T
Super April 2021

In Laws and Rehearsal Dinner (long)

Tiger Bride, on April 1, 2021 at 8:29 AM Posted in Family and Relationships 0 18
Saved
Reply

My FI and I are getting married in nine days. It is not a destination wedding per se, but most of our guests are traveling.

From the very beginning, I have been clear that the rehearsal dinner was not a big priority to me: I'd have been happy to get some pizzas and eat them back at the rental house. However, my ILs wanted to host/pay for an RD, so we let them, all the while letting them know we were fine with something casual. We ended up booking the church hall, and getting trays of sandwiches and salads. Good by me. Between our bridal party, immediate family, and the officiants, we have 30 people, which to me is an average to large RD.

Two days ago, my FIL calls and asks how we would feel about inviting his and my MIL's extended families, which is an additional 18-20 people. This would put the RD at about 50 people, which is half the size of the wedding. Besides my parents and one other person, I have 0 family attending the wedding. My FI and I talked it over and decided we don't want the extra people invited for several reasons...we wanted the RD to be a smaller, more intimate event, we did not really want personal photos or speeches shared with people we are not close to, plus the whole issue of my family not being there. It would be completely one sided; it's not their fault, but it still hurts I guess?

When we told my ILs this, they got very upset and said all these people are traveling to see us get married and we are being rude/bad hosts if we don't make time to see them (i.e. by inviting them to the RD). How we are going to talk to 50 people at an RD, I don't know. We proposed what we thought was a good solution - a drop in welcome party, with dessert, either after or before the RD. This was completely shot down as well.

My ILs are saying both that this is their event that they are paying for, so they should be able to do it their way, and that the event is "for us" i.e. that we should be grateful. We feel like we are stuck. We are grateful, we just don't want it to be almost twice as big. As for them paying, we would have no problem paying for the RD ourselves, but I feel like telling them "forget it we'll do it ourselves" would make things even worse.

What can we do here? Are we being unreasonable?

18 Comments

Latest activity by Tiger Bride, on April 7, 2021 at 1:01 PM
  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
    • Flag

    An additional piece of context: my BIL got married a few months ago, and my ILs also paid for the RD. There were about 50 people there, for a wedding that was 2x the size of ours. Extended family was invited; most came late, and other than getting a group picture my BIL did not talk to them very much (because he was busy with other stuff). Apparently it is commonplace for my ILs to be invited to RDs.

    Another thing I forgot to mention is that we are getting married in a beach town known for its restaurants. I feel like it would be better to let people explore the city, have a good dinner, and swing by for dessert than to take up an entire evening for them to have sandwiches. That was also shut down.

    • Reply
  • MK
    Expert September 2021
    MK ·
    • Flag

    Ugh, this is sticky. I get that they are paying for and hosting this dinner, so they do have a say. But you're right, it's in yours and your future husband's honor. It seems like they are trying to make this their family reunion, rather than a dinner with your nearest and dearest in ya'll's honor.

    If you and your fiancé have agreed that this isn't something you're willing to compromise on, I would put your foot down and say that. If they continue to put up a fight, I would tell them that you and your fiancé are prepared to pay for the rehearsal dinner if it's an issue - if you actually are prepared to do that. If not, I would try to just bite the bullet and let it go, unfortunately.


    • Reply
  • Katie
    Rockstar August 2020
    Katie ·
    • Flag
    I agree with you, our RD was just for those who had a part in the wedding and their significant others. Personally, the rehearsal was really stressful for me coordinating last minute timing, music, etc. Before the dinner, I needed to take a few moments alone to regroup I was so stressed. Plus, I’m the type of guest that needs to get my bearings when I’m from out of town, rest, order food, etc. so I get not wanting additional guests to rush off a plane to your RD.
    Your future in-laws seem pretty firm on their decision, so if it is possible, let it go for your sanity (it is easier said then done for sure). Although I agree your way is much better, I’d hate for you to waste precious time on this and distract you from your final wedding preparations. Good luck and can’t wait to hear about your wedding afterwards ❤️❤️❤️
    • Reply
  • Elizabeth
    Super June 2021
    Elizabeth ·
    • Flag
    They are bringing this up way too close to the event. How was this not raised with you before??


    I understand where they are coming from because in my circle out of town guests are always invited to the rehearsal. But you also have a very valid point. The biggest thing is that this should have been done months ago when invites went out, not 9 days before.
    This is unfair stress to dump on you and FH. I think it's okay for you to refuse their gift and say you don't want a rehearsal dinner hosted by them if these are the strings attached. They are changing the whole event in a way you didn't agree to and that's not fair. Of course, FH should talk to his family and handle this between blood.
    • Reply
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Agree with this. If my mom was paying for the RD, she would def. try to make it into a family reunion lol. RD are really supposed to be just for the couple, their parents, and anyone involved IN the actual wedding ceremony, so extended family and such aren't a must have invite.

