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Head Table Conflict- LONG

Here are the original plans for the head table: Bride and Groom,  our 4 bridesmaids and 1 best man (and their SO's as applicable). Our two ring bearers will also be up there (they are the best man's children and FI's godsons). 
My FI and his family are from a small village in Scotland. FI's parents are insisting that they sit at the head table with us. They claim it's their right and "that's how it's done."  My parents on the other hand are American and do NOT want to sit at the head table with us. In our circle it's just the WP who sits at the head table, though I decided SO's should be included. My parents are paying for basically the entire wedding, except for the few things FI and I contribute. FI's family is paying for nothing.
So how do we resolve this? I tried to reason with my raging FMIL in the midst of one of her tirades, and said that when her daughter (FI's older sis)  gets married and she's MOB then she and FI's sister can decide on the head table seating for that wedding. She continued to yell at me (on Skype, no less) for another 15 minutes.
I'm an only child and feel it's my parents' right and privilege to "host" their own table at the reception, and think that, given the custom in my family/area, then FI's family should feel honored or at least content to host their own as well.

What do I do? Do you ladies have any suggestions? I'm pulling my hair out as to why something as simple as a table can cause so much drama...

PS- a sweetheart table is not an option in either family's opinion and I would like to sit with the WP.

Re: Head Table Conflict- LONG

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    I agree with Pirata that OP should not snub her FIL's traditions, but it seems like the FILs don't give a crap about what HER family's traditions might be.  And her family is paying and wedding is in America.  So I don't think OP should have to cater to every one of her FIL's customs.  Americans have customs too.

    BTW, everything else Pirata said was right on.

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    i have not said 'pfft' to their 'tradition' of sitting at their son/daughter's head table to them- i've just discussed it with my parents and FI and we all agree it's nonsense. we have taken into account any Scottish traditions we've been told of or encountered (i.e. heather and thistle bouts for the men, ring bearer giving horse shoe after ceremony, etc), but this is just them making it up. i've been to other weddings in his family (not to mention others in other parts of Scotland), and only 1 wedding had such an arrangement (as I mentioned, there was no WP for that one).
    don't worry, i haven't 'started an argument' based on me blowing smoke at their traditions.
    there are life-issues and decisions which we haven't given in to which were important to FI and myself, such as me not changing my name, which country we're going to live in, etc.
    everything we've let go seemed small and not worth a fight before this. as i said, i have no idea why this is the breaking point.
    thanks though for your help.
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    Sparkles1985Sparkles1985 member
    First Comment
    edited January 2010
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_head-table-conflict-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:69441b74-8a6f-4d9a-b824-1cd75ab8b212Post:97d46bb0-c178-44c8-af32-8d1b8899580f">Re: Head Table Conflict- LONG</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think what I'm having trouble with is letting my FILs demands override the feelings of my parents, who haven't made any demands whatsoever for the wedding. My nutsy FILs, on the other hand, have done nothing but make accusations of malice and make silly demands stating that their customs are more important and should be "cherished". <strong><em><u><font color="#ff0000">I've given in to all of their demands so far</font></u></em></strong> (including changing the wedding date, the color of the bms' dresses, the order of the church service, the date of the honeymoon, and where people will be staying during the wedding), but they've gone too far in making my parents feel uncomfortable. plus i thought that giving in to their demands would make things peaceful, but it seems to only make them feel more entitled.
    Posted by Swolf67[/QUOTE]

    THIS is your problem.  You have let them plan your entire wedding thus far, so why should they expect you to stop now?

    That doesn't mean that I think its okay that they are making their customs more important than yours, or making your parents feel uncomfortable, but its the truth.  Give 'em an inch, they'll take a mile.  Your FI needs to step in and tell his parents to back off and let the two of you plan your wedding the way YOU want.  They had their chance to plan their own wedding.  And if these customs are that important then your FI would be pushing for them to be included in the wedding.

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    it's true, it is all my fault. i was just trying to not make issues out of the wedding; after all, it's ONLY ONE day. i know i should not expect to get any say/control now. is it really too late to put my foot down?
    coco, i think you pegged exactly what makes this the breaking point for me. every family's customs should be considered equal to the other's. and isn't there a 'when in Rome..' philosophy since the wedding is in the states?
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    I rthink everyone going the "omg get over it and let them sit there" route are being ridiculous.  Thats real nice to say in theory to sound uber cool and all, but come on.  Why on Earth should bad behavior be rewarded by caving to what they want?   They're acting totally immature and absurd.  You shouldn't just go "Oh, ok..I guess I'll give in to your temper tantrum because thats the easy thing to do."    No way.   You start rewarding their insane behavior now and you are in for a lifetime of misery.

