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Beginner November 2022

Future mother-in-law is insisting i follow family tradition at wedding. I don't want to.

Crystal, on March 14, 2021 at 9:19 PM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 54
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My fiance and his whole family are from the Chicago area. I am not. There is a huge tradition in his family that during the reception, the bride puts on the apron and is serenaded by guests singing "Let me Call you Sweetheart." My future mother-in-law is insisting I do this tradition. Absolutely not. I think it's tacky and dumb. We don't do things like that in my family and I know my family will also think this tradition weird.

Also, my parents are paying for the wedding, so I don't think future mother-in-law has any business insisting on anything. I told future-in-mother law that I felt this tradition does not fit in with the elegance of the wedding I am planning and I will not be doing this.

So, what does she do? She runs to my fiance, complaining and has also told his whole family that I am refusing to partake in this family tradition and now his whole family is upset and calling me a slob. My fiance doesn't care either way. This is not his family's wedding and they are not paying.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the big deal.




54 Comments

Latest activity by Haley, on March 27, 2021 at 9:33 PM
  • AJ
    Devoted October 2022
    AJ Online ·
    • Flag
    It’s your wedding, you are not obligated to do anything you are uncomfortable with. No is a complete sentence.
    • Reply
  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    You and fiance set and maintain boundaries as a team. Gets practice in for future situations such as where to live, where to spend holidays, how to raise kids, etc. Repeat no as often as you have to

    • Reply
  • M
    Dedicated September 2023
    Meghan ·
    • Flag

    If your fiance cared and wanted to do this, then I would say that you should do it. A wedding and a marriage is about compromise so what's the harm in letting him do this little thing if he cares so much? But since he doesn't want to do it or doesn't care to do it, then that's the end of it. It's your wedding, not theirs. I would just be careful in how you communicate with them- your wording here is very strong and comes off as judgmental; there's no reason to insult their traditions even if you think it's tacky. Be kind and calm, but firm. However, I think your fiance needs to be the one to communicate with his family, establish those boundaries, and stand up for you when they call you names. He seems to be slacking off in that respect based on the information here.

    • Reply
  • V
    Master July 2019
    Veronica ·
    • Flag

    This seems like a very weird tradition so I can definitely understand why you'd be against it because I would be too. There were certain things my mother-in-law tried to insist we do at our wedding, but luckily my husband and I were on the same page and didn't do any of them. I think your fiancé needs stand up to his mom and the rest of his family. There is no way my husband would allow his family to talk like this about me. The sooner boundaries are established the better otherwise she is going to think she and the rest of the family can bully you into giving into their demands.

    • Reply
  • Ava
    Super May 2022
    Ava ·
    • Flag
    I am from Chicago and I can assure you this is not a “Chicago thing”. I believe it is a Polish tradition that is similar to the American dollar dance. Is your fiancé’s family Polish? If so, I understand why they would invite you to partake in this cultural tradition. However, if you and your family are not Polish I completely understand why you would decline to participate, and his family should be understanding and respectful of that choice. If they are Polish, maybe you could explain that you don’t feel comfortable participating, but would love suggestions of other ways in which to incorporate their traditions (maybe there is something your fiancé could do? Or a certain food or drink you could serve?). If they aren’t Polish then this is just a strange request, and I wouldn’t worry about it lol
    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    This is spot on
    • Reply
  • C
    Beginner November 2022
    Crystal ·
    • Flag

    Yes, his family is Polish and they are very insistent on their traditions and I have really pushed back. A lot of their traditions are things that I would have to explain to my family and my family just would not understand or think the traditions weird and would have no problem telling my fiance's family that to their face.

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  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    This is a pretty bad attitude. You can refuse traditions without insulting them. It's coming off like you don't respect his family or his culture.
    • Reply
  • C
    Beginner November 2022
    Crystal ·
    • Flag

    I don't respect them being forced down my throat. I don't force my traditions upon my fiance's family. I expect the same respect.

    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    The wedding involves both you and your fiance. You need to get your fiance in your corner and set boundaries respectfully before your relationship with your fiance's family devolves further. The proper response to disrespect is not more disrespect
    • Reply
  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
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    Ooof. So my mom's side of the family is Polish-American and I strongly identify with that side. I've never heard of this apron dance and I don't think my parents did it at their wedding. I can see why you wouldn't want to do this; if my MIL suggested it I would think it a little odd too.


