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Laura
June 2020

Rehearsal Dinner advice

Laura, on April 9, 2020 at 8:44 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 28
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My son is getting married hopefully late June. The wedding has no budget but as a single mom I’ve had to say what I can and can’t pay for. I’m doing all the traditional and trying to cover the open bar but with 250 quests I’m not sure I can. I had said I could do 7500.00 for the bar. I am paying for band as well. I have not been included in any decisions except to ask if I was paying this or that certain amount.
We looked at some rehearsal dinner places and I let them pick what they liked. What I liked is there is a minimum you have to spend and I felt like for a RD of 40-50 people a budget of 3000.00 (not including tax or gratuity) would be plenty to have a good time.
We arrived at the time to order invites and I was not asked how many people FDIL could invite. I was emailed a list, which added to my 12 people made the list 74 people. There is the bridal party and close family and than there are close friends of the family, their children and even some bf or gf. When I asked who some of the people were FDIL got very offended. I talked over menu pricing with them and well with that many people it doesn’t go as far as you’d like. I suggested they cut their list and was told no. I ended up having to tell them that my original budget amount was all I could pay and now they are mad at me. I have become the enemy. Really don’t know how to proceed. I don’t know how to make things better but I’m also not going to spend anymore money than I said I would.

28 Comments

  • V
    Master July 2019
    Veronica Online ·
    • Flag

    I'm sorry you are going through this. Your son and fdil should be thankful that you are helping at all, but it sounds like they are being self-centered. Just because they don't have a budget doesn't mean you don't and you shouldn't feel bad or be forced to spend money you don't have or want to spend. My mother-in-law paid for our rehearsal. We originally planned to pay for our own rehearsal dinner, but she offered to cover the cost. Her budget was approximately $1,00 which was admittedly a difficult budget to adhere to, but we made it work. We also only had 30 people. If we had gone over what she agreed to pay, we would have paid the difference. I would stand your ground and if they aren't happy about it oh well. You told them what you could afford so they should have either limited their guest list or have picked somewhere cheaper. If they want to have that many people at the space they selected for more than what you offered then they need to pay the difference.

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  • Karla
    Super February 2020
    Karla ·
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    I think you should have a talk with your son about the budget and what you’re able to contribute.


    My in-laws were gracious enough to host our Welcome (Rehearsal) Dinner, and even though my future MIL basically gave us free reign over the decision-making, I wanted to make sure to include her in all the details and that she had a say— from running through menu items to letting her decide how to handle the bar situation for it as well (open or cash). It was mostly his side of the family and friends (about 65 of the 80 guests) who attended the Welcome Dinner so I wanted to make sure she hosted them the way she wanted to.
    I’m not sure how old your son and FDIL are, but in our case, my husband and I are in our early 30s— fully expected to pay for all our wedding expenses on our own so when our parents told us they would help out, we were very grateful for anything they offered us.
    If they don’t think what you’re willing to pay will cover all the expenses, then they should cover the difference.
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  • R
    Dedicated December 2020
    Rachel ·
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    I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I think you should talk with your son and lay everything out, remind him that you agreed to pay for X amount and that you cannot go over that budget. Especially as a single mom. As the daughter of (basically) a single mom who was a teacher (stepdad was a POS and would’ve never helped out with any cost related to children that weren’t his own, luckily he’s no longer around), I was super conscious from a young age of my moms finances. When FH and myself got engaged, I never dreamed of asking my mom to contribute anything. She’s paying for half the cost of our band and I’m thrilled with that. If you have the means to contribute without putting yourself in debt, that’s fantastic. But when couples decide to get engaged, they can’t expect the burden of finances to rest solely with their parents. Especially when they say they have “no budget”
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  • Laura
    June 2020
    Laura ·
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    Thank you. It was FDIL parents who gave her no budget but I can’t do that from my side. I’ve had the discussion with my son and her several times about budget and have even been accommodating when the expenses were higher than originally said. First they said 150 people and now it’s 100 more. That’s a big difference. But now they are so made they aren’t speaking to me
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  • Laura
    June 2020
    Laura ·
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    Thank you for the advice. I’m standing my ground but that makes me a difficult person
    • Reply
  • R
    Dedicated December 2020
    Rachel ·
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    Hopefully they will come around. If her parents are the ones who gave an unlimited budget then they can come up with the extra to cover expenses that you can’t take on. That’s got to be a super difficult situation.
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  • Anna
    Super October 2020
    Anna ·
    • Flag

    I hate that you are having to go through this. I personally would be honored that my FMIL offered to pay for anything. So far I’ve gotten no real offers from any family. I don’t think you should feel bad about sticking to your budget, just remind them that’s what you originally said. If that guest list is who they really want there then they will need to find away to cover what you cannot. I know some people look at things more self-centeredly and it hurts those around them. They can choose to hold a grudge or they can realize and accept that you’re giving what you could.

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  • L
    Super October 2020
    Leslie ·
    • Flag

    First of all you’re very generous. I can’t imagine paying that much for a RD and other items but your son and FDIL can make decisions based on what you’ve so generously agreed to contribute or they can adjust. As a couple whose paying for it ourselves, we’ve been hardcore about who is on guest list and who get plus one etc. and our rehearsal dinner is pizza and salad. My first wedding we had chicken from grocery store or kid (can’t remember) along with some side dishes. They can allocate some of the money from RD to invite more random people.

