Pre-wedding Parties

Family obligations?

My son and his bride's early evening rehearsal dinner has been designated as wedding party only, but because all of my family is travelling a significant distance to help celebrate the wedding, I am also coordinating an informal dinner for family and out of town guests who are not part of the wedding ceremony.  I was hoping that my son (at least--although bride is of course welcome) could make an appearance after the rehearsal dinner to greet family members at the other gathering. However, the bride has made it clear that this is a wedding and not a family reunion, so my son will not see his family until the reception. It is what it is, but was I unreasonable to make this request?
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Re: Family obligations?

  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    edited April 2018
    While it would have been gracious for your son and FDIL to agree to make an appearance at your event, they're not required to make themselves available beyond the reception.

    When one of my cousins was married, his parents chose to host a rehearsal dinner for the wedding party only. This pissed off my parents, who were out-of-town guests. Having hosted a rehearsal dinner for my brother and his wife that included out-of-town guests on both sides, they thought (erroneously)  that my aunt and uncle should have done the same for the out-of-town guests at that wedding.

    My aunt and uncle did provide a "hospitality room" at the hotel where the out-of-town guests were staying, but my parents chose to go to a restaurant with friends instead.

    You can certainly invite your relatives and friends to a party of your own before the wedding, but I would have scheduled your event for another day prior to the wedding if possible.
    MairePoppy
  • Thanks for input! I would have preferred to include all family and out of town/country guests at RD (It would only have added 20 or so), but was vetoed. Because of work and school obligations, most are flying in town for weekend only. We are also out of state, so it's been tough to make arrangements. My son very much wants to see his family, but he knows the value of keeping the peace. I am learning how to bite my tongue.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I disagree with @Jen4948. While a wedding is not a family reunion, these people have been invited to the wedding and you are providing additional hospitality to them. Usually when brides say their weddings aren't family reunions that is in reference to the guest list, not to the people who are actually invited. 

    I was recently at a cousin's wedding - destination for the entire family other than bride and groom. They did not have a rehearsal dinner so there was no opportunity for the family to get together prior to the wedding. We all decided to have dinner together at a restaurant. We, of course, invited the B&G. They couldn't attend the entire dinner as they were doing last minute prep for the wedding. However, they did stop by for a little while and as a surprise provided dessert for the whole group. All that being said to mean, I think it would be nice if your son and FDIL would make an appearance to say hi. I do understand biting your tongue though (former MOG and MOB here). 
    [Deleted User]MobKazahoyweddingshort+sassy
  • I really see both sides of this; you're not unreasonable to make the request, and they are also not unreasonable for declining. I'm curious though who is hosting the RD? If it's you, then I do think you should have had much more say in the guest list. If not, it's really up to whoever is hosting. 

    At my wedding my other kept referring to it like a funeral or a family reunion, and TBH it bothered me. It was important to her to have her family and friends there and I respected that, but it also felt like she was making it more about all the family seeing each other than it was about the wedding and thanking people for coming to the wedding.

    My in-laws hosted our RD and then a BBQ the day after the wedding because so many people came from OOT. We stopped by the party briefly but we definitely didn't stay long. And they didn't insist on anything different, which we really appreciated. 
    Yeah, my in-laws did a day after thing for everyone to decompress and visit with out-of-towners.  It was really nice.
    short+sassy
  • Am I seeing correctly that you won't be attending your son's rehearsal dinner and instead will be hosting a dinner of your own?  

    I think your son and daughter in law have decided to do something that's perfectly polite.   Plenty of people have intimate rehearsal dinners that do not involve all out of town guests.  I understand your desire to host something for them but  I'm reading between the lines that you may have really stepped on toes.   

    Can you clarify if you will be attending the RD or will you be attending this dinner function?  

    Could a better option have been to host something like a breakfast the day after the wedding instead rather than to compete with the pre-wedding events? 

