Wedding Reception Forum

My parents want a secondary reception and I don't know what to do.


First time poster here. I'm getting married next year and my fiancé and I are just starting to write out our guest list. We want a small wedding, so we booked a venue thay can only cater for 40-50 people. 

My parents however want to invite a bunch of their church friends to the wedding. I said no because the reception venue has limited capacity.

They however kept talking about how they went to a wedding of one of their church friends kids. Apparently half of the guests for that wedding weren't invited to the reception, so they all went off and had dinner together after the ceremony. 

So now my parents want to invite all their church friends to my ceremony and then hire a hall for them to throw their own party in. My parents are very determined to do this and I feel like I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. 

If I put my foot down and say no they will just get annoyed and call me a bridezilla. They have already called me one for not inviting children and not wanting my teenage niece as the flower girl.

How do people deal with interfering parents?!

Also I live in a country where there hasn't been a community case of covid for quite a while now, so we aren't too worried about that. 

Re: My parents want a secondary reception and I don't know what to do.

  • I'm not really familiar with the logistics that your parents propose.  

    They want to host a party at the same time as your wedding reception and not attend your reception?? 

    If your wedding is in a house of worship then my understanding is that it is by default open to all and the bans of marriage are going to be announced.  But how do your parents plan to be in two places at once? 
  • I wasn't sure of the rules around the ceremony, like can people just turn up if they want? It's not a functioning church, it's now more just a historic building the community looks after. 

    Also my parents will want to come to my reception after their own party.
  • I wasn't sure of the rules around the ceremony, like can people just turn up if they want? It's not a functioning church, it's now more just a historic building the community looks after. 

    Also my parents will want to come to my reception after their own party.
    Is the building open to the public? Or are you renting it and having them open it for your guests? If it's the latter, you don't have to let these people in. If it's the former, you might want to check with the event coordinator to confirm that it will be closed to the public during your ceremony.

    A lot of churches are open to members all the time or during operating hours. It doesn't mean you have to invite all the members of that church, but it does mean that you can't stop them from coming in and sitting in the pew while your ceremony is going on. Since this building doesn't sound like it's your parents' actual church, this is really not applicable.

    All that said, tell your parents no. They are being completely ridiculous. Tell them that these people are not invited to any part of your wedding, and that while you can't stop them from throwing a different party and going to that instead, you will not have any part of it. I would go far enough to tell them that if they opted to go to a different party and skip my reception that it would irreparably damage our relationship. 
    All of this. 

    My wedding was in a Catholic church.  We had a random lady show up who just goes to the Saturday weddings.  The church is technically open to the public so anyone who wanted to show up to the ceremony could have.  But if your venue is not a house of worship and open to the public at all times this may not apply to you. 

    Furthermore, what your parents are proposing is to NOT attend YOUR wedding reception.  

    If you're not excluding SOs or immediate family members and  you're just striving for a truly intimate wedding then I am absolutely with @MyNameIsNot that I'd be really clear, "Mom and Dad, if you decide that my actual wedding reception is something that you'll get around to attending once your party is over then the message it sends is that my hosting of you and seeing you on my wedding day is second to your peers.  If that is truly the message that you want to send I need to tell you know how much that will hurt and damage our relationship." 

  • Yikes, I'm sorry this is happening to you, OP.  Keep putting your foot down.  You aren't being a bridezilla or mean or anything like that.  Your parents behavior is shocking and outrageous.  Especially with talking about throwing their own party during your reception.  You need to be very clear how hurtful and harmful that will be to you.  Plus, I'd like to think they want a good relationship with your FI.  I'm sure he would be furious with them also for hurting you and might never forgive them. 

    Another context you can point out is I'm assuming that whatever church friend's child's wedding they went to, probably had the wedding at the church.  As other PPs have mentioned, people will sometimes go to weddings when they are held in public places.  Like a church.  I'm picturing a bunch of church people watching the ceremony and then deciding afterwards, possibly not even planned, "Hey, let's go grab dinner at ABC Restaurant."  And that child's parents went to the reception.  Not out to dinner with the friends.    

    It's also bizarre they want your teenaged niece to be your flower girl.  Flower girls are little girls, like around 3-7 years old.  It would be really insulting to ask a teenager to be a flower girl, so I'm glad you didn't cave to that either.

    Perhaps a compromise you could offer...but only if you and your FI want suggest they throw a casual "Meet the Couple"/"Celebration of Marriage" party at a later date.  That's their party and they can invite all the church friends they want.  And the "bonus" is you and your FI will actually show up to that party!
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  • Calling you a bridezilla for the conflicts you've described is a manipulation tactic. You don't want to be seen as a bridezilla and they know that. By using that term, they're hoping to get you to cave on their demands. I can't believe they'd prioritize hosting their friends before coming to their daughter's actual wedding reception.
  • I'm sorry this is happening. How stressful for you. I agree with much of what the other posters have said..

    Would your parents be opening to having a second party on a different day? Years (and years!) ago, my first marriage was to a guy whose parents wanted to have a blowout Portuguese reception in their state, and my parents, who were paying for the whole thing, wanted something smaller in the state where I grew up. So we had the wedding and reception for 125 people, then went on our honeymoon, then flew back across the country to his parents' giant party. Though the marriage was an utter failure, the reception and party worked out fine. Both sets of parents were happy.
  • Jen4948Jen4948 member
    Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    I'm sorry you're going through this. It sounds like you'll have to elope to not have your parents trying to control your wedding. I hope it doesn't get that far, but your parents sound like they're sliding down the slippery slope into BSC territory if they're calling you a "bridezilla" for not making a teenager a flower girl or giving their friends priority over their daughter.

    I agree with offering the compromise PPs have suggested about a party on another day, but I would only do so after standing very firm that you are not changing your existing plans for your parents and their name-calling and judgments have to stop....and only if they actually do that.
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