Help! My Future Mother-In-Law is Trying to Take Over My Wedding


It’s almost wedding season, and many engaged couples all over the world are getting ready for their big day. Your world has likely been engulfed by flowers, cakes, dresses, and catering menus. Engagement is an exciting time, but like all seasons, it has its ups and downs.

Wedding planning should be an enjoyable experience for engaged couples, but often, it’s stressful and intense instead. It’s disheartening to experience family drama before you’ve even said, “I do.” So how do you respond to them in a loving way? Should you entertain their suggestions, change your wedding plans to fit their wishes, or dig your heels in?

Even though you might feel frustrated, it’s important to know you’re not alone. It’s common to navigate these stressors during engagement. If tensions are high, we’ve gathered some gentle reminders to help you enjoy this special time.

Your Wedding Day is For You and Your Fiancé

First, remember that this wedding is for you and your fiancé. You’re the bride and groom; this day isn’t for your future mother-in-law, or anyone in your extended family. It’s for the two of you.

Family members forget that sometimes, though. They may attempt to make the event about them, a certain side of the family, or a deeply-held tradition that the bride and groom may not want to include for themselves. Emotions run high during this time, and it’s common for relatives to experience hurt feelings if the couple does not accommodate them.

Still, setting kind boundaries can help alleviate this stress for the two of you. For instance, you can choose to be empathic toward your family members while gently reminding them that you and your fiancé will be making the final decisions.

“I’ll Think About It” Is An Appropriate Response

When you feel pressured to make decisions for your fiancé’s mother (or any relative), take a moment to pause. Try to reframe the pressure and look at it as a suggestion instead. It’s perfectly fine to thank your future mother-in-law for the suggestion and say, “I’ll think about it.”

Then, you can talk to your fiancé about the suggestion, and what you think. Take that time to reach an agreement that works for the two of you. If needed, you can relay that information back to your family member together.

Stick Together as a Team

The idea of sticking together brings us to our next point: consider teaming up as often as possible to relay wedding information to your family. You can do this via group call, in-person conversations, or even in writing if needed. If you and your fiancé have made up your minds about what you want for your wedding, then there’s power in teamwork.

As a couple, you’re creating your own story together. If you agree on what you want and are on the same page, then you need to express that to your extended family together. Let them know you love them, and ask that they honor your choices as a couple.

Get Wedding Planning Guidance from the Experts

Want more tips and guidance for planning your wedding? Our book, Getting Ready for the Wedding, compiles wise counsel from trusted relationship experts. It’s a guide to help you navigate this wonderful, yet challenging season of your life. Get your copy here.

Are you experiencing challenges in your wedding planning? If so, how are you navigating them? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

One Comment

  • Kelly Larson says:

    I used to feel this way – that the wedding was all about the bride and the groom. Years ago I remember how disappointed my mother was when my brother called to say he had eloped. Back then I didn’t understand why it mattered – why she didn’t just feel happy that he was happy. Today, after raising 3 sons, loving them into adulthood, sharing their milestones with family and friends, I see how it would be hard not to share one of the biggest milestones with those who have been there all the way from the day they were born. Somehow it seems like the bride’s family takes precedence in these events, but parents of boys love their sons equally and always will. Setting a tone of understanding all around is important. Our three sons are all married now, and their wives included us beautifully. I did not expect to be included in everything, I saw the choices as the couples, and we tried not to insert ourselves. But they offered to include us in things. This set the stage for the future where our family and the love we shared together before was as important as the love her family shared while she grew up. It was respectful. Our culture sets an expectation about the “mother-in-law.” It doesn’t need to be that way. Children leave and cleave. Let them. But children who have been taught to honor their mother and father also see the process of letting go as hard and the celebration of this milestone as equally important for everyone. We’re proud and want to celebrate too. I’d say – if the couple wants to make all the decisions, explain this and they should pay entirely on their own. I know that our sons didn’t realize until later how much more their marriage was than just a party with friends – it was a celebration with the people who are there forever.

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