Post # 1
Hi, my name’s Shelby and I’m a groomzilla. (Hi, Shelby.) Hey, I work in defense acquisitions, so I’m into planning ridiculously overpriced debacles. But I understand that my customer is my bride.
Problem is, I’m my mother’s only child, my folks have the means to throw a big party, and my mother seems intent on doing so. She thinks it’s only polite to provide ALL those who traveled from afar a full dinner on Friday night — so on top of the wedding party + nuclear family rehearsal dinner party of 30, she’s up for adding not only a dozen more cousins/aunts/uncles on my side, plus maybe a half dozen out of town relatives on the bride’s, but also the 20 or 30 (or 40?) more out of town friends (mostly my side — I’ve lived all over, the bride and her family are all basically local to the wedding area). Not only that, she’s talking about passed hors d’oeuvres while we all arrive & mingle, then bloody surf & turf table service. By comparison, the wedding reception itself will have tabled hors d’oeuvres and a buffet lunch, probably a chicken/fish/roast beef option. (We’re on a somewhat tighter budget.) And it’s not just that the rehearsal dinner is being set to upstage the main event, but the bride and I would like all the usual toasts and such on Friday to be shared with a more intimate audience, not half the bloody wedding.
I know I’ve got to put my foot down and get mom back in the box, but I want to choose my lines of attack wisely. I understand mom’s desire to see that her traveling family is fed, but everyone? C’mon! I might be willing to concede to feeding the handful of extra cousins/aunts/uncles on both sides, if we can defer the rest of the gallery till after the proper dinner, opening up the room to everyone at say 8:30 with some tabled hors d’oeuvres and a couple hours of free booze — though it might still take some convincing my bride that a dinner party of 50 is still “intimate” when compared to a reception of near 180.
Would really appreciate similar experiences & advice on how to balance the needs of the two women in my life. This situation makes me wish I was in a Joint Strike Fighter meeting.
Post # 3
That’s tough. When the groom’s family host the rehearsal dinner, they usually get to decide the details.
I do however think it is inappropriate for the MOG to plan something that is grander than the wedding.
I encourage you to speak with your Mom about how this is not what you and your FI want.Tell her that you both really want a more intimate dinner.I would ask her to tone down the formality of the occasion to be in keeping with the wedding. If she really wants to invite all the out of town guests, then the compromise is to keep the dinner small and invite the others to join you for a social hour following- perhaps dessert and coffee. It is not usually a good idea to plan a night of drinking the night before the wedding.
Time for you to speak up. Your allegiance has to start to shift to your bride.
Post # 4
What about having a small rehearsal dinner and a post-wedding brunch on Sunday for the out of town guests? Cost-wise it would probably be the about the same as the lavish rehearsal dinner she has in mind, but it wouldn’t upstage the wedding since the rehearsal dinner would be intimate and the Sunday brunch would be more casual than the wedding.
Post # 5
Hi Shelby! Welcome!
I think it’s a good start that you know that you have to say something and it’s really sweet that you’re concerned about being diplomatic. I agree with Julies. Can you tell her you guys were thinking something more intimate and then suggest having a cocktail hour afterwards? I think that if your bride sees you trying to suggest that, then the number won’t be as important.
Post # 6
@shighsmi: So this did not happen to me, but to very dear friends of ours. Needless to say, their rehearsal dinner had 105 people at it and their wedding 158. The dinner at the rehearsal was amazing and at the wedding it was eh. You have to stop her now somehow, because almost a year after the wedding, the bride and her family (her mother blames groom) still talk about that over the top rehearsal dinner! (I obviously have no advice, but thought I would make you feel even more anxiety ridden)
Post # 7
@julies1949: couldn’t agree more.
If I were in your wife’s position, I’d be ready to confront your mother if my FI didn’t. I’ve also threatened to do so with my FI and his mother on a few things. Fortunately, he takes the initiative and talks to his mother or figures out a way to manipulate her.
good luck and I hope this works out for the three of you!