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Redditor Stirs Family Drama By Refusing To Get Married At A Plantation Venue Her MIL Chose

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Planning for weddings is an incredibly stressful occasion.

In some ways, it’s even more stressful when someone else is paying for it, because you feel obligated to make them feel happy.

This was a recent struggle for one couple on the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

Redditor Only-Composer9085 debated whether to go with their gut or please their future in-laws.

When the rest of the family disagreed, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they made the wrong choice.

They asked the sub: 

“AITA for refusing the wedding venue my MIL (mother-in-law) chose, even though she is paying for it?” 

The parents of the OP and their fiance agreed to help pay for their wedding.

“My fiance and I got engaged a few months ago and are now starting to plan our wedding.”

“We are both an only-child so our parents have offered to help us pay, with my fiance’s parents covering the venue cost and my parents covering catering.”

“This is incredibly generous and we are so grateful for them.”

But when it was time to choose a venue, the family began to argue.

“However, the wedding venue has become a problem. My fiance’s family is from the Deep South and many of them have had their weddings at this specific venue, including MIL and FIL (mother-in-law and father-in-law).”

“MIL presumably thought that my wedding would also be held there and has taken it upon herself to put down a deposit to reserve our date.”

“I got a call from her yesterday, saying that the venue was taken care of.”

“I was taken back because I haven’t even gone to look at anything yet.”

The family continued to argue about what to do about the venue.

“I told her that I do not want to have my wedding there and she got mad and started crying, saying that she wants to keep the family tradition going, but I was ruining her only child’s wedding.”

“My fiance is on my side, but some other family members have spoken up and said I should be grateful and accept because MIL is paying for my wedding.”

“AITA?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some had serious concerns about the location the mother-in-law wanted. 

“OP, definitely do not get married at a plantation.”rainyreminder

“Look up Whitney Plantation in Edgard, LA. They refuse to be a wedding venue.”

“There are memorials, statues, and educational tours on what life was like for the enslaved. It’s pretty powerful.”

“I will never understand how people can look at another human being as property to be abused. Monsters are real and they are human.”SpiderMama41928

“There’s lots of literature out there about why plantation weddings are gross and horrific, including the regrets people have about their wedding venues once they became more educated.”

“If you wouldn’t have a wedding at a concentration camp, don’t have one at a plantation.”RainahReddit

“Oh yikes! I may get slammed for this but I skipped a good friend’s plantation wedding and I don’t regret it, and a lot of her friends did as well.”

“Maybe mention this? Or just put your foot down, idk (I don’t know). This is a hill to die on imho (in my honest opinion).”letsgobolesbo

Others were more concerned about the mother-in-law’s entitlement to choose the location.

“Don’t bother bringing her up-to-date because the real problem isn’t that the venue is tasteless and racist; it’s that MIL has the entitlement and audacity to insist on their venue to satisfy some meaningless (to OP) tradition.”

“Explaining that the venue is bad is passively conceding that OP owes MIL an explanation. She does not.”

“NTA”kevin_k

“Anyone who goes ahead and books a venue without consulting the bride is totally tone-deaf.”

“This whole plantation thing is just too weird and I don’t understand how people overlook the significance of it. We were in New Orleans a few years and refused to go on a plantation tour.”KathyAlMyPal

“I see she’s playing the ‘heritage’ card. The most important Southern tradition is conveniently ignoring that the South was built on cruelty, torture, and genocide.”

“NTA. Start looking for cheaper venues in case she goes full petty and rescinds the money.”Fluffy_Two5110

“Jeeze, I could’ve bet money that it was a plantation. NTA, even if it wasn’t a plantation. It’s one thing for a parent to make suggestions, it’s another thing for that parent to book the venue without approval from the couple.”

“Don’t do it. It was wrong when her parents did it, it’s just as wrong now except now it’s not socially acceptable. I imagine you want to be able to share your wedding pictures with people and post it online without getting fired, right?”

“Maybe compromise and suggest getting married at Mar-a-Lago? Perhaps agent orange could officiate? /s (ends sarcasm)”

“You are going to need to put your foot down with this, and honestly, your fiancé should be the one dealing with her mother because it’s her side of the family that’s causing the problem. Threaten to elope.”DutyValuable

A few suggested having a tough conversation with the future MIL.

“In that case, be straightforward with her and tell her that because it is a plantation that you do not feel comfortable being married in a place that was involved with slavery.”

“It is you and your fiancé’s day and that forever you would be reminded that you held one of the happiest occasions of your life at a location that notorious for abusing black people.”

“It is not a slight to her or to anyone else that chooses that venue but it would make you uncomfortable. Be honest. Tell her how you feel.”

“Explain that if her offer to pay is conditional to that venue, then you sadly decline the offer and will find a venue within your budget that will make you happy. IT’S YOUR DAY!”

