Wedding Etiquette Forum

Family Drama!


We are having a destination wedding and EVERYONE is traveling for it. Most of these people we do not see even 1-2 a year, but we do live close to both sides of my family and see them very very very often! Like multiple times in a month.

So my father's side of the family have been complaining they aren't invited to the rehearsal dinner. None of them are actually a part of the wedding, they are all just guests, and when I explained that inviting them meant inviting my mother's side of the family and then both sides of my fiances family, which add over 20 extra people to the rehearsal dinner. The space we choose has a cap of 50 and we are at 42 without all of these extra people. So we explained straight up that there isn't enough room. Problem solved, right?...nope!

My father than decided he wanted to take his family and my mother's family out for a 'family' dinner since they aren't invited to the rehearsal, and has already talked to and invited all of them out one night. The problem is we have very limited time with ALL of our guests that are traveling for the wedding to see us and we don't want to spend 3 hours at a dinner with people that we live close to and see the most out of anyone. 

I know my future MIL is upset and hurt by this because while she only lives about 2 hours from us, we only get the chance to see her once every few months, and again we see my family multiple times in a month. It is unfair to have to explain to other people that even though we rarely see them, we are being pulled away from our time with them for this seperate dinner. My dad just doesn't understand how unreasonable his family is being by demanding they get invited to a dinner when everyone that will be at the wedding are people we rarely see and they are seen all the time. 

What do we do?! 

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  • Let your dad host a dinner.  It sounds like fun for the people invited.  It doesn't mean you have to go.
    STARMOON44
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers

    Tell your father that if he wants to throw the dinner, that's fine, but it is simply a dinner for those members of the family, not a wedding-related event, and that you and your FI won't be able to attend it. 

    lyndausviChiccoBeanz
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    SP29
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    Well, when you decide to ask all your guests to spend up to thousands of dollars to attend you wedding I feel like you need to step it up a little.

    It's called being a good host.

    It's not a requirement though.


    The guests are entitled to a well-hosted reception and it's on the hosts to provide that-and that's where they can "step it up a little." But for the guests to expect additional hospitality beyond the reception is inappropriate.  And like you say, it's not a requirement that hosts "step it up a little" beyond the reception because someone made their own decision to travel to a wedding.


    PrettyGirlLost
  • KatWAGKatWAG Chicago member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    Well, when you decide to ask all your guests to spend up to thousands of dollars to attend you wedding I feel like you need to step it up a little.

    It's called being a good host.

    It's not a requirement though.


    Especially sicne the OP said that both families are close by yet the OP choose to ask everyone to travel.
    BabyFruit Ticker
  • Jen4948 said:
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    Well, when you decide to ask all your guests to spend up to thousands of dollars to attend you wedding I feel like you need to step it up a little.

    It's called being a good host.

    It's not a requirement though.


    The guests are entitled to a well-hosted reception and it's on the hosts to provide that-and that's where they can "step it up a little." But for the guests to expect additional hospitality beyond the reception is inappropriate.  And like you say, it's not a requirement that hosts "step it up a little" beyond the reception because someone made their own decision to travel to a wedding.

    There are plenty of things that aren't a requirement.   You can have a dry DW and serve only tea sandwiches and water.   It covers the "requirements"

    That isn't the point though.   When you pick a wedding destination that requires your guests to incur multiple nights of travel expenses, would you really advise a bride to do 'just the minimum'?   I feel like I'm in Office Space here but a DW is creating an event that's a level above the norm and the hosting should be a level above the norm IMO.   Sure you can argue that guests shouldn't expect extras but you can make the same argument that the hosts shouldn't pick the DW in the first damn place. 

    Maggie0829particuliersylphe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    banana468 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    Well, when you decide to ask all your guests to spend up to thousands of dollars to attend you wedding I feel like you need to step it up a little.

    It's called being a good host.

    It's not a requirement though.


    The guests are entitled to a well-hosted reception and it's on the hosts to provide that-and that's where they can "step it up a little." But for the guests to expect additional hospitality beyond the reception is inappropriate.  And like you say, it's not a requirement that hosts "step it up a little" beyond the reception because someone made their own decision to travel to a wedding.

