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Opinions on reception...please

Posted by terij (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 12, 05 at 10:02

My daughter is engaged to a boy from a very wealthy family. The kids want a small formal, late afternoon wedding and had told me about 50-75 guests. (family & close friends)

I have known about this for a while now, and my daughter and I have made tenative plans.We have her dress, the band, the church.. everything is ready to go when his mother has her guest list ready.

No problem....now comes the guest list from the groom's mother.... 230 people!!!(both kids are very unhappy about this and have told her that they want a small wedding & recp.)

The reception will go thru the dinner hour so I need to feed these people a sit down meal. We chose a served meal @ 26.95 a person.(we will have to chose a larger venue)
I called the mother and asked her if she could trim the list a little bit. She informed me that she could not possibly do this, that her list was family,old friends and business colleagues. So my question is..what should I do?

1. Bite the bullet
2. Choose a much cheaper served meal
3. Serve a buffet meal
4.?
5.?

Suggestions anyone??
Oh why didn't I have all boys!!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Opinions on reception...please

First of all, congratulations.

Now, for a few questions. Are the young people getting married self supporting? How old are they? What sort of relationship does the groom have with his folks? Could he address the list with his parents and reinforce the idea that they only wanted a small wedding?

Please know that none of my questions are intended to be rude or imply anything at all. They are just to get a larger picture of what you are looking at.

Plus, if the grooms family is wealthy, and insist that the guest list remains as it is, they may choose to contribute to the reception cost -- other than the traditional bar bill (or whatever is traditional in your part of the country).

Best wishes,

Susan


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

I am not offended at all by your questions. Yes, they are self supporting and paying for a lot on their own. We did tell them that we would pay for the food, and help where we could.
His mom called me to say that they were not paying for anything since he is 25 and on his own...so my thought is OK, stuff your guest list! She also told me that a cash bar was tacky, that isn't done where they are from.
(I am sure that there are alterior motives behind this guest list. I don't think that I know 230 people, let alone socially.) But at any rate we didn't dream of having such a huge wedding.
They really don't want to spend all of their money on this, but don't want to alienate his mom either.
So I think that I am back to the original list that my daughter and FSIL gave me. A nice small wedding, good food & drinks, good music and hopefully a good time.
I don't care how mad his mom gets at me......
Do you think that I am wrong?


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

He needs to stand up to his mom and tell her if she wants to add people more than their original list, then she can pay for these people. How rude of her to want to add 200 people, but refuses to help with the bill. It sounds like it is his responsibility to talk to her and tell her forget it. It isn't your fight. You are not wrong at all, she is.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

No terij, you are not wrong at all. It would be nice if the MOG was being reasonable and took into consideration what her son and fdil wanted for their wedding. But she is not and isn't offering any extra money for the guests she says has to be there. So, I think you are doing the right thing. Stick with what your daughter and her fiance want. Small and formal. If the mother calls and complains just be honest. Tell her that she will have to pay for any extra guests she wants to invite and then hand the phone to your fsil to deal with her! lol. Good luck and best wishes to the engaged couple. NancyLouise


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

No, you aren't wrong. I agree, the MOG is being uncooperative, and worse, inconsiderate not only of you, but of her son and your daughter. They told her they want a small wedding; she ignored them. I think that's the REAL issue here. But even if this is really about control, not parties, that's not YOUR problem, it's your daughter's and her fiance's, and you cannot win if you do anything but keep out of it!

One thing to give you some hope: that's 230 they want to INVITE, right, not 230 that you think will come? If you're lucky, a lot of these people will live far away and not come. Or you can have the wedding on a holiday or something! The point is, find out how many you think you are REALLY talking about. But it would be surprising if the number comes way down.

Your problem is what to do about the wedding plans. The one thing I would NOT do is tell her that if she wants more people, she needs to put in some money. My gut tells me that is sure to start a fight, and your daughter will be the one to pay the price with her new family. Besides, it doesn't solve the problem of the kids not getting the kind of wedding they wanted, does it? Money isn't the issue; if it were, you could solve the problem simply by cutting your plans, especially by having very inexpensive refreshments and no liquor. (The music, clothes, flowers ((except centerpieces)) and many other expenses stay the same.)

I think your decision has to be dictated by what the bridal couple want. I mean, it is their wedding, and although I do NOT think that that means they should have veto power over every guest and every detail -- they should be flexible to the extent, say, of the guest list going to 90 or something instead of 50-75 -- that's not the same as going up to 200 or more.