“Btw (by the way), Wtf (what the f**k) is wrong with people who think getting married at a plantation is acceptable? Like is it supposed to happy and joyful strolling past slave quarters and what that s**t represents? FFS (for f**k’s sake).”Savings-Concept7519

“All of this –except it should be her son saying it.”

“If OP says it, she’ll forever be branded ‘that arrogant, judgmental outsider who doesn’t understand our treasured traditions.'”Fiotes

“It’s your wedding. You’ll always regret doing something you’re (morally and ethically) against just to please others.”dbmermels

“NTA. It’s Your Wedding NOT HERS. Do not allow yourself to be guilt driven into using a venue not of your choosing.”

“Tell MIL, ‘We appreciate the gesture but we will get married at a venue we both like, We thought you were paying for OUR wedding venue, if you don’t want to pay for Our Venue , the one WE want then we will pay for the Venue of our Choice’.”

“MILs tears are crocodile tears, meant to make you feel guilty & sorry for her so she gets her way but you MUST stand firm, if you let her start controlling your lives now she will never stop.”

“Don’t let her take over, don’t just Go along to Get along, there’s a big difference between being a Bridezilla & not letting someone else turn your wedding into the wedding they think you should have or the wedding they wish they had had. it’s Your Big Day don’t let her or anyone else ruin it for you.”

“As for all the Flying Monkeys, a Simple ‘I’m sorry you feel that way’ & hang up the phone, don’t engage with the negative nellies you are not obliged to justify yourself.”Competitive_Tea2413

“NTA. Even if it weren’t a freaking plantation, it is awfully bold to choose the venue without consulting you, even if she is picking up the tab.”

“Even if you didn’t feel strongly about a plantation wedding, it would be a poor choice because it’s becoming commonplace for guests to decline based on their own strong feelings about the matter.”

“When the parents are paying for the event, how it normally works is the parents give the couple a budget and get some input on the details but it’s the couple that ultimately chooses the venue, style, and size of their wedding.”rapt2right

“NTA: your MIL definitely overstepped in booking and putting a deposit down on a venue that you haven’t even viewed yet. That is a HUGE decision to make for your own wedding, much less someone else.”

“I’m not going to comment on the plantation stuff, cause that’s definitely serious, but I think others have covered it. Instead I’ll say this: If someone gives you a gift (an item, money, whatever) only so that they can control how you use it, it is NOT a gift. It is simply another form of manipulation.”

“If your MIL, or anyone, says, ‘Well, I’m paying for it, so I get to have a say,’ I would very politely tell them, ‘This is my wedding, and if you feel that way, I’ll pay for it myself’.”

“Don’t let them manipulate you like that. It’s YOUR wedding, and how you handle this situation is going to set the precedent for your future interactions with your MIL.”

“Don’t be a doormat and let her walk all over you. She can face the consequences for her own gosh darn actions, and those are NOT your fault.”miniRaeN

“At this point, I think it is best to elope somewhere nice or have a micro wedding with friends.”

“It is abusive to force a venue on you regardless of what it is and doubly awful that they are forcing you to have a venue not consistent with your values and the values of your soon-to-be husband. It is deeply disrespectful.”

“They need to eat that deposit because they did not consult you. Do not feel bad about shutting them down.”

“If you do not establish healthy boundaries then they will keep violating them.”

“I would take note who supports you in the family and who does not. That will tell you who you can depend on and who you can’t.”cynayn

“NTA. As a wedding DJ, mothers who take over or try to vicariously relive their wedding day through their daughters are the f’king worst.”

“It’s YOU and YOUR Fiancés day, nobody else’s, I don’t care WHO foots the bill. Mom should’ve offered a budget and let you and hubby choose the venue.”

“I literally had a MOB threaten to beat me up a couple weeks ago because I wouldn’t play Too Short and Mystikal all night (which were not within the bride or grooms preferences) yelling ‘I paid for this venue, I better be able to hear whatever the f’k I want’.”

“If they weren’t a selfish jerk and actually cared about their child, then give them a budget and tell them to choose a venue and enjoy it, not control the choice and hold it over them.”

“Also, f’k getting married on a plantation. That’s a really odd family tradition.”_imh0tep_

“NTA. Tell your MIL you refuse to get married at a place that represents the enslavement and oppression of Black Americans, despite it being ‘tradition’.”

“Although OP, out of curiosity, are you White? Because if you weren’t that would add a whole other layer of messed up to this situation.”carissadraws

“Personally, I don’t believe you get married for others. The two of you are going to have to figure out how you will make your stands.”

“Sometimes there can be compromise but at the end of the day it is the two of you.”

“What do the two of you want? To make peace or make a day for yourselves?”

“‘It’s my mom (whoever)’ has to be erased from both of your vocabularies as an excuse for anything.”SodaJefe

The OP and their fiancé inevitably were feeling pressured to please the OP’s future mother-in-law, since she was helping to pay for the wedding venue.

But a person still has to keep their moral values aligned, perhaps especially on a day as memorable as their wedding day.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.