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My fiance's extremely religous mother informed him yesterday that if we dont have our wedding in a Catholic Church that she will not attend the ceremony. Neither my fiance or I are Catholic (or religous for that matter) and we would like to have the wedding in a local art museum. My fiance now wants to reconsider where we have the ceremony just to keep the peace within his family. My family is not religous and the majority of his family is not either. He has now informed me that he does not care where we get married, would like to stay out of the situation and said that he would just like everyone to be happy in the end. So that leaves ME to deal with his mother. She is not paying for any of the ceremony and I feel like she does not have an option of where the ceremony will be held. At this point I am A. irritated with his mother for having the audacity to threaten not to come to the wedding if she was not happy with the location and B. mad at my fiance for not standing up to his mother and defending me. I feel the only people that should have any say as to where the wedding is held are the bride and groom and the party paying for the wedding (in this case my parents). What do you suggest I do? I dont want to start a marriage with existing mother in law problems but I am also unwilling to make other people happy by ignoring my own desires. Thanks.  

Dear Ashley,

First of all, it sounds like your FMIL is quite controlling.  If you let her dictate to you now and you give in, this is just setting the stage for the rest of your lives.  

I don't believe you can get married in the Catholic church without being a member, or at least one of you.  You might consider finding a priest who would be willing to marry you at the museum .  This would at least be a compromise.  

You have to decide if you will let your groom's mother "blackmail you", which is what is happening, to get her own way.  If she says she won't come, tell her you'll miss her, but this is your day and this is what you want.  my guess is that she will be there.  

sometimes you have to take a hard line and pick your battles.  Perhaps you could visit with her priest and find out first hand what the rules are for her church.  If you find that indeed you have to be members to be married at the church, this may put an end to the argument.  Your groom needs to have a heart to heart talk with his mom and let her know this is your decision, not hers.  If he won't you have to ask yourself, will he stand up for you after the wedding?  This is something you should find out now.

I hope this helps.  Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance.  (There are priests who will do wedding in other locations, you may just have to look a bit.)


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I''ve been a wedding coordinator for 16 years. I authored a WEDDING PLANNING GUIDE, a Bride''s Workbook, that is available in local bridal shops. Tattered Cover Bookstores in Denver, CO as well as local Borders Books and through my website. I''ve worked with weddings from just 2 people to 350 guests and all budget ranges.   I've also written and teach The Art of Wedding Coordination to those who want to become wedding coordinators.

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