Post # 1
(I apologize this came out kind of long!)
This is gnawing at the pit of my stomach every time I think about it. I come from a family of four kids and have been courthouse married before. My FH is an only child and therefore very close with his mom (his parents live five minutes away, mine in another state). We’ve been planning our wedding since the beginning of the year. A couple days ago, they sat us down and offered us $5000 for the wedding we were planning to fund ourselves (we’re both around thirty and stable). It rather surprised FH. I know that it could give us a little more breathing room, because we’re trying to keep the whole shebang around $8000. We’ve prioritized and discussed and felt comfortable where we were.
In the following half hour or so after offering this money, his parents proceeded to tell FH that 4 attendants were too many and he’d have to downgrade one or two to ushers. I came to his defense, saying he never even thought twice when he listed his groomsmen to me, and I had already matched the number, so there were other people to consider. Then on the ride home (we were all together), the question was raised about how we were wording the invitations. My darling yet unwitting FH tried to respond, and I had to correct him, but I have to think, Was the question was put out there maybe because they intend to let everyone know that they contributed? They are very nice people, and that isn’t really like them, but still.
I told him when we were back home afterwards that I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was taking the money. First of all, I’d just as soon pay for it ourselves. Secondly, when people contribute money it makes them feel like they have a say. FH actually tried to tell me that they wouldn’t do that, and I had to tell them that they already had! I also didn’t want my parents to feel bad since they probably won’t be handing over any cash for this event. Luckily, they understand. I am just a bit torn. I would like to just accept part of it (FH suggested that) to buffer things like a rehearsal dinner, which I was tailoring WAY down, or suggest to them to save it for future grandchildren’s college fund. What I don’t really know is how anything other than graciously accepting will come off. Thoughts, or similar situations?
Post # 3
I think if theyt want to help, let them, but let them help in specific ways.
As your FI suggest, let them throw the rehearsal dinner. Or maybe pay for a limo or bar etc so that they can only really give comments related to that specific item. Then expressely thank them in the program for those items.
Post # 4
I agree with @lefeymw: let them host the RD or the bar.
Post # 5
never accept money that has strings attached.
Post # 6
I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking money with strings. I would have a frank discussion with them about what their expectations are. Then if they tell you that there are infact strings I would kindly decline.
If you don’t clarify their expectations and you tell them yours (eg, that this is a gift that you can do with as you see fit) there will be hurt feelings all around.
Post # 7
I would let them use the money to host the Rehersal Dinner. They will get the credit for where their money is spent and have control over that particular event. That will take some financial burden off of you and FI, without taking away from hosting your own wedding.
Our families both told us (after I had budgeted and booked our entire wedding) that they want to give us money. I said thank you, we will appreciate any monetary wedding gifts we receive. I purposefully indicated that we will treat any money as a wedding gift and not as funding for the wedding because I’ve already funded the wedding myself.
Post # 8
I agree, how about just accept part of it for rehersal dinner. That way you dont have to change the actual wedding invitations, but if they want recognition for contributing, they can be put on the RD invitations as the hosts.
Post # 9
I would not accept the money but let them be responsible for the rehersal dinner.
That money has more strings that you may be aware of at this point.
Post # 10
While I think there are strings attached to this offer, what are the detriments to having different wording than what you imagined? To me, it’s a tradeoff.
I’m not being bought, but if someone feels like they want a say in the invite, it’s just an invite, so why not.
Of course they may rally against some of the other things you want, but if you’re contributing an equal amount, they don’t really have THAT much room. And if they are nice people, I would give them the benefit of the doubt.
I would accept the money.
Post # 11
Thank you, bees. I wasn’t sure if “putting limits” on the offer would be uncouth. We didn’t necessarily see it that way, but I wanted to make sure. I had told FH back when we started planning that if they offered help that traditionally, they take care of the RD, but I was thinking that would be more in response to a vague offer, not a $5000 check. I think we should be able to sit down with them and discuss what exactly will be done with the money so they know ahead of time. His dad joked that it should all go to the bar, but that’s not a bad idea, in more general terms, expand the bar selection maybe.
I think the hardest part will be deep down in me–I see it as a mark of independence not to have financial help (and man oh man, I feel strongly about being able to pay for it ourselves), but I also realize this is their only child. And according to them, they put this money aside a LONG time ago, which means they’ve thought about it a lot and it means something to them to help.
Post # 12
@shortnsunny: Helping is one thing. Dangling money in front of you and making you jump through hoops is another.
Post # 13
@GroovyHippieChick: I only don’t feel it’s dangling because we have the means without their “help.” At the same time though, I hope I can be thorough and explaining all of it without sounding ambiguous or hurting anyone’s feelings.
Post # 14
My FMIL & FFIL graciously offered to pay for our photographer. Long story short, lots of non-negotiable strings started popping up all over the place. Right now we;ve thanked them but refused their gift. They aren’t the people who ask questions cause they want to help or are genuinely interested. They try to spin things in their direction and get in control. I’m not cool with strings. A gift with strings is not a gift in my book, it’s a bribe for control.
I’m not saying that’s what they’re doing in your situation but if it makes you hesitant, based on their behavior, then it’s good you’re taking your time to make a decision. I also agree that having them pay for something specific as opposed to handing over a lump sum would help deter any “string” situations, if there are any.
Post # 15
@shortnsunny: I would accept it, but only after I voiced my concerns–you say they’re nice people, so they probably have good intentions
Post # 16
I would say let them host the RD and pay for your honeymon. Traditional uses of their money. If they don’t like that idea then you don’t have to accept.