Moms and Maids

FMIL Rehearsal & Guest List Issue - Need Advice

Sorry this is long, I need a little venting. 

 My fiancé and I are getting married in less than two months.  We're doing a destination wedding in Florida, however our guest list is pretty large for a destination (expect 150ish guests).  Our wedding is a few days after Christmas, so it's high season there and things are busy.  My FMIL has not booked plane tickets or a hotel room for the wedding for herself, my FFIL, or her youngest son who is under 18.

 My FMIL offered to host our rehearsal dinner for us.  The way she phrased it was "let me take care of the rehearsal dinner, I will handle everything."  Later, she confirmed this sentiment by discussing details with our venue, telling us that the rehearsal dinner "will be on [her]." She was very excited about getting involved, and I was more than happy to pass off the job.  I have discussed a few minor details with her over the past few months, but other than that have not really been involved in the planning, as I was trying to respect her space and not encroach on her event. 

We sent out our wedding invitations last week, and I asked her if she could give me some details on the dinner so that I can let our bridal party know for travel planning purposes.  When I asked I found out nothing has been booked. She discussed doing something at the hotel where the wedding is, but has not reserved anything or picked out a menu (She did give us 5 menu options, however). More than that, she called my fiancé yesterday and asked him how he wanted to go about paying her back for the dinner.  Based on our past conversations, we were under impression that she would be paying.  We're happy to cover the cost, but we never budgeted for this and now we're at the point that we're writing final checks to all of our other vendors.  More than that, if we do the rehearsal where she wants it (the hotel), the menus that she picked out range from $95/person for burgers and hot dogs to $115/person for chicken or fish.  Mind you, this is the cost BEFORE adding any alcohol.  To me that's WAY too expensive for what we're getting (seriously $100/person for a cookout...). 

 And here's the icing on the cake, we did our guest list when we sent out our save the dates in May.  She invited 5 couples who are family friends but did not do "and family," so their kids were not invited.  This was her idea & final decision.   We confirmed these details in September when we finalized our guest list to send to the printer.  Invites are sent.   At the time she called to ask us to pay her back for the rehearsal, she also informed us that 3 of those families are coming and decided to make it a family vacation.  Then she asked if she could change the invite to include all of their kids - to the tune of 7 additional guests over the age of 21.  Between the cost per person from the venue and all the extras at the wedding (favors, paper...) this will cost us about $250/person.  

 So here is where I need some advice... 

 With respect to the rehearsal, since we are paying, is it out of line to tell my FMIL that we would like to look at other more reasonable options for the rehearsal, and essentially take over the planning.  We can't afford to spend $95-115/person for a rehearsal dinner, especially not when we hadn't budgeted for it.  Moreover, I appreciate her help, but we're getting down to the wire and we need to have something booked.  It's high season in FL and restaurants will be packed as it is.  

 With respect to the additional guests, does this seem like a fair compromise - I was going to explain that it's just not in the budget to add an additional 7 adults, but invite the kids to come for the dancing portion of the reception and the after party.  I figure their parents made the decision to do a family vacation knowing the kids weren't invited, so it cannot come as a shock if we don't change our minds on that.  If she wants to pay for the additional guests, I'm happy to add them, but we just don't have the $$.  

Thanks for listening and any advice! This is not what I had hoped to be worrying about on the home stretch to the big day.  Eloping is starting to sound pretty good!



Re: FMIL Rehearsal & Guest List Issue - Need Advice

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Tenth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Well, if she wants you to pay for it, then you definitely have the right to set some boundaries on how much you pay for and who can be invited. 

    But it's not appropriate to extend tiered hospitality, even to kids, and that's what your "compromise" consists of.  All guests would have to be invited to the entire event.  If you're going to invite the kids at all, they have to be invited to the whole thing-not sent away for the ceremony and dinner but then invited back.

