Post # 1
We have been through the ringer with reception venues and thought we’d finally found the one – a private home offered to us by a close friend of my Future Mother-In-Law. Previous venues (two, exactly) had too many restrictions that made it impossible for us to stay under budget. We breathed a sigh of relief when the offer was made and were told "you can have your dream wedding, whatever you’d like". Future Mother-In-Law assured us that we were essentially being given free reign and that the hosts simply wanted us to feel unencumbered by "the numbers".
Except … they’re now presenting conditions. While we’d originally planned an indoor Sunday ceremony and reception (to cut down on costs, of course), we had our hearts set on a Saturday evening ceremony and reception once they offered us their home. Now they’re telling us that they would very much prefer to have a daytime ceremony and reception (we’re talking Los Angeles in the middle of June, outdoors — we have guests in their 80s and 90s attending) and they’re testing out a caterer that they think would be perfect for our reception.
To be clear, I’m opposed to a daytime reception for several reason:
- Our wedding is in mid-June 2009 and will be held outdoors. There is little to no natural shade (i.e. trees, awnings, etc) so we would have to rent a tent in order to avoid the sun overhead. I’m fairly sun tolerant but I do not want my grandparents to suffer in the heat.
- I would like to have an actual party, complete with dance floor and rocking good time outdoors. I don’t believe the time of day is conducive to that sort of atmosphere, nor will the sun beating down on us be much of an encouragement.
- Their home overlooks a beautiful lake in Hollywood, CA and has one of the most amazing sunsets you could imagine. We really want to have a sunset ceremony; on top of this, our first dance will be a cultural one involving lit candles (and is typically performed at dusk).
It still amazes me just how wonderfully gracious and generous they’ve been in offering their home to us … but I can’t believe they’re trying to run the show, after all that talk about "whatever you’d like". I’m not sure how to approach them or my Future Mother-In-Law about the matter. I don’t want to make things tense, nor do I want to lose our beautiful "venue" … but things are starting to look a little hazy. Also, while they are offering their home to us, they are not paying for anything else (i.e. flowers, catering, rentals, etc — whatever home improvements they make are on their own dime and accord). Any advice??
Post # 3
Oh gosh. I don’t know what to say, other than I feel you. We haven’t even told his Future Mother-In-Law of our plan to get married and there is one important reason why: my Mother-In-Law. She’s just want to RUN the show! When we bought an apt. she and I would have such tense moments and "strong voiced" conversations bc she wanted to decide on EVERYTHING for OUR house! If I were you I’d probably stick my foot in my mouth and say something and then probably regret it. My FH is the calm, collected and well thought out one of us. He would probably say to not say anything and just say "uh huh" and then do what you want. At least that is what he does with his mom! But that wouldn’t really work in your case. How about taking them out for dinner and talking to them calmly about it? Or how about if HE talked to them about it so it’d be less uncomfortable for you? I wish you the best of luck!
Post # 4
Well, the problem is, it’s not your venue. It’s their home. And whatever they initially said, they can’t seem to get past the idea that they somehow control the party. This is like selling a used car to a relative, or loaning money to a friend – there is a very slim chance that it will turn out okay, and a huge probability that everyone will end up unhappy and a relationship will be damaged.
I think that you need to decide whether being able to have the wedding and reception at their home is worth playing by their rules. And by the way, if the rules have changed already, I would assume that you have to count on them changing again. How much worse is it going to be when they change their mind about what you can or can’t do, and when, after you’ve already sent the invitations? After you’ve booked the vendors? In a lot of ways, it’s good that you found out so early that they don’t really know how to offer you their home and then get out of the picture. Of course, maybe the cost savings and beauty of the setting make it worth putting up with not really knowing whether you’ll have anything the way you want… that’s your decision. If it was me, I think the stress of dealing with these people would probably not be worth it. I would say keep looking for something that you can afford, where you will be working with professionals who will lay out the rules up front, and not change them along the way.
If you do have the wedding at their house, please make sure that you get insurance. It’s easy to have your venue listed as co-insured on your home-owner’s policy for the day. That way, when your guests spill red wine on the carpet, or your hosts’ expensive antique vase ends up broken, you won’t end up with a whole lot more ugliness over how to fix the problem. Because this stuff happens, believe me. And while a professional venue would establish in your contract what your liability might be, dealing with something like that with these people is going to be a nightmare.
Post # 5
Since this is their home in a residential area (I assume?) they may be very nervous about a "rocking party". They may be envisioning drunk, loud people, angry neighbors, a lawn that’s ruined by a dance floor and on and on. Perhaps they’re interviewing a caterer because they don’t want an unknown company using their kitchen, bringing random staff into their home etc. Whatever it is they’re clearly having second thoughts about giving you free reign.
Like suzanno said, you probably either have to make peace with the fact that they’re going to be calling the shots, or graciously bow out while hurt feelings are at a minimum.