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Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long)

So this is part vent and part advice-asking just to warn everybody :-)

Here's the scenario...My fiance and I have been trying to get his parents to look at rehearsal dinner venues for months.  HIs parents are not from the area we're getting married so we offered to do the initial looking for them to weed out the venues that for sure would not work to save them time when they came up to look.  We did that at the beginning of this summer and have been trying to coordinate with them ever since.  His mom's working, his dad's golfing, his mom has a wedding, his dad has season football tickets this fall (yes they're already even denying us well into the future weekends), etc, etc, etc, etc......I understand that people get busy but [some] of the excuses seem like conflicts that could be resolved for the one wedding thing they're doing.  We're asking for a day...that's it.

We are so grateful that they offered to host it but their apparent disinterest is getting to the point where we just want to say "thanks but no thanks" and just host it ourselves.

It's hard because his parents are divorced so it's always tough coordinating between them in the first place but just some of the things they ask or expect me to do seem ridiculous like they think I do nothing all day but take care of every aspect of their son's life.

For instance, I have a very time-consuming full-time job and I'm trying to plan a wedding in the mean time...the other day my fiance comments to me that his mom told him that I was doing the research for her on what car SHE is going to buy him.  I seriously like burst out laughing on him...I had told her I would forward her the website of the dealership I worked with when I bought my new car (which I did)...that's it!  I'm not even buying this stupid car so why would she think I had time on top of everything else I'm doing to take care of this?

Ok that was a little off topic but I just wanted to sort of illustrate how they tend to shirk responsibility and things onto other people because they are "soooooo busy".  I can tell it makes my fiance sad that his parents are like this.  He's told me that he thinks they're nice people but just get lazy and he knows it frustrates me and it hurts him because he knows my parents are so helpful and parent-like to both him and I.  I really want them to pull through on this because it's just going to be another thing my parents will have to step in and do.  They'd be more than happy to, but that is not the point at all.  He wants his parents to care and be involved so that's what I'm trying to get ideas on.

I guess I'm just trying to de-stress because I'm not angry...just more stressed/sad by all of this.

Does anybody have any helpful thoughts on this on how to get his parents more involved?

Relevant information:

a)  They have already offered to pay and host the rehearsal dinner option (for anyone thinking I'm not to assume they're hosting...they offered so i am assuming)
b)  I am getting married in a smaller town so there are not many nice venue options to accomodate our party (for those who think I'm looking too soon)
c)  They haven't given us a budget even to go ahead and plan it ourselves even though they seem disinterested in any of the planning.  This wouldn't be our ideal situation anyways because we'd like them to know and like what they're hosting.
d)  The car example may be stupid but it's hard to put into words and it's the most recent thing that's happened so it's fresh in my mind (for those of you who think that story was irrelevant)

Re: Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long)

  • You are a year away from the wedding.  They are not blowing you off.  You are trying to plan this too far in advance. We booked our rehersal dinner space 4 days before we needed and  we  picked an uber fancy place and  had a pre-fix menu.It just doesn't take a place that long to be able to accomodate you.   It is just like making a dinner reservation.  You would not call a restaurant 1 year before you wanted to eat there. You woudn't even call one month before.

    You need to back way off on this.  They are not interested because they know they have plenty of time to get this taken care of.  So maybe you start this conversation again 2 months before the wedding.  But one year out, is way to far out.
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  • In Response to Re: Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long):
    [QUOTE]You are a year away from the wedding.  They are not blowing you off.  You are trying to plan this too far in advance. We booked our rehersal dinner space 4 days before we needed and  we  picked an uber fancy place and  had a pre-fix menu.It just doesn't take a place that long to be able to accomodate you.   It is just like making a dinner reservation.  You would not call a restaurant 1 year before you wanted to eat there. You woudn't even call one month before. You need to back way off on this.  They are not interested because they know they have plenty of time to get this taken care of.  So maybe you start this conversation again 2 months before the wedding.  But one year out, is way to far out.
    Posted by vsgal[/QUOTE]

    This exactly. My IL's planned ours and while they had narrowed it down to a few places maybe 5 mos before the wedding, I don't think the booked it until April and we got maried in June. You have plenty of time yet.
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  • If they want to host/ pay for it then let them plan it. If and when they tell you the budget or give you a check for the RD, then you can plan it. Sounds like you are nagging a little. You can't really plan without the budget so stop pushing it.

    Worse case if they don't plan it, buy some pizza and beer and have it at park/ your house/church. Or just go to a restaurant and you pay for everyone. No biggie. Stop stressing.