What if they decide that they would rather go ahead with a big wedding rather than fight with MOG about it? In that case, you need to ask yourself what you would have planned if they had told you from the beginning that they wanted a big group: would you have told them no, or made less expensive plans, or just spent more? Do whatever you would have done anyway, irrespective of the MOG issue.

What if they decide that they want to stick to their guns and have a small wedding? Then I think you have to call or write or email the MOG and say something like, "Muriel, I have a problem here, and I need you to help me out. I am happy to invite whoever you want, but the kids are simply insistent that I can't invite more than the attached guest list. I really don't know what to do, but I have to get the order to the stationer by [date]. Would you please go over the list with them and get back to me ASAP? Thanks!" You get the idea.

And you might suggest -- to the bridal couple -- that "Muriel" might give a large reception or engagement party party of her own to accomodate all her other guests. I mean, I understand her feelings, too; my cousin felt awful when her son married and she was told she could only invite something like 25 people. But especially if she lives in another city, she could give an engagement party or something there. That's what my in-laws did, even though their friends were all invited to the wedding, just so that they could still be a part of the festivities even if they couldn't travel for the wedding (my parents and nearby family came to their city for the party). The guests really appreciated it, and my in-laws got to be the hosts for their own friends. So it worked out great. Msybe that can be a solution for you, too.

Good luck!


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

"I am sure that there are alterior motives behind this guest list. I don't think that I know 230 people, let alone socially."

I think you are right here. Mom, I found the love of my life. We are going to get married with 60 of our closest friends and relatives. Son, fabulous. Here are 230 you must invite and since you are old enough, I won't help pay.

I don't know if she has always been this way with her son. I don't know if she has big money problems which she desperatley wants to hide. I don't know if she thinks her son is too young to marry. I don't know if she doesn't think your daughter is right for her son.

Do you have time for the bride and groom to discuss things with her? If so, give them as much time to convince her that this is foolishness. In the meantime, you had planned on about $2,000 for dinner. If you include the original guest list plus hers it would be about $7,000. And, as you said, a larger venue. Take a realistic look at your budget. Do you want to increase it at all, or a bit, or all the way? You can easily have a fabulous (though different) reception for 250 on $2,000.

Like Gelcom said, the real issue is between the MOG and the bride and groom. You are an unfortunant bystander getting sucked into the problem.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

I'm a post wedding MOB and I have to say my daughter's in-laws were a dream about the whole thing.
One thing that strikes me in all of this is that she feels that since her son is 25 they aren't paying a dime. Yet your daughter is also an adult and they expect the sun and moon from you. A bit hypocritical if you ask me.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

business colleagues?

OK, they're an apparently wealthy family, and she insists that even BUSINESS colleagues be invited, and yet her son must pay for this himself? Or you should?

The kids need to deal w/ this, and they need to say, "family only, mom!"

(in my DH's family, "family only" on his side would be 150, without a lot of stretch!)

And then they (mostly, HE) can say to her, "mom, if it's so important to you, you can host a reception about a month or two AFTER the wedding, for all these people. See, here in the etiquette book, is an example!"

The other solution, if his mom still balks at that, is for THE GROOM to take the list, and since he is the host, and it is his family, HE pares it down. And sends out the invites. (and if he truly is aiming too low, as he would be if his family were like my DH's, he'll have a chance to truly see that, and figure out how to handle it)

This will be actually pretty easy to DO, bcs you've got the list, and the B&G are in charge of actually mailing the invites. The groom has the ultimate control; MOG has, actually, no power at ALL. *Living with her* after he does this might be a problem....

Your role should probably be to coach them on this--to point out the options (including the option to do something a little bit larger to minimize the damage to the list and his mother's "feelings"--or power trip), to remind them that they have the RIGHT to say no to his mom, to help them plan what they'll say, to encourage them, etc.

Good luck!

Wow, what a pain in the patootie she is being!


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one other thought

one other thought--with a wedding as small as 75 people (that's about 38 per SIDE), I actually think it was a mistake to ask her for any "list."

With a wedding that small, the bride and groom surely know who should be invited. They know who they're related to, they know who their own and their *family's* closest friend are. They may not know the ADDRESSES, but they know WHO.

