Post # 1
I am desperate need of some advice on how to handle my in-laws regarding the rehearsal dinner. This is going to be a long post and I am sorry but there is so much background and information that effects my FI and my desires for the RD.
- I am pretty much paying for our wedding by myself. FI is in school, my dad is contributing minimally and my mom not at all. Our budget is shoestring tight. We are cutting corners everywhere, calling in favors, DIYing as much as we can, skipping honeymoon, etc.
- FILs know this is going on and have not offered to assist in any manner even though we have asked and explained what is going on.
- My mom and my dad have not been in the same room as each other in 5 years. The rehearsal dinner will be (granted they attend) the first time since the divorce that they will see each other. And the first time Mom will meet Dad’s new wife. If things are going to get ugly, it will be at the RD.
- Our two families have never met. The RD will be the first time. (All my family is from out of town.)
- FI and I have kept our wedding guest list to 130 of our closest friends and family. Therefore we feel the RD should be just our immediate families and the wedding party- totaling 30 people.
Fi and I were invisioning a small intimate dinner where our families can meet, the events for the following day explained and those who are helping us make it happen can be thanked. We are thinking something like a picnic or simple seated dinner. Sounds great, simple and easy until yesterday. We learn yesterday that….
- Our wedding site is booked the night before the wedding for another couple’s RD.
- FILs want to invite all the aunts/uncles/cousins/out-of-town guests to the RD- totaling 50+ people.
- FILs want to host the RD at a 5-star restaurant. The cost of feeding 50 people there will exceed our entire wedding budget.
- The atmosphere of said restaurant is a trillion times nicer than anything we are planning/can afford for the wedding.
- FILs have not asked what we would like for the RD and have not listened to our concerns with their plans.
I feel so insulted that they will not listen. I am worried that their over the top plans will make our hard earned wedding look cheap. I don’t understand why they want so many people there- That is half of everyone we are inviting to the wedding. We might as well just say our vows at the RD and save the money we were using for the wedding. I don’t want to be embarrassed by my family at the RD in front of so many people. And I really don’t get why they won’t scale back the RD and help us afford a nicer wedding or a honeymoon.
Am I crazy? Am I being a bride-zilla? How do I convey all of this to FILs when so far they aren’t listening? Any advice would be great. FI is so angry at them and I am so hurt.
Post # 3
I feel for you. That’s a tough putt for sure. Now is one of those times when your FH is going to have to go to bat for you. He needs to convey to his parents that he doesn’t want HIS Bride over shadowed by an over the top RD. Could they kindly either scale back to match the formality of the wedding or divert some of the RD money to the wedding. But your FH needs to be the one to do it and he needs to be firm. Good Luck.
Post # 4
Or…maybe they could have all of the family meet the day after for a brunch.
Post # 5
I agree with missRojoOso – your husband needs to be the one who speaks to his parents about this so you don’t look like the bad person in this situation. Since your FILs haven’t contributed to the wedding fund, they have little to no say on who is invited and where it’s held.
Post # 6
I would go ahead with your FI and decide what the two of you want for an RD. Ours is actually going to be really informal – a comfortable restaurant with really good Italian food, served family style. Partly because we just want it to be really relaxed, and partly because our wedding is also not terribly formal and fancy. Then I would have your FI (should be him, as MissRojoOso says, as they are his parents – although you can do it together he should be the one managing his parents) present your ideas to his folks. Even though they are hosting, they should take your wishes into account.
I would second the idea that if they somehow want to spend more money, it would be appropriate to suggest they pitch in a little more for the wedding. Sometimes parents don’t want to just hand over a check, but maybe suggest they pay for the cake, the flowers, part or all of the photography.
If they want to throw a big party for out of town guests, I also think brunch the morning after is appropriate.
And if they can’t be persuaded to adjust their plans to something that meets your vision, I would be prepared to just tell them thanks for the offer, but you will handle the RD yourselves. I think the RD is mostly about having a time to relax with your bridal party, kick back before the big day. Another big, fancy event may fit some folks’ style, but its not necessarily relaxing, is it? You can have a perfectly nice RD without spending a ton of money. Your FILs sound more than a little controlling – sometimes the only way to deal with that is to just opt out, if you know what I mean. Nobody likes to be this way, but maybe the only way to get them to listen is to let them know that if they must throw a hugely fancy event, they can do so with their out of town friends only – because you and FI and the rest of the bridal party will be somewhere else.
