Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wedding Hells

Thank you, reader, J, for the story of ultimate mother-in-law misery: wedding planning!

Where to begin?

I suppose my mother-in-law behaved most like a wretched lunatic before she actually became my mother-in-law, when my husband and I were engaged and planning our wedding. She's not so bad now that she knows I'm not going anywhere, and she's really not a bad person. She can at times just be shockingly immature and childishly self-absorbed.

At first, when my husband and I moved in together a few months before our wedding, she started calling. And calling and calling and calling. She didn't live too far from us, so there was a constant imaginary need for him to come over and push the right button on the VCR so she could watch a movie, because she just "can't figure it out alone! You just have to come over right now and do it for me!" or "I am splitting up with your step dad (again) and I'm going to be out of town for the weekend, so I need you to stay in the house in case he breaks in!" Great, lady. Ask my husband to risk his safety to defend all your tacky knick-knacks. Super parenting. Fortunately he refused.

Then when it got closer to the wedding date, I tried to be nice and make her feel included. She'd already offered and then reneged on paying for the cake and the flowers, so I'd sort of left her out of the loop after that because I couldn't deal with her constant failure to keep her commitments (see above: "splitting up with your step dad (again)"), whether financial or marital. So one afternoon I called her up and asked her what she planned to wear to the wedding because my mom and friends and I were planning to make the corsages and boutonnieres ourselves, and I offered to make her one that would match her outfit. I commented, completely in passing, that we'd be hand-making corsages "for all the moms and grandmothers," so we figured why not see what people would like to wear. How nice of my mom to be willing to do that, right? She told me she'd be wearing a "sexy, gold suit with purple embroidered flowers" and thanked me for asking. (BTW - the suit was hilarious, especially because she neglected to cut the little stitch that holds the slit closed, so it was VERY tight, and consequently she waddled around like Morticia Addams through the whole reception!)

So after she spoke with me about the corsage, she immediately called my husband, not realizing we were in the car together. I was shocked to hear my very mild-mannered husband speak quite sharply to his mother. My favorite line was, "If my step-mother wearing a fucking flower on her fucking dress would keep you from attending my marriage then you don't deserve to be there at all. Call me back when you feel like being an adult." Click.

Ooh, daaaang!!! I thought with joy.

Apparently this woman had been shrieking in tearful hysterics that he just had to make sure that his step-mother (who had at that point been married to my husband's father for SEVENTEEN YEARS and was also the mother of my husband's little brother, our ring-bearer) did not get to wear a corsage. Thinking this was her just her usual childish attention-grab, he dismissively told her that sort of decision wasn't up to him and that if I and my mom were making his step-mom a corsage, she would be wearing a corsage. Period. That's when she began to wail and moan and scream and insist that because he's a man, he just "can't understand that corsages are for mothers and grandmothers only not for step-mothers!!!!" And when he again informed her that the decision had been made, and he would not try to stop the impending corsage-wearing, she informed him that if his step-mother were allowed to wear a corsage to our wedding, she would not attend. She actually threatened to skip our wedding over a flower! Thankfully, my husband does not negotiate with terrorists, so he left her with the choice words I've already provided above and hung up the phone. A little while later she left him a voicemail telling him of course she'd be there, and imploring him not to tell me about her behavior because she "doesn't want her and her mom to think I am a difficult person because I am not a difficult person. I get along with everybody. Everybody likes me."


It gets better, too. My sweet but at times negligent husband had failed to write the specific names of some tenth cousins on their wedding invitation, and instead just wrote "The So-and-so Family." Well, about ONE WEEK before the wedding, they RSVP'd for ELEVEN PEOPLE. Because we'd already had to find space for various cousins that my husband didn't really know at his mother's insistence, these people were just going to be IMPOSSIBLE to seat. When I asked my husband why he hadn't written their names on the invitation (btw, it's a middle-aged married couple, and we'd thought they MIGHT bring their two adult daughters, so it should have been two people, or four if they were rude), he said, I kid you not, "Oh, I don't know their first names."

Why are we inviting people whose NAMES HE DOES NOT EVEN KNOW??????

