Momzilla shirt available on Etsy.
Momzilla shirt available on Etsy.

Everyone warns you about Bridezilla, but no one tells you about how your mom will morph into Momzilla!We set the date for June of next year and my mom's trying to plan everything now. She's totally not listening to me about what I want, or what is important to me. She and my father are paying for it.

Would it be selfish of me to tell my mother it's my wedding, and not hers?

Or should I let her have her way because she's paying for it?


My simple rule: If mom's payin', you need to listen to what she's sayin'.

For the longer answer, keep reading.

I get this question a lot, and my answer doesn't ever change: money is power, and if you accept money from your family for your wedding, then you have to accept that they have every right to chime in about wedding planning. Whoever pays for the wedding is acting as a producer, and therefore has a say in how their money is spent. Ideally, their say goes something like this: “Whatever you want, dear.” But with many families — especially more conservative ones — that's just not gonna happen. That's why many offbeat couples finance their own weddings.

This is covered extensively in the Offbeat Bride book, but before you accept money from family members for your wedding, you need to have a serious conversation with them about what stipulation come with the money. You can't just assume Hey! Free Money!, and skip the conversation about what it means. Yes, it's uncomfortable to talk to family about money. But what's more uncomfortable: having a slightly awkward conversation early on, or going through months (years?) of tension over the issue.

If it becomes clear from that conversation that your family wants to be involved in the planning of the wedding, then you have a very serious decision to make: accept the money and lose some control, or maintain control and pay for it yourself? Some folks also try a third option, which is to ask their family for a loan, but that's definitely an even bigger challenge when it comes to tactfulness.

Another option is having two weddings — the one they pay for and design, and the one you do yourself. That's also covered in my book.


Comments on Momzilla and wedding budgeting

  1. I highly recommend the book! Also, it might be a conversation with your Mom to find out what she wants and what you want. Compromise is a good word. Especially when she is footing the bill. It can be difficult to navigate but your wedding can end up to be a beautiful mix of both of you.

  2. Weirdly, I’ve been having the opposite conversation with my mom. It’s been more like, “Hey, Mom, I know it is our wedding, but we want your input. We want to know what you think. Please don’t wait for five years to tell me you thought I picked the ugliest dress ever. Plus, this day is about you guys too, don’t you want to get involved?” The answer, by the way, is YES, yes she does want to get involved, but she was trying to let us do it our way. That said, we want her input, but we’re not necessarily doing everything she wants. But it feels a whole lot better to know what that is. Maybe this is the LIBERAL family dynamic.

    And the book. I’ve been cuddling it at night. Is that weird? I’m going to post over my way about how even white dress wearing not SUPER offbeat but budget and crafty couples NEED to have it. 🙂

  3. Maybe if you sat down with her and asked her what the most important part of the wedding is for her and then let her have more control in that aspect. It is also totally reasonable to tell her that the music (or whatever) is very important to you and you and Future Spouse really want it to be a surprise for everyone. Done! Also, if you tell her you want it to be a surprise, you have a pre-established reason why you are not sharing details and taking her opinion. Then, if the day comes and she doesn’t like it? too bad. What’s done is done.

  4. great advice!! My mother is momzilla to the extreme but thankfully she’s not paying for anything other than my hair. Which means she’s only entitled to bitch about my hair and nothing else. I’m so glad my dad’s paying for everything else.

  5. I totally agree with this advice! Whoever pays has the say. It’s nice if they ask for opinions, but ultimately, it’s their call. And honestly, I don’t believe anyone but the bride and groom should be paying for the wedding. Marriage is one of the many major acts of adulthood, and no one should participate in this act if they are unable to fund it themselves, as adults.

  6. I don’t *disagree* with Jaymie (don’t have a wedding you can’t afford, etc) but there are reasons for people other then the bride and groom to help pay. For example, we have a big extended family, and our parents helping to pay for some of that makes sense, both to us and to them. AKA, if there are things that are important to your parents, you don’t mind/ like the ideas, and you might not be able to do them on your own, parents helping is very sensable.

    • Ahhh wat leuk om te zien dat ik op je blog sta! Thx a miillon!En je tips vind ik ook echt onwijs leuk! Keep up the good work!liefs van het Bruidsmeisje Vivian

  7. This is a tough one. If Mom and Dad are paying they should have a say, but not because they are paying. They are probably trying to help prevent some the of problems they had.

  8. This is super useful because I know my mom will be trying to weasel in on my wedding planning. I know that I want to have a smaller wedding in a somewhat remote setting, but the second my mom gets ANY input she will be all “but we have to invite your 50 cousins, all your aunts and uncles and your grandmother, oh and your cousins’ kids too”. I just can’t afford something like that, so I know if it comes to her haranging me on it, I feel like I am now armed with “well if you want ALL of those people, you can pay to find a place to seat all of them and feed them too.”
    I am probably going to end up going the two-weddings route; one for close friends and immediate family and the huge one for extended family only :/

  9. We had planned a very small and informal wedding and reception (about 30 guests), which allowed us to have something nice and something we could afford. Enter my mom – and her idea of the guest list – and luckily, her checkbook. Which is totally fair. She’s the one who wants the other 120 guests, so she’s willing to pay for their meal/drinks/favors and a room big enough to hold them. She’s the one who wants fresh flowers on every table, so she’s willing to pay for them. She’s the one who wants a formal rehearsal dinner… you get the picture. I don’t actually object to any of these things, they just aren’t in our budget. However, when she came and offered her financial support, we had a conversation right up front about what kind of wedding my fiance and I wanted, and how far we could comfortably compromise that. It has actually worked out well, as we get her opinion on most things, after we have scoped out the acceptable alternatives, and she makes suggestions, but tries to keep them within her understanding of how we want things. Plus so far I actually have paid for everything; she periodically looks over the plans and gathers the invoices and writes me a check. That way she reserves the right to not write a check if there is anything she seriously dislikes; we feel like adults because we’re still doing our own planning and not having to ask about every expenditure. She gets the things that are important to her, and is generally respectful of our original vision. I think the key thing is that she knows we were absolutely planning on paying ourselves, and that we had the talk upfront (as Ariel says) about what we were willing to accept as far as changes to our original plans.

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