Advice Appreciated.

posted 3 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
11626 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Oh boy, I’m so sorry to hear this.  As a bride with a huge family, I tried really hard to make things balanced and to keep my FMIL in the loop.  My mother-in-law and I do not see eye-to-eye on most things and had some pretty major conflicts in the wedding planning, but I tried to take her opinion into account before making decisions, especially ones that affected her and her family directly.

I think in order to keep the peace, you’re very limited in your options.  You could have a heart to heart with your son (alone) and try ot explain how you’re feeling.  Point out that you’re trying very hard to accomodate all of their wishes but feeling like you’re being pushed aside.  You can’t read their minds, and if they aren’t going to tell you what they want, it’s hard to plan.  Plus, the bride’s mom having her own party at the hotel is pretty rude.  The point of a wedding is to bring families together, not to separate them.

Your other option is to just keep on keeping on – grin and bear it.  For better or worse, you life is now intertwined with these people.  All you can really do is be the better, classier person, and know in your heart, you’ve done your best.

So sorry you’re going through this – I really feel for you!

Post # 4
5883 posts
Bee Keeper

This could have been written word for word by my brother and SIL last year before my nephew’s wedding.

The hotel issue is something they want for their convenience and not for the guests. They are being unreasonable and I think they just have to get over it. Not only one half of the guests matter (her side) so I don’t see the big deal.

The rehearsal dinner is YOUR party, so you get to dictate the parameters. If her Mom wants to host the out of town guests for a welcome party on her own, let her. It shouldn’t have anything to do with you, and I’d do the RD for the parents, Grandparents and bridal party and their dates/spouses. There’s no rule that says you have to host what is essentially a second wedding reception. Honestly, in my mind, if that isn’t good enough for them, let them host it themselves.

I hope you figure it all out and come to an agreement with them. I feel for you.

Post # 5
1302 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Oh wow – I’m sorry you are having to deal with this.

It sounds like the bride’s mother is trying to put together a “welcome party” of some sort for all of their out of town guests. Maybe this is why the bride and groom are rethinking the rehearsal dinner and want to make it smaller. That way, you can plan it and afford it, but they still have the welcome party to attend afterwards to spend time with all the out of town guests that weren’t able to come to the rehearsal dinner. When I got married, my husband and I also had alot of out of town guests. We felt guilty having a small (45 guests) rehearsal dinner party while several other guests (the other 100) were at the hotel. Maybe this is where the bride and groom and her family are coming from?

I also get that he wants everyone to be in one place. Maybe since she has more family, he sees it as easier to get your family/friends to switch to their hotel rather than vice-versa. It is the bride and groom’s day/weekend, so you don’t want them to have to split their time. In his eyes, it would be easier for his family to be in the same place as hers just for logistics reasons. That probably explains why he wants the family who live around your area to stay in the hotel too.

I would sit down and have a “heart-to-heart” with BOTH your son and your future duaghter-in-law. Tell them how you feel. It sounds like you have been communicating through your son, so maybe things are getting lost in transation and the bride isn’t getting the whole story and has no idea about the plans you have made, etc. I know when I was planning my wedding, it was much easier to talk to my mother-in-law directly than trying to communicate my wishes and feelings and visions through my husband to tell her. Have an open and honest conversation with both of them and put everything on the table. I highly doubt they are trying to exclude you and your family.

Post # 6
965 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

i am on the other side of this issue. I have a huge family and my FI has a small one, so my side dominates the guest list. When it came to inviting friends of our parents, we gave my parents more room on the guest list because they are paying for the reception and we saw it as fair. Did I call up my FiLs and say that they got less because they weren’t paying? No. But I definitely felt the pressure to appease the people with the checkbook. 

When it came to the rehearsal dinner, this is what we decided: the official “dinner” would be BP, parents and grandparents (and dates) only. Then, after dinner is over at about 8:30 or 9 my parents will host their friends and my family at the hotel with drinks and appetizers. It’s going to be informal without invitations and everyone is invited, including his family, but we only expect out of towers to actually come. 

I would definitely tell your son you feel like you are being excluded and taken advantage of. Then suggest a compromise like having the small RD and her parents can host a large welcome reception after at their hotel. 

As for inconveniencing guests for the convenience of the couple, I wouldn’t do it. When it comes to travel, you make it accommodating for the guests, not the couple. 

Post # 8
11626 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@MrsTweet:  Oh wow.  Honestly, as an outsider in the situation, I think you’ve bent over backwards trying to please the bride.  The simple truth is that some people just can’t be pleased.  You haven’t done anything wrong, as far as I can tell, and I hope you know that.  The whole situation just really sucks, and the fact that your son isn’t standing up for you guys is a little sad.  I understand he’s trying to walk the line between his “old” and “new” families (for lack of better terms), but it seems like he’s hell-bent on defending her without regard to how it makes you feel.  It has to be an awkward situation for him, but he’s handling it poorly.

The fact that you’re paying for a big chunk of the wedding makes this even worse.  They’re treating you like a bank or a checkbook, and not being gracious for the time and expense you’re putting into this wedding.  I can’t get past the bride’s behavior, especially with the flowers.  You didn’t book behind her back – she was well aware that the florist she wanted would be booked.  How many times were you supposed to call?  Three?  Four?  At that point, she’d call you a nag.  It seems like you can’t win with Bridezilla.