Well. In that case, I decided we could just call them and explain that we just cannot seat 11 people and that we had meant to only address the invitation to the two occupants of the household and we are very, terribly sorry, etc. I mean, obviously this can't be THAT offensive since he really doesn't even know them, right????

So he called his mother to find out their names and explain the situation. Cue the wailing and crying and screaming. "Son, you cannot un-invite people from a wedding!" Now, ordinarily, I'd agree with that, but these people had behaved outrageously by RSVP-ing ELEVEN people one week before the wedding! Furthermore, they don't even know my husband personally, and the extra people they were bringing included their daughter's boyfriend and his cousin who happens to also live in our city and that guy's friend who was visiting from out of town.


So she screams and wails and insists that if we un-invite them, "THE FAMILY WILL BE RUINED! RUINED!!!! AND THEY ARE IN MOURNING! THEIR GRANDMOTHER JUST PASSED AWAY!!! IT WILL TEAR US APART!!!!"

THEN the crazy woman calls me and tells me she understands that my parents are having some trouble covering expenses, so she has decided that she will rent a tent and some tables and set them up outside the building where our reception would be, for her family to have dinner in. OH. HELL. NO. Over my dead body would my mother-in-law throw a PRIVATE PARTY at our wedding reception! I was livid. But because I was a tender twenty-one years of age, I simply said that wouldn't be necessary. When I informed my mother, she was outraged at my MIL's jab at her finances and the notion of the private party, so right then my mother decided we'd squeeze in two more tables and absorb 11 more people and if anyone complained about the cramped space, we'd just explain to them that THOSE TWO TABLES FULL OF PEOPLE OVER THERE just RSVP'd last Thursday, so we'd had to make do.

Well, the wedding went off really without a hitch. It was a little crowded, but a good time was had by all, and my new mother-in-law got good and drunk and maintained a placid demeanor the whole time. I must point out though, that one of the Belated Eleven came up to me and my husband's best man and congratulated us on our marriage. Twice. So I doubt it really would have RUINED THE FAMILY if we had un-invited them, but whatever. It's all good, and now that she knows I'm not going anywhere, she ranges from tolerable to downright pleasant the vast majority of the time.

She's still crazy though.


Vivienne said...

I love that the groom barked profanities at his horrible mother. These two crazy kids may just have a shot!!

The TownhouseLady said...

I have no words. Literally. Bless your heart for seeing past the crazy.

Kristina P. said...

Wow, what a crazy woman!

I read in Dear Abby of a woman who sent out an additional 200 invitations to her son's wedding. BEHIND THEIR BACK. So now, 200 people think they are legimiately invited to a wedding. CRAZY!

Scrappy Doo said...

OMG!!! man that is a bad one you got on your hands.


DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

I just discovered your blog today and I have to say, it is hliarious (for me, not for you, I am sure). I am very lucky in that my mother in law likes me and almost never starts trouble. My brother's MIL, now that's another story. I see her all over the pages of this blog. I kept thinking, what, did they clone this bitch?

kmoye said...

THAT was SOME story! Holy crow, that MIL sounds terrible. Glad to read that she got better over time! Maybe there's hope for all of us.
And maybe not. : )

powdergirl said...

Hi, your name and avatar caught my attention over at the inimitable Pearl's place.
I am so sorry to be laughing so hard at your pain, it's the swim suited avatar that got me started. Oh. My. Gawd.

bernthis said...

if my ex had ever had the balls to tell his mother to go F herself, I'd still be married today

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Wow. That is unbelievable. :-0

Pssss: I have an award for you over at my place, http://bitchinwivesclub.blogspot.com/2009/05/hey-yall.html

Heather said...

Oh the thought of the MIL not attending her son's wedding over a corsage! That clearly is undying love for her son - NOT!

Yoli said...

I have just fallen in love with your blog. Girl you deserve a laurel wreath.

B said...

wow. i think i'll elope!!

Anonymous said...

I considered uninviting my own mother from my wedding... but I didn't and it turned out to be a fairly lovely affair, even with the extra guests that she invited without telling me.

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Anonymous said...

Interesting, my mother in law was great before the wedding, but shortly after turned in to a real devil. I suppose it didn't help that she caught me using cam to cam chat rooms when my wife wasn't home. That was embarrassing.

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