My husband and I have four daughters – youngest about to be married. We gave beautiful happy and memorable weddings to the first three. We expect the 4th daughter’s to be the same. But we are strong on tradition – and followed all traditional planning for our daughters – with never an objection or challenge from anyone – all families included.
Our youngest daughter expressed a desire to have an engagement party in her and the groom’s honor – we never said NO, but did explain that none of the others (daughters) expected or requested one. It just wasn’t important or necessary for them. We told her that we would think about it and decide how, who, when, etc.
I then got a very nice phone call from the groom’s mother sharing the congratulations and excitement over our children’s engagement, and she tells me that our daughter discussed her interest in this engagement party with her – and maybe we can have it at their home!
I didn’t know what to say – just that I would talk to my daughter and we would decide on making plans – but never committing to anything.
I told my daughter I was disappointed that she would speak with her future mother-in-law first without talking with me about a party, and that tradition holds that the bride’s parents host and plan this event.
So….after seeing I wasn’t too pleased, we decided to put off the idea. To think about it in due time – but making sure she knew I agreed that it would be a good opportunity to get the immediate families for a get-together.
Consequently, the groom told his Mother to back off and leave well enough alone.
Turns out – Mom of the Bride finds out ‘by accident’ that the groom’s family did indeed have a private dinner party of their own, celebrating the engagement, with substantial gifts given, and all unbeknownst to Mom and Dad.
So here I stand, feeling that his family was a bit intentional with their actions – giving this party and keeping it quiet.
I feel I have let my daughter down by not holding one in the beginning and they pretty much threw this whole idea ‘in our face’, i.e., if you won’t, then we will.
On top of that, as tradition – and affordability go – Mom and Dad are once again giving a beautiful reception as a gift to our daughter. We’ve decided on a maximum number of guests on both sides. We hear that the grandmother of the groom is annoyed that we dropped their 80 guest count to 65 – same as the bride’s family. Wow – what a way to start out.
Wondered if I am justified in feeling a little annoyed here. And where do we go from here?
My husband and I are paying and plan on staying firm with guest counts. I feel badly that this woman put my daughter on the spot entirely when she showed her disagreement. I am kind of p’od!!!
Comments On One Family Holding A Private Engagement Party
This is a difficult situation for everyone with no simple answer.
Many of the events in your story could and should have been handled differently. But without really knowing the players involved it’s hard to determine next steps.
In terms of the private engagement party, the groom’s mother should have definitely reached out and been honest about her intentions. Her excitement over the upcoming nuptials was likely her motivation for the party and we wonder if this was the first time that one of her children got engaged.
It might explain her haste in throwing the dinner (which she may not have perceived as an “engagement party”) but does not excuse the fact that it was done without your knowledge, consultation, and an invitation for you and your husband.
Although it put your daughter in an awkward situation, she and the groom could have explained how the bride’s parents are traditionalists. His parents should have been told that out of respect for her parents, they should be given the first opportunity to decide on things at which point either set of parents, or both, could throw whatever dinner, party or formal celebration they deemed appropriate.
At this point, there is no gain in dwelling on things. Move forward and believe that the groom’s mother had no malicious intent but was excited about her son’s engagement. She likely wanted to share that excitement with her family and friends and didn’t realize that she may have been stepping on some toes.
This wedding is about your 4th daughter and not any of your other girls and she may wish for many things to be done differently.
It’s unfortunate that this happened but don’t let it sour this very special occasion. Clear the air with everyone and let them know your feelings without assigning any blame and enjoy this special time.
Move forward with a gesture of some kind (whether it be an intimate dinner, engagement party or anything else of your choosing)that will put everyone at ease and let them all know that you hold no grudges and only wish the very best for everyone.
In terms of # of guests and budget… A budget is a budget and that needs to be respected.
With so many people and more than one family involved, each with their own wants, sense of tradition and expectations, someone is always bound to be a little disappointed.
You and your husband (and your daughter) need to stick to your budget since you are footing the bill and they need to respect that.
However, if they come up with an alternate idea or solution you need to be open enough to consider it. A wedding, like a marriage, has much to do with compromise.
We hope this helps (if only just a little).
Let your daughter’s happiness be your guiding light and…..Congratulations!
Better to build a bridge than blow it up
I have three lovely daughters and have lived by the phrase “to each according to their need” I think providing identical is impossible and insures that you are choosing not to connect directly with your daughter’s specific needs at this most amazing time.
Sorry, whose wedding & Engagement?
If I were your daughter, I’d probably politely decline your wedding, traditions and manipulative strings. It just doesn’t seem worth the money to put up with the delays and hassle.
We were Left by the wayside
I was never asked by the bride’s mother, what I thought about giving the children an engagement party. My husband and I were told 3rd party that there was going to be one and what were we able to contribute!
I felt that if the mother of the bride wanted to do something of that nature, she should have called us and asked what we thought of having an engagement party.
I have been left out of quite a few things that the bride-to-be should have included me in.
Everyone in the bridal party was invited to a bridal show, except me, the mother of the groom. When I say something to my son, he says that her mother means no harm, but, how else am I supposed to feel or react?
I love my son, but I believe he is not taking us into consideration and is trying to appease her mother……..which we find absolutely insulting.
I feel for you
I was on this website this morning looking for a toast to give at my son’s engagement party, and came across your post – and was shocked. I feel your pain, and am not sure if I have any advice for you, I just had to write you.
My son has met a wonderful girl, and so far everything has gone well between us and the bride’s parents. The only glitch has been money.
The bride’s parents cannot afford both a wedding and an engagement party – so my husband and I insisted on having a dinner at our home. I think her parents are relieved.
I feel that you are not being respected at this point and you have to say something to all parties involved.
With divorce rates so high, anything we can do to keep a couple together must be done, and honesty in every aspect must be maintained.
I look forward to a loving, familial relationship with our new daughter-in-law’s family – and would not want any tension in the air at the wedding.
Is it possible that you can start by speaking to your daughter first, and let her know how you feel. Then decide if you need to “clear the air” with the groom’s family. If anything, make a gesture, invite them to dinner, and start fresh.
With all good hope, you guys are going to be one big family, and best not to start out with baggage – enough will come along!
Good luck, and I would love to hear how everything turns out. Bless you.