Sticky FMIL Situation. Advice appreciated!

posted 2 years ago in Family
Post # 2
4441 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2013 - Harbourfront Grand Hall

calgaryweddingphotographer1:  Find somewhere else to have your reception, then you have more control of their guest list and they won’t have to cry about their lawn 😉

Post # 3
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

calgaryweddingphotographer1:  While it is a sweet deal being able to use that farmland, I can’t help but think you’re going to have to give up a lot of what you envisioned for your wedding to accomodate your FMIL’s wants for the wedding just because they are supplying the land. If they are already making a fuss over the tent and the guest list and just having a bbq, what else is she going to want to change?

I would opt for the hall and have the small wedding you want.

Post # 4
1168 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Something similar happened with my MIL… it was a misunderstanding. She thought the “wish list” guest list was her actual guest list and told everyone on it that they were invited way before the invitations went out. 

If I were you, I would go through the list and also select another location. It just seems like your FMIL may try to impose many of her ideas/thoughts/well wishes on to you. You seem like you are only in the begining stages of planning, trust me these sticky situations get worse… if you can afford to switch locations- I would do so. It will spare you a huge headache in the end. 

Post # 5
12905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

I’d decline the use of their land either way so you don’t feel like you owe them anything and cut the guest list as you please.

Post # 6
250 posts
Helper bee

I would maybe have a BBQ rehearsal dinner at the farm and then choose to have your wedding at another location so it could be done your way.  This way also you can say its “a numbers thing” as the venue can only accommidate X people. Your must haves, your FI’s must haves and then the rest to the in laws as long as that number covers thier family.  Also you can’t invite just some cousins and not the others.  No unnecessary drama needed.  We are having our wedding at a smaller venue on purpose otherwise my Future in Laws would run rampant with the guest list (although they have been really good about this).  Good luck!

Post # 8
1259 posts
Bumble bee

I think sitting down with them – both of your inlaws and your fiance and hashing out the guestlist is priority number one. This needs to be done no matter where you have your wedding and no matter who is contributing. Research the tent thing, the catering things, etc all the things you would need to bring in and onto their property for the vision you have. Sometimes when you lay all the pieces out in front parents, it helps them see your vision a little clearer. I would suggest your FI being clear with them in the conversation that if they do not feel comfortable having this take place on their property, to let you know right away as you need the time to look for a new venue. 

Post # 9
3833 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

calgaryweddingphotographer1:  You might be able to find another outdoor venue to have a tented reception at – it doesn’t have to be on your FIL’s property to be outdoors.

Post # 11
92 posts
Worker bee



At first glance, I assumed that you didn’t really have your heart set on your FMIL’s land and that you were just accepting the offering, but since it seems that your true dream is to have a tented reception, you should stick with your original vision. 

Maybe bring your FMIL along with you when meeting with the rental company to discuss tent options and they can quell any fears she has about the tent ruining her lawn (I’m sure they are very conscientious of this, as they undoubtedly deal with these issues every time they put a tent up).  You can do the small BBQ for the rehearsal/welcome dinner for out of town guests. I do think that your fiancé may need to speak with his family about reigning in the guest list before things get even further out of hand and should just simply state that it is a budget issue(since it is his family, I would let him discuss any sticky issues). Hopefully they would be sensitive to this and if not, maybe they will offer monetary assistance in addition to their land.

<br />As for his cousins, I’d say just invite them! Since it doesn’t sound like they are particularly close, they will probably not show up anyway and they won’t feel left out for not getting an invitation – and hey! – they may even send a gift 😉

Post # 13
165 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’d say that by accepting their offer of land, you are very likely to end up having a wedding that is more in line with their vision than yours.  I would absolutely politely thank them for their willingness to offer it, and explain that you’ve decided to have it elsewhere – no need to go into super detail, but you can use the traffic and wear and tear that would happen to their land as a your out.

I would in no way expect that their latest question means they have intentions of paying for anything, until they tell you that is what they want to do.  I don’t think asking for their help in paying is polite, and honestly the whole way they’ve handled this so far makes me cringe for you!  Oh, and I don’t think it really is their concern what your parents are paying, unless you are very young or your families are particularly open about such matters.

Post # 14
44 posts

I had a similar problem. We chose a package that we knew would limit our guest list due to price per person. Part of the reason we chose the package we chose was to make FMIL happy (ie open bar, and having an actual wedding vs eloping and casual affair later on in the year), she knew we didn’t want to go over a guest list of 160. Well when it came down to making the lists his side was over 100 and if I invited everyone on my wish list it would have been over 100 as well. Clearly it just couldn’t happen. We knew we were going to have to make cuts and she was refusing to concede. She claimed she had nothing to do with us no longer going away (literally the week we were booking she flipped out regarding it saying we couldn’t) and that we had to invite these people.

On her list was my fiance’s step dad’s ex wife (I kid you not) as well as his step dad’s cousins (I’m not even inviting my second cousins). I was outraged. When we said no, she said she would pay for the people she wanted, and she would invite them anyways. I was ready to call it all off because I was going to lose my mind with how crazy she was acting. 

The one piece of advice I strongly recommend is that your fiance handles his mother. I was not going to be blamed for her not getting her way on things we agreed to as a couple. My fiance just had it out with her over the list a little over a week ago and she is still pretty upset with us and I know she blames me, but really some of the people on the list would be puzzled as to why we were inviting them. I also did not feel comfortable inviting everyone and their brother that she has ever met when I wasn’t inviting family members I would have liked to invite. You need to stick to what will make you the most happy. Them gifting you their land is wonderful, and I agree you do need to make sure the tent and rentals won’t do damage so maybe you should have the rental company come out and give you and the your FIL an idea of what to expect. Good luck!

Post # 15
9526 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

I can’t tell you what to do, but I can tell you what I did in a similar situation.

I wanted to get married in my dad’s backyard. His backyard is slightly too small. He has a neighbor that has a huge plot of land and who agreed to let us have the wedding on his land and didn’t even charge us! We paid for everything, but my parents contributed a lot of time and effort, especially since it was (sort of) at that house.

We put together a guest list and sent it to both families to see if we missed anyone (we had already decided to invite almost all of our relatives who we see on even an infrequent basis. My dad said that he would like to invite three couples from his church. We’ve met these couples a few times but I couldn’t pick them out of a crowd. I debated about it but eventually just decided to invite them because I knew it would please my parents and they were helping out so much with the wedding, I wanted them to be happy. 

We invited 230 people and had 160 RSVP that they were attending. So we rented a 40 x 80 tent. And I was very glad that we did when we had a huge thunderstorm at our rehearsal and a forecast of rain for our wedding! When we got the rain forecast we actually added on a small tent to go over the port-a-pots (well, over the front half of them). The big tent was set up on a Thursday, the wedding was on a Sunday and it was taken down on a Tuesday. The grass was slightly brown right after the tent was removed but it greened back up and was unnoticable within a couple weeks. The real issue that we had was that the trucks that loaded/unloaded the tent broke a couple limbs off our neighbor’s trees when they were getting back to the tent location. My dad went and trimmed up the branches and the neighbors were pretty cool about it – but consider the trucks that will need access to the spot when you’re setting things up. 

I will also say that we did not share our full budget with any of our family members. We were paying for it all, so I didn’t really think it was any of their business. I think that it can be opening a can of worms. Because everyone has different priorities and would do things a different way, but ultimately, it’s up to you and your fiance, since you’re the ones paying for it. 

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