    Could you suggest just doing an intimate RD, THEN meet everyone else somewhere for drinks and mingling? That's what my FBIL and his wife did, and that's what we plan on doing to! We're doing pizza at a local restaurant then going back to the hotel lobby to have drinks and mingle with the rest of our traveling guests.

    • Reply
  • Dj Tanner
    June 2021
    Dj Tanner ·
    • Flag
    You’re not being unreasonable at all! I will never understand for the life of me why on earth when parents insist on paying, they automatically think it is now their wedding day or their wedding event! It’s unacceptable, it’s uncouth, and it may cause more issues, but I would just have your SO tell them that you will no longer be accepting They are offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner and that you both will handle it instead. If they have an issue with it then that’s on them.
    • Reply
  • Kristin
    Devoted December 2021
    Kristin ·
    • Flag
    I feel for you. You aren’t being unreasonable at all. Could you mention to them that the rehearsal dinner is meant for all the last minute details and remind them that at the BIL’s he did not get to talk to anyone (which could be seen as more rude than not being invited)? Or maybe make an itinerary of all the things you will be covering at the RD to maybe remind them in a nice way what the real purpose is? I think your compromise was a good one of the before or after party and I’m sorry they didn’t take it.
    • Reply
  • MK
    Expert September 2021
    MK ·
    • Flag

    I also want to add, I feel like a rehearsal dinner is meant for just that. No one needs to be at your rehearsal other than people in the wedding, and their S.O/plus ones, I don't really think the dinner should be any different. It's not meant to be a huge social affair, that's what the wedding is for.

    • Reply
  • Kari
    Master May 2020
    Kari ·
    • Flag

    You are not being unreasonable.

    There is a difference between a rehearsal dinner and a welcome dinner. A rehearsal dinner is typically smaller, more intimate and involves those involved in the wedding and their SOs only, probably somewhere between 10-30 people is pretty common. The point of a rehearsal dinner is to rehearse the actual wedding so people know what order things are happening in, what their roles are, where they are supposed to be, etc. Usually there is a "dry run" that reviews logics of the ceremony either immediately beforehand (and the dinner is a "thank you" to your wedding people for practicing with you) or as part of the dinner itself. It would be completely inappropriate to include a large number of people who are not "in" the wedding in this practice, and would also kind of take away from the experience of your wedding for many of your guests. Even if the rehearsal is immediately before the dinner (and not reviewed at the dinner), including extra people in the dinner takes away from it being a "thank you" for the people in the wedding, and dilutes the experience of those people getting to better know one another before the wedding itself. There are so many reasons to keep the rehearsal dinner small and intimate.

    A welcome dinner on the other hand is a pre-wedding event that includes out of town guests. It sounds like you want the former, and your FILs want the latter.
    Its your wedding, and you should have events that you want, regardless of who is paying. I would stand your ground. You might also consider a compromise, where the dinner itself is smaller and more intimate, but open up the invite for drinks after to out-of-town guests.

    Chances are your out of town guests will enjoy having time on their own to explore or meet up with other guests they know and don't see often, particularly if the area you are in has a lot to do and has good restaurants. I would go above and beyond in making recommendations for things to do in the area - listing your favorite restaurants, bars, and attractions on your wedding website - and let them do their own thing the night before your big event.

    • Reply
  • L
    Lady ·
    • Flag

    I also would not want this. But at the same time, I don't think it's a hill to die on. I'd probably roll my eyes privately and let them do what they want.

    • Reply
  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    This is what we tried to do with the coffee and desserts idea. What's more, it wouldn't be 50 people as the bridal party and officiants could go home/back to the rental house while we stayed and mingled. Without speeches or sit down dinner, we would have more time to mingle as well. We would still have access to the church hall, so we would not even need another venue.

    My mom planned me a bridal shower, and asked what kind of food/desserts I wanted, who I wanted to be there, everything. At one point I wasn't even sure if I wanted to have one, because of issues in our (extended) family. While she would have been disappointed, she never would have tried to make me feel bad or guilt/manipulate the way I feel like my ILs are doing to us. It makes me feel bad, because I have a great relationship with them in general.