    There are plenty of things that aren't a requirement.   You can have a dry DW and serve only tea sandwiches and water.   It covers the "requirements"

    That isn't the point though.   When you pick a wedding destination that requires your guests to incur multiple nights of travel expenses, would you really advise a bride to do 'just the minimum'?   I feel like I'm in Office Space here but a DW is creating an event that's a level above the norm and the hosting should be a level above the norm IMO.   Sure you can argue that guests shouldn't expect extras but you can make the same argument that the hosts shouldn't pick the DW in the first damn place. 
    I'm not making that argument!

    I'm not even going to argue that additional hosting is wrong.  What I was suggesting is that when hosting a wedding where many guests are traveling, the reception should be "picked up" and the hosts should go beyond the bare minimum and offer more to their guests at the reception.

    What I was arguing about was whether or not hosts are obligated to throw additional parties beyond the reception for out-of-town guests.  And that's where I think the line is.
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited July 2015
    Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    Well, when you decide to ask all your guests to spend up to thousands of dollars to attend you wedding I feel like you need to step it up a little.

    It's called being a good host.

    It's not a requirement though.


    The guests are entitled to a well-hosted reception and it's on the hosts to provide that-and that's where they can "step it up a little." But for the guests to expect additional hospitality beyond the reception is inappropriate.  And like you say, it's not a requirement that hosts "step it up a little" beyond the reception because someone made their own decision to travel to a wedding.

    There are plenty of things that aren't a requirement.   You can have a dry DW and serve only tea sandwiches and water.   It covers the "requirements"

    That isn't the point though.   When you pick a wedding destination that requires your guests to incur multiple nights of travel expenses, would you really advise a bride to do 'just the minimum'?   I feel like I'm in Office Space here but a DW is creating an event that's a level above the norm and the hosting should be a level above the norm IMO.   Sure you can argue that guests shouldn't expect extras but you can make the same argument that the hosts shouldn't pick the DW in the first damn place. 
    I'm not making that argument!

    I'm not even going to argue that additional hosting is wrong.  What I was suggesting is that when hosting a wedding where many guests are traveling, the reception should be "picked up" and the hosts should go beyond the bare minimum and offer more to their guests at the reception.

    What I was arguing about was whether or not hosts are obligated to throw additional parties beyond the reception for out-of-town guests.  And that's where I think the line is.
    But everyone has said that having additional events is not required.  We are all just stating our opinion that if you choose to have a DW then you should go above and beyond what a typical local wedding would include.  But no one is saying that it is a requirement.

    lyndausvikmmssgparticuliersylphe
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Jen4948 said:
    banana468 said:
    Jen4948 said:
    lyndausvi said:
    Jen4948 said:
    KatWAG said:
    Unpopular opinion: If you are asking everyone to travel for your wedding, you should host a welcome dinner for everyone. Not a RD for a select few.

    I disagree.

    First of all, the person throwing the rehearsal dinner may not be the one inviting all the people who need to travel.  Second, just because someone is traveling to a wedding does not entitle them to additional hospitality-especially if they are not in the wedding party.  They will be invited to the reception, where presumably they will receive all the amenities that guests are entitled to.  And it can really cost a ton of money to host lots of people who aren't in the wedding party-especially if the numbers of people traveling almost turn it into a second reception.

    Well, when you decide to ask all your guests to spend up to thousands of dollars to attend you wedding I feel like you need to step it up a little.

    It's called being a good host.

    It's not a requirement though.


    The guests are entitled to a well-hosted reception and it's on the hosts to provide that-and that's where they can "step it up a little." But for the guests to expect additional hospitality beyond the reception is inappropriate.  And like you say, it's not a requirement that hosts "step it up a little" beyond the reception because someone made their own decision to travel to a wedding.

    There are plenty of things that aren't a requirement.   You can have a dry DW and serve only tea sandwiches and water.   It covers the "requirements"

    That isn't the point though.   When you pick a wedding destination that requires your guests to incur multiple nights of travel expenses, would you really advise a bride to do 'just the minimum'?   I feel like I'm in Office Space here but a DW is creating an event that's a level above the norm and the hosting should be a level above the norm IMO.   Sure you can argue that guests shouldn't expect extras but you can make the same argument that the hosts shouldn't pick the DW in the first damn place. 
    I'm not making that argument!

    I'm not even going to argue that additional hosting is wrong.  What I was suggesting is that when hosting a wedding where many guests are traveling, the reception should be "picked up" and the hosts should go beyond the bare minimum and offer more to their guests at the reception.