    If your son knows the value of keeping the peace I hope you do as well.   There seems to be a great deal of projecting onto your son and not onto a couple who are doing things that are perfectly fine while you seem to have decided that you're going to tell others how you disapprove.   I do hope that you're handling this publicly with phrasing that hasn't been used in this thread.
    ei34ahoyweddingshort+sassyMairePoppy
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    You weren’t unreasonable to make the request but it makes sense that they’re not attending your party.  H and I hosted our own RD, it was immediate family and our small WP + their SO’s only...an extra 20 guests would’ve made a big difference.  

    I guess you offered to host the RD and your son and FDIL declined because they wanted something more intimate?  And they’re throwing a smaller RD?  That’s their call.  Ditto PP that you should try not to demonize your FDIL.

  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    banana468 said:
    Am I seeing correctly that you won't be attending your son's rehearsal dinner and instead will be hosting a dinner of your own?  

    I think your son and daughter in law have decided to do something that's perfectly polite.   Plenty of people have intimate rehearsal dinners that do not involve all out of town guests.  I understand your desire to host something for them but  I'm reading between the lines that you may have really stepped on toes.   

    Can you clarify if you will be attending the RD or will you be attending this dinner function?  

    Could a better option have been to host something like a breakfast the day after the wedding instead rather than to compete with the pre-wedding events? 

    If your son knows the value of keeping the peace I hope you do as well.   There seems to be a great deal of projecting onto your son and not onto a couple who are doing things that are perfectly fine while you seem to have decided that you're going to tell others how you disapprove.   I do hope that you're handling this publicly with phrasing that hasn't been used in this thread.
    Oh I didn't see that. If that is the case, I totally disagree with OP hosting another party. The parents of the groom should definitely be at the RD. If it is a party after the RD, I don't see anything wrong with that. 
    ShesSoCold
  • edited April 2018
    I am hosting and paying for the rehearsal dinner. I will be there with bells on. My original plan was to include siblings even if they weren't in wedding party, but bride objected. Since many family members are using vacation budgets to fly a great distance, I want to accommodate them and provide dinner and a place to gather  while we are at RD. I will not be at the other family gathering until after the RD is finished. 
  • I am hosting and paying, but had no input on guest list.
  • ei34ei34 member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yeah if you’re hosting that’s completely different.  Ditto everything @MobKaz said.  The couple either goes along with your proposed RD and guest list or throws their own.
    ernursej
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yes, if you are hosting and paying, you get to say who is on the guest list. I also disagree about not including siblings at RDs especially if they are OOT, but that is just my opinion.
    MobKazInLoveInQueensshort+sassy
  • I am hosting and paying, but had no input on guest list.
    Okay, given this info...your son & FDIL are in the wrong here. If you're paying and willing to foot the bill for the additional guests, they should have been included. My ILs hosted our RD and offered to include all of our extended families (not OOT friends, but we were okay with that). I asked them a few times if they were absolutely sure, as my family is like twice the size of theirs and I was concerned about the cost. It ended up being really nice to have that extra time with our families the night before the wedding.

    We're going to an out of state wedding for my cousin in a few months. The parents of the groom are hosting the RD, which is for WP only, but they're also including a few hours of drinks/apps/dessert for all OOT guests after the dinner at a bar near the location of the RD. I imagine my cousin & her FI won't stay at that all night, but she said they do plan to stop by for a little bit. If your plans aren't totally set in stone yet, could you do something like that? It would give your family time to get into town, shower/change after traveling, and still socialize for a few hours. If that location is close to the RD and I think you said the RD was earlier in the evening, the couple could come visit for a short time. 

    I do think you should be at the RD though, especially since you're hosting it.
    charlotte989875ei34
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
     I do not see anywhere in this post that OP would not attend the rehearsal dinner. She said she was having to coordinate an additional dinner to accommodate those not being included at the rehearsal dinner. She also said further down in this thread that she would absolutely be attending the rehearsal dinner. 
    charlotte989875
  • @MobKaz I incorrectly assumed that if the MOG was hosting a dinner in addition then she wouldn't be attending the RD.