Think about it--one side only:

mom & dad = 2
sister & brother = 2
SIL & BIL = 2
maternal aunts & uncles (2, w/ spouses) = 4
paternal aunts & uncles = 4
cousins = 3
cousin's spouse = 1
godmother & spouse = 2
godfather & spouse = 2
best friend & date = 2
close family friends = 2
long-time neighbor = 2

That's not excess, and it's 26 already! Add in a niece or nephew or two, have a few more aunts and uncles or siblings, and more than one really good friend; you'll have 38 in no time.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Well today we had lunch together, her, the kids, and me. They told her that enough was enough. That it was their wedding and if she persisted in being such an a** that they would forgo the wedding & reception and go to some island somewhere and get married.
That stopped her dead in her tracks!
So now she has decided that she just won't come at all. They told her..."fine, we will send you pictures!!" Hopefully she will come around


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

They called his mother an a**?! In front of you, too? You know, I'm not surprised she reacted the way she did. I mean, I think she was wrong about the guest list, but that's not exactly committing murder -- certainly not enough to justify calling your mother (and mother-in-law-to-be) names. What a mess. You must have been so embarrassed.
I bet she will eventually attend the wedding, but I actually don't blame her for feeling so hurt and humiliated that she would feel right now like she doesn't want to. I wish they had found a more tactful way to make their point! How sad to risk spoiling such a wonderful occasion over something like a guest list. We all have our ideas of the perfect wedding, including the perfect size, but really, is it ever worth more than family harmony?
And here you are, blameless, in the middle of it again. Good luck weathering this latest storm! It sounds like you are wisely keeping your own mouth shut and letting things work themselves out. It can't be easy, though -- I really feel for you.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Who is hosting this wedding--couple or bride's family? The hosts are the ones who send out the invitations.

I would not let this woman bully you into debt, or begin to think that she can call the shots with this young couple. This will be only the beginning of her being a bully in their marriage too.

Be firm but polite. She certainly can offer to have another open house later, after the wedding and honeymoon. Or you can mail wedding announcements to the rest of the list who are not invited to the ceremony and reception.

Send her a copy of Miss Manners and Emily Post!!!!!!


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Tally Sue..
There would have been 15-20 people from the brides side.
I felt that it was proper to ask the groom's mom for a list of family & close friends that she would like to have at her sons wedding. That left her approximatlly 60 people.(I would not have balked at even 100 total)I don't believe that that is unreasonable.
I guess that it was all of the business accociates that got to me. That and the fact that she was told by the kids that they wanted a small wedding - family & close friends.
But at any rate, it doen't matter. The kids have decided that they are not getting married here.
Thank you all for your advice.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Terij,

Well, this seems to have made the rounds -- from can we handle the increase (and the best way to do it) to going off!

Will you and your husband still be able to be there and supportive to your daughter? Are you OK with their solution?

Now, don't count the MIL out yet. My own mother was being a pain because she didn't "like" my choice. She said she wouldn't attend either, withdrew all support etc. We said OK, and continued on. She came back with "then you won't even invite me to your wedding?" We told her we would, but her role would be the same as any other guest. Truthfully, she wanted the spotlight as MOB and although continued a bit of a power trip in many ways, stopped putting up roadblocks.

The point is, MOG might see "the light" and par down the list, just to be there. Plans could change. Even if they don't, I hope you are able to be with your daughter on her wedding day.

Susan


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

I didn't mean to imply that it was wrong to ask the MOG for a list--and I would have all the same reactions you did (not insisting on a strict division of the guest list; being willing to round up a little bit; feeling frustrated that she had so little respect for the kids' wishes; being nonplussed over the insistence on the business acquaintances...)

Just that, when the wedding is so small, the "usual suspects" fill up the list pretty fast, and the groom & bride ought to be able to figure out who they are.

So he wouldn't NEED her to pare down her list; he can use her list as an address book and make up his own list.

Good luck w/ all the issues!


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Wow! What an ordeal. I feel for you. The only one the MOG was hurting was the kids, esp her son. Imagine being that selfish and unreasonable on what is supposed to be a joyous occasion. I'm glad the kids got firm but its so sad that it had to go that route. I only wish them (and you!) the best. Wherever they have their wedding, I'm sure it will be a memorable one.


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Have the groom trim the list to relatives and close friends to invite to the wedding and reception. Everyone else (including business associates) gets an announcement after they are married. Then they can choose to acknowledge with a gift or not. Business associates have no reason to be at weddings unless they are also close friends of the bride or groom. (Not mom and dad) He should not have called his mother an a**. They should have just said "Mother we are sorry but we are trimming the list to the size of wedding that WE want." I invited the number of people that I was alloted to my sons wedding and we gave money to the brides parents to offset expenses, bought the invitations and paid for the honeymoon. (Everyone had a great time)


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RE: Opinions on reception...please

Did someone actually call the MOG an azz or was that a paraphrase? I must admit that, while I'm appalled by her behavior regarding the couple's wishes, the guess list, the business associates, and the budget, I'd have walked out also if someone called me names.


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