I know brides often go through rough patches with their future parents-in-law during wedding planning. I am not intending to complain about mine as I do love them and they've been awesome for the three years we've been engaged. I am hoping people can give me advise on how to fix the uncomfortable situation we've run into while still keeping the wedding itself to something I can bear.
I probably started the wedding planning process out on the wrong foot. I got so excited and knew that I wanted an intimate outdoor (ceremony and reception) wedding, so my fiance and I visited and signed a contract with the location within the first month of our engagement. I am a planner and relish checking things off that list I guess... We did meet with his parents afterwards to tell them all about it. I was very excited to show them the venue, but it was clear from the start that they were discontented because there are size limitations. My fiance and I had also made several other vendor decisions on our own (photographer, DJ). Before we signed contracts with them though, we did ask MIL and SIL for vendor recommendations (and went with SIL's DJ).
I really have tried to keep MIL involved since then because she only has sons and is the sort of girly girl who would love wedding planning. We invited his mom and dad to several caterer tastings, but the times never worked out for them. Last summer I invited them to come to the venue with me so my future MIL could help me figure out decorations but she never responded. She opted out of bridal gown shopping because she thought that should be for my mom, but she and her husband did come to my fitting after the dress came in, which was awesome (he cried).
His parents thought it would be fun it we made our own toasting wine, so they sent us to a store that helps you make it. However, my family (and I) strongly prefer dry reds while his parents only like white. We made a white toasting wine because that's what she wanted. I mentioned at that time that I would just want some dry red at the wedding for myself and my family after the toasts.
They also offered to pay for the alcohol and my bouquet, which was super sweet and appreciated, but in the last two months things seem to be spiraling out of control...
My own mother lives on the other side of the country, so when she is in town we fill the weekend up with wedding planning so she can be involved. This weekend while she's here I decided to invite his family and the wedding party over and throw a wine tasting party, where everyone brings a wine to share. I made the mistake of putting a price range for the wine ($10-20) which appears to have been what sparked the latest fight. I wanted to keep the parents from paying too much and to keep some of the more terrible wines out. And I mentioned, as an afterthought, in the invite that if we like one of them, maybe we can have it at the wedding. They have since stopped talking to me but ranted to my fiance about how they haven't been consulted on anything and are now being told what kind of alcohol they need to provide. That was never my intention. I just wanted to get people together and the "wedding wine" comment was an afterthought. This weekend we are also going to a local bridal show. I invited his mom and dad previoulsy (and they were excited at the time), but they won't respond to my messages so I assume they're not coming.
This fiasco brought out some old anger about the guest limits. Originally I was hoping for perhaps 50 people (small intimate and outside) becuause I hate and uncomfortable with crouds of people I don't know. My fiance would have loved a larger wedding (200+), so we compromised to get 140. My dad was sweet enough to rent us a tent so the reception could be outside as well. The tent area will only fit 140. I worked on my half of the list (70) with my family and my fiance asked his mom for a list of 70 people (all our close friends are on my half of the list). When we got my fiance's half of the list back 2 months ago, there were 70 people on it, but she'd forgotten to include herself and their immediate family (fiance, parents, his brothers and their families) and it didn't include his groomsmen. The true total was 105. My fiance was upset because he didn't even know a lot of the people on that list. After his talking to her got him nowhere, my fiance then worked through the list and limited it to his must invites (their entire family, the close family friends his mother had requested, the groomsmen, and four close people from his work). That left 6 additional spaces, which he gave to her to choose. The response was that this puts her in an awkward position. I'm not sure how that's the case unless she had already been verbally inviting people. We are ok with telling people that we're having a small wedding, and have found that everyone else has been fine with it and just as happy for us.
Yesterday, my fiance got an angry text from his dad telling us he didn't understand what the big deal with increasing the wedding to 200-300 people was, and that they'll pay for it. They're mad we selected a venue like this and keep telling us we should have thought about the guest list before we chose it. The problem is it has nothing to do with the money. We've been saving for this wedding for a while and both our parents are helping where they can. It just seems like his parents put conditions on their assistance, which upsets my fiance. My fiance has been adament that we must each be equally represented by our guests. He's been standing by me, but I hate to put him in this position because I know that originally he wanted a larger wedding. I don't want his relationhip (or mine) with his family to be compromised. I'm terrified they will decide not to show up (they've done that at other large family gatherings when there's a dispute, it's just never been with me before). That would break my fiance's heart...
In the end I just want to marry my fiance and have everyone enjoy the day, but I hate crouds and would feel really uncomfortable with that many people, especially as I wouldn't know most of them. I can't figure out if I'm being unreasonable or why it should be unreasonable for me to want a more intimate wedding. Is it just a midwest thing for weddings to be large? How many extra guests (beyond those mutual family and friends the fiance knows) do most couples give their parents? My parents haven't asked for any and my mom even laughed at the suggestion of her getting a plus 1. Ideas on how I can fix the situation, and input on whether I should give some ground or hold my ground, are welcome.