What to Do if Your Parents Don't Like Your Fiancé

You found Mr. Right, but your parents think he's all wrong. Here's how to plan a wedding to the man you love, when your parents say they never will.

love him notMaybe they think he could be a snazzier dresser or have a better haircut. Maybe they're not crazy about his family, his paycheck, his car. Or maybe they fell in love with the football captain you dated in high school and feel no one else will ever compare. Whatever the reason, and despite how happy you are to be engaged, your parents have yet to embrace their future son-in-law (though at this point, you'd settle for an acknowledgement of his existence). In this situation, the hardest part of planning your wedding may be the one thing you can't control: your parents.

While it's true that some parents fight the good fight before they eventually surrender, others never leave the battleground. I know, because my parents fought long and hard against my marriage. Eight years later, my husband and I are still scratching our heads, trying to figure out what all the fuss was about. Some have suggested that my parents developed a severe case of separation anxiety. Others contend that because their own marriage was less than perfect, they thought ours would, by association, suffer the same fate. Regardless of their motives, my parents managed to wreak considerable havoc during our engagement. In fact, as my big day drew near, I lost, in short order, my wedding party (my sisters all bowed out under pressure from my mother); my escort (my dad decided not to walk me down the aisle); and financing (they wouldn't pay for what they didn't support).

It got worse. On the day of my wedding, my parents showed up—late. My mother sobbed audibly through the entire ceremony. And then, they bolted. No photos for the wedding album. No toast for the happy couple. No father-daughter dance for old time's sake. Tragic? Yes. Embarrassing? You bet. But my husband and I got through it, and salvaged some wonderful memories. (More good news: We have recently begun the slow process of reconciling and joining my new family with the one in which I grew up.) While I hope this scenario is not familiar to you, you may indeed be encountering some upturned parental noses. If you find yourself at odds with the folks, help is only some careful planning and a positive attitude away.