Post # 1
I am in a delima! FI’s parents have offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner. However, since we booked the venue we arn’t going to be able to have a rehersal the night before as planned, which actually works out for me because my FI & I really need financial help with the reception. SO we have asked my FI’s parents if they would pay for the reception dinner instead of a rehearsal dinner (since there is no rehearsal.) I have explained to FI’s parents that we arn’t even asking our wedding party to come into town until the day of the wedding (also so they can save money on hotels) plus they want to have the dinner in the city and I will be at my parents house 2 hours away with my family doing all my centerpeices for the wedding, so it would be very inconvient to drive in just for a dinner, with no rehearsal.
The real problem is, is that FI’s parents don’t seem to be going for it. They want to keep the rehearsal dinner because they think that they have to feed ALL their out of town guests (I thought it was only the people in the rehearsal that go to the dinner, but they seem to think otherwise.) But the real reason they don’t want to pay for the reception dinner is because they feel that traditionally the brides family should pay for it, when I spoke with FI’s mom she just kept saying that "they have never heard of this situation (grooms family paying for reception dinner) and that the wedding is "the brides family’s day." FI’s parents know that my parents havn’t been able to contibute much and I’m not asking for them to do both. In fact I’ve been doing research to ensure them that they won’t spend a dime more then what they were planning on spending for the rehearsal dinner, it would be the exact same dollar amount. Secondly, I have told FI’s mom that I would love to work with her on this, and basically will serve whatever kind of food they want. Her response was just that "they’ve never heard of this before."What more can I say? Anyone have any adivice on how to handle this situation?
Post # 3
Based on your description it seems that your FMIL believes that your request for the funds to go towards a reception is inappropriate, and just avoids the issue by placing the responsibility on your family. If she is a true ettiquitte guru, then she is correct that your request seems odd. It is not uncommon for the rehearsal dinner to be extended to OOT guest.
I think the majority of this seems to be lack of communication. Is she aware of your familys inability to support? Is she aware the the bridal party will not be coming in until the day of the wedding?
I think you and your fiance need to sit down with his parents and discuss options, but ultimately it is their money and if they want to have a rehearsal dinner, then there is not really a whole lot you can do about it.
Post # 4
I don’t know if this is what you’d like to hear, but I don’t think you can insist that anyone spend money on something they don’t want to. Even if you totally disagree with her reasoning, I think you have to respect it. Also, from your post I get the impression that before the rehearsal dinner idea came up you were planning to pay for the reception yourself, so it sounds like you do have a back up plan (if not ideal).
That said, it does sound ridiculous for you to have to drive 4 hours the night before your wedding. Is the wedding in the city or closer to your parents? If the latter than I would say your FMIL’s insistence on location is fairly inconsiderate. If her concern is that she wants to entertain all the out of town guests, perhaps she would be willng to host a brunch the day after the wedding? I’ve been to several of these and it’s very nice. Also the couple is more relaxed and able to enjoy the time with their guests. As far as "normal" I think it’s becoming increasingly common to invite OOT guests for the rehearsal or some sort of meal in addition to the wedding just so that they haven’t flown all that way for only a few hours of celebration.
In either case, it strikes me that maybe your fiance should be the one having these conversations with your FMIL. This is only the beginning of a lifelong relationship with her, and I suspect you’re having a harder time talking to her about this b/c you don’t want to start off on the wrong footing. You fiance will probably be able to be more up front with her about the situation. While I don’t think you can insist she pay for your reception, I also don’t think that she can force you to have a rehearsal dinner you don’t want.
Good luck with this all! It’s so challenging trying to figure out how to interact with in-laws. My FH’s family just interacts fundamentally differently from mine. We both feel like the others’ parents have been very welcoming, but when sticky situations come up its so hard to know what to do. I hope you can work it out. And maybe it’s helpful to think of this in the context that it’ll be an experience in helping you understand how to relate to your in-laws better in the future.
Post # 5
I’d also like to know where the wedding is, in respect to the rehearsal dinner and your parents house. It sounds like the rehearsal is more than a day before the wedding? Are you having a dinner after the rehearsal, whenever that is?