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  • JenO24JenO24 member
    500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited August 2010
    if your wedding isnt for another yr the RD should NOT even be on your radar yet.  plan things 1 at a time instead of figuring out the whole picture at once or you're going to drive yourself and everyone around you crazy.

    if they're offering to host/pay then let them plan it when they want to.
    if they give you a check for it then you and your FI get to plan it.
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  • Yeah, that's why I had the disclaimer about how quickly things get booked up in the area where I'm getting married because I knew it would get brought up.  I booked my venue almost 2 years before our date and the place called me a couple days after I looked while I was still having them hold my date while I was deciding between 2 places to tell me I needed to make a decision because another bride wanted my date...same went for my photographer, church, etc.  It's just a popular area and things tend to get nabbed ridiculously early (so stressful!!) so while I realize this is not normally the case you just have to rest assured that I do know what I'm talking about it regards to this.  I wasn't wondering if that was too soon to start looking.  I knew the answer to that one already. 


    And I am stressed about it a little bit because they aren't necessarily known for coming through in clutch time.  That is my main concern.  And my fiance and I don't want some thrown together thing at the last moment...I'm all about a fun, casual dinner but we do want it to sort of "go" with our wedding.  And by that I mean we like things well thought out.  That doesn't mean we want it as formal or as expensive as our wedding, but we want care put into it.  That's all.  So burgers and pizza in our backyard as a back-up would not exactly be ideal.  If that's really going to be what happens we'd rather just have my parents plan it and have everything be wonderful.

    We just want to figure out a way to get them more pro-active about this.  They know how places in the area get booked up and they didn't seem surprised by it at all.  They seem to "get it" but don't necessarily act on anything.  That's my problem.

  • In Response to Re: Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long):
    [QUOTE]Yeah, that's why I had the disclaimer about how quickly things get booked up in the area where I'm getting married because I knew it would get brought up.  I booked my venue almost 2 years before our date and the place called me a couple days after I looked while I was still having them hold my date while I was deciding between 2 places to tell me I needed to make a decision because another bride wanted my date...same went for my photographer, church, etc.  It's just a popular area and things tend to get nabbed ridiculously early (so stressful!!) so while I realize this is not normally the case you just have to rest assured that I do know what I'm talking about it regards to this.  I wasn't wondering if that was too soon to start looking.  I knew the answer to that one already.  And I am stressed about it a little bit because they aren't necessarily known for coming through in clutch time.  That is my main concern.  And my fiance and I don't want some thrown together thing at the last moment...I'm all about a fun, casual dinner but we do want it to sort of "go" with our wedding.  And by that I mean we like things well thought out.  That doesn't mean we want it as formal or as expensive as our wedding, but we want care put into it.  That's all.  So burgers and pizza in our backyard as a back-up would not exactly be ideal.  If that's really going to be what happens we'd rather just have my parents plan it and have everything be wonderful. We just want to figure out a way to get them more pro-active about this.  They know how places in the area get booked up and they didn't seem surprised by it at all.  They seem to "get it" but don't necessarily act on anything.  That's my problem.
    Posted by eshaufle[/QUOTE]

    Then decline the offer for them to host and plan & pay for it yourselves. This is way too much stress for just the RD.

    I still think for a RD you are planning way too early.

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  • In Response to Re: Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long):
    [QUOTE]OP don't you hate it when people offer to do something and then act flaky about it?  I know I do so I understand why you are stressed.  I   think I would do one of two things.  A.  Book the place you like and assume that you and your fiance will pay for it.  If they come through great.  If not oh well.  B.  Send an email to both of them telling them that the preliminary research is done and you recommend that they chose one of the following places and provide the restaurant names, addresses, phone numbers and manager's contact names.  Advise the FILs that you appreictae their offer to host and recommend they call early because your experience with teh wedding is that these places book pretty quickly.  Then let it go.  If they flake they flake.  There are a million short notice options for rehearsal dinners out there.  No need to stress abouyt this for the next year.  Put it back in their court.  Good luck!
    Posted by mica001[/QUOTE]

    This is so funny...this is exactly what the fiance and I were planning to do!  We have actually already given them the list of the restaurants with addresses, phone numbers, prices, etc. so that was one tactic that we're hoping works.  We just sent it not that long ago so I can't report whether it worked or not. 

