Destination Wedding – Mother In Law Not Happy


Hello everyone. My fiance and I just got engaged a week ago. We are fortunate that we were able to discuss ideas for a wedding openly a few months prior and came upon a wonderful idea for us. We decided that instead of the traditional wedding we would fly down to the Florida Keys (just the two of us), get married on the beach, take beautiful pictures at the location, get our marriage blessed at a church, and already be on our honeymoon. When we return home we would have a nice reception for about 40 of our closest family members.

We told my family back in June about this idea and while they were not responsive to the idea immediately, my parents now love it. They know we are private and do not like attention and that we love to travel. Both my mother and father want us to do what makes us happy and were perfectly okay with not attending either ceremony. Back then my fiance mentioned to his mother that we were thinking about having a destination wedding and she told us to have what we wanted.

Well, he told her what we have decided to do and she was offended. She thinks it is a horrible idea and is threatening to never speak to him again if she is not invited. She wants to witness it in Florida. While I am not opposed to coming to a compromise, part of me does not want to because we would be changing our plan that we harmoniously came up with for one person. Even my fiance does not agree with his mother. Now my parents are upset that this is making my fiance and I upset. My parents said they do not want to go to Florida because it is not what we want as a couple and they want to respect our wishes and think we should start out our marriage as we see fit.

This is not how I imagined starting out an engagement would be. Are my fiance and I wrong? Should we just cave and let her have what she wants? Are weddings really about what everyone else wants and not the actual couple?

Wedding Queen

I’m guessing your groom’s mother was surprised because you mentioned a destination wedding, which usually has guests. I can imagine that she’s feeling disappointed now. As a mom, I know I’d be sad if I couldn’t witness that milestone in my child’s life.

But, you are adults and can choose to be married in the way you like. I’d encourage all of you to discuss your feelings and maybe come to a conclusion that can satisfy everyone (or maybe most). Perhaps that means you invite just the parents? Maybe you videotape the ceremony and show it during your reception? Maybe you have a live simulcast? Remember that getting married isn’t just about the couple, it’s about the growing family.

I hope you find a way to work this out.

Etiquette Now

I’m so sorry, but your marriage does unite families and some want to be a part of the actual event. This doesn’t mean that you are doing anything wrong. In fact, it is not uncommon for people to elope. This is probably what you should have been calling your style of wedding.

I do agree with the Wedding Queen that you have choices (all I agree with) and only you two can choose which one is right for all of you. If it were me, I would probably cave and allow parents to attend the church blessing. But, that doesn’t make it is the right decision for everyone. It just seems the nicest for parents going forward.

Bridal Consultant

I do not agree with the actions of your fiance’s mother however, as a mother, I can not imagine not being able to witness the marriage of my child in person. To be quite frank, I would feel hurt. But if that is what my child wants, then I will have to respect that because he/she is making a decision with their fiance and they both need space to make their decisions regardless of how I (the parent) feel. A parent threatening to not speak to their child doesn’t do anybody any good and now it makes you feel as if you are being pushed to have your parents there, i.e. “caving in.”

As the Wedding Queen suggested, getting everyone together to talk out their feelings is a very good idea. Try to see things from a mother’s perspective and imagine how you’d feel if your child decided to not have you at his/her wedding ceremony. You’ve been there for every milestone of their life but miss out on the one that is so momentous. It can be a major let down.

Not meaning to totally depress you…you are both adults and can get married as you wish. You’re not doing anything wrong! And with modern technology, your parents can watch the ceremony live and feel as if they were there. But, think on this, if there aren’t any extenuating circumstances preventing them from being there, then why shouldn’t they be there? The Wedding Queen made an excellent comment – the marriage isn’t just about the two of you. You’re blending a family and what an honor it would be to have your parents stand up with you to witness the most joyous occasion in your lives!

Just some food for thought…

I hope for the best for you! 🙂

Dr. Meredith Hansen Find Love. Get Love. Keep Love.

This is a complicated one. As much as I am an advocate for couples creating a wedding they feel comfortable with and for couples establishing a married identity separate from their families of origin, a wedding is a family event. Try to see your future in-laws point of view. They have likely imagined their son’s wedding since he was an infant and not being there to celebrate and share in one of the most meaningful days of his life will be disappointing.

I agree that sitting down and talking this out with both sets of parents will be helpful. Look for a reasonable compromise, such as just inviting immediate family only. Remember, you are getting married, which means that your two families will combine to become an important support system for your new marriage. Being there to witness your union will symbolize their presence in the life you are about to build together.