It sounds like your FMIL is a real stickler to tradition. Yes tradition would have a rehearsal dinner and that is the responsibility of the groom’s family. And out of town guests should be invited, for all of their eforts to come to the wedding. While tradition does have the bride’s family pay for the wedding reception, we all know some couples pay for it themselves. Sometimes it’s the groom’s parents who gift money. It probably is still the bride’s family who does most of it though. And you cannot make her pay for the reception. I agree, your Fi should be having the conversations with her.
She sounds like she wants to stay with tradition and have a dinner (pretending it’s a rehearsal dinner) without a rehearsal. I can’t say I disagree with that. Some OOT guests might be expecting it. She might feel like a bad host if she doesn’t. The only problem is, is she inviting OOT guests from your side? Will they be staying close enough to where she wants the dinner? She should include all OOT, not just her side. Can you make the centerpieces another night, and attend this dinner? Otherwise, she’s likely to have a rehearsal dinner without you.
Post # 6
This is just my guess but….your FMIL most likely already invited people to the rehearsal dinner and can’t or won’t back out. She seems to want her way and in this case…she’s right.
It would be a very generous thing for her to pay for your reception but you can’t force her. It sucks that she doesn’t realize she would be helping you out in a big way but as some selfish MILs….she wants her time in the limelight and the RD is it!
Post # 7
P.S. unless your FI gets involved (he’s the one that should be dealing with this anyway), your FMIL will probably still have the RD even without you there.
Post # 8
Sorry, you’re kind of stuck. And as far as traditional etiquette goes, they are correct in who pays for what. And you can’t get people to spend money on things they don’t want to pay for.
The 2-hour drive (4-hour roundtrip) is a big deal though, especially since now you’re not having a rehearsal. You can tell her (or have FI tell her, better yet) that if she has it in the city it’s just not feasible for you to make the trip in, given no rehearsal, so they can move it to where you will be or have it without you. It may be that she just wants to have a dinner for all her guests no matter what, in which case you should just let her.
The one alternative I can think of would be to ask them for a cash gift for you to spend wherever you want. Then perhaps you could have a smaller rehearsal dinner where you live and use the rest of the money toward the reception.
Post # 9
its their money and it sounds like they want to host a RH. They might be looking forward to throwing this in your honor and just putting money toward the wedding might not be what they want to do. there is not much you can do. beyond try and be involved so the logistics (2 hour drives each way) are not insane.
Post # 10
I agree that you cannot choose or force your inlaws to pay for something else other than what they want to pay for. She is sticking to tradition and wants to do this one very traditional groom’s side thing for you. Even if you can’t have an actual rehearsal, you can still use the RD as a time to give gifts to your parents and bridal party, maybe talk through the schedule of the wedding day, and have a stress-free party the night before your big day!
Post # 11
After rereading all of the posts I kind of wonder if you’re feeling like she simply wants to have a fancy party to impress her family and friends. Like if she doesn’t want to work with you (ie.have it in the city 2 hours away), that it’s not that important if you’re there. I’m wondering who all on your side was invited? Was your angle about helping at the reception that at least her money would be going towards an "actual wedding" event where you and your FI will be? Do you feel like her traditional groom’s family gift is really a nongift?
Is your Fi planning on going to her RD? Do you normally have a decent relationship with your FMIL?
I don’t know if I had any of that right. Try not to let her get you down. It sounds like she’ll probably have the dinner regardless. And no money towards the reception. Keep going and put her "gifts" out of your mind when making your plans.
Post # 12
Dealing with in-laws can get so tricky. You might want to consider bringing your FI into all of this-money can be such a sticky topic, and your in-laws might not feel 100% comfortable talking to you about it.
It seems like your FMIL is very traditional- bride’s family pays for wedding, and groom’s family pays for rehearsal dinner. And the rehearsal dinner DOES often include all of the out-of-town guests, so she does have a point there.
