Worst. MIL. Ever.

[deleted account] ( 43 moms have responded )

Wow... just wow...


Mother-in-law sends worst email ever to bride: forgivable?.

by Piper Weiss, Shine Staff

Heidi Withers and Freddie Bourne in happier days, before the great mother-in-law email debacle.

New term: mom-zilla. We know all about temporary bridal insanity, and the underreported groom version, but in some families, it’s the parents who are seized by irrational wedding meltdowns.

Last month, 60-year-old British florist and total mom-zilla, Carolyn Bourne attacked. After her stepson’s bride-to-be, Heidi Withers, was a guest in her house she had a thing or two to teach her before she entered the Bourne family.

So Bourne sent the 29-year-old a soul-crushing email. The subject line: “Your lack of manners.” The bullet points for the bride, in paraphrase: her wedding is going to be tacky, she’s too picky of an eater, her sense of humor sucks, and her stepson is making a dreadful choice in marrying her. And one more thing: her out-of-work parents are cheap.

When Withers received the email (Bourne sent it three times to be sure) she did what anyone would do: she forwarded it to a few friends to share in the shock. What was the alternative —respond with a 'frowny' face? But instead of simply offering advice, some anonymous friend got pro-active and forwarded Bourne’s e-attack, launching a viral sensation in a matter of hours. Now everyone in the Western Hemisphere has laid eyes on Bourne’s email.

In a way, it’s the ultimate revenge on a mother-in-law who needed to be put in her place after such power-mongering. But it’s not going to make for smooth wedding. Bourne has been labeled the mother-in-law from hell by media outlets and Withers’ father Alan has fueled the fire by publicly calling Bourne “Miss fancy pants." Now parents on both sides of the couple are fueding and nobody's manners are in check. Suggestion for Heidi and Freddie, her groom: elope.

Bourne has told London's Telegraph she still plans to attend the wedding, but will maintain a "dignified silence." She may know about English etiquette but she’s clueless about the cardinal rule of the Internet: never send an email you don’t want the world to see. You almost have to feel bad for the lady, mom-zilla or not. That is, until you read the actual email she sent Withers. Here’s an excerpt:

from: Carolyn Bourne
to: heidi withers
subject: your lack of manners

Here are a few examples of your lack of manners:

When you are a guest in another's house, you do not declare what you will and will not eat - unless you are positively allergic to something.

You do not remark that you do not have enough food.

You do not start before everyone else.

You do not take additional helpings without being invited to by your host.

When a guest in another's house, you do not lie in bed until late morning in households that rise early - you fall in line with house norms.

You should never ever insult the family you are about to join at any time and most definitely not in public. I gather you passed this off as a joke but the reaction in the pub was one of shock, not laughter.

You regularly draw attention to yourself. Perhaps you should ask yourself why. No one gets married in a castle unless they own it. It is brash, celebrity style behaviour.

I understand your parents are unable to contribute very much towards the cost of your wedding. (There is nothing wrong with that except that convention is such that one might presume they would have saved over the years for their daughters' marriages.)

If this is the case, it would be most ladylike and gracious to lower your sights and have a modest wedding as befits both your incomes.

One could be accused of thinking that Heidi Withers must be patting herself on the back for having caught a most eligible young man. I pity Freddie.

Ouch. There's no denying it's harsh, but if you've ever been in the line of fire in a wedding party, you know marriage anxieties strike darkness in the hearts of man. What do you think: Is this mom's email forgivable?


[deleted account]

I think both of them were immature and both are in the wrong, I'm sure the DIL must have done something to warrant this email BUT the MIL should have had the decency to talk to her about it - it probably wouldn't have seemed so rude if she had spoke to her as we can't always read the correct intent or tone in emails hence why they are often misinterpretted.

I don't see why sharing the email with a few trusted friends or family members is wrong though - surely if the MIL had said something to offend this girl she would have spoken to her friends about it, isn't forwarding just the modern day version of OMG you'll never guess what she said to me talk between friends?

