Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ask a Planner... "Monster-in-Law?"

Hi Geneve,

You addressed a past Ask a Planner inquiry's problem with her issue of a "lazy" Maid of Honour with such care and a good dose of reality that I'm hoping you might be able to help me with my situation.  My problem involves my fiance's mom. To put it simply, I don't think she likes me. She loves her son A LOT and I can't help, but feel that she doesn't think I'm good enough for him.  She is very cold towards me and when she calls and I answer she asks to speak with "John" without even saying hello to me first.  It's so rude and I'm tired of it!  You'd think 3 years into our relationship and an engagement ring later she'd be a little kinder to the future mother of her grandchildren?His whole family is kind of rude to me actually, but it's the issue with my future mother-in-law that I worry about most.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling this way and am not sure what I should do.  I have talked about it with my fiance, but he doesn't seem to understand how BIG a deal this is.  He says not to let it bother me!  Ha! Yeah right.  Anyway, I'm really feeling torn by this and figure I have nothing to lose by asking you what you think I might do.  


Hello Nikki,

I'm glad you emailed!  I'm so sorry to hear that you are going through this.  It has to be very frustratingYour fiance could be right in that you need not over think the situation, but the reality is family dynamics play a HUGE factor in the long term success of a relationship so this sort of thing should be addressed sooner rather than later.   

Sadly, no matter how much in love two people might be, family opinions do matter and can be a really tricky and in rare cases an insurmountable obstacle to overcome.  That doesn't mean that you should walk away from your life and plans... it just means you may need to take some more strategic and aggressive steps to getting to the bottom of the problem.  

Where something this serious is concerned I will ask that you receive my feedback with an open mind and be sure to discuss your feelings with your fiance first before acting on any decisions as I am offering you advice based on what I know and without the complete back story would hate to think you would act on anything I said too hastily. 

Here's what I would do... First, talk again with your fiance (when you know you have his full attention) and explain how worried you are about the situation and the affect it could have on your future.  Perhaps if he understands just how serious this issue is he will be able to work with you better to come up with a solution.  He could be brushing it off because he knows his family better than you and really thinks it's a non-issue OR it could be that he just doesn't want to face the fact that his family may not be as crazy about you as he is.  Either way, it warrants further discussion between the two of you. 

Once you have determined just how serious the issue actually is I would do one of two things:

If together you determine that it's most likely not as personal or dire as you first thought then your next steps might include calling up his mom and ask her to join you for a coffee, a glass of wine, or a pedicure some time!  I'm not suggesting you become best friends, but it is very possible that her standoffish behavior could just be that she doesn't know how to break the ice with you and doesn't realize how rude she is being in the process.  There is a lot to be said for being the first to extend the olive branch or invitation!  Maybe if she sees that you are making an effort to get to know her she will in turn open up.

Now, in the event that this just doesn't feel right and you both know deep down there's more to it than simply a misunderstanding, then I think "John" might need to have a few words with his mom privately about how her behavior is affecting you and your relationship.  In my opinion, if he truly loves you and wants to spend the rest of his life **happily** with you he will have the guts to stand up for you and try and make things better.  This sort of thing should not be ignored.

I wish you the very best as you deal with this situation Nikki.  I would love to know how things turn out for you.  Stay in touch! :O)

Wedding Planner signing off!  Until next week darlings!  And don't be shy!  Submit your questions by emailing us at



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Genève McNally, Principal Planner, DreamGroup Productions

Genève first began her wedding career in 1999 as the Catering Manager for one of Vancouver’s most sought after wedding venues, Brock House Restaurant.  In 2004 Genève and college friend Sarah Shore ambitiously started up what is now one of Vancouver's longest running and most trusted wedding planning companies, DreamGroup Productions Inc.

These days, in addition to working with her clients in a full planning capacity and raising her two wonderful boys Harrison and Campbell with her husband, Genève focuses her attention on the sales and marketing aspects of the company and is most often the friendly voice you will chat with when first inquiring with DreamGroup.  Genève is known to inspire and excite both clients and industry associates alike with her exuberant personality and joie de vivre!  Her ability to be refreshingly candid and her in depth knowledge of the wedding industry have earned her the friendly moniker “Two-Cents McNally”.  Genève also teaches the Wedding Planning classes offered through the dg Academy and is the chief correspondent behind DreamGroup's weekly Blog feature Ask a Planner.

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