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Paying for the Wedding


LaurieB
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I recently posted about hosting a rehearsal dinner (thanks to all who replied) -- but now we (husband and I) have been informed that we are on the financial hook for whomever we invite to the wedding rececption as well.

Thoughts and comments, please.

Is this now a common trend, that the Groom's parent's pay for their guests at the reception? My husband and I were anticipating paying for the rehearsal dinner, and splitting the bar with his ex-wife for the reception. We absolutly did not anticipate having to pay for any family or friends on our guest list, who would be invited to the the wedding reception, in addition to hosting the Rehearsal.

Thanks in advance.

Laurie

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I recently posted about hosting a rehearsal dinner (thanks to all who replied) --  but now we (husband and I) have been informed that we are on the financial hook for whomever we invite to the wedding rececption as well.

Thoughts and comments, please.

Is this now a common trend, that the Groom's parent's pay for their guests at the reception?  My husband and I were anticipating paying for the rehearsal dinner, and splitting the bar with his ex-wife for the reception.  We absolutly did not anticipate having to pay for any family or friends on our guest list, who would be invited to the the wedding reception, in addition to hosting the Rehearsal.

Thanks in advance.

Laurie

thei

We had just this sort of surprise. Someone lost a job, in our case.

If invitations have not gone out yet, just take care of the reception instead of the rehearsal, and make the rehearsal dinner sandwiches and low key. If the rehearsal plans are set in stone already, go with wine and cheese and crudite at the reception, in addition to the cake. Hopefully the ceremony is timed appropriately for tea.

Weddings so easily spin out of control. Just keep reminding the bride and groom that the wedding does not make the marriage, wear beige, and smile. Blended families make it that much crazier. Hubby and I have no children together and it can get quite interesting when milestones come up. Control issues can come into play as well. Though it is a very special day for the bride, if you are paying the bill you do have a right to be firm and your input on the menu and plans respected.

As far as common practice, you and your husband's ex were already being very generous in offering to split the bar at the reception.

Good luck.

Edited by annecros (log)
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I've heard of that happening. I think one of my friends did that for her wedding a few years ago. I thought it was....odd.

As for the rehearsal dinner, have you and your husband just assumed you would be paying for it, or have you already offered (and had your offer accepted)? Same with the bar tab? If you're going to be responsible for paying for your guests at the reception, I would think it is being assumed each party would pay for each party's own guests for all the food-related events. But you might want to clarify that (and the rest of your financial responsibilities) with the bride and groom-to-be.

(Why would relatives be your guests and not the groom's guests? I would think they would be his relatives, too....)

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This is a new one for me- You seem to have already made generous contributions. Times they are a-changing though- just yesterday a friend told me about accepting an invite to a large Thanksgiving dinner party and being charged $200 a head by the hosts. It must have been some Turkey- Maybe cooked by Marcel from Top Chef??? :biggrin:

ksoss

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My husband and I ran into something similar when his son was married several years ago. He was in the USMC at the time so his intended did all the planning. We were told where the rehearsal dinner would be and how many would be coming - virtually all from her side of the family. This was in addition to the boatload of $$ we had contributed to the wedding costs. That being said.....

You say you were 'informed' you'd be on the hook. Not asked to contribute to the reception or even for your input? WOW. I wouldn't even call it 'odd.' How crude. I guess I'm just an old-fashioned old woman. Is money an issue with the bride and her parents? How many guests were you planning to invite for your side? I think your best bet may be to keep the rehearsal meal to sandwiches and/or appetizers as was suggested. Or perhaps have it at your home and catered from a local deli. Out of town guests are not required in attendance.

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Are you inviting more people than they are? If not, then I find this uncommon for American weddings. If the bride's parents can't afford to pay for the wedding, then this should have been discussed from the get-go and some agreement should have been made, such as reducing the number of invites.

Here in Israel, we don't have a rehearsal dinner. We only have the wedding and the cost is split between the parents. We also don't give gifts. Typically, we give the bride and groom a check for the cost of our part of the reception or if they are family or close friends you give them a little more money than the cost of the meal.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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I'm in my 30s and getting married soon. I've found that every situation is different in terms of paying. Some people follow strict tradition while others take a different tactic.

While I can't say that it's traditional, my fiance and I are paying for a little more than half the wedding and my parents and my future in-laws are splitting the balance. This includes the rehearsal dinner. We are paying for our own honeymoon.

While some might find that "odd," (though honestly, financial arrangements are none of our guests' business) our families were comfortable with breaking tradition. However, we also did make sure that everyone was OK with this plan well before we started any planning and have an agreed-to budget from which I'm not straying (and if I did, it would be out of my/our pocket). We have about the same number of guests from each side.

