Post # 1
Ooookay. I’m trying to take a few deep breaths, because really, this isn’t that bad, I just feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place. FMIL and I have a great relationship, I absolutely adore her. She rarely gives me anything to stress about and has been 100% supportive and wonderful during the planning process. Yesterday she was over and we started talking about the rehearsal dinner somehow. She mentioned she would like to follow tradition and pay for it. FI and I had no expectation of this and we said as long as it fit in her budget we’d be fine with it, but we didn’t want her to overextend herself in any way. She’s retiring this year and the budget is tight for her. She’s always really generous (probably too generous), and I really don’t want her to screw up some sort of long term plan for the sake of a silly rehearsal dinner.
So. I had already gotten sample menus, etc from a local restaurant. We’d have our own room, an amazing amount of tasty thai food for a really decent price, etc. The only thing I hadn’t done was “officially” booked it and put down the deposit. It’s a casual atmosphere which is what I wanted, something low key, where we could have fun and a few drinks and good food. The negative to the location is that it’s closer to our house than to the city where a lot of our wedding party works (rehearsal dinner is on a Thursday), so we were going to arrange carpooling/transit options for people coming out from the city. No biggie to me. No one in the wedding party seems concerned or has voiced a concern in any case.
FMIL works in events and has a lot of contacts at hotels. She got really excited and asked if she could contact said hotels and ask for quotes, etc and see if they could accomodate us. Of course I said yes. I mean on the one hand, if she’s paying for it, it’s her thing right? And I love that she’s so excited for us and wants to contribute. She called this morning and said she had gotten in touch with a close friend/hotel contact and they could give us this fancy room, etc etc and it would really end up being about $400 more than the original restaurant I had picked. It’s a pretty fancy hotel. It would also be more convenient for our wedding party to get to since it’s in the city.
So here’s my quandry: Do I let her book the fancy hotel (seriously, it’ll be fancier than our outdoor tented wedding)? OR do I ask her nicely to book the original place that’s a bit more casual? I feel awful. I want to love the place she’s chosen, I really do. I just want to have a relaxed night with our friends. I want to have some good (bad for you) food, and not worry about if I’m using the right fork. I don’t want the menu to read like a menu for a wedding: chicken, fish or vegetarian. BUT I don’t want to steal her thunder or discourage her. I want her to be excited and I want to give her the opportunity to contribute and feel like she’s doing something wonderful for us. Gah!!!! Help!!!
Post # 3
I would try to find something a little less fancy expecially if this hotel would be fancier than your wedding.
Post # 4
I’m for letting her book the hotel. I think this is something small she’s asking for, and it sounds like she’s really excited. Let her do this for you. Just because it’s at a fancy place doesn’t mean that the dinner can’t be casual. If you’re with the people you want there, then it is what you make it. If you act like it’s a formal fancy dinner, people are going to start acting that way too. But if you’re casual about it, then everyone else will feel more relaxed and at ease about it. I say let her have this moment!
Post # 5
Is there anyway to find something in between the original place you wanted and the hotel she wants to use?
Since you have such a good relationship with her, I don’t see a problem mentioning your concerns that the rehearsal will be fancier than your wedding. She may not see it that way. She may only be focusing on the Rehearsal now that she has said she will pay for it. If you don’t speak up, she won’t know how you feel.
I love the place we have chosen for our rehearsal dinner and I would be heartbroken if my FIL decided to foot the bill and change the location.
Post # 6
I think you should voice your concerns to her and maybe work with her to try to find somewhere between the fancy hotel and your oringinal place (you said you had a really great relantionship with her so it seems she’d be open to this discussion). Then she’ll still feel like she’s able to choose the place and organize things but you can get a venue that is less formal.
Post # 7
Fair enough. I’ve decided not to say anything until I get the menu from the hotel she likes. If the menu seems really formal and traditional, I’ll ask her if there’s somewhere else we could look, or if they could change up the menu for us. She has a good working relationship with the hotel (her friend who works there also adores FI), so maybe they could work with us to make it a bit less formal….
I think I just had decided on A in my head, so when B came along it really caught me off guard. I have a hard time relinquishing control of wedding related items 😉
Post # 8
I would allow her to plan this. It’s her treat to you and your Fiance and I think it’s great that she’s willing to pay and is excited!
EDIT: Sorry I didn’t see your post above mine…
Post # 9
It’s hard to really advise you here, as it’s not entirely clear how you feel about these restaurants. You say you want the casual vibe of the other place. But does it REALLY matter to you? I mean, if this is something you are excited about, is a very important aspect of your vision for how you want your wedding weekend to go – then yes, stick with the casual place. She sounds lovely, and while briefly disappointed, I’m sure explaining that you want casual will click with her, and she will transfer her excitement (albeit a little less so).
But if the idea of a casual rehearsal is just one of those “wouldn’t it be nice if…” ideas, then I would go with the more formal option. It makes her happy and is more convenient for your guests. It’s win/win, with minor loss for you.
Post # 10
The casual restaurant I really love. The food is great, the price point is great, there’s nothing to complain about. We could all kick back and enjoy the night, no problem.
The hotel is fancy. I’m sure the food is good, but I haven’t eaten there. FMIL has high standards for her events so I’m sure it’s great. I guess my hesistation comes from the potential formality of it. Our wedding is an outdoor tent wedding at an old mill. It’s a very informal setting. We’re not exactly fancy-schmancy people. My other hesistation is that I don’t want her to go overboard and break the bank here! It’s just a dinner! Every time she wants to pay for something I feel like I’m taking away from her retirement. I know she’s a grown up and can make her own budgeting decisions, I just feel guilty.
Post # 11
I think you should wait to see the menu. You seem kinda meh on the Thai place (love Thai btw) and this way it give you one else event to worry about, thus takes some stress off you. If she has a good working relationship with this hotel and you don’t like the first menu, I am sure they can throw something else together for you. And if that doesn’t work, I am sure she can find you another venue. Just let her do this and be thankful she has kept out of your hair for 99% of wedding related things.
Post # 12
I think it’s totally valid that you’re concerned about a) the rehearsal dinner being fancier than your wedding, and b) it being so upscale that you won’t get the relaxed feeling that you’ll need right before your wedding. If I were you, I’d have an open, but very upbeat conversation with her to weigh the pros and cons. Explain your concerns in honest but non-critical ways, and express your sincere gratitude… and then see what comes of it. You might not get what you’re after because you might need to give her this one in order to truly show your gratitude, but by opening up an honest, true conversation about it, you can all come to a group decision. If nothing else, hopefully you’ll feel heard and validated. And since your wedding is a very different style (tented outdoor vs. fancy hotel rehearsal dinner), I don’t think guests would notice a “fanciness” disparity. If anything, they could be pleased to feel treated to two classy meals for one wedding! 🙂
Post # 13
I guess do what is going to cause you the least stress. If she is paying for it kind of let her make the decision. Just try and enjoy it either way.