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Need some help with my mother...

This is a little long...sorry! Also posted on TK.

M and I have been engaged since September 2011. We decided to wait on wedding plans until we purchased a house. We figured this would be the best approach since we are paying for the wedding ourselves. So we settled on the house and moved in March and have since been planning for the wedding next summer, 8.31.13. 

So in June my mom pulled my sister and I aside and asked if I wanted to try on her wedding dress. She's never opened the box so we only knew what it looked like from pictures. She opened it and it's beautiful but it's a size 00. I would be lucky if I got my leg in the dress, literally. So I politely declined even though I said it was beautiful and it wouldn't fit. She said that I could alter it if I wanted to. But it wouldn't work and I don't want to destroy it, especially since my sister isn't married yet and may want to wear it.

So I went dress shopping with my mom, FMIL, and BM's. I found my dream dress and purchased it in August. My dress is ivory and there are pearls on it, so my sister thought I could maybe borrow a strand of pearls from my mom for the wedding. She asked and my mom said no. 

So now we are in December and we still have over 8 months of planning to go. And I've been on Pinterest getting ideas for things and what have you. So I found a beautiful bouquet that incorporated lace from the Mother of the Bride's wedding dress as the something old. I thought this would be really sentimental to have a part of in the wedding. I asked my mom 2 weeks ago and she never responded.

Last night I was at my parents helping my sister decide what to take on vacation. So while I was there I asked my mom if she thought about it. And she snapped at me and said "I am NOT cutting up my wedding dress." And my Dad replied saying she was really offended and that she didn't know what to say because she didn't want me to get mad. And I wasn't mad that she said no. I made that clear. I apologized for asking her. But I told them I am mad about not getting a response from her. That's fine if she doesn't want to give a small piece of lace from the dress, but she could have told me in a more respectful manner. 

So I was talking with my sister while helping her pack. And I broke down crying. I try so hard to do the right things and make it seem like my mom cares. But the more I try, the more I get let down. This morning I woke up and she text me and said that she'll let me use her wedding handkerchief and a pearl bracelet. So I know my sister said something, if not her my Dad did to my Mom. 

I decided that I'm going to decline the offer. I just want my mom to be involved in the wedding plans or at the very least WANT to be involved. Everyone else asks how the planning is going and she never asks or seems to care.

Any ideas on how to get my mom more interested in our wedding? Or should I just let it go and continue planning? 

Thank you!
Wedding Countdown Ticker

Re: Need some help with my mother...

  • Did you explain your thought process on why you didn't want to wear her dress? To me telling her no to the things she has offered is only going to fuel her fire. Take the items and wear/use them in the wedding. You may want to invite her to lunch, just the two of you and get to the bottom of what has her so upset. You asked for a piece of lace she said no to that but has offered something else. You should thank her, make sure your photog gets a picture of those items and gift it to her. 
  • O.k. - take a step back.  What kind of person is your mother in general?  Is she into stuff like this- weddings, planning, parties, etc?  If she isn't, you can't expect your wedding to make her suddenly be interested.

    If she IS, then I wonder if this is all a product of her being upset that you didn't use her dress.  Even though she now claims she doens't want it cut up - perhaps your saying "no" to her initially killed some dream SHE had of her oldest daughter wearing her dress.  (Not that you should have said yes - it's old, WAY too small, etc.  I actually hate the pressure placed on women to wear their mom's dress if they really don't want to).

    Another factor - you're wedding is actually still a good time away.  Weddings often don't seem "real" to people outside of the bride until much closer to the wedding.  That could be another aspect of this. 

    So- my advice is to figure out if your mom is really a "wedding person" or not, and/or could she be hurt by your saying no, and then start working w/ reality.  not w/ how you WANT things to be.

    THEN - sit on it!  Just give her some time and some space.  Don't try SO hard to "involve" her.  When it gets closer, things may change and you may see a new attitude.  Or you may not, but by then, you may be more at terms with th efact your mom just isn't into it.