    I think you need to tell your FMIL that she will either have to foot the bill in its entirety to invite these people or they cannot be invited at all.
    doeydoBlue_Bird
  • jdblnn said:

    Sorry this is long, I need a little venting. 

     My fiancé and I are getting married in less than two months.  We're doing a destination wedding in Florida, however our guest list is pretty large for a destination (expect 150ish guests).  Our wedding is a few days after Christmas, so it's high season there and things are busy.  My FMIL has not booked plane tickets or a hotel room for the wedding for herself, my FFIL, or her youngest son who is under 18.

     My FMIL offered to host our rehearsal dinner for us.  The way she phrased it was "let me take care of the rehearsal dinner, I will handle everything."  Later, she confirmed this sentiment by discussing details with our venue, telling us that the rehearsal dinner "will be on [her]." She was very excited about getting involved, and I was more than happy to pass off the job.  I have discussed a few minor details with her over the past few months, but other than that have not really been involved in the planning, as I was trying to respect her space and not encroach on her event. 

    We sent out our wedding invitations last week, and I asked her if she could give me some details on the dinner so that I can let our bridal party know for travel planning purposes.  When I asked I found out nothing has been booked. She discussed doing something at the hotel where the wedding is, but has not reserved anything or picked out a menu (She did give us 5 menu options, however). More than that, she called my fiancé yesterday and asked him how he wanted to go about paying her back for the dinner.  Based on our past conversations, we were under impression that she would be paying.  We're happy to cover the cost, but we never budgeted for this and now we're at the point that we're writing final checks to all of our other vendors.  More than that, if we do the rehearsal where she wants it (the hotel), the menus that she picked out range from $95/person for burgers and hot dogs to $115/person for chicken or fish.  Mind you, this is the cost BEFORE adding any alcohol.  To me that's WAY too expensive for what we're getting (seriously $100/person for a cookout...). 

     And here's the icing on the cake, we did our guest list when we sent out our save the dates in May.  She invited 5 couples who are family friends but did not do "and family," so their kids were not invited.  This was her idea & final decision.   We confirmed these details in September when we finalized our guest list to send to the printer.  Invites are sent.   At the time she called to ask us to pay her back for the rehearsal, she also informed us that 3 of those families are coming and decided to make it a family vacation.  Then she asked if she could change the invite to include all of their kids - to the tune of 7 additional guests over the age of 21.  Between the cost per person from the venue and all the extras at the wedding (favors, paper...) this will cost us about $250/person.  

     So here is where I need some advice... 

     With respect to the rehearsal, since we are paying, is it out of line to tell my FMIL that we would like to look at other more reasonable options for the rehearsal, and essentially take over the planning.  We can't afford to spend $95-115/person for a rehearsal dinner, especially not when we hadn't budgeted for it.  Moreover, I appreciate her help, but we're getting down to the wire and we need to have something booked.  It's high season in FL and restaurants will be packed as it is.  

     With respect to the additional guests, does this seem like a fair compromise - I was going to explain that it's just not in the budget to add an additional 7 adults, but invite the kids to come for the dancing portion of the reception and the after party.  I figure their parents made the decision to do a family vacation knowing the kids weren't invited, so it cannot come as a shock if we don't change our minds on that.  If she wants to pay for the additional guests, I'm happy to add them, but we just don't have the $$.  

    Thanks for listening and any advice! This is not what I had hoped to be worrying about on the home stretch to the big day.  Eloping is starting to sound pretty good!



    ugh. she's put you in a tough spot with both issues, sorry. if it was me and i found out i was at the last minute planning and paying for the rehearsal dinner, i would go ahead and plan/book whatever FI and i chose that was in our budget, without taking her advice or input at all. seriously, no party planning and no plane tickets for an event in 2 months?! give me a break. 

    as for the extra guests, since i'd already be pissed about the rehearsal planning falling in my lap and the extra cost, i would let her know that her friends' kids are not invited, and since they're over 21, i'm sure they can entertain themselves for the evening without their parents. i would nip that shizz in the bud. 
    (no idea the wonky font business)
    Blue_Bird
  • Where in Florida is the wedding?  You are getting very close to not being able to get a space for the rehearsal.  Venues book up pretty quickly.
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Have FI tell her that her input on the RD is no longer needed as you would be paying for it anyway.  Plan something that you can afford.  Is there a picnic area anywhere close to your rehearsal space where you can just have some pizza and sodas?  Or look into pasta, you can get that pretty cheap in large quantities.  I would also call some local grocery stores to see if they do any catering of large pasta or hoagie trays.