    Idea A (booking a place as a back-up we want) I like from a CYA standpoint but I didn't know if it would look bad in the end if they did end up flaking and they find out we had sort of anticipated their flakiness??  I don't want them to feel bad by any means (which is why I like getting advice on here) but then again it's not my fault their flaky but I still can't help but feel a little guilty going behind their backs.  Maybe they wouldn't see it like that at all?  Who knows.
  • In Response to Re: Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long):
    [QUOTE]OP don't you hate it when people offer to do something and then act flaky about it?  I know I do so I understand why you are stressed.  I   think I would do one of two things.  A.  Book the place you like and assume that you and your fiance will pay for it.  If they come through great.  If not oh well.  B.  Send an email to both of them telling them that the preliminary research is done and you recommend that they chose one of the following places and provide the restaurant names, addresses, phone numbers and manager's contact names.  Advise the FILs that you appreictae their offer to host and recommend they call early because your experience with teh wedding is that these places book pretty quickly.  Then let it go.  If they flake they flake.  There are a million short notice options for rehearsal dinners out there.  No need to stress abouyt this for the next year.  Put it back in their court.  Good luck!
    Posted by mica001[/QUOTE]

    I agree.  If you feel that certain based on your other experiences that this is a "we gotta do this now" situation then do it.  Have your FI tell them that you are looking at places and will be booking one  by the end of the week.  Give them the info on the places that you are looking at and tell them that you WILL be making a decision on such-and-such day.  Be prepared to pay for it on your own though if this doesn't sit well with them.  If  you & your FI don't feel comfortable with this then give them the info tell them AGAIN that this is something that's better to arrange now.  If they screw it up then you better have a back up plan for a simple RD.  Either way you have a year to figure it out.  You never know, an event that is booked now for next year could get canceled and everything may work out just fine.
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    eshaufle----

    My daughter is getting married in Lake County IL----we know ALL too well how quickly things book up----you have to know the area to understand the mentality.   On a Sunday afternoon at a wedding expo, we made an appointment with a salesperson to potentially book at their venue.  We made the appointment for the immediate Monday night.  When we met with the venue staff the next night, they told us that shortly after we booked our appointment, another bride tried to book the same venue for the same date.  The salesperson told us that although the bride was told that the venue was "on hold" with us, the grandma of this bride pulled out her checkbook and said, "How much do you need?"  AND, this was in January, 2010 and our wedding date is June, 2011!!  My daughter's FI and his family booked our rehearsal dinner venue in June of this  summer and actually had difficulty getting their first choice.  We are rehearsing now on a Thursday night instead of Friday because they really wanted this venue and the Friday of June 2011 was booked!  I feel your pain.

    I offer this suggestion---which is what I have told my daughter.  If you relinquish any responsibility to anyone----do just that----let it go and hope for the best.  The best way to lessen your burden and stress is to truly delegate----and then let it go.  What happens, happens.  If you cannot "release" any wedding item in that way, then its best to keep it on your own list of "things to do".   My daughter is having her fiance, or his family, or other family members, take on duties that she really doesn't care about---such as transportation, lighting, rehearsal dinner.....and that they have offered to take on.  But she is then truly taking them completely out of her mind----and is going to be OK with any results!

    Good luck!!
  • Pay for it yourself and don't say anything else about the dinner to them.Then you can plan it as far in advance as you want to. If you want it done on your timeline, then you need to take full responsibility for it.   In my opinion, however, you will be very hard pressed to find a restaurant that will accept a reservation more than a couple months out--even if you are renting out the whole facility. 
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  • I feel your pain!!  My FILs are somewhat similar but they are still married.  My FMIL has not even met my parents yet and we've been together for 7 years!!!  Now, they live in SC and we live in MA and my parents live in CT which makes it more difficult.  However, we have lived in MA for nearly 6 years and she has yet to visit.  FI bought his first house about a year and half ago and she has not come to visit.  She always makes stupid excuses.  She doesn't work.  She literally sits around the house doing nothing all day.  And believe me it is not a financial issue.  They are paying for the RD, but they are a little opposite.  The day after we got engaged (8/30/09) she called us and told us to find the RD restaurant.  Seriously, we didn't even have our date picked...we were still rearing from the events of the engagement!  So we booked ours in April 2010 and are getting married in February 2011.  So, regardless if it is too far out or not, the point is your FILs are absent and not showing an interest.  It is very sad for your FI that his parents do not show an interest.  My suggestion, find the restaurant that you would like, book it, and then if it is out of their budget then pay the difference.  It is not something to stress that much over...what is stressful is that they are not interested.  If you have to, just try to include them in whatever you can through email or phone and make your own decisions.  Put the effort out there to include them, but don't go overboard with it. In the end it is your day, so do what you want.  if they have a problem then hopefully they will speak up.  If not, then that is on them.  
    Good luck!  :) 
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  • I too am getting married in Lake County, with some events in northern Cook County, I get the booking fast thing but for a RD, it's a smaller event, and not nearly as time consuming etc as the actual wedding. I would really just try and relax, or decline the offer!
    I just got kicked out of the planning for my shower because I was trying to help too much, the girls literally told me to go away! I was worried about getting a venue, cost etc. but I had to relinqish control or do it myself, and it's just too much to try and do myself!
    As my mom said, it's a good life lesson!!
  • You don't have a problem.
    FI has a problem.
    HE needs to go visit them with a calendar, and get a date set, then HE needs to host them when they come to your town.