    OP, I would attempt to make a compromise with your son and DIL.   I'm going to assume that the exclusion of siblings is the siblings of the B &G and not your siblings.   If that's the case, what about saying that you do respect their desires for an intimate event but the siblings of the B&G (and all SOs) need to be included.  I suppose with two hosted events occurring they can choose either but I would argue that it's outside the appropriate bounds of etiquette to host an event that doesn't welcome the true immediate family members.  


  • I agree and disagree with many of the points made here.  Technically, since you are paying you have the right to set the guest list.  It would appear that ship has sailed at this point and at some point you decided to set the guest list to what the bride and groom wanted and if that is true, it's time to let it go and move forward with the plans as you have agreed to have them.
    I will say I do not think this compromise on your part obligates the bride and/or groom to attend the other party you are hosting.  It may be as you perceive, that the groom wants to attend and isn't to "keep the peace" with his bride but if that is the case then this is not your place to insert yourself  because that is his decision in his relationship.  It may also not be the full truth. Maybe he would like to but is also interested in the plans they have already made for the night before their wedding.

    It could be wrong, but it sounds as if you have some emotional opinions about your soon to be daughter in law.  I would encourage you to try to move beyond this and recognize how your perception may affect your future relationship.  Try not to villainize her and if she really is being pushy in this instance help yourself and work on establishing a positive relationship and not letting this be something that wedges itself into your relationship into the future.
    MyNameIsNotSTARMOON44
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    Given this new information, I have a question: 

    You say that you agreed not to invite anyone outside the wedding party to the rehearsal dinner because the bride didn't want it to be a "family reunion" and you think your son is going along with what she wants.

    Do you know anything about her family dynamics? Does she come from a family with bad blood or other negative dynamics between the members? Would there be an imbalance where she has few family members of her own there while most of the guests are from your side?

    Also, has she had much opportunity to meet your extended family members? Is there any bad blood between her and any of your relatives?

    If any of these are the case, that might explain why she didn't want a "family reunion" at the rehearsal dinner and I would reserve judgment about that without knowing more about the situation.

    That said, if you already agreed at your son and FDIL' s behest that you wouldn't invite the out-of-town family members to the rehearsal dinner, then I think that ship has sailed. But I would include immediate family members at the rehearsal dinner (who should have been invited to it all along).
    ahoyweddingSTARMOON44sparklepants41
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya mod
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its

    So, I agree with PPs that this is a little different since you're paying for and hosting the RD.

    I think you should have put your foot down earlier. YOU were/are paying for and hosting this party, if B&G didn't like your guest list, they didn't have to accept your generous offer to host the RD (FWIW, both my parents and my H's offered to give us money for our wedding if we didn't have a destination wedding. We declined their offers and did not accept any money).

    But, it doesn't sound like you did so now you must accept that. It does sound like you're trying to make everyone happy here and this might just be one of those times where that's not possible. I think your best course of action is to just be gracious and polite at both parties and the wedding and try not to let people see that you're unhappy with FDIL and the RD/after party circumstances.

    Image result for someecard betting someone half your shit youll love them forever
    ahoyweddingcharlotte989875
  • I was nodding along with everyone until you noted that you are hosting and paying for the RD.  That bit of info changes everything.  As the host and financial backer YOU had final say over the guest list.  Period.

    I could see how the bride may have been a bit miffed if basically everyone from your family was invited to the RD while hers were left out in the cold and that is why she just said "wedding party only."  But if you were planning on including both sides equally I am not sure what the issue may have been.  Maybe the night before they just wanted something small and quiet?  Maybe there is some tension or problems between certain family members that they wanted to avoid?  I think there were missed opportunities to have a discussion and come to a compromise on the RD.  And in the end, if they still weren't happy, then you could have rescinded your offer of hosting/paying and let them foot the bill instead.