    What I was arguing about was whether or not hosts are obligated to throw additional parties beyond the reception for out-of-town guests.  And that's where I think the line is.
    But everyone has said that having additional events is not required.  We are all just stating our opinion that if you choose to have a DW then you should go above and beyond what a typical local wedding would include.  But no one is saying that it is a requirement.

    And @JellyBean52513 and I agree in part and disagree in part.  We agree with going over and beyond at the reception itself because that's the thank-you to the guests for coming, and we agree that because the guests had to go to more trouble to attend, they're entitled to more hospitality at that time.

    What we do not agree with is that there have to be more parties for out-of-town guests simply because they chose to accept the invitation.  They weren't subpoenaed or required to accept the invitation any more than the hosts were to invite them or to plan a destination wedding, so for them to expect more is inappropriate.  But I think none of us disagree at all with hosts choosing to offer more hospitality beyond the reception to out-of-town guests, as long as all parties understand that that's the hosts' choice and not a requirement, just as it's the guests' choice to attend and not a requirement.

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    On the phone so I'm not gonna try to fight with quote boxes.... First of all, what happened to "wedding invites are not subpoenas"? Who is "forcing" or "making" these guests attend a DW? I seriously doubt the OP and her FI are putting guns to everyone's heads and telling them "attend or die." Second of all, where in the OP does it indicate that the guests are spending THOUSANDS to travel? Yes airfare/lodging/travel expenses in general are expensive these days, but nobody here knows how much each guest will have to spend to go to this wedding. Let's save the dramatizations for the snowflakes. Third of all, let's re-visit the first point: wedding invites are not warrants. You do not HAVE to attend any event you're invited to, and it is common knowledge that your potential for more declines increases when you choose to host a DW. That's all this is, a situation of choices. No one's being forced to do anything, and by that same logic, the OP and her FI are under no obligation to host additional events, dinners, etc. just because her guests will all be traveling. I DO agree that the reception should maybe be a little "jazzed up" just because of the presumption that attendance at the wedding might have cost the guests a little more than a more local wedding would, but beyond the wedding itself, the bride and groom do not have to host any supplemental events to 'thank their guests for CHOOSING to attend.
    Never said it was requirement. Actually said twice it's not.

    However, in my own opinion I think you should add another event if you are having a DW. 

    I also said "up to thousands".  Which wasn't specific to the OP's situation, just stating that guests often spend up to thousands of dollars to go to a DW depending on the location.

    The OP's father does feel like the reception isn't enough, hence why he is hosting a dinner.  The OP doesn't have to attend. 

    The extra event is not an other reception.  My welcome reception started a 8pm. However, most people didn't come till 8:30 or later.  Most people came in, had a drink or 2, grabbed a snack.  Hung out talking with us and other guests.  Most people were gone by 11.  There was no start or end time.  People just came and went on their own.   They wore casual clothes and just mingled.  It was nothing like our reception.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Jen4948 said:

    And @JellyBean52513 and I agree in part and disagree in part.  We agree with going over and beyond at the reception itself because that's the thank-you to the guests for coming, and we agree that because the guests had to go to more trouble to attend, they're entitled to more hospitality at that time.

    What we do not agree with is that there have to be more parties for out-of-town guests simply because they chose to accept the invitation.  They weren't subpoenaed or required to accept the invitation any more than the hosts were to invite them or to plan a destination wedding, so for them to expect more is inappropriate.  But I think none of us disagree at all with hosts choosing to offer more hospitality beyond the reception to out-of-town guests, as long as all parties understand that that's the hosts' choice and not a requirement, just as it's the guests' choice to attend and not a requirement.

    So basically we are all in agreement then.

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Jen4948 said:

    And @JellyBean52513 and I agree in part and disagree in part.  We agree with going over and beyond at the reception itself because that's the thank-you to the guests for coming, and we agree that because the guests had to go to more trouble to attend, they're entitled to more hospitality at that time.

    What we do not agree with is that there have to be more parties for out-of-town guests simply because they chose to accept the invitation.  They weren't subpoenaed or required to accept the invitation any more than the hosts were to invite them or to plan a destination wedding, so for them to expect more is inappropriate.  But I think none of us disagree at all with hosts choosing to offer more hospitality beyond the reception to out-of-town guests, as long as all parties understand that that's the hosts' choice and not a requirement, just as it's the guests' choice to attend and not a requirement.