I've heard of grooms' parents being asked to pay for their number of guests when they have gone significantly over the number of guests anticipated at the wedding (i.e. expecting to invite 200 people, getting list from parents of over 150 or so).

It seems that you need to sit down and talk with the bride and groom and figure out what your expectations are. Perhaps it's just as simple as giving them a lump sum of cash and letting them do with it what they want. Or not. Good luck!

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Here are some of the parameters I'm dealing with.

When this "wedding" happens, the bride and groom will already have been married for nearly 2 years (they were married, just the 2 of them, just before my son was deployed).

So, in effect, this is really a re-commitment ceremony; albeit that it is to take place in a church, complete with big white poufy satin gown, 14 attendants, etc.

My husband's and my guest list (family and a couple of very close friends) does not top 20 people. The brides list is currently at 240.

Our current thought is to

a) suck it up and pay for our guests, but

b) not to have a rehearsal dinner, since, as my husband says, "You don't rehearse a show that's been open that long".

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I want to be careful to not be crude myself in my commenting here but that is very not cool. Your husband has a great approach.

Yah know what though, you would be wise to consider sharing your true feelings with the bride and groom concerning this unusual turn of events. Discussing them diplomatically and non-threateningly and with open hands. It sounds like more surprises could await you and you would not want them all piling up and spilling out like a raging river someday.

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Yes, to me this sounds very odd.

At my recent (a month ago yesterday) wedding, mum and dad footed most of the bill, we bought the drinks, his parents brought the foie gras and the sugared almonds. Fairly traditional, I suppose, in that it was mostly paid for by the bride's parents, but it was lunch for 25, no white gown, none of that. So modest enough. We always told ourselves that we wouldn't have something we couldn't pay for ourselves.

Modest levels of expenditure aside, I will forever be grateful to my parents and family (including those family members who, because of the size of the thing, weren't invited), who allowed us to have/celebrated with us the perfect weddding for us, just exactly what we wanted to have.

There were bits and pieces of tension along the way, mostly to do with lack of communication (families in 2 countries, cultural differences, 2 languages)... so the only thing I can suggest is talk about it!

If I were to make a recommendation, I would agree with your husband, though. Pay for your guests but no rehearsal dinner.

Good luck..

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b) not to have a rehearsal dinner, since, as my husband says, "You don't rehearse a show that's been open that long".

Your husband has the right approach, and he made me laugh. Double points.

I also agree with your husband, and if you do have the rehersal dinner have a small buffet or BBQ at home for just the wedding party.

My parents gave my husband and me a certian amount toward the wedding, anything over was our responsibility. I would never think of asking my in-laws to pay for "their" guests, as they are now part of my family.

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Thanks to all for your advice. We've decided to not host a rehearsal dinner and we will pay for our guests at the wedding.

That being said, I know the players involved here, so if other bizarre situations arise (and I'm sure they will), I'll be back for more of your advice. :wink:

Laurie

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Laurie - You seem to have things all figured out...but I thought I would add in some advice just incase you might happen to check back in on this thread.

I am currently engaged...and I have the motto "whatever my parents decide to contribute...great! Whatever (if anything) my fiance's parents want to do...wonderful!"

So, as it stands, my parents are paying for the majority...the historical 'parents of the bride' type stuff (reception, flowers, picts, videographer, limos, dress, etc etc etc....). My fiance's parents are also helping out with some of the common 'parents of the groom' type stuff (open bar at reception, rehersal dinner).

Pretty traditional. However, even if this were not the case I would really be a little put off (okay a lot put off) if Greg (the fiance) parents told (vs. asking) my parents to pay for our guests...I mean isn't everyone everyones guests...in the end and all? I mean we are joining (greg and I) together, which makes us all family of sorts....

I am so sorry you and your hubby have to deal with this crap...because that is what it is...crap!

I mean if the brides parents are short on cash that is totally understandable. What is NOT understandable is the demand...ESPECIALLY considering the number of guests on their side of the invitees vs. yours (240 to 20, bride to groom, respectively!). WOW....way outta line.

Tell your husband he is a smart smart man!

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

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I certainly think it is rude you were asked to pay for your guests at the reception and abnormal, is there no talking to the bride's family about it?

I think a rehersal dinner is appropriate.

If they got married because he was about to be deployed, I am sure this is something they have been thinking about and wanting for a long time.

My husband and I were married before the "real" wedding for these reasons and I think we deserved every part of the wedding process (granted we did pay for nearly our