[deleted account]

But the decent thing to do if you have a problem with how a guest is behaving in your home is to tell them while they are still there - then they at least have a chance to ammend their behaviour as they may not have realised what they were doing seemed rude to you. There was no need really to send that email, it would have been much politer to clear the air while the DIL was still a guest in the MIL's home, if the MIL tried (while at home) and the DIL ignored her then why would she think a pissy email would help anything the situation?

[deleted account]

What is the groom's take on all of this? He should be supportive of his wife to be; if not now, then when?

[deleted account]

I know that but if she felt they were trustworthy (which I know we don't know if she did or not but let's assume she did) then surely they are the ones in the wrong not her. We've all had a bitch to our girlfriends about someone pissing us off, does it make us wrong to trust our friends?

Desiree - posted on 07/01/2011




Come to think of it who is worse the future mother-in-law who in a private email told her future daughter in what she thought of her or the future daughter in law who had the bad manners to air her lundry out in public. If i were the future husband I would run from both of them. Yes Mrs Bourne told her future daughter in law exactly what she thought (and we have no idea what lead upto the email in the fist place) and yes I happen to agree with a number of points of her email. Maybe this young lady is causing a great amount of stress for her future husband and how much he is dishing out for his wedding and it's up set the family. So yes if you don't have the money scale down. especially in these time were money is very tight. Sorry but I do see and understand the MIl's point of view. One day I will be one to and then. I can gaurantee you I will be watching very closely those who date my children especially since there is a number of things to consider including money. I think the Daughter-In-Laws behaviour was worse. She is not a very nice person and maybe her splashing it accross the WWW is her way of attacking after all they do say that the best form of defence is to attack!


View replies by

Cindy - posted on 07/06/2011




But we are not getting the hole story, that is what i am trying to say. We are really just getting the email. There is no way to win especially with the MIL. For all we know the MIL could just be angry that her son is moving on/away

Amie - posted on 07/05/2011




It may be forgivable (to keep the peace) but it is not forgettable. At all. I have no issue with the DIL forwarding it to her friends either. I would have done the same thing, however; if my friends broke my trust and continued to send it on - guess who else would be struck from the guest list. The fact that it has gone viral is not the DIL's fault.

The MIL never should have sent it in the first place. If she had tried talking to her DIL and it didn't work - zip it and learn to live with it. That is your sons choice and no matter what we as mothers would like to think, we do not make our adult childrens choices, especially when it comes to their life partners. If my in laws or parents had had the gall to be this rude to either of us, neither set would have been welcome at our wedding or in our home until they apologized. Holy crap.

Desiree - posted on 07/02/2011




We here the word and automatically we label the poor woman everything but nice. How do you know that she hasn't been the mother figure in the grooms life all his life for what ever reason. In some cases Step mothers have as much right as the natural mother for whatever the reason. I do not see this woman as having done anything wrong except make the wrong choice and now is being villified for it by someone who has no proven herself to be everything she was accused of. Extremely bad mannered and everything she said was the trueth and the correct way to behave. All right she maybe should have said it differently but if I had a guest like that in my home family or not it would be the last time she would there and thats if I didn't throw them out myself, and knowing me I probably would. When in Rome.... as the saying goes. Always be aware of the ettiquete when visiting any home any where.

User - posted on 07/02/2011




Regardless of the girls behaviour one thing to think about is that this woman is Freddie's STEP mother, not natural mother ..... the other thing is she may have issues with the younger woman, however, it is her Step Sons choice not hers, she should "rise above it" and show that she has the class and etiquette that the younger woman supposedly does not have.

A quiet word in the younger womans ear would have been far better ........ she comes across as a woman who feels like she can say and do as she pleases without any consequences! She was wrong on that one, and think that if I were her I would not venture out in public for a long time!

Corinne - posted on 07/02/2011




From the sound of it, they both need a damned good slap around the chops. This is why I had a very simple wedding, paid for and planned by myself and my hubby, with both sides of our new, extended family invited to join us. We are our own family, everyone else is a bonus.