    The women I work with all have sons getting married 1000 miles away.  The last two weddings were in Baltimore and Vermont.  And the MOGs talked about the RD-planning trip for about three weeks prior to the trip and about three weeks after the trip.  They took off two days from work, and flew with their husbands to the wedding location, then visited three or four places to do tastings and contract negotiations, then picked one and finalized the contract and signed it.

    FI's parents should be so very excited about all of this that they CAN find four days to come to the wedding town and do the RD-planning trip.

    But again, YOU can't push for this, YOU can't jump in and do it, YOU can't stick your fingers into THEIR business.
  • I like the idea of having a back-up plan, just in case.  If you don't need it. they'll never know.  And if you do need it, they don't need to know when you booked it.  You could just say, "We got really lucky and found this great place.  We took the liberty of booking it for you since you're having trouble finding one."  Never mind that luck had nothing to do with it!
  • You have plenty of time. My wedding is in 2 months and our RD hasnt been booked yet. If its causing you stress, then you should book it (and pay) yourselves. Its great when others offer to pay for things but that really does take the control out of your hands. So either relax and let them book it on their own terms, or pay and book now.

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  • In Response to Re: Rehearsal Dinner "frustration" (long):
    [QUOTE]We booked our rehersal dinner space 4 days before we needed and  we  picked an uber fancy place and  had a pre-fix menu.It just doesn't take a place that long to be able to accomodate you.   It is just like making a dinner reservation.  You would not call a restaurant 1 year before you wanted to eat there.  Posted by vsgal[/QUOTE]

    Don't do this if you plan on a) not stressing out the week of your wedding trying to locate a venue that will accomodate you and b) sending out formal invitations. Even if you're just making a glorified "dinner reservation," you will still need to call the venue and arrange a meeting to discuss seating and dinner options.

    Personally my RD was a lot of work. I visited the venue multiple times to look at menus and room layouts and do tastings, I visited different florists for the centerpieces.. it definitely wasn't something that was just thrown together. That being said, we booked ours 6 months out. If you want to wait until last minute you'll end up stressing yourself out even more. I agree that you should just book the venue you want with the idea that you and your FI are going to pay for it and then if his parents decide to go through with hosting it, great.
  • Jenna,

    I have to tell you that 4 days was plenty of time.  You do not need to send formal invites out.  We only invited our immediate families, our officiant and his wife, and our wedding party and their SO's.  Everybody knew where we going when they got to the rehearsal.  For what it's worth, I did get a formal invite to my cousin's rehearsal dinner one week before the wedding. 

    We called the restaurant and told them how many people.  They said they had a private room for no charge.  We said great.  They said they have a special menu for large parties and we said great.  The conversation lasted 15 minutes and was the most unstressful part of our wedding week.  The reason for that is because we did not allow the rehearsal dinner to stress us out.  We did not require food tastings, room layout visits,  or centerpieces or any other fluff.  It was our rehearsal dinner, not our reception.  It was elegant, high class and a great time.  We concentrated on what was important that night, which was to thank all of those involved in our wedding, not what centerpieces were on the table. 

    With all due respect, it was a potential stressball for you because you allowed it to be that way.  We didn't. We treated it as the situation it was--a 5-star dinner for our wedding party with good food and good liquor.  We left everything in the restaurant's very capable hands and, like any other large party reservation they handle every day, it was great and stress-free.  All we did was show up, eat, drink and pay.

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  • I wouldn't book a "back up location" that could come across as you snubbing your FILs or basically telling them what they were doing wasn't good enough. I would just stop worrying and relax.
    Let them deal with it, if it comes down to the last minute and you had to do it in a backyard or at the forest preserve how bad would that be? I'm thinkin' not so bad!!
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