MIL wants second reception, I don't

posted 3 years ago in Reception
Post # 2
2915 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013 - Wynn Las Vegas

Maybe there can be a compromise where she throws a very casual party for the US people, and doesn’t call it a reception? Congratulations dinner or something? It is nonsensical to have a “2nd reception” with all of the dances, cake, etc. Especially when the distance is not far, so most people will probably travel to the real reception.

Post # 3
3047 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

It’s just 5 hours and an easy boarder crossing, I really think the people that want to attend will make it. So I don’t see the need for a second party. Also, the way you describe the potential setup just makes me cringe. No, better to go with one fabulous affair!

Post # 4
2414 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

kismet13:  I’d ease up on her.  She’s your MIL, why start off married life on the wrong foot with her?  If you’re involved in some of the planning you can steer her from the things you really don’t want.  How about a low key dinner at restaurant instead of a big bash?  Could you work out a compromise?  For the sake of a good relationship I would try to come to an agreement on things rather than just shutting it down completely.

We’re having a 2nd reception.  We’re getting married here in Canada and we’re having a celebration in Ireland later in the year for those who couldn’t travel.  I’m actually hoping my FMIL will handle most of the planning!  But, its a lot to ask of her.  But my FMIL has excellent taste.  She planned a lovely catered party for us the last time we visited, so I am confident in letting her take the reins on the plans. 

Post # 5
588 posts
Busy bee

My MIL wanted to do a second reception for their friends and family who weren’t travelling too (even though my in-laws, DH’s grandparents, and all their siblings were coming over for the wedding anyway). My husband (then FI) had no interest in it, but didn’t want to disappoint his mom. Originally I didn’t say anything against it – until she told me that I should fly out with my dress so I can wear it again for their reception. That’s when I had to say ‘no’ to the whole thing. We were having 1 wedding, and therefore 1 reception. Neither my husband or I had any desire to get dressed up again in our wedding clothes and basically pretend we were just coming from our ceremony again. It just seemed weird and impractical.

My MIL was fine with it in the end. It’s not what she wanted, but she got over it pretty quickly. I think she even realised that asking someone to take extra vacation time to fly across the country with their wedding dress – for no essential reason – wasn’t a particularly reasonable thing to do. 

Post # 6
2792 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Normally, I would not find five hours in a car a big deal. That said, this is not the case for you. It might only be five hours, but it is five hours across an international border. People will need to have their pasport in order, pay to have it renewed, or go through the hassel of getting one for the first time. And then they have to go through a border crossing. I have driven it once, and was stuck in line for 2 hours waiting. That turns a 5 hour car ride into 7 hours both ways. And you would have to stay over night if you plan on even having a little to drink. While this is not prohibitive by any stretch of the imagination, it won’t be something everyone wants to do for a wedding.

I would have a talk with your FI first. Get on the same page with him. Maybe he really really wants it because he wants his family to get a chance to celebrate his marriage. Don’t roll him over or “shut him down.”

If he doesn’t want it, have him talk to his mother (nicely) and decline it (politely) You can be there too, but 90% of dealing with his family should be done by him, just like 90% of dealing with your family should be done by you.

If he really wants to celbrate, compromise on keeping it low key. You can have it in the back room of a nice resteraunt and keep it to dinner without dancing or tacky center pieces. Have it at brunch or a time of the day where it will be really low key. Don’t do a head table or speeches. You can keep the guest list small so it doesn’t feel like a party, and more like having dinner with his family.

Post # 7
559 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Honestly I’d just let MIL throw the party, smile, and try to enjoy it. If someone compliments the centerpieces or  asks about the party design, very graciously say “yes, our dear friend was kind enough to make them for us. My MIL did a great job planning this party, don’t you think?” It’s a nice way to tell people that the party wasn’t planned by you.

Post # 8
42135 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

She will be your MIL for a long time. I think this is such a little thing to let her have her way. There will always be people who will not come to the wedding for one reason or another. You would be amazed at the number of people who live close to the border and don’t have a passport.

You can comppromise by agreeing to a very casual backyard BBQ- no music, no dancing- not a party- just a simple summer BBQ.

Post # 9
3650 posts
Sugar bee

Nope. You don’t want it, you don’t want to go. End of story. (I love macaroni salad, by the way-LOL!)


Post # 10
6048 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: March 2012

hmmm sounds like she would have a more causual party than a reception.  Meh why not do it, get some points with her, you don’t have to do anything or pay for anything.  I’m sure the people she would invite are well aware of how wonderful your taste in parties are and would never for a moment confuse her plastic ware/mac salad party for one of your parties.  It’s a couple of hours of your time on a weekend and it gets meeting all these people out of the way at one time. 

Post # 11
2385 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

honestly, I’d let her do it but I’d make sure it was more low-key, and I would call it a congrats party or something rather than a reception… My grandmother was very upset she didn’t get to be there for my reception so when we told her we were considering having a small party in her home state she took it & ran with it. Went crazy, got decorations I would never have choose, etc… And you know what? I couldn’t care less. I love that woman, it made her extremely happy, and I didn’t have to do anything but take time out to be there! Just give her lots of praise during the day of for her obviously wonderful decorating senses and you don’t have to worry about people thinking it’s your bad taste… 

I think it’s a minor thing to keep her excited & happy- you would have already had your wedding & reception anyway so just let go, relax, and watch her work! =) 

Post # 12
6969 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’d let her throw the party but make sure she keeps it casual. Perhaps suggest a pavillion in a nice park or something similar. She’s going to be your MIL for a long time.

Post # 13
6450 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Five hours is probably longer than you think for some guests. We turned down a wedding that is five hours away because we would have to rent a hotel room for two nights if we didn’t want to be driving at unreasonable hours.

What does your FI want? If he wants it I don’t understand why you would say no. Make it clear it’s only happening if she plans it and calls it a celebration (instead of a reception). If you’re really that worried about what people will think of you, than make sure people RSVP to her so that it’s clear she is the host.

Post # 15
2173 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Misswhowedding:  +1

As someone who used to live about 2 hours from the border, it is actually very common for people to not have their passports regardless of how close it is.  So “it’s only 5 hours” doesn’t hold for me.  It’s still international travel.

If you don’t want a second party, that’s fine, but I think you need to take into account that your FI has feelings on this too, and it could potentially alienate the “States family.”

ETA: if people are going to go to the wedding, they’re going to go to the wedding, regardless of whether there is this “casual party” or not.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 6 months ago by  .
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