    At this point though, it is just best to attend the RD with a smile and then have a nice time at your other dinner.  If your son shows up, then great.  If not, it isn't a big deal.  Like others have said, he is an adult and as much as you may want to put the blame on the bride, he is his own person and can make his own decisions.
    ahoyweddingsparklepants41short+sassyJen4948
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited April 2018
    I am hosting and paying for the rehearsal dinner. I will be there with bells on. My original plan was to include siblings even if they weren't in wedding party, but bride objected. Since many family members are using vacation budgets to fly a great distance, I want to accommodate them and provide dinner and a place to gather  while we are at RD. I will not be at the other family gathering until after the RD is finished. 
    Well that's a game changer. If you are hosting the RD, you should have been able to invite your OOT family members as well as anyone who is needed at the rehearsal and their SOs.You also should have chosen the menu and venue, as long as it's a reasonable distance from the rehearsal. If the couple didn't approve of your plans, then they should have hosted and paid for their own RD. In this case the couple is being unreasonable.
                       
    ahoyweddingShesSoColdJen4948
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited April 2018
    I was nodding along with everyone until you noted that you are hosting and paying for the RD.  That bit of info changes everything.  As the host and financial backer YOU had final say over the guest list.  Period.

    I could see how the bride may have been a bit miffed if basically everyone from your family was invited to the RD while hers were left out in the cold and that is why she just said "wedding party only."  But if you were planning on including both sides equally I am not sure what the issue may have been.  Maybe the night before they just wanted something small and quiet?  Maybe there is some tension or problems between certain family members that they wanted to avoid?  I think there were missed opportunities to have a discussion and come to a compromise on the RD.  And in the end, if they still weren't happy, then you could have rescinded your offer of hosting/paying and let them foot the bill instead.

    At this point though, it is just best to attend the RD with a smile and then have a nice time at your other dinner.  If your son shows up, then great.  If not, it isn't a big deal.  Like others have said, he is an adult and as much as you may want to put the blame on the bride, he is his own person and can make his own decisions.
    This happened to me. Basically MIL "agreed" that we would keep it only to the people with a role that needed rehearsing (plus SOs) and then invited her whole family anyway without telling us. "Small" didn't mean we didn't want my family there, if it were going to be a family affair; it meant we wanted it small, for good reasons. I was miffed.

    But if she had said from the beginning that as the host, she was going to invite all aunts and uncles (so she also needed my family's contact info, which we would have agreed to), or that she intended to invite her family but not mine (which would have meant an offer decline from us), that would have been her prerogative.

    OP, as others have said, at this point I think you just go forward with the two events - since you've agreed to the stuff the couple wanted at the event they've agreed to be at - and hope your son chooses to come to the other, because he really doesn't have to.

    ETA clarifying word
    charlotte989875
  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut mod
    Moderator Tenth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    @flantastic your MIL lied to you, which was wrong. But OP didn't lie, she told her DS and FDIL that she wanted to invite her OOT family members to the rehearsal dinner. It would be nice to extend some invitations to the brides family, too.



                       
  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited May 2018
    @flantastic your MIL lied to you, which was wrong. But OP didn't lie, she told her DS and FDIL that she wanted to invite her OOT family members to the rehearsal dinner. It would be nice to extend some invitations to the brides family, too.
    Oh, I know. I'm saying that if my MIL had told the truth (I'm going to invite more family), then we could have taken or left it. I just think it's past the point of no return for OP's situation. It's late in the game, she's agreed to a guest list, and the couple has accepted her offer based on that.

    That's certainly a point for debate. Others may well believe she has enough time to say she's going to expand the guest list, and the couple could accept that or decline it and pull together their own quickly. But I doubt that would be best for relationships.

    And the couple really doesn't have to come to anything besides the RD, so unless the RD changes, OP shouldn't expect anything for the other party.
    charlotte989875
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