Perhaps you and your FI can sit down with his parents together, and explain exactly what you guys are hoping for. If you can’t afford the actual dinner reception, then let them know that and see if they can help you contribute. There might be a compromise. Maybe you could have a more informal rehearsal dinner without nixing it altogether. Perhaps your FMIL feels like she has to host the rehearsal dinner if some of her friends have done that in the past. Perhaps if there is no rehearsal dinner, she thinks that her friends will think she’s not contributing at all.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but maybe if you get your FI involved, the communication will open up a bit. And perhaps you can come to a compromise that everyone is happy with.
Post # 13
Thanks everyone for your comments, and your right I can’t force someone to help out in a certain aspect of my wedding if they don’t want to. To answer a few questions, our wedding is in October so its still a ways away. The planning of the RD has not included me at all. After we got engaged FI’s parents picked out a place that is close to where we are getting married, all without asking me or including me on this decision at all. Also, no payments have been made to this restaurant yet. FI’s family will more then likely come in the day before the wedding since they all have to fly, the only members of my family that would be in town would be those that are helping me (2 hours away from the city where we are getting married) so with this situation, it is as if the RD is for her OFT guests and not so much mine, since most of my family & friends will be driving up the next day. As far as my family members that will be with me at my parents house (2 hours away) there hasn’t been an invitation to ask them to come…so I suppose if the RD happens anyways its only fair to bring them (I guess if they arn’t invited that would be another issue to post 🙂 FI’s parents know our financial situation and my parents not being able to contribute much and FMIL stated "shes suprised my parents havn’t saved up for their daughters wedding"…ouch, that hurts! I agree that FI should be the one having these conversations, he is the one who mentioned it first to FMIL, then I had a conversation with her a week later, then FI went to his parents house and the topic never came up, FI keeps avoiding it although he agrees with me about no rehearsal, no RD……..
Post # 14
I agree with previous posters. If they’re not going to budge, you really can’t tell them what they can pay for. It sounds like your FMIL is traditional, and she probably won’t budge on her views-even if they are a bit out of touch IMHO.
I would have your FI bring up the topic with your FMIL again. If they are ‘meh’ about it, then you’ll have to just let it go, unfortunately.
Post # 15
- Wedding: September 2009 - Harbison Chapel & The Maple Lane Farm
<address><span class=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-style: normal”>Wow I can’t believe she said your family didn’t save up enough! OUCH!! It sounds like she must have been telling everyone about her fabulous RD plans and is trying to look out for herself. If I were you at this point I would tell them you guys are definitely not having a RD and maybe it is best to start letting guests know so they can plan accordingly. No wiggle room, you two have other plans, that way she understands holding out is not going to get a RD out of you. Explain to her that it’s not going to happen if they contribute to the wedding or not and that it’s just not what you two want for your wedding day. Tell her what the plan for food would be without their contribution, and what it could be with, maybe she’ll see it’s not what she expected and decide to contribute after all. You certainly can’t force her, but it sounds to me like she’s holding out on you to see if you change your mind. Good luck AnnieAA!
Post # 16
IMHO, and you probably DO NOT want to hear this, but you cannot keep PERSISTING that she pay for something. If it is your decision not to have a rhearsal dinner that they are willing to pay for, then that’s it. It’s like she’s giving you a gift and you say, OH NO, take it back, it’s not what I wanted, but instead you can get me THIS which is the same price anyway. I’m sure she’s very insulted and I’ve never heard of a bride asking her future MIL to do such a thing either. I understand in THEORY, it’s the same thing (spend Xdollars here or spend X dollars there), but for your MIL, it’s also her right to give you whatever she wants.
Since I’m not American, I don’t buy into the BRIDE’S family pays for the wedding. This is 2009. In Asian cultures, bride’s side pays the engagement and groom’s side pays for the wedding. Again, this is 2009 and my fiance and I are paying for our own wedding. If you can’t afford to pay for it, there are a lot of options:
1) Have a smaller wedding
2) Scale back your budget on other things
3) Ask for financial help POLITELY
4) Take a loan or charge it on your credit card
I think pressing the issue with your MIL is a very bad idea. It ruins your relationship with her and how she views you. Maybe she thinks you’re an ungrateful bride and DIL?
I’m hosting a huge wedding and I can tell you even at my budget, I was able to cut things back so that I could afford the wedding. And yes, that included cutting my wedding from 500 guests to 300 guests.