    So basically we are all in agreement then.
    I suppose.
  • Yeah, I'm going to agree that the hosts don't *have* to do it similarly that you don't need to go all out for a NYE wedding or one in the islands.   But if your wedding requires ALL your guests to travel and ALL of them need a hotel then it's a great idea to do that extra.

    Granted, the DWs that I have seen (not attended) were in Bogota, Mayan Riviera and Jamaica so all required airfare of their guests, but I'd be rather sad to get off a plane and only see the couple at the reception.

    Because when you want me to make a vacation out of your wedding, I think there's a more than reasonable expectation that doing so means you intend to see your guests for more than the time of the reception.  Otherwise I'd think you asked me to travel because you wanted the location for pretty pictures and nothing else. 
    Maggie0829hyechica81
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    So etiquette-wise, sure.... they could ask everyone to travel to Jamaica and then serve afternoon cake and punch. Technically they hosted something immediately following the ceremony and it was appropriate for the time of day, so no problem, right? Yup. And technically, no one had to attend if they didn't want to.

    Well if I'm spending thousands of dollars to attend your beach resort wedding in Jamaica, I would be little bummed if the couple only hosted cake and punch. It would feel like, "ok this couple asked me to spend thousands of dollars to witness their wedding and then they're only willing to pay $5/guest for a reception....?" 

    Sorry if that sounds judgey but I would absolutely have that thought. We went to a DW this winter and the couple hosted a welcome dinner, a reception, and a bar hopping tour on a private bus. I truly felt like they valued their guests making the trek for them. If they had served cake and punch....not so much.

    I agree with that.  If I had to travel long-distance and got nothing more than cake and punch, I wouldn't be happy either.

    But I wouldn't expect a whole weekend of partying either.

    PrettyGirlLostSP29
  • MrsMack10612MrsMack10612 The Witch City member
    Tenth Anniversary 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    To me it sounds like there is confusion? misunderstanding? over the definition of a DW.  To me a DW is where you are going (like @banana468 said) to Bogota or the Mayan Riviera.  That is a DW.

    If the couple is getting married in their home town/state where some family/friends live but not all, that's not a DW.  Sure, some (or maybe a lot) of guests will need to travel, but that doesn't make it a DW.  If that were the case, every wedding would be a destination.

    I agree with PPs that if I'm shelling out the bucks to travel someplace like Jamaica or Mexico for your wedding, you should go above & beyond in the hosting.  

     

    MyNameIsNotMegEn1
  • To me it sounds like there is confusion? misunderstanding? over the definition of a DW.  To me a DW is where you are going (like @banana468 said) to Bogota or the Mayan Riviera.  That is a DW.

    If the couple is getting married in their home town/state where some family/friends live but not all, that's not a DW.  Sure, some (or maybe a lot) of guests will need to travel, but that doesn't make it a DW.  If that were the case, every wedding would be a destination.

    I agree with PPs that if I'm shelling out the bucks to travel someplace like Jamaica or Mexico for your wedding, you should go above & beyond in the hosting.  
    And it CAN but doesn't have to be a location requiring flights.   The OP said that their event is a destination wedding.   So in this case, if all the guests are coming from OOT then I can understand why the father wants to host all the guests.

    When BIL and SIL got married, they did it in SIL's hometown.   It was a perfectly reasonable thing to do but MIL and FIL wanted to make sure that their guests were hosted well because anyone from their side had a minimum hotel stay of two nights.   No, they didn't *have* to host a big RD and then a big breakfast but since all their guests had to travel it was an appreciated gesture.   Plus, they were able to actually talk to their guests this way. 
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    To me it sounds like there is confusion? misunderstanding? over the definition of a DW.  To me a DW is where you are going (like @banana468 said) to Bogota or the Mayan Riviera.  That is a DW.

    If the couple is getting married in their home town/state where some family/friends live but not all, that's not a DW.  Sure, some (or maybe a lot) of guests will need to travel, but that doesn't make it a DW.  If that were the case, every wedding would be a destination.

    I agree with PPs that if I'm shelling out the bucks to travel someplace like Jamaica or Mexico for your wedding, you should go above & beyond in the hosting.  
     If 100% of your guests are traveling then it's a DW.  Location or even the mode of transportation doesn't matter.


    The OP said she was having a DW and everyone would be traveling.  She just didn't say where.  






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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