    As for the extra adults.  Have FI tell FMIL that the invites are out and there will be no more changes to the guest list.  Tell her the time to do that was prior to sending the invites to the calligrapher.  The "kids" are over 21 and can have a night away from their parents, while they attend the wedding.  I would also have FI inform his mom that there will be no space for these people and to not tell her friends the kids are allowed at the wedding.  She will look like the fool if they show up and have no place to sit and are not accomodated.  If they RSVP back with their kids, you will need to call them up and explain the invite was for Mr. & Mrs. Smith only, you are sorry for the confusion.  If they try to guilt you into bringing their kids, say I'm sorry but we cannot accomodate them.

    Your FI should be the one to tell his mom this.  You deal with your family and he deals with his.  While it might be tough, you need to start setting boundaries now.

    doeydoBlue_Bird
  • If your FMIL is planning on having you and your FI "pay her back" for the RD, that means she's not really hosting, which means you're perfectly within your rights to (have your FI) say to her, "FMIL, because you want us to pay you pack -- i.e., HOST -- the RD, we will take over the planning and hosting of it. Your input will no longer be needed or asked for, as this will be an event we host as a couple." And then you're welcome to host it anywhere, at any time, you want, and only invite people in the wedding and their SOs.

    In regards to the children, I wouldn't even give her that much. I'd say, "FMIL, when we built the guest list and got names from you, you were firm on not inviting children. It's not in our budget to include them now, so I'm afraid that we cannot accommodate them at the reception in any capacity."

    And both of those messages need to come from your FI to her so that she knows she can't push you around, or try to play him and you off each other. You need to be a united front AND you need to start setting boundaries now.
    Anniversary

    image
    I'm gonna go with 'not my circus, not my monkeys.'
    doeydoBlue_BirdTeddiD34
  • Sheesh. $95/person is more than I paid per person at my actual wedding, including open bar. That's crazy!

    Take over all planning immediately and book something. Your responsible guests need the information and you'll be glad to have it done.

    We ended up finding a restaurant that had a private room for no rental fee, and then we did heavy apps for our rehearsal dinner. We ran a $300 tab at the bar for drinks. They notified us when we hit $300 and we bumped it up since things were winding down. It was just over $1k for the whole thing and it was awesome. Pizza/wine/sodas are a great DIY type rehearsal as well.

    Your FMIL needs to tell the friends their children were not invited and she messed up. Your fiance should speak with her.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Your FI should tell her thanks but that he and you will cover the planning of the RD.  It is pointless to let her plan it if in the end you have to pay her back.  Just plan it yourselves.

    As for the adult children.  They are not your problem.  The guests you invited made the choice to make this wedding weekend a family vacation so their grown children can find other ways to entertain themselves for one night.

    Finally, make sure all of this comes from your FI.  This is his Mother and he should be dealing with her, not you.

  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited November 2013
    The host of each event gets to decide on the details, including the guest list, location, menu etc...Let FMIL know that you and fi will be hosting the event and due to budget constraints, you will not be hosting the RD at the hotel that she wanted. 

    Tell her your wedding guest list is set and you can't accommodate the extra guests. You aren't obligated to entertain her friends' children. I'm sure they can find something to do for a day in Florida. If you give her the option of paying for her extra guests, which I don't recommend, make sure you get the money before you extend the invitation. 

    Your FMIL sounds flaky. Don't expect her to follow through on anything. 
                       
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