Rehearsal dinner drama

I had my son’s wedding rehearsal dinner all planned, but then the bride’s father took over. Now he wants $1,500! Should I pay up?

Try not to take offense, says our elder. Be gracious — and enjoy the wedding.

Dear EWC

My husband and I were going to plan, pay for, and host our son’s wedding rehearsal dinner. I was just finalizing the details when we were told the bride’s (wealthy) father wanted his out of state friends to attend the dinner. My son’s future father-in-law changed the venue to a very expensive restaurant. Since we are longer hosting the dinner, my husband and I feel that we should not have to pay anything towards the bride’s father’s party. My son feels we should give his wealthy father-in-law the $1,500 we were going to pay when we were hosting. After the plan changed and we were no longer hosting the rehearsal dinner, we told our son we would give him the money to help him and his bride. We do not feel that we should pay the bride’s wealthy father $1,500. It is no longer our party… why should we pay him money? My son said this is putting him in a weird position with his future father-in-law. The father-in-law never contacted us to discuss the matter. Our son sat us down to tell us about the changes the bride’s family was making. We feel hurt by the changes. We are not wealthy; we were planning a fun party at a restaurant that has good food and a lively ambiance that would be more relaxing than the formal wedding the next day. We are giving the money to our son, and if he wants to give it to father-in-law, he can.

Folk replies
I don’t blame you one bit for being hurt by the thoughtless way this whole thing was handled. The bride’s family should absolutely have consulted you and your husband before assuming charge of an event that you and he had been graciously planning to host. That said though, they probably did not intend to insult you; it’s even possible that in their own ham-handed way, they were actually trying to be helpful.

In their defense, your son’s future in-laws may simply have thought that it would be nice to extend an invitation to the rehearsal dinner to their out-of-town guests. These guests were, after all, going to some trouble and expense to travel to the wedding. But because these were their guests, your son’s in-laws might not have felt that it was fair to put you and your husband to the additional expense. To avoid awkwardness, they may have asked your son to speak to you about this rather than speak to you themselves. However good their intentions may have been though, it was wrong of them not to have consulted you directly.

That said, I think you have to try to let it go. Go ahead and give your son the $1,500 you planned to spend on the party; tell him it’s his, and if he chooses to give it to his father-in-law, he certainly can. You are quite right: since you are no longer hosting the rehearsal dinner, you have no obligation other than to attend, be gracious, and have a good time. And despite your hurt, I urge you, for the sake of your future relationship with both your son and your new daughter-in-law, to do just this. For what it’s worth, the party you were planning sounds like a lot more fun to me than dinner in some stuffy restaurant, but if your son and his bride are happy with the new plan, you and your husband have to bite your tongues and accept that this is the way they want to celebrate the night before their wedding.

I hope this helps. I am always here if you’d like to talk more about this. Enjoy the wedding!

Letter #: 445240
Category: Family

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