Cindy - posted on 07/02/2011




We are not getting the hole story. Maybe the MIL is right that the bride does not have great manners but the MIL should have pulled her aside and very gently explained these 'rules' beforehand. But she is right that the bride should have a simpler wedding than a castle and just be more thrifty. My mother in law paid for our wedding and we did it very simple but still ended up paying quite a bit.

Amanda - posted on 07/01/2011




The MIL probably did not go about this in the best way, but the bride does seem a bit spoiled. If you are not paying for your own wedding, how can you expect somebody else to buy you the top of the line stuff? That is just beyond rude. Too many people think manners are optional now-a-days. I think it's great that the MIL tried to express herself than talk behind the bride's back for people to repeat. Anyway, they might both be PITAs (pains in the ass!)

√v^√v^√♥ - posted on 07/01/2011




If I really hated my daughter in law THAT badly, I would have worded it MUCH more nicely. I would have tried to know her, tried to spend time with her and see if I could help her directly. Not by telling her she was rude and needed to go to etiquette school! What was she supposed to do? That was a personal attack, and heck I'd have been hard pressed not to send it straight to the Media myself. I would have done the same - pass it along to friends. Friends are there to joke with, to know you. I like my friends there for me as I am there for them. I don't know what the daughter in law is like, but I wouldn't have disgraced her so much in 1 email that wasn't even face to face!!!!!!! So even if she is a total brat and idiot, she didn't deserve an email, or so much direct negative hatred before being talked to in person. Get a life mom-zilla

Jenn - posted on 07/01/2011




Oy. First of all, my mother behaved pretty close to this way with my SIL before she married my brother. BUT my SIL brought alot of it on too. They are SO alike that they blend like oil and water. It is crazy! Anyway, my mom sent her emails that were kinda similar. Grains of truth delivered very harshly and disrepectfully. What'd my brother do? Nuthin. He thought the women should just work it out. Yeah, right! They've been married 2 years and my mother and SIL do NOT speak. Ever. Silence is golden.

Whatever "friend" helped that email go viral is not a friend. Whatever is going on between that MIL, DIL and son is their drama to sort out. All kinds of misbehavior going on! Welcome to marriage & family!

~♥Little Miss - posted on 07/01/2011




I am curious if the wedding is still gonna happen after all the dirty laundry has been aired likethis.

Desiree - posted on 07/01/2011




So far where it comes to friendship at the moment I may be the wrong person to ask that question. Or should I rather say that the moment.

Lacye - posted on 07/01/2011




I was just coming in here to post about this too! LOL

It makes you wonder about all the crazy in laws that people have.

Desiree - posted on 07/01/2011




Sorry Toni but someone was certainly not very trustworthy for it to now be a world wide thing. Were they?

Rosie - posted on 07/01/2011




what a bitch. i'm sorry, but you just don't do that. you keep your damn mouth shut. unless this woman is cheating or treating her son like shit, i see no reason why this woman needed to do that. she sounds like an uppity twat.

Desiree - posted on 07/01/2011




Just realised that this story has reached our shores here in Africa too. Stupid people nothing better to do than make people upset and cause trouble. Now I really think even less of this type of person.

Desiree - posted on 07/01/2011




Liz you have a point there too. If I recieved that email you can bet I would have looked at myself first to see exactly what I did and try to correct.

[deleted account]

I didn't mean using email as a form of communication is bad manners. I meant criticizing someone else's manners is rude.

I do agree with the MIL's points, but I would never say anything like that to anyone. Freddie is a grown man, and he made his choice. She may be unbearable, but retroactive child-raising of an adult is futile, as the MIL learned. What did she expect? "Thanks for pointing out all my errors and how I'm not good enough for Freddie. I'll try to change right away."

By the way, who else thinks this was all orchestrated as a pitch for a reality show? I would love to watch the wedding preparations with this Hyacinth Bucket woman and this laddette bride.