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  • S
    Dedicated August 2021
    Salem ·
    • Flag
    Are you covering all of the wedding expenses on your own? Traditionally I know brides families are expected to cover most of the costs so I don’t think it would be outlandish to ask if there are some things they can help finance. I think you are extremely generous and you should remind your son and DIL that although you are allowing them to make their decisions w/o budget, they should still show you the respect and appreciation you deserve as I’m sure you’ve worked hard and saved to give your son this wedding someday. Sometimes people need to be reminded and have things put back into perspective so they can see where you’re coming from. I’m the opposite bride - very cost conscious and wanted to have small court ceremony but my parents asked me if they could have a larger wedding for me (Im their only child and only daughter). So I’m constantly filled with guilt over costs and have to be reassured by them that things are ok. I feel as if you explain to your son and FDIL that there has to be some compromise they should be mature enough to understand. Especially if they’re mature enough to get married Smiley smile. Good luck and remember you’re an amazing mom!
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  • Courtney
    Super September 2019
    Courtney ·
    • Flag
    It’s generous you’re offering to help, so they should be grateful. My parents did help with our wedding but instead of paying for certain vendors they just gifted us an amount. That way they weren’t stressing over the cost of specific things, they just let us make our own decisions on how that money would be used. I did ask who they wanted invited to things and they were welcome to give feedback since they helped us financially. That could be one option for you maybe. Instead of breaking the budget down you could say I can put $x toward the wedding. It might not work if they aren’t willing to be open and accommodating to your suggestions though!
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  • Laura
    June 2020
    Laura ·
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    I love that you said this - yes they are so self centered on themselves and this one day that they can’t see the world around them hurting or the people. Thank you
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  • Laura
    June 2020
    Laura ·
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    Salem - oh no, I’m not even covering 1/2? Her dad is covering the country club, food, photographer, flowers at church and club, wedding coordinator, wedding invites etc. they have no budget on that end. I’m “just” paying for band, alcohol at reception, flowers for bridal party, limo, RD, invites to RD, and groom expenses like tuxedos etc. it’s my sorry side which has a budget and I’m now the enemy cuz they can’t have their perfect wedding.
    Thank you for your post. I appreciate it and enjoy your wedding. I’m sure it will be a very special day for you and your families.
    • Reply
  • T
    Devoted May 2010
    Theresa ·
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    They're so mad they're not talking to you?! It's awesome that you're worried about pleasing them, but that would be the end of the line for me. I'd give them a $7500 check for the open bar, a $3000 check for the RD, and tell them anything they spend above that they have to cover.

    I can't imagine getting mad at someone after they offered to pay over $10,000 toward my wedding. It's sweet that you're upset about this, but frankly you should be angry with them.

    I hope they come to their senses soon. Hugs to you!

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  • Laura
    June 2020
    Laura ·
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    Yep. At this point not really talking to me. I hope they do too. It’s not even like I promised all this money and than took it away because we are in a very scary time economically and personally I’d like to keep that money in the bank for say - rent or electricity should anyone in our family need it. I told them a year ago what I would pay and have stood by it but I’m “ruining their wedding now and causing stress”
    Thank you for support.
    • Reply
  • Cassandra7
    Super August 2006
    Cassandra7 ·
    • Flag

    Adults have the wedding they can afford and pay for it themselves. Any contributions of money or labor are gratefully accepted and appreciated.

    Since these two are behaving like spoiled children instead of adults, write them one check with your original offer (which I think is enormously generous and way beyond anything the traditions of sixty years ago would have asked) and stop discussing the wedding with them.

    I'm sure they will have a fit. I also don't think they will invite the people you'd like them to invite. But they are not acting like reasonable adults and are treating you like an ATM in all their glorious entitlement. That, at least, you can put a stop to. You can't make them into civilized human beings.

    You owe them nothing. Nothing. They are not even being polite, much less familial and grateful. I'm so sorry.

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  • S
    Dedicated August 2021
    Salem ·
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    Ok that seems more reasonable but also I still think if you have a one on one with your son I would hope he understands everyone has different financial capabilities and how you’re feeling like the enemy because you can tell they’re unhappy. It’s not fair you’re feeling this way over them not being pleased about materialistic things and taking away from your joy in helping plan your sons day. Hoping things work out for you but remember you’re doing your best and that’s above and beyond!
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  • S
    Dedicated August 2021
    Salem ·
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    I agree with Cassandra 100%. You are going above and beyond with your generosity it is so sad how they are making you feel. Seems like there’s a maturity deficiency to have you feeling so distraught over such things. I think this idea is perfect of writing a check as a gift of what you can afford and letting them allocate as they wish. Good luck ❤️
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  • Laura
    June 2020
    Laura ·
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    They live quite far and one on one isn’t possible. I’ve called but they are always together. Thank you again for your kind words
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  • H
    Super June 2019
    Hanna ·
    • Flag

    It gets really complicated when wedding costs get 'itemized' and different people agree to pay for different things, unfortunately. I was very lucky in that my family and my husband's family split all of the wedding costs right down the middle, and we paid for our rehearsal dinner and honeymoon ourselves. I would give your son a set amount that you are able to contribute and say they can use it as they see fit. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for a lot more drama...The cost of all of these things they want you to pay for (rehearsal dinner, wedding band, open bar, limo, flowers, attire)--that is a LOT of money. Live weddings bands alone can easily exceed $10K...I would stick firm with a set amount you're willing to contribute and leave it up to them how to use it. Sorry that they don't seem to be appreciative Smiley sad

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  • Hannah
    Rockstar July 2019
    Hannah ·
    • Flag
    Yeah, FDIL is sounding like a spoiled brat. Honestly, I would probably be like "it's either x or nothing." If they think $3,000 isn't good enough, they get nothing. These days, tradition of paying for certain things by the family has mostly gone out the window. The couple pays for their own wedding unless the parents offer. You offered. They can take it or leave it. They have no right to ask for more.
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