May 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm #28220
Hi all! I have a somewhat minor dilemma and I’m hoping some of you who’ve planned weddings or are planning wedding or have been in weddings (you get the idea) can give me some insight.
Here’s the deal… My parents and my soon-to-be in-laws are both paying for the wedding. They’re splitting it roughly 50/50, although my parents are putting up some extra cash for some odds and ends. The rehearsal dinner will be paid for out the money that my in-laws are giving us. But even though they’re paying for they’re paying for it, I’ve been doing most of the planning for the rehearsal dinner. I decided with my future mother-in-law that we would limit the guest list for the rehearsal dinner to grandparents, parents, siblings, wedding party members, and international guests. (We have too many out-of-town guests to invite all of them, but we are inviting to the rehearsal dinner of 11 of my dad’s family members who are flying in from the Caribbean for the wedding. It’s REALLY big deal for them to fly here for the wedding. Most of them haven’t been to the U.S. in my lifetime.) We also explicitly decided not to invite aunts and uncles because my in-laws have 9 siblings between them, not including spouses.
So anyway, I wasn’t planning inviting my aunts or uncles to the rehearsal dinner. I have one particular aunt who I thought wouldn’t even attend the wedding. She lives 1.5 hours away from the wedding venue (so, not very far), and even though she’s 50 years old, she’s lived with my grandparents her whole life. Also, she doesn’t have a driver’s license, so she can’t travel alone. She has an unhealthy attachment to her two dogs that keeps her from leaving the house for more than a few hours at a time. (She didn’t attend my sister’s wedding a few years ago because she couldn’t leave her dogs alone for an entire day.) So I had counted on her not being interested in attending the rehearsal dinner and wedding. However… She recently decided she is attending the wedding and she told my grandfather (her father, who she lives with) that if they’re invited to the rehearsal dinner, they’ll have to get a hotel the night before the wedding.
Now here’s my problem: I had no intention of inviting her to the rehearsal dinner but I did plan to invite my grandfather. I really want him to be able to attend the rehearsal dinner; he’s my only living grandparent and he’s really psyched for my wedding, so I want to include him. However, there’s no way he’ll attend the rehearsal dinner without my aunt. If he went to the rehearsal alone, he wouldn’t be able to drive my aunt to the wedding the next day (and, as I said before, she doesn’t have a license so she can’t drive herself). In addition to that, he’s always coddled my aunt and so he won’t want to leave her home alone for an entire night. I think that’s ridiculous, considering she’s 50, but that’s just how he is.
If I invite my aunt, then it’s not fair my in-laws and their family, since they’re not inviting their siblings. But if I don’t invite my aunt, then I’m basically prohibiting my grandfather from attending the rehearsal dinner. Personally, I don’t really care for my aunt and would prefer to not to invite her, but it’s not like having her there will ruin the evening for me. If she does attend, I’ll problem just make polite conversation with her for a few minutes and make sure I’m busy the rest of night by talking with all the other guests.
Anyway… I don’t know what to do. Should I invite her or not? Can you think of compromise that might keep everybody happy in this situation?May 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm #28222
I’m sorry, I got nothin, except to say that I’m kind of glad that I don’t know most of my extended family in case I ever get married.
I mean, if this aunt is so coddled, maybe the rest of the family realizes that, so that if she’s the only one invited people’s feelings may not be hurt that bad? Like, they’ll be like, “oh, that Aunt Sally, can’t spend one night on her own” and maybe understand why you would invite her and not them?May 30, 2012 at 6:41 pm #28224
I would just let her come and explain to your in-laws that it’s a special case (she can’t drive, etc.). I really think (or hope!) they would understand. In my view, having your grandfather there is more important than keeping things 100% equal.
One of the most stressful parts about weddings is trying to balance everyone’s expectations and opinions and feelings. It’s hard! That’s one of the things I’ve struggled with most. Do I appease my mom? My bridesmaids? My grandparents? My in-laws? And where do my own opinions fit in there, not to mention my fiance’s? It’s such a roller coaster.May 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm #28225
If you’re worried about your in-laws I would just call your mother in law and explain the situation. Try and think of her as your Grandfather’s date. It might make it easier to deal with?May 30, 2012 at 8:28 pm #28245
I think you should just talk it over with your MIL and make sure that there’s no one whose feelings will be hurt if you invite her and not them. My feeling is that it’s probably just going to make your life easier to go ahead and invite her and that likely, no one else will care.May 31, 2012 at 12:32 am #28270
Your grandfather should drive himself and your aunt to the hotel on Friday afternoon. And then he should go to the rehearsal dinner while your aunt stays in the hotel.
Word of advice – the rehearsal dinner should only be for those people who are attending the rehearsal. Extra people are okay if you can afford it but please do not invite anyone to your rehearsal and not to the rehearsal dinner.May 31, 2012 at 1:21 am #28274
I’m with sarolabelle, she should travel with your grandfather but not attend the dinner. Can’t you just explain to her that if she goes then 9 more people have to go, so you’re sorry but she can’t go?
If she’s too crazy to take that well isn’t there anything you can ask her to do, a kid to look after while their parents attend the dinner or something like that? Do you have a pet? You can make up an illness and ask her to stay watching over it while you go to the rehearsal. I’m all for honesty, but if she can’t understand that it’s not personal but she has to stay home then she doesn’t count as an adult.