    However I do agree with PP that you are coming across as very hostile to their culture. As a descendant of Euro immigrants I feel like my heritage often get erased into just "white" and so I see why they'd want to keep that alive. Are there other traditions you can incorporate into the wedding that don't put you in the spotlight? Maybe play a polka? Serve pierogi?
    • Reply
  • Ava
    Super May 2022
    Ava ·
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    View Quoted Comment
    I have to say this is coming off very badly and disrespectfully on your part. I understand not feeling comfortable doing something that is not traditional for you and your family, but a wedding is about more than just you. It is marrying 2 people, 2 families, and 2 cultures. Your family doesn’t need to be familiar with their traditions. Witnessing new wedding traditions from other cultures is really interesting and can be a great conversation starter between your family and his. Maybe the problem isn’t so much with you feeling uncomfortable with the apron dance, and more about the delivery on your part, because this post sounds incredibly rude, dismissive and disrespectful to FH’s family and traditions.
    • Reply
  • JM Sunshine
    August 2020
    JM Sunshine ·
    • Flag
    It is your and FH's wedding. If your family is paying, then in-laws should not be able to dictate what they want. However, maybe there could be a compromise such as wearing the apron at a shower...that seems more appropriate than the actual wedding? While traditions can be very sentimental, It sounds like a very outdated, stereotypical gender role tradition and I can't imagine too many brides being excited about it.
    • Reply
  • C
    Beginner November 2022
    Crystal ·
    • Flag

    Jm, thank you. That is what I couldn't put my finger on. The gender stereotype of me putting on an apron, I just...can't.

    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
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    I don't know much about this tradition, but it sounds like it has some pretty sexist undertones. I don't blame you because I wouldn't want to do it either! Maybe you can have your fiance ask his family if there is an alternative tradition that can be done instead?

    • Reply
  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Legend March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    You & your fiancé need to provide a unified front. I’m not sure how you spoke to your FMIL but I personally think it’s sweet she was hoping you’d do some traditions from her family’s culture or personal traditions. Be kind not to throw it in her face that your parents are paying or some other rude comment. Totally fine if you & your fiancé don’t aren’t comfortable with it, or that it doesn’t fit the formality of your wedding.


    It should have been sweet if you were ok doing it at your bridal shower.
    Does your fiancé want any Polish traditions at the wedding? For example, a dessert table that includes Polish desserts could go a long way with his family. Just an idea.
    • Reply
  • C
    Beginner November 2022
    Crystal ·
    • Flag

    My fiance just isn't interested in anything other than a party. He has never mentioned wanting Polish traditions. It was a huge deal when he refused to attend Polish lessons as a kid. His mom still isn't over it.

    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Expert June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    Have you asked him if he wants any Polish traditions or foods?


    Also my dad is an immigrant and he would have been heartbroken if I had outright rejected his culture and language. Again I feel like your tone towards your future in-laws and their culture is so deeply contemptuous
    • Reply
  • C
    Beginner November 2022
    Crystal ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    We did a zoom call with my fiance's mom last night. She asked if I had reconsidered about doing the Let Me Call You Sweetheart tradition. I said it was still a no. I could tell that she didn't like my answer, but oh well. I thought that was the end of it.

    I was wrong. My fiance's maternal grandmother calls me up sobbing at 6am this morning, begging me to consider, saying it is a cherished family tradition and that it should be done. It had been done in all family weddings. I told her that I understood her stance, but that it was not my family tradition and I would not be doing it. I handed the phone to my fiance, who was on the phone with his grandmother for an hour, reiterating over and over that if I didn't want to do this, I had his full support.

    But it didn't end there. My mom has her own business and her work phone and email address are on her website for the business. My fiance's mom called my mom telling her I did not want to do this tradition. I had not told my mom about this tradition at all. My mom laughed out loud when my fiance's mom told her about this, said good luck trying to get me to do something I didn't want to do and told her that she had some nerve caling her, my mom to complain about her grown daughter, that this was childish behavior and that she didn't blame me not wanting to do a sexist, corny tradition.

    I cannot believe his family would do all this. And I am so grateful my parents are paying. This is all so stupid. His family are acting like they are in junior high/

    • Reply
  • M
    Dedicated September 2023
    Meghan ·
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    View Quoted Comment

    Yeesh that is a lot coming from his family. I'm glad that you handed the phone to FH and you weren't the only one out of the two of you talking to his family. It sound like no matter what, they're not going to chill unless they get their way. I will say though, it might go further if he said, "I do not want to do this," instead of "I don't want to do this because SHE doesn't want to." The latter may be closer to the truth, but in their minds, it shifts the blame to you and makes you the bad guy. Maybeee they'd be better if he framed it as his decision instead of yours... but I doubt it. Also LOL about her calling your mom!

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