Standing up for what you want, in a nice but firm manner, does not make you bridezilla. If you were having a fit about the color of the table linens for the RD, or something that, you would be unreasonable. Wanting an RD that isn’t practically an early reception is not unreasonable at all.
Post # 7
Nicely done, Suzanno. I agree completely. It sounds like the FILs are more concerned about showing what a great party they can throw.
They have lost sight of the fact that the whole reason everyone is getting together is to celebrate YOU and their son and the journey you’re about to take. Sometimes, that realization that their child is "leaving" the family causes people to act a little wacky.
Definitely talk it through w/ your FI and make sure you are both on the same page. It’s his responsibiity to talk to his family, you can join him for that conversation but try your best to stay in a support role and let him take the lead.
I know the money would be very helpful, but if the FILs refuse to listen, then take the control away from them by doing the RD yourself.
Post # 8
Just a quick update. Fi and I spent about 2 hours last night writing down each of our specific concerns regarding the RD on the front of index cards. We then wrote a proposal of what we feel would be appropriate and a reasoning on the back. He is going to present these talking points to his parents this afternoon. We tried to be as specific, honest and rational as possible with our feelings and ideas. He is going to stick to the cards when talking to them and leave them behind when he come home. So far I feel pretty good about this presentation- it shows we care and both feel the same about what we have learned. We have already started planning an alternative we can afford if things don’t go well. Cross your fingers for us and thank you so much for all your advice and assurance!
*I really wish the boards had spell check!
Post # 9
I feel for you….. and am undergoing a similar problem (not the divorced parents aspect) as my FMIL is planning an elaborate RD. I would also rather have a smaller event and have some money towards the wedding itself. You don’t want the RD to upstage the wedding itself!
Let us know how it goes!
Post # 10
- Wedding: September 2018 - The Desmond Hotel in Malvern, PA
Best of luck, Jenningsblue…. your proposal sounds like a really adult way to deal with this situation, and I hope it forces your FILs to really listen and respect both of your wishes. Please keep us posted! My fingers are crossed for you.
Post # 11
If you think it might resonate with the FILs, you could make them aware that it is very poor etiquette to have the rehearsal dinner be as nice or nicer than the wedding. The rehearsal dinner’s formality should NEVER overshadow that of the wedding.
Post # 12
Good for you jenningblue! It sounds like you and your FI are doing a great job of working together on this. Dealing with family that are being unreasonable is never fun, but if it is apparent to both your families that the two of you have to be treated as your own little family unit now, and that you are going to back each other up, they should respect that. Let us know how it goes!
Post # 13
Hopefully this will be my final update. Fi talked to his parents on Saturday (with flashcards). I think they were a little peeved by the cards (they felt attacked at first) but he explained they were there to keep the discussion on course and so they could really understand how we are feeling and our wishes. They relented on the location almost immediately. We quickly learned that neither of them had a clue on how much everything costs or how hard/creative we are working to keep things where we can afford them. They have offered to help pay for our cake and assist us on our honeymoon.
The headcount for the RD was still at a stand-still on Saturday. Fi was still pretty ticked about them wanting half the people we invited to the wedding there. I convinced him to let them sleep on it and then we will look at it again. I figured we would either have to adjust our thinking or find a place that they can’t refuse (that holds a limited amount of people). Anyway, FI went fishing with FFIL Sunday morning and after a night of the FILs talking- all systems are go.
I didn’t see FILs this weekend, but FI says they aren’t really upset and we are still going to propose that his side of the family go out to brunch together Sunday since they will all be in town.
Thank you so much- all of you- for letting me vent. I value your advice and reassurance more than I can express. Weddingbee has become my 4th Bridesmaid!
Post # 14
Yay! I’m so glad its working out well for you. It seems like wedding planning is an ongoing series of arguments and misunderstandings with parents and siblings and FILs. Makes you crazy about every other week. My experience so far is that most things can be worked out pretty easily once everybody has calmed down – its all about communication and aligning expectations and compromise, and usually a couple of days after wanting to just tear everyone’s hair out I find that everyone is being surprisingly reasonable. I hope that continues to be the case for you – and think what super-improved communication skills you and FI will have by the time its over!