And as for the hotels, no, it’s silly for your in-town relatives to book a room there.  Perhaps you can suggest to her (and your son) if they want everyone there, they can take on that expense.  It’s too much for elderly grandparents to be expected to go back and forth and participate in every party, so if they can’t make it, just let the couple know they will be there for the wedding, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner, but that they can’t come for every moment of partying, and getting a room at the hotel is just too expensive for people on (presumably) a fixed income. Also, I wouldn’t pay for an in-town hotel if I weren’t required to as part of the bridal party.  If I were just a guest at an in-town wedding, I would never be able to justify the cost of a hotel room for a wedding that’s only a short drive away.

It’s really terrible that they are making you into the bad guys, but I agree, it does seem like that.  I wonder if there’s something else brewing under the surface the bride that’s making her behavior so terrible.  If not, I can’t believe how bad her manners and graciousness are.

Post # 9
3217 posts
Sugar bee

@MrsTweet:  Have a very frank discussion with both of them and have them lay out for you exactly what they want from you.  You can then decide if you are willing/able to accomodate that.  Also give them a deadline to make any changes.  I would also then probably confirm that with them via email.  You can then refer them back to your email if there are disputes down the road.

Also lay down the law about your in town and out of town relatives and the hotel situation.  It is ridiculous that they think any in town relatives would stay in a hotel because it is “easier for them” 

You may want to practice saying this out loud to yourself first, and then use it very liberally.  “I’m sorry, but that won’t be possible”  Don’t justify, or argue, just tell them what is and is not possible.  No.  is also a complete sentence.  Use these very liberally.


Post # 10
1608 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

@MrsTweet:  I think you’re being more than accommodating – even 85 people for a rehearsal dinner is huge to me! We only had close family (i.e. parents, siblings, their significant others) and the wedding party & their significant others, and the officiant & his wife at our rehearsal! Do they know your feelings on the hotel situation? I think it’s odd that they’re asking everyone to stay at a hotel that’s in an inconvenient location. And they even want in-town guests to stay at the hotel?! Why on earth would they spend money on a hotel room when they can just stay at their own house?! Sounds like the bride & groom are not taking your feelings/budget into account on anything!

I feel like you guys are being set on the backburner and her family is taking over everything, which is totally unfair to you! Hopefully it gets better for you!


Post # 11
1840 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

@MrsTweet:  a rehearsal dinner for 85 people? That’s not a rehearsal dinner, that’s another wedding – this is nearly my whole guest list! I think you’ve already bent over backwards trying and trying to do everything they tell you, and they are not grateful at all. I think it’s time to start saying no to unreasonable expectations.

I would stay out of the hotel thing. As a wedding guest, I would pretty much laugh if the bride and groom tried to dictate where I should stay, especially if I lived in town. I am guessing most of the wedding guests will do the same (and then do what’s convenient for them.)  

Post # 12
2222 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

As far as the hotel thing goes, I would tell your son that you’ve presented all the options to the extended family and they will make their own choices as to where they stay.

While having everyone together sounds nice, the reality is, you don’t really see them. People go to the wedding events and spend time together there.

Your son needs to accept that some things, like where people spend the night, are details he doesn’t need to stress over.

Post # 14
2395 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Honestly, it sounds like your son has been brainwashed.  You shouldn’t have to walk on eggshells around your own FDIL.  

As for the wedding, if you are paying for 1/3 of it, you should get 1/3 of the guest list.  Period.  I would have insisted on that from the beginning if it’s important to you.

Post # 15
468 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013


I sympathize with your struggle. Considering all this, would there be any way you could pull the purse strings and simply not pay for some of these things, like that huge party?

There is no reason for you to give so much of yourself and your wallet if you are starting to feel pushed out or shunned.

Is it possible you could wait for your son’s and FDIL’s cues for you to come into the picture more? Maybe if they see you and your money back away they will wise up a bit.

Blending families at the beginning is so difficult sometimes, but in the end the situation tends to settle into a more comfortable place.


Post # 16
1566 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@MrsTweet:  Oh goodness, reading this, I thought you were my FMIL because there are a lot of similarities in our situations. I have a HUGE family who mostly will be travelling to the wedding, we do lots of things together, and we live in the same city as my parents. His parents live out of town. When it came time to plan the rehearsal dinner, we gave his parents a list of places that could work and three tiers of guest lists that could work (small, extended family, and out of towners), but nothing got planned. Since I feared they were trying to plan an event for the largest number and getting overwhelmed, I decided to offer the possibility of a small, intimate rehearsal dinner. That threw things for a loop because it sounded like I was changing all the gears, when I thought that I might be doing them a favor by not being the bride who wanted everyone in town to come and celebrate and be paid for. I have no idea what their preferred budget is, which is why I gave a large range of guests and restaurants. But they keep saying “whatever you want, we just want you to be happy”. This just made me feel like they didn’t care, didn’t want to plan anything, and weren’t excited about celebrating our nuptials. I don’t want to plan another party, when I’m planning a wedding. I’d rather them just say, we have X budget, would prefer X guest list, what restaurants are best for that, okay we’ll choose that one, and then go ahead with the planning.

I had a huge meltdown last week to my fiance about it all.

In the end, everything will be great and I’m so excited to be able to have my family and his family finally meet! My parents will be having a welcome dinner event on Thursday before the wedding for everyone who wants to come, so there’s some pressure off of having everyone I want to see the night before my wedding at the dinner. Plus, my little sister is helping my FMIL plan the rehearsal dinner since she has some extra time, loves planning parties, and she’s not as intense as the rest of our family.

So take a deep breath. Realize that your FDIL is probably trying to be understanding to you. And just make some decisions and stick to it. This is YOUR party to celebrate the joining of your son and FDIL.

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