Need Advice for Making Groom's Family Comfortable

reereepJuly 16, 2005

Our daughter is marrying a lovely young man with a very bright future and we are very happy about the marriage.

The difficulty is that his family has little disposable income and we do. They don't have suits and ties etc., and having to buy them would pose a real financial burden on them.

So we thought perhaps we could have a casual wedding with the guests wearing "resort casual" type clothing i.e. polo shirts and khakis.

What type of wedding venue do you think might be suitable for the reception?

I just want everyone there to have fun and enjoy themselves.

Thanks for your counsel,

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What a wonderful idea. A garden reception would be a nice, casual idea. How about a luau or barbeque? Talk with the bride and groom as see how other family weddings were handled on his side. I'd emphasize the fun and casual aspect of the idea, rather than the financial side.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 7:00AM
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How big is your guest list?

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 6:12PM
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We expect 50-60 people. Oh, also the wedding date is Nov. 21st. So an out door venue won't be possible.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 6:30PM
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The size of your guest list makes it easy to do a number of things. Since you can't be outdoors, I would suggest that you have an afternoon wedding, since that is traditionally a more casual time of day.

It is possible to rent suits if the bride and groom decide that they would like the men to wear them. The cost may not be much lower than renting a tux, however.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 11:15PM
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Perhaps the bride could ask her future MIL for some suggestions for the reception. She will wind up with a list of local places that the family would likely find comfortable. And she will earn brownie points by letting the MoG have a hand in the wedding planning.

Once the plan has been made, you will need to get you dress. Gush about your somewhat casual frock to your family ahead of time. This will become a subtle way of giving them guidelines as to what to wear. The style of the bride's dress (which I'm sure she will want to describe and show to her aunts, grandmothers, etc) and the invitations will also help guide the guests choice of clothing.

She can have a simple, no fuss, focus on the meaning and not all the trappings kind of wedding. Sounds fabulous.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 6:00AM
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Too bad about not being able to be outside. How about a private room at a not too snooty restaurant, or a party house at a park or nature conservancy? Or you could go way out and have the wedding at a ballpark, zoo, botanical garden, science museum, or whatever is in your town that reflects the couple's interests.

I agree that having an afternoon or morning wedding will take some of the pressure off for expensive clothing.

Once you have so thoughtfully chosen your venue and time, though, I'd stop worrying about their clothing budgets and leave it to them. It is incredibly nice of you to be so considerate. But I think that that has to stop at making plans that don't force anyone to spend a fortune. After that point, I think further efforts at helping them stick to the budget you perceive could be seen as patronizing. Maybe some of them might WANT to splurge on a new outfit; this may be their only chance. Don't give any hints about what they should or shouldn't wear or spend.

Congratulations on your daughter's engagement! Every happiness to you all.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 11:25AM
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Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions. I've worked it out!

The groom's family lives a 5 1/2 hour drive away and I got to thinking about how exhausting the round trip would be for them.

So I started looking at possible sites half way between. I found a charming, rustic bed and breakfast in the mountains that can do an all-inclusive wedding ceremony . All we have to do is show up. We decided to limit the wedding to just family and put everyone up at the bed and breakfast Saturday night and have the wedding on Sunday. If anyone wants to drive up just for the ceremony there is wiggle room on the number for the reception.

This will give the two families time to unharriedly visit the day before the wedding, take in a wonderful meal Saturday night at a nearby fine resturant (no dress code) and enjoy the beauty of the fall leaves and the mountains.

I think it'll be really enjoyable for everyone.

Anyway, thanks so much for all your thoughts!


    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 1:05PM
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Marie, it sounds:

- perfect
- lovely
- romantic
- generous
- considerate
- fun!

I hope the bridal couple appreciate what a terrific hostess you are.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 3:25PM
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I think you are being just wonderful about this. I know absolutely that not everyone would think about the other family as you have. Congratulations and I am sure the young man will soon realize what a wonderful mother-in-law you will be!

    Bookmark   August 24, 2005 at 7:35PM
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what makes you so sure they don't own a suit or a sport coat and can't buy one? That strikes me as so odd--not one of them owns a single suit? And not to be able to buy one at Walmart, even if it's not the greatest quality? They have until November to buy or borrow one.

Even if they don't have one right now, it's not the worst thing to expect them to buy one for a wedding. Frankly, every grown-up man ought to have a suit.

Did your future SIL tell you this, or are you just assuming? I'm just wondering.

That said, surely a casual wedding would be nice. But personally I wouldn't strive that hard to make it be casual--just don't do the "formal evening" thing. In my hometown, plenty of people show up sans suit jacket to weddings that my dad would automatically wear a suit to. I don't know if if's that the down own one, or don't like to wear them. They look a little too casual, to my eye, but they always seem to have a good time and enjoy the event and the other people.

And though the B&B sounds nice, if they can't afford a suit, they can't afford to stay. If money were truly tight for me, I'd feel left out. Having it halfway would be nice, bcs I could drive there in the morning, have the wedding, then drive home before bedtime. So that location is good, but I wouldn't expect them to try to stay over.

(and some folks would be embarrassed to have you pay for them, and maybe that's not a good footing to start off on, w/ the bride's family compensating for financial lack from the groom's--if they're honorable people, it'll seem patronizing; if they're not, they'll take it as a signal that you should always pay for them)

I'm w/ gellchom: simply make plans that won't cost ANYONE a fortune, and will be moderately convenient for EVERYONE (that halfway-point plan, for example) and let them be the grownups in their lives who plan how they'll fulfill their social obligations.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 2:42PM
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Marie, your idea sounds absolutely perfect! One of our neighbors had the most beautiful, intimate wedding at a local B&B with immediate family. I believe the total number was 35 or 40. And from looking at their pictures, it was semi formal where the bride wore a wedding gown & veil, the groom was in a sport coat and tie, but other family members and guests were wearing just nice pants & shirts, and the ladies wore sundresses (this was a summer wedding) or whatever they felt comfortable in.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 9:27PM
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