Post # 1
I’m writing today because I’m dealing with a lot of emotions over my upcoming wedding…
After a huge blow up with my fiance’s family (very dominant father who only allows one set of viewpoints in his home), and their general lack of interest in our wedding (we’ve been engaged 8 months and they haven’t asked any questions about it, offered any emotional support, and generally seem disinterested), we decided to make our wedding less about “family expectations” (read: his family’s expectations) and have a super small wedding in Nashville. Neither of us is from the south, but it just seemed to be the right place for us…
I’m thinking of this as more of a destination elopement… inviting only a handful of people (maximum 10 guests; half my family and best friends and half his immediately family) to the early afternoon ceremony, with a small champagne and cake celebration to follow. After that, we figure that anyone who want to celebrate can join us downtown at our favorite (cheap) honky tonk, bar tab on us.
I certainly don’t expect anyone to go out of their way to come to the ceremony and, quite frankly, I’d be thrilled if no one showed up…. that’s part of the reason that we chose a location so far out of the way.. we decided to invite his (immediate) family to avoid drama over a real elopement.
My issue now is that my fiance feels that if we do not host a formal sit down dinner for our guests, his family (father) will be really upset/offended because of the distance that they would have to travel/hotel $$$ that they’d be shelling out/etc… We already have a contentious relationship with these people and I would really prefer not to have anymore negativity directed my way.
With that said, a hosted dinner (and alcohol) for that many people is simply not in our budget. My family and friends are completely supportive and have no problem with our plans… They understand our financial situation (student loans, huge medical bills) and just want to spend the day with us…
I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want these negative people at my wedding in the first place… and I really don’t have the money to spend on them to satisfy their expectations..
Post # 3
Sorry, but I agree with your FI that if these people are spending the time and money to come to another part of the country for your wedding, the least you can do is host a meal for them. Your profile says your wedding is over a year away. Surely over the course of a year you can save up enough money to feed ten people.
If you want to elope just the two of you, do that. But if you’re inviting others I do think it’s polite to feed them. I know planning can be stressful, especially if your FI’s family is being difficult (believe me, I’ve been there), but it is your FI’s wedding too, and the minimal cost you would have to feed ten people (which again, you have a year to save up for) seems like it is more than worth having your FI also be happy with the wedding plans.
Post # 4
If I traveled for a destination wedding, I’d probably be upset if you didn’t feed me. I think I’d feel hurt that you had the money to travel to the destination, pay for hotels, etc, but not the money to feed me and your nine other guests. However, with your guest list as small as it is, the people you’re inviting are those closest to you and will likely understand your situation. On the other hand, with your guest list as small as it is, could you take everybody out to a nice, inexpensive restaurant? If there’s only 10 guests, the costs should be low.
Post # 5
You shouldn’t care about having the kind of wedding they want. However that being said I agree with your Fi, when having people travel for a destination wedding hosting a meal I think needs to be done. It doesn’t have to be a fancy sit down dinner. Perhaps you can find a supermarket and buy pasta salad, rolls, and cold cuts. For Ten people it shouldn’t be a lot of money.
Good luck with FFIL he sounds like a hot mess. I do think it’s important to stand up to him, and having your wedding where you want it is a good first step.
Post # 6
@BudgetBride2013: a formal sit down dinner doesnt have to be pricey. Surely if your inviting 10 people you could find a good a nice restaurant with a small private space for you that wont cost several thousand dollars.
Post # 7
do you have big drinkers in your crew? if so, i think the honky tonk bar tab could easily outpace a sit down dinner, so maybe host the dinner (with cash bar) and then say “come on out with us!” and just let people pay on their own. if they understand your situation then they should be cool footing their own bar tabs…
Post # 8
i kind of agree with your FI’s concerns, i’d be upset if i came a long way for my kids wedding and had to go out and have dinner by myself somewhere else after
a sit down dinner doesent have to be expensive though, see if you can set up tables outside somewhere find a reasonably priced caterer, you don’t have to offer lobster and filet mignon and provide your own alcohol?
Post # 9
You guys are quick! Thanks everyone for the responses so far..
I guess our issue is that we don’t WANT a seated dinner, versus not being able to afford it, and that’s where the honky tonk bar tab would come into play. The entire reason we chose a “destination” wedding is to get away from the “this is how a wedding is” mentality. His family just expects a more traditional affair.. they’re already going to be pissed off by the non-traditional dress, wedding vows, and venue…
It would just end up being a table full of people who hate each other, who are picky eaters, and generally grouchy…. Ugh. I’d rather shoot myself in the head than be miserable on my wedding day.
My other thought was that having really nice champagne, cake, and edible favors should satisfy the “thank you” requirement…
…. I guess I just can’t comprehend being upset that your child isn’t feeding you…. My mother and two best friends are coming for the sake of being there.. no expectations.. but my family is also much more laid back.
Maybe if we just lay it ALL out in advance? That way, they know what they’re getting in to and if it REALLY bothers them that much, they can just not come?
I wish we could just elope but that would cause so much more drama. UGH.
Post # 10
Hmmm, after reading your OP and those that responded thereafter, I can see both sides. My .02 is that you should be able to get ALL that you want, without meeting expectations of everyone else – with compromise.
I agree with what others said, that if you are making people spend a lot of time/money to travel to your wedding, then the least you can do is feed them – more than just cake. It does not need to be a plated dinner, but definitely heavy appetizers, etc.
If that is not something you want, then I would keep your wedding celebration in town with a small ceremony, followed by cake/champagne, etc. Then, plan a getaway for just you two, or those closest to you, whom are a-ok AND supportive with a celebration at a honky tonk bar!! A ‘different’ approach to the expectations, but fun nonetheless!!
Post # 11
What do you guys think of a catered-boxed appetizer affair? So we’d do cake, champagne, favors, and then have individually (nice) boxed meals that they can take with them?
OR, is the whole issue that we should sit down and have a formal meal, all together?
Post # 12
@BudgetBride2013: OR, is the whole issue that we should sit down and have a formal meal, all together?
I do think that is the whole issue. It’s more about the gesture of having everyone together for a meal you’re hosting.From your description fo what you want, it sounds like you want an elopement, not a destination wedding. I don’t really think you can ask people to come so far and then not want to spend any time with them because you don’t even really want them there…does that make sense? Where does your FI stand on all this? (we know he thinks you should feed them, but I mean about elopment vs. destination wedding)
Post # 13
I ABSOLUTELY want an elopement.
The only reason he doesn’t want to elope is because he doesn’t want the drama of his immediate family (father and sister) being pissed off that they weren’t invited..
We’re working on FI differentiating between his wants and what is “expected” of him.. something he’s struggled with his entire life because of how domineering his father is… this is one place where we’re still having issues.. I think that tonight I’ll probably just ask him if he truly wants these people there, or if he’s doing it because he’d feel guilty otherwise?
I guess that if I can’t convince him to just do this as an elopement, I’ll suck it up and host a dinner…
His family isn’t very flashy in their tastes… so I’d probably just tell them to meet us at the sports bar after the ceremony and host their beer and burgers?