Desiree - posted on 07/01/2011




I don't consider it bad manners of the MIL to send her an email at all. After all the days of penning it are almost gone. How many people do you know who write letters the old fashioned way. Apart from my mother not many. So email is an acceptable form of communication but to then pass it on to the world just to humiliate someone who told you exactly what they think and in every possiblilty the good honest trueth makes you 10 times worse. how do we know for sure that MIL didn't try to take her aside and do it in an appropriate way only for DIL to start up some kind of fiasco. So she resorted to doing it another way. And to be honest in this day and age where celeb's are always hanging their dirty laundry out to dry for all the world to see, what makes the average person in the street any difference, I have said it once and will say it again, When will it stop. Why is it ok for one group and not for another. Facebook, twitter and all the rest of it are no help. Manners in any society are important and so are rules but when you are bought up around a fairly new form where the rules are so divided and fudged how do we expect our youth to know the difference. I still can't see the MIL as wrong the email was private. I myself have told family and friend exactly what I thought of them using this medium and none of them had the disgustingly bad manners to send it to the world. And I have recieved ones that have left me in tears. Actually at the end of the day it is a poor reflection of her parents because to me shows that they never taught her the correct way to act. Daddy dearest shows this to be true at least in my eyes anyway.

[deleted account]

The e-mail is atrocious manners of course, and the MIL is a batty snob -- but I also agree with every point she made.

Forwarding a private e-mail and making her MIL a public laughing stock is just more heaped on top.

Never write anything that you don't want used against you, folks!!

Tara - posted on 07/01/2011




Both of them sounds like they need an "attitude adjustment."
I agree with the MIL about money and the wedding etc. however this is not something that should be discussed through email, rather and nice family brunch to talk about the wedding costs and how they will be covered etc.
The daughter in law really shouldn't have sent the email on to her family and friends, she must be young and grew up with the internet as a communication tool.
This new fangled ability to just lash out at people with a few typed words and hitting send is becoming increasingly damaging to real relationships!
Both of them sound like they need a dose of reality.
Elope is also my suggestion to both of them.
And like everyone else I fear for poor Freddie.
I wonder how they feel about a large part of the globe knowing and commenting on their personal lives this way.

Mary - posted on 07/01/2011




Jodi, I was thinking the same thing....no one's behavior is admirable or acceptable in this situation. Either way, Freddie is screwed.

[deleted account]

Both are just as bad as each other.Although the mother in law should of had the decency to not of sent an e-mail in that fashion and the future daughter should of kept it to herself.Both wrong.That e-mail was so low.

I would NEVER carry myself in that manner no matter what.Its not in me thank god.

[deleted account]

Its funny i feel the mother in law should take a leaf from her book there about manners.As what she did is the lowest form of bad manners is it not.Extremely disrespectful.

I would of replied with the sweetest e-mail in the world..knock that smirk off her face..kill em with kindness all the time..

Thank god my Mother in law to be is a class woman.I am very lucky.

Were(hubby to be) paying for our own wedding day and organising it together.I am sure our family's will be there to help us happily but NOT financially.

Jodi - posted on 06/30/2011




I found this follow up. I think I'd be cancelling the wedding and elope to be honest. Nothing but trouble can come of the two families getting together. I don't think I'd forgive my MIL for that outburst. But if I were the MIL, I wouldn't forgive her for forwarding the email resulting in it becoming so public.


It also has the FULL email in it.

Becky - posted on 06/30/2011




I agree. Both the MIL and the bride behaved totally inappropriately. It'll take an awful lot for their relationship to ever recover from this one!

[deleted account]

Honestly, both the future MIL and the bride seem like immature brats to me... The MIL sent the email, not just once, but THREE times (I'll look to see if I can find the whole email anywhere), and the bride forwarded it to other people! My MIL sent me a fairly nasty email a few years ago (and our relationship has never fully recovered from it) but the last thing I would do would be to forward it on to others! Jeeze... I swear, common sense is just going out the window in these days of social networking and the impulsive need for everyone to share everthing that goes on in their lives... IMO, it's really sad...

Ez - posted on 06/30/2011




That bitch would NOT be coming to my wedding. I would tell her to shove her money (and her manners) up her ass, and have a tiny little ceremony with only those closest to me.

What a biatch! lol

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