    • Reply
  • Erin
    Expert May 2021
    Erin ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    THIS!!! exactly! I agree a rehearsal dinner is for those IN the wedding/practicing the wedding, a welcome dinner is for out of town guests..... i told my future mother in law we are casual laid back, i am fine with hot dogs and burgers in the back yard for about 17-20 people ... we decided that the groom and I will order pizza for everyone... then the coordinator was like "well you have to feed the church people too, the sound guy and such".... I'm like, "really??? "

    tenor.gif


    • Reply
  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    This is truly fantastic advice, and includes some things I hadn't considered. You're absolutely right, the RD is a thank you to those participating in the rehearsal.

    We suggested the dessert hour after, and I think we are also going to suggest scrapping the RD entirely and just having the relaxed dinner/chill at home/drink beer we'd have planned if it were up to us and letting ILs plan a welcome party for after dinner, or seeing if we can go to a local bar. I'm open to other ideas as well, but my ILs do not seem interested in coming up with something.

    • Reply
  • Hanna
    VIP June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I agree with Elizabeth. Bringing this up less than 10 days before your wedding is way too close in time and very unfair to you. I do see where your in-laws are coming from because in my family and social circle, out of town guests are typically invited to the rehearsal dinner. At my wedding for example, we had 70 guests attend the rehearsal dinner and 120 attend the wedding. However, if your in-laws wanted to add a significant number of people to the guest list, then this issue should have been raised months ago. To dump this on you just 9 days before your wedding is unfair. I definitely think you're in the right to decline their gift and have the rehearsal dinner you want on your own terms. I'd have your fiance handle things because it's his family.

    • Reply
  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    The thing is that all of our guests are out of town. If you exclude people less than two hours away, you'd probably only shave off 20 or so people. We mentioned this to my ILs, who said they were excluding people who weren't family. That quite frankly felt like a cheap shot, knowing how I feel about the fact that 0/24 of my father's family is coming.

    The 30 people we have now includes both of my FH's grandmothers and two of his aunts, who will be caring for one of his grandmas during the wedding (she has dementia). My ILs initially (a couple of weeks ago) wanted to add 3 extended family members to "set up the hall and serve the food". For 30 people we would be looking at maybe 4 tables, and the food is sandwiches and salad, so I am not sure why that is necessary, but we agreed to the 3. Only this week did that 3 extra people become 18-20 extra people.

    I have met, and truly like, most of his aunts and uncles, and a couple of cousins, especially on his mom's side. My issue is mostly with the people I've never met and he rarely speaks to.

    I should add, my FIL is making a slideshow of our childhood pictures overlaid with personal, intimate interviews he did with each of us. He did the same for my BIL, and it is a truly beautiful video. I just do not feel like that, or emotionally charged speeches, should be shared with extended family he rarely talks to. Had they stated they wanted to have a welcome party with everyone, I might have suggested we have the personal stuff back at the rental house.

    • Reply
  • Maureen
    Devoted November 2021
    Maureen ·
    • Flag
    I will never understand people being invited to RD’s who aren’t part of the rehearsal! The extras are just that, extras! And bringing it up 9 days before?! That’s crazy. Have your FH talk to the parents and I really hope they understand that rehearsal dinners are strictly for those involved in the wedding + significant others.
    • Reply
  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    I'm inclined to agree with this. I completely understand how frustrating this must be. But at this point (9 days before your wedding!), I think you should choose the path of least amount of stress for you. And for this particular issue, that is probably letting them have their big party.

    • Reply
  • T
    Super April 2021
    Tiger Bride ·
    • Flag

    As an update, this still has not been resolved, with the RD in two days. A couple of nights ago my FH had several long discussions with his parents and his mom pulled out all kind of manipulation tactics and ended up leaving the conversation "very hurt". I am completely horrified by this. I used to date a guy whose mom was always like this, and I have not seen this level of illogical, manipulative, belligerent behavior in a long, long time.

    We recently had about a third of their family back out of the wedding entirely due to a very severe covid vaccine reaction. Their list of people is smaller now, so they are again asking us to include everyone, which we might do with the request to add a few of "my" people.

    Y'all, I just...feel really sad. We fly out today, spend the night at their house and leave for the wedding tomorrow. I am honestly dreading this, I am dreading his mom getting ready with my girls (who she also said, in this fight, that she didn't like) and having to pretend we didn't get in this vicious fight for the past week. I feel like all of the general getting along has been completely zapped.

    If any of y'all have advice on how to disconnect from this, I would truly appreciate it.

    • Reply

You voted for . Add a comment 👇

×

Related articles

WeddingWire celebrates love ...and so does everyone on our site! Learn more

Groups

WeddingWire article topics