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  • Wedding aside- how much of this is typical of your relationship with your mom or family dynamics in general?  I'm with you that she should have responded to you and said no more respectfully, rather than going silent and then snapping.  But, based on your descriptions- your mom told your dad she was offended and then he told you, you vented to your sister and suspect she or your dad spoke to your mom... I'm wondering if her silence and snapping is really to do with the wedding, or if it's just the way she tends to handle family conflict or hurt feelings.   

    My other thought was re: your mom not being "involved" in the wedding plans.  To a degree- everyone's idea of what "being involved" means is different.  She's offered you her wedding dress, gone dress shopping with you, and there's 8 months of wedding planning left to go. I had a long engagement too, and 8 months is a long time to be frequently asking how the planning is going or looking at Pinterest ideas. I agree that it's frustrating for her not to have replied back to you about your bouquet idea, but I don't equate that to her not caring about the wedding or not wanting any involvement at all.  I really, really wouldn't reject her offer or write her off as uninterested based on this.  

  • remember this: your wedding is most important to YOU. no one else cares as much as you about these things. while i'm sure your mom does care to a point it's nearly a year off. clearly you see how your mom feels. she may not want to get involved. she doesn't have to. i also agree with ECB. 8 months is a looooooooong time (plus however much time has passed since you got engaged) to be constantly discussing ideas. while some see it as fun (you) some see it as too much (possibly her?). I agree that she reacted wrongly. i suggest you sit down and talk to her calmly about it. dont involve your dad or sister etc.. just you and her. see if you cant just work it out with 'im sorry i messed up or i misunderstood' if it's just a misunderstanding or someone snapping when they didn't mean to it's often easily fixed with a sit down, an apology and a hug.

     if not i would assume that she may not want to help with it as much as you expect she should

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  • Sorry you are going through this.

    It would appear that you are upset that your Mom is not involved the way you think she should be. Whether it's based on perceptions of what "should" be happening with the "Mother of the Bride", or your long relationship with her, I can't say.  Planning the biggest day of your life is daunting, but as the above poster said, no one is as excited about your wedding as you are, not even your Mom.

    My recommendation is to stop stressing about it and wait it out. It's the holiday season, which has it's own stressors, and your wedding is 8 1/2 months away.

    FWIW, I planned my wedding over 18 months. When we got married in August 2011 I was probably your Mom's age. Women in their 50's are dealing with their own health, finances, their kids, the holidays (right now), and other stuff. My Mother used to be in catering and planned weddings and did all that stuff......however, she was less involved than I thought she would be, but heck, she was 80 !! It takes a mature and wise heart to understand that our expectations often result in disappointments.

    It's not about the dress you declined, it's about your expectations. I agree, go out to lunch with just her, or invite her over for lunch when you two can be alone. Rather than telling her what you expect, ask her how she'd like to be involved, if at all, then let it go.

    Also, I asked my Mom for her wedding handkerchief, and had my grandmother's as well. They were both white with lace on the edges. I wrapped them around the handle of my bouquet on my wedding day. It meant a lot to me. Don't discount her offer simply because you feel spiteful or misunderstand her interest in your wedding.


  • Did you explain your thought process on why you didn't want to wear her dress? Yes. I told her straight out it won't fit me. My sister also told my mom the same thing. And I understand that my mom probably wants my sister to wear it, she's older than me and should technically have first dibs on the dress.


    What kind of person is your mother in general? She?s always been into planning and everything. But it?s interesting the more I look back on my childhood I missed out on a lot of things that my sister and brother had but I didn?t. For example, sweet 16, photo albums of me growing up (my sister has 5, I have 2, and my brother has 4). We?ve never had a strong relationship and anything that went wrong in the house has always been my fault.


    This is a typical conversation with my Mom. The problem is the more I try the worse the relationship gets. She?s told me on several occasions that I?m an ungrateful daughter. She blows up at me every time I?m at the house. And moving out in March I thought would have made things less tense but now I?m just ignored.


    This isn?t just about the wedding. There is a lot of conflict between her and I and it?s been compounded over the years, because she doesn?t want to talk about anything. And so the more I try the worse it gets. So M told me I really need to make the decision to just keep things to a minimum with our contact.

    Thanks for all the responses.

    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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