Post # 1
DH and I got married this past summer and had a beautiful wedding in the area we live, complete with our friends, my family, and his immediate family. DH’s parents and extended family lives two states away, so many did not travel to our wedding because of money and time. I sent wedding invitations to all of them regardless.
MIL (lives two states away) didn’t ask, but informed us that she will be throwing a post wedding sit-down dinner reception for us in DH’s small hometown. I foolishly assumed this was just for the original OOT invitees who didn’t come to the wedding, roughly 30 people. I was way wrong.
MIL’s RSVP count is currently 250 and climbing – this is over 20% of the town’s population. She admitted to me that it’s impossible to invite certain neighbors and not others, certain friends and not others, and so on because of this being a small town. DH and I are aghast, and DH complained to me that he simply won’t be able to introduce me to most of these people – he won’t know their names???
I did let MIL know that we do not want gifts, and I should’ve pressed her to put “No gifts” on her invitations. I found out people are asking where we’re registered, and this makes me feel so guilty because I don’t know any of them and will probably not meet them ever again!
I’m embarrassed to go to this post wedding reception; it just feels wrong. MIL is an extremely sweet woman who devotes much of her free time to events and committees in this town, DH and I don’t have the heart to be honest with her about our misgivings – and it’s simply too late.
Am I overreacting? I’m freaking out and dreading this reception. Or is this culture shock since I’m not familiar with small town etiquette? Any words of advice, bees?
Post # 3
@Busy Bride:That does seem a bit excessive for a post wedding reception however if I were in your situation I’d probably just go with it. MIL obviously wants to do this and she knows what comes along with planning something in a small town. I’m not from a small town so I don’t really know but that’s my opinion on the matter. Who knows, maybe it will be fun and you will have a good time and a few good stories to tell.
Post # 4
- Wedding: May 2012 - Salvage One, Chicago
I think you should roll with it. Yes, it seems excessively large, but apparently your MIL is very involved in her community and really excited that you two are married! It would be awkward to recieve gifts from a lot of these people- I attended a wedding shower for my fiance’s sister held by her FMIL’s boss (let that one sink in for a minute) she knew barely anyone and they all got her gifts. Should people get you gifts you can graciously accept them or graciously refuse (there is a way, I promise), insisting that a gift is unnecessary.
Can you get another ally on your side to spread the ‘no gifts’ word? I did this for our engagement party, getting girlfriend’s of family members to tell aunts, mothers, etc. that we didn’t want or expect anything. What we did end up receiveing was a lot of bottles of wine.
Aside from that- enjoy it, you will be guests of honor and enjoy yourselves.
Post # 5
Can I ask what part of the party makes you uncomfortable? Is it that you think people feel obligated to come/bring presents? That MIL is spending the money associated with a big party? That you don’t want to be the center of attention? Etc?
I would tell your MIL how you and your hubby feel. It seems like it’s a little too late in the planning process to DO anything about it, but at least she’ll know how you both feel.
Post # 6
My mom is doing the very same thing. I am also very stressed about the whole thing. She is having more than double the guests than what are invited to the actual wedding. My FI is not a social person, so it’s going to be so akward for him.
I really have no advice, just sympathy for you as I know how bad you can feel when it gets spun out of control. There’s no talking my mom out of it though, she gets so emotional when I try to talk to her about anything.
It’s only one day though, people are likely going to bring gifts, like it or not, you will have some uncomforable mingling and it will be all over. That’s what I keep thinking anyhow.
Post # 7
drakela2 – you are hitting the nail on the head. In these economic times, attendance/obligatory gifts from strangers seems insensitive, and this town is not doing so well. I suspect this is partly why MIL is throwing the party, to give her friends and neighbors a good time. It’s morphed into something other than celebrating our marriage. Which is awesome of her, but uhhh…
I’m also worried about bad first impressions; what if the guests think I’m a bridezilla who demanded all of this? They don’t know any different.
As much as I love a good party, I shrink from being the center of attention (DH, too). Our wedding was manageable because we knew everyone, so it was intimate and meaningful. I know, as much as I’m going to try to roll with it, you’ll see me in permanent “deer in the headlights” position the whole night!
Lastly, I’m just pooped out from our own wedding process. It’s been two months, I’m still detoxing from 18 months of wedding planning and all the parties that came along with it. If MIL was having a backyard BBQ or something similar to what many other Bees have done for their post wedding parties, I’d be more than happy and feeling more appreciative.
Post # 8
Maybe look at it as a compliment: your FMIL cares about you two and wants to show you off.
Let the gifts happen – I know I would feel cheap going to a party empty-handed.
To offset your gift-guilt: invest in some truly lovely thank-you cards, and spend some quality time with your FMIL writing out and addressing the cards.
Post # 9
Extra nice thank cards is a good idea, that shaves a little guilt off!
Post # 10
@JBing:good idea!! roll with it!
Post # 11
250, hard to say but for a small town thats not bad. If your MIL is really involved then she knows everyone. Well small towns are crazy. I grew up in one and Im getting married in one. It is so hard to say no since everyone knows everyone and EVERYONE knows your guest list. They will know that she invited Stacey that babysat your FI when he was 5 and volunteers with her every tuesday at something but not Ryan who coached his little league in grade 4 and she sees at bookclub every other Wednesday. Nice cards are a great touch, because when they come in the mail your MIL and her sweet new daughter in law will be talk of the town.
Im sorry for your stress but there is just no way to stop it without hurting someone.
Post # 12
Ugh. She means well but I see where you’re like AGH! WTF?? There is no way out of it without coming off as rude and ungrateful. It’ll suck but it’s just one last party. You can do it!
The thing that seems to be bothering you the most is the gifts. Don’t register. Ask your MIL to reply to people who are asking about a registry to direct them to a few charities that you’ve picked out and request a donation to be made in your honor instead. Cancer research, Big Brother/Sister, local food pantries/women’s shelters, wildlife conservation are all really good, safe choices and their donation has the opportunity to positively impact their own community, which could ease your guilt about getting gifts from strangers.
Post # 13
This is starting to sink in, thank you for confirming. I heard another woman in this town had a wedding for 450, and that was considered normal. Every single K12 teacher DH had is coming to our reception, on top of, yes, haha – his babysitters.
I like your charity idea very much!
To keep the peace and not hurt my MIL’s feelings, I’m going to stay silent this time and roll with it. Being new to DH’s family is a delicate balance of being appreciative but also finding my voice. For future celebrations such as a baby shower, I plan to pipe up well in advance so it would be compromise between MIL’s grand visions and my comfort zone. She’s not aware of my point of view, and I don’t want to grow resentful of her. It’s kind of a moot point to throw big elaborate parties if the “guest of honor” is looking for a rock to crawl under, right?