Or call your MIL and explain the situation to her, making sure it sounds like your aunt does it because she’s not in her right mind. Not like “I have this aunt who is a pain in the ass and we put up with her shit just because” but “I have an aunt who is kind of insane so we humor her”.May 31, 2012 at 1:40 am #28275
Maybe you can rally some of the extended family who’s not attending the rehearsal dinner to plan some alternate activity the same night? Like give Uncle Jimmy and Cousin Mary a shout and say, “Hey, here’s the dilemma, since the in-laws are paying for the rehearsal dinner, I can’t very well start off my married life by pissing them off and inviting Aunt Judy. You know Grandpa’s never going to tell her she can’t come, but this would be seriously out of line. Can you guys do a thing someplace else so she has somewhere to be that isn’t at the rehearsal dinner so she feels like she’s wanted elsewhere?” I was a bridesmaid a few years ago for a friend, and her in-laws declared the rehearsal dinner family and wedding party only. We had friends from college in from all over the state, and she really wanted everyone to have somewhere to go, but what they ended up doing was camping out at a bar just a few minutes from the restaurant where we were eating. The bar had great food, so they ate, and then she and I went and met up with everyone after the rehearsal dinner, and that way no one felt left out or slighted and everyone involved had a blast.May 31, 2012 at 7:33 am #28286
The best way to keep the guest list small for the rehearsal dinner is to ONLY include those who are either directly related to the rehearsal, or if they are someone that contributed something significant to your event. It’s so hard to keep the list down, otherwise. Nowadays, pretty much everyone is an out of town guest, so you’d just end up throwing two receptions if you included all of those people. This is what we did, and we had a very managable 30 people or so at the rehearsal dinner. I felt awful, though, considering someone aunts and uncles were included and others were not, but simply explaining that the budget only allowed us to include those who NEEDED to be at the rehearsal kept some people from feeling slighted. Honestly, though, guest lists will never be cut and dry, or equal. Families are not cut and dry, or equal. There are always exceptions to rules, and you might be faced with one in this case. The best situation is probably what sarolabelle suggested, but even if you include her, you do not have to justify it to anyone else. You have a budget and you have rules, but sometimes special cases have to be made. It’s very easy to get stuck in a spiral of wanting to please everyone when it comes to your wedding, but the fact is, you just can’t. Remove all other people from the situation, and look at what options you have for this particular aunt, and then decide what is best. Just because you might add one extra person DOES NOT MEAN you have to start adding on a bunch of other people. Make a decision, stick to it, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it.May 31, 2012 at 8:43 am #28298
IMO, your best is to talk to your soon to be MIL and get her opinion. If she is paying for it you need her input. I know in my fiance’s family it is expected that all out of town guests are invited to the rehearsal dinner (which means ours is going to be massive). It’s a sucky situation no matter what you do. Also, call your grandfather and tell him how much you want him to be there, maybe he’ll stand up to your aunt.May 31, 2012 at 8:54 am #28307
I don’t really have much to add as far as advice. I think talking to your MIL and/or having her stay at the hotel while grandfather comes or having the other not-invited people have a little get-together elsewhere during the rehearsal dinner are great ideas. At my rehearsal dinner, it was immediate family and wedding party only, with 2 exceptions. I had a friend fly across the country to attend, so I let her bring her boyfriend and my matron of honor has a son, so I let him attend too. Other than that, it was me and my husband, bridesmaids, groomsmen, my mom, his parents, and the officiant (also a family friend). That seems to be the easiest way to do everything.May 31, 2012 at 10:27 am #28341
Yeah, I think I’ll have to talk to my MIL about this. I think she’ll be understanding about it but I hate that the person we might make an exception for is the one aunt that I dislike. I love all my fiance’s aunts and uncles and would MUCH rather have them at the the rehearsal dinner.
And while I wish my grandfather would come to the rehearsal and dinner while my aunt stays at the hotel, I doubt that would go over well. My mother thinks it would be mean to leave her at the hotel while the rest of us are partying and having a good time. My grandfather would probably feel bad for my aunt and would just decide not to attend the rehearsal. And my aunt would probably quietly hold a grudge against me and my parents for being left out. It would be really nice to have another activity planned that evening for aunts/uncles/out-of-town guests, but frankly I’m up to my neck in wedding planning so there’s no way in hell I’m planning another get-together.
And yeah, I would never invite people to the rehearsal without inviting them to the dinner as well. That would just be rude.May 31, 2012 at 10:43 am #28348
Who says you have to plan it? Maybe give them the name and phone number of a few restaurants if you need, but the point is that you don’t have to plan it. I’m pretty sure they know how to make a reservation – it works the same way in every city I’ve ever visited.May 31, 2012 at 10:55 am #28353
Planning that might be something that maybe your Mom or a bridesmaid might be able to do? I mean if it really is just calling the restaurant and saying party of 8 at 7 pm and then calling a few people or even emailing them that wouldn’t be too much to ask. I mean honestly it’s something who hasn’t even been to your city could do. Maybe you could pass it on to a DWer. Haha explaining to your family who the random person sending the email or calling them was might be pretty funnyMay 31, 2012 at 11:13 am #28362
I agree about talking this over with your MIL– Explain it to her just like you did to us. She might have some insight/experience on how to handle this. Also, if she knows how difficult this decision is for you, she’ll probably be more understanding if you end up inviting the Aunt and not any of her siblings.
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