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?