Post # 1
I have a problem. Well, actually two problems. Actually, it’s more of a dilemma (can you tell I’m flustered?)
We are having a wedding in my hometown in Michigan while me and Fiance currently live in Massachusetts. Over Christmas, we plan on coming back for a week and fitting in a tasting for our reception – we are having it at a nice restaurant downtown and the way it works is that they let us choose what foods we’d like to sample off their banquet menu and they charge us for a full meal (around 25 a person I’m guessing). No doubt, I am beyond excited to eat for research purposes but we don’t know who we should ask to accompany us to the tasting! It sounds like it would be a neat dinner date, and our options are:
1. Invite both sets of in-laws – which might not work too well cause he’s got a very laid-back family and I have a more traditional (read, quiet) asian family. Cue awkward conversation…but good for family relations?
2. Invite my Maid/Matron of Honor2 and her long-term Boyfriend or Best Friend (who is actually Groomsmen3 if you’re keeping track). We haven’t had a lot of time to double-date since we moved out of state so this would be a fun way to catch up and include them in the wedding process. But I’m afraid it might not be "special" that way and feel like just another night out instead.
3. Invite Maid/Matron of Honor2/GM3 and a mutual friend that is also going to be in town from Texas. He would’ve been a groomsman if we didn’t already have 4 guys and 2 girls and we’re old friends. He also has a girlfriend coming into town that we’ve never met before, so that might be a little awkward as well. And I think they’d all get along fairly well and it would feel more like a special occasion, except for the following Dilemma Pt. 2 – should I:
1. Pay for just Maid/Matron of Honor2/GM3 if we go with them either way because they are in the wedding party and we are super close. Plus, I don’t know our good friend’s Girlfriend at all so it might feel weird paying for her.
2. Pay for everyone! This would hurt the wallet the most but that way I wouldn’t have to leave anyone out (or slip Maid/Matron of Honor2 the money under the table if we go with the aforementioned option 3). Then we could also be the mysterious generous strangers to the new Girlfriend (mysterious AND awesome). However, I don’t know if the parentals would feel comfortable letting us pay for it.
Any ideas? Should we be reaching for the knife and fork by ourselves instead? Let me know! Thanks.
Post # 3
For our research/tasting at our reception site, we ended up inviting FI’s parents, who in turn invited his sister and her bf along. My parents live far away and didn’t mind not participating. But I do recommend not going by yourselves…the input from everyone was so helpful in figuring out our menu selection for the reception. It was also a chance for me to get to know his family better and for them to participate in the whole wedding process. If you don’t feel comfortable inviting both sets of parents, why not just invite one set this time and the other set next time? If you decide not to invite parents, I would go with just inviting Maid/Matron of Honor2/GM3 and paying for them. I wouldn’t invite the mutual friend and his Girlfriend and not pay for them…but pay for everyone else…that would be kind of weird.
Post # 4
Honestly, I would take one set of parents only. If only one set of parents is contributing money to the wedding (or if one set is contributing more than the other, or one is specifically covering the food costs) then bring that set of parents.
I think you may want to reset in your mind what the evening is about. It’s a vendor meeting. It’s research. Fun research (!), but research and possibly negotiations nonetheless. Don’t treat it like a chance to catch up with your friends or introduce your sets of parents to each other, because this is your one chance to really check out the food options and if you’re more focused on the party your best friend had last weekend than the presentation of the chicken dish, then you’re sort of missing the point. You need to focus on the food, not the social interactions.
Because it’s a vendor meeting, I would most definitely not bring the friend who has a brand new girlfriend you’ve never met. Would you invite her to join you when you’re interviewing photographers or negotiating with DJ’s? I would imagine not and I just don’t think it’s the right occasion for you to meet her for the first time.
Also, if you do end up bringing your friends, personally I would not pay for them. I would treat it like any other night out in terms of paying the bill, and that means splitting it! But I do think it’s a better idea to take parents instead. That’s my two cents!
Post # 5
I realize this isn’t an option, but I’ll suggest it anyway…
Don’t bring anyone.
Darling Husband and I went to ours over lunch, just the two of us. It gave us an opportunity to really talk with the caterers and fine tune the meal to meet our expectations.
More importantly: we got to eat our wedding meal, together. You won’t get to do that the evening of your wedding. I say go by yourself and have a wonderful time. If you are really concerned about the parents’ opinions, go on your own and ask to have a meal boxed up so you can take it with you.
Post # 6
For tasting, keep it small inorder to keep opinions at bay. Go with your fiance and whoever else may be helping you with the catering bill. If it’s no one else, bring your mothers to help them feel included in the planning. I would stay away from inviting friends since as somebody already mentioned, this is a time to get to your the food for your wedding and the people who are responsible for it.
Post # 7
i agree with smartl that it is first & formost a vendor meeting, and too many other "things" going on (friends you dont see often, first time parent dinner) just make it more complicated than it should be. If it’s at all possible, my advice is go multiple times, different people each time- once alone & once with parents. granted we live just a few blocks from our reception place and luckily they offer lunch & tastings weekly, so before we put down a deposit my Fiance & I went for lunch- same food as the tastings you just pay, and regular city workers go there too. we could discuss the food & service quietly to ourselves w/o getting the full smoozing (for lack of a better word) factor from the staff. the second time, we took our planner for lunch. we all tried different foods & it was great to get an opinon from someone who has been around the block w/ wedding food. that time the vendor knew we were wedding shopping & we did get smoozed a little but that was also good bc we were able to ask questions & make requests. for our actual "tasting" (where we decide what specific foods we want at our wedding), we will invite both sets of parents, altho it only covers 4 people for free, and pay for them. i think multiple visits will lessen the pressure you’re feeling about inviting just the right people, especially since it’s a nice restaurant you probably wouldnt mind eating at a few times. or, maybe youd get sick of the food if you try it so much? let us know what you decide!
Post # 8
Thanks for the help!
We actually decided to go with Maid/Matron of Honor2/GM because, when it came down to it, she’d be the one most likely to give an honest opinion. We are paying for the wedding ourselves so I didn’t want to get into the whole parental involvement aspect again (my dad suggested we go to the chinese buffet for our reception – SERIOUSLY). Going for lunch is a great idea though – I never thought about them wanting to schmooze us! Good things to keep in mind!
Post # 9
guess what? my fi and i live in massachusetts and planning a michigan (battle creek, to be exact) wedding too! hah! we’re also planning a boston wedding though.
anyway, i would say invite the parents! even though it’s awkward, i would want to know that my parents will enjoy the food. knowing that they enjoy the food will tell me that their friends will probably enjoy the food too.
Post # 10
I’m inviting both my sets of parents and my FI’s parents. This isn’t as big of deal for me as, with the expection of my mom and dad (sometimes) all 6 parents get along very well.
We are just going to all pitch in at the end (as ours ins’t covered in the fee for the reception) and make a night of it.