagement from her, she'd understandably be suspicious.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on the dates (it's not entirely clear from this question whether you've been engaged for one month or eight). And sometimes you know right away that you've found the right person. But I think your fiancé's mom might not be used to the idea just yet, and could be using the "why not a big wedding" question to try and buy some more time.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:01 PM on January 15, 2014 [6 favorites]

Anecdote for you:

My husband and I were married after 5 months of knowing each other (moved in together after 6 weeks of knowing each other).

He didn't tell his mother he had a girlfriend until several months after moving in together. I let this kind of thing go -- it's his relationship with his mother and it's always been this way even 13 years later with two kids.

We got married the day our mothers met at city hall in our town. Had burritos directly after, a lovely dinner that evening at a local restaurant.

To help with the shock of the whole situation, each mother had a reception in our respective hometowns within the year. My family had a huge to-do. His family required that we do much of the work, which is where the honoring-my-new-MIL came into play for us.

posted by mamabear at 8:22 PM on January 15, 2014

You've been dating for less than a year and he had serious questions about whether he was ready for marriage just a couple months ago. Which: Personal experience? If he talks to his mom about anything, there's a fairly good chance that he may have at some point mentioned this to his mother. So that could be where that's coming from. Especially because, at the less-than-one-year mark, most (but not all!) of the couples who I've known who've done smaller, quicker weddings have been either a) pregnant, or b) having relationship difficulties and trying to cover them up with drastic measures. A bunch of those have turned out fine despite not starting very auspiciously, mind.

If you've got a particular reason (like travel arrangements for your family, or one of you starting a new job or only getting time off at certain points) for doing it then, I'd emphasize that. Doing premarital counseling beforehand, even if you don't have a lot of time, that's also a sign that you're still taking it Very Seriously even with a small ceremony. But the small isn't really weird, no, just that small, that fast, that soon. Even then, not shocking, just a little unusual. I'd try to place the emphasis on this being small but still nice and still having a lot of thought put into it, and ask for lots of advice if you can stand hearing it.
posted by Sequence at 8:39 PM on January 15, 2014 [4 favorites]

There's nothing wrong with having a very small ceremony - my wife and I had one. I think you should do your best to make your new in-laws happy, not because they are right and you are wrong, but because you are joining a family and it's a good idea to start off on the right foot.

One caveat - having looked quickly through your past questions, most of which revolve around you obsessing over a man you have been dating a very short time, and then breaking up and starting the process again with someone new, maybe you should just re-think this one. Maybe in this particular case, having an extended engagement would be a good idea, so you can get to know each other better. I don't doubt at all that you feel like you're in love, but given your past history maybe the wiser course here is to stay "engaged" for a bit longer and just see how it all goes. Then, his parents are happy, and you are on a more solid foundation yourselves.

posted by modernnomad at 11:10 PM on January 15, 2014 [2 favorites]

My husband comes from a culture where lavish 200-guest weddings are par for the course. When we decided to get married in the courthouse, with only our parents and siblings present, we were ready for a lot of backlash from the rest of his extended family. But you know what? Every single one of them, even the ones I'd consider nit-picky or judgey, told us they were very happy that we were doing it the way we wanted. Small courthouse weddings are not uncommon, so I don't think anyone will view it as weird. And anyone who does? HATERS TO THE LEFT.

Now, getting married after only eight months together is a seperate issue that can, and will be viewed as weird.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 11:57 PM on January 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I did this. Parents and siblings (and siblings spouses and child; 10 people total) at city hall. It was awesome. We told everyone about a month before and basically said "we're getting married on this day at this place and you can be there or not be there." Don't approach it as "instead of a big wedding, we're doing this," approach it as though this was always the wedding plan, this is the only wedding that will ever happen, no other wedding is on the table. They can attend or not attend, those are the options.

Don't worry about the MIL - if she's a decent human being, she'll be happy and think its special regardless of whether it's huge and fancy; if she's poopy about it, then she isn't worth fretting about because nothing will ever be good enough.

That said, we were together for 8 years before this (living together for 5 and never had any announced engagement period) so I think there was a lot of "it's about time!" sentiment in our case.

Edit: also this was the first time our parents met each other
posted by melissasaurus at 4:54 AM on January 16, 2014

Not weird at all! Two of my friends did this and I thought it was brilliant! They had a great day with just their respective parents and sisters. Sure, some of her friends and a couple of busybody aunts were pissy about not being invited, but that's their problem. They did a nice BBQ the next day for friends and extended family at her father's house, which was really nice and super casual. Much more fun that attending YET ANOTHER WEDDING.

Your posting history with regards to this relationship concerns me much, much more than the size of your wedding. What's the rush? Is it possible that's playing into your MIL's concerns?
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:48 AM on January 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


This is not weird, it's perfect for you. Have a very small ceremony, and if his mother wants to throw a little party for her friends at some later date, to introduce you to her family and friends, graciously go along with it.

The whole, 'big, church wedding' thing is a relatively modern construct. My parents got married in front of family in the living room of my grandparents house.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:37 AM on January 16, 2014

Is your boyfriend American and you foreign? IF so, after 8 months of dating (with schisms already - needing space, attending funerals, etc) his mother is shocked because it probably seems to her you are rushing things for motives other than being in love in a committed relationship (money, paperwork, status, whatever). You are also young, so it's not like you need to have children NOW or some other thing that would make you not want to wait. The situation and the time frame would peak most people's bullshit detector in regards to the legitimacy of the relationship. What's the rush? No, really, what is the rush?

That said, having a wedding with just the couple and parents is not weird. Just be sure to have a nice dinner to, not just a ceremony and glass of wine!
posted by WeekendJen at 9:49 AM on January 16, 2014

I don't think that a very small wedding is weird, but I do think if someone in my family told me they were getting married next month to someone they had only been dating eight months so far, I would wonder if someone needed health insurance, a greencard, or was pregnant.
posted by inertia at 1:03 PM on January 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

We had a tiny wedding (after 2 years together, and FYI I've heard some comments about moving awfully quickly). I also felt some family pressures, and people spoke out against the idea when it was just that, an idea. We tried to figure out a different way to do it, but ultimately came back to our original idea of doing something intimate with just parents. I was nervous to tell the relatives who had been skeptical, but everyone was incredibly supportive of our plan. I think "this is an idea..." and "this is what we want, this is what we've decided to do, we would love to have you there" go over very differently.

Post wedding, the most common comments from friends and relatives were along the lines of "you did it the right way" and "I wish we would have done it that way... I wish my daughter would do it that way." I did get a few comments about having had a "flash wedding" and having eloped, especially at work, where people who I've never said more than "good morning!" to were apparently shocked that I hadn't told them about my wedding plans in advance. Ce la vie. Marriage is great fun.
posted by bonheur at 3:48 PM on January 16, 2014

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