Imagine this if you will: You and your fiance sit down to draft the guest list to your upcoming wedding. You are very excited thinking about your newly single gal pals meeting some of your fiance's cute cousins... and then it happens.... Your fiance pulls out a thick stack of paper, stapled together with color coded sticky tabs coming out the sides.
"What is that hunny? An old college project?" you nervously joke.
"No babe, my Mom already drafted her part of the guest list. She told me she wanted to make it easy on you, so you didn't have to spend one minute stressing. She divided her list into how she knows the guests."
You take a deep breath and peek inside the monstrous black hole... The categories include: Family, Work friends, Neighborhood friends, Book-club friends, tennis team/now, tennis team/college, tennis team/high school, tennis team/miscellaneous, tennis team/husbands, tennis team/coaches... You look up and your fiance is picking his nose.
"Hunny, do you know ALL of these people?" You ask, trying to control your tone.
"Nope." He states, as if you asked if he was hungry............. And it slowly dawns on you, these are early signs that you miiiiiiight just have a Mother-in-Law from H-E-double hockey sticks.
Never fear, Christy is here! If and WHEN a situation such as this arises, there are many right and wrong ways to handle your emotions. Talk honestly with your fiance about how many people your budget can afford to feed at your wedding. Hypothetically, wedding guest lists should be 50% Bride's side and 50% Groom's side. In real life, that rarely is the case. It is funny how often a person from a very small family marries a person from a very large family. Guest list numbers are not only determined by your catering/alcohol budgets, but also depending on your flower budget, i.e. the more people you invite, the more centerpieces you're paying for. So after you and your fiance have established how many guests you can afford, next is the issue of who you want to buy dinner for on your wedding day. Do you really care if your Dad's car mechanic witnesses you exchanging vows with the man you love? Think of order of importance.
If after rationally discussing budget issues with your fiance, he doesn't realize that you're hinting at his mother's excessive guest list, you can always outright ask him to talk to the parental unit himself. If he feels uncomfortable "upsetting" his mother, or doesn't know how to handle the conversation, you always have the option to talk to her yourself as well. These conversations can be tricky, but are good practice for your marriage. If boundary issues are going to be a problem in the mother/daughter in-law relationship, pre-wedding planning is always a great time to start establishing those boundaries!
As my husband always says, "Team work makes the dream work, baby!" Here is a great related article if there are signs of "communication problems" between the females: http://www.newsweek.com/id/206199/page/1
Ironically, my husband emailed me the article, but not his mother....