    It's you and your FI's wedding.   The head table should be done to how you and your FI feel is best.  Period.  

    image

    "Whatever East. You're just mad I RSVP'd "lame" to your pre-wedding sleepover."
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_head-table-conflict-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:69441b74-8a6f-4d9a-b824-1cd75ab8b212Post:8c5f361b-7f51-43bb-95bd-3cfff358f8fa">Re: Head Table Conflict- LONG</a>:
    [QUOTE]You could be really passive aggressive about it and arrange the Head Table in such a way that your FILs end up one at each end of the table ;-) Hey, they demanded to be there, they didn't demand which spots they occupied.  They need to learn to be specific in their demands. (OK, I know I'm not helping, but you have to admit, the thought did bring a smile to your face)
    Posted by aMrsin09[/QUOTE]

    This.  This was my next suggestion, because this is what I would do.  I would seat them waaaayyyy down yonder, waaayyy away from me and their son.  Because I am a bItch right back to bItches, or as one said, I fight fire with fire at times.

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    True OP and coco--and that is why I said that FI & his family also need to understand they are merging into another family.  And OP shed some light on FMIL mental health issues. But OP, even though the things you gave in on seem small to you (which they are in comparison to your name, where you will live etc) for most of us these are still things that give us pause.  Hope it all works out. 
    Crosswalk
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    I can't believe so many people have told you to seat them at the head table. Since your parents want one thing and his another... and your parents have made no demands and his have... and your parents are paying and his aren't -- your parents win. Period.

    And there's no way in hell I'd seat one set of parents at the head table and one set at another table.

    Tell your FH to tell his parents that's the decision the TWO of you have made and that's that. Then don't discuss it with them. Ever.

    (FWIW, though, this is an IDEAL situation for a sweetheart table -- then you and your FH take control and it affects neither set of parents.)
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    Let your parents host their own table, which is what they want.
    Put your FI's parents at the far end of the head table. If they complain about your parents, hold your ground - My parents are hosting their own table. and not one word more. Repeat it every time they bring it up.

    I'd be concerned with why your FI is giving in to them on this.  You may be in for a lot of years of this.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_head-table-conflict-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:9Discussion:69441b74-8a6f-4d9a-b824-1cd75ab8b212Post:eaa24135-a228-4ceb-a7f2-ddbc5889e3ca">Re: Head Table Conflict- LONG</a>:
    [QUOTE]I can't believe so many people have told you to seat them at the head table. Since your parents want one thing and his another... and your parents have made no demands and his have... and your parents are paying and his aren't -- your parents win. Period. And there's no way in hell I'd seat one set of parents at the head table and one set at another table. Tell your FH to tell his parents that's the decision the TWO of you have made and that's that. Then don't discuss it with them. Ever. (FWIW, though, this is an IDEAL situation for a sweetheart table -- then you and your FH take control and it affects neither set of parents.)
    Posted by tenofcups4me[/QUOTE]

    This, exactly.  FI needs to talk to them, say no, and then change the subject and refuse to discuss it again.  You've given enough, and it's time to draw a line. 
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_head-table-conflict-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:69441b74-8a6f-4d9a-b824-1cd75ab8b212Post:22f71bc9-0a94-4794-84db-419105d5c987">Re: Head Table Conflict- LONG</a>:
    [QUOTE] But this isn't about seating charts, it's about her FMIL completely disregarding her wishes, her parents wishes, being verbally abusive, disrepectful, and extremely aggressive.
    Posted by NuggetBrain[/QUOTE]

      I totally agree with you, Nugget. I got the same feeling from OP's posts. I don't have much in the way of advice that hasn't already been given but I did want to wish you luck and say that I hope you and your FI find a way to work it out however makes YOU TWO feel comforable.
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    Personally, I'd just tell her "Sure.  Head table - got it."  And move on.  And either ignore her or absentmindedly agree to other demands.  And hang up on her if she screams. 

    Then, I'd do what I wanted.  I'd make a "HEAD TABLE" sign, and put it at the back of the room, and seat them facing the wall. 

    Seriously - you and FI need to either just dismiss their requests, or say No, and leave it at that.  Don't discuss.  I'd even go so far as to say, "I'm sorry - you're not paying and we've given in on too many things already that make us unhappy.  Feel free to host your own party.  This one's ours."


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    thanks everyone. i think i've seen so much advice in the past that says it's not worth it to make bad waves w/FILs over small WR stuff that I let things go too far for fear of ruining that relationship. I was also afraid of putting my foot down about what I want because it seems everywhere I turn these days the word "bridezilla" floats around menacingly. Given the fact that there's no appeasing FILs though and I've been uber-patient so far, I think I'm done trying.
    Thanks for all of the suggestions and advice!
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    If you give in on this, she will be on you about something else. You and your fi should tell her that seating will be American style at your wedding and don't back down. After that, avoid her when possible and do not discuss the wedding with her. I hope when you stop trying to please her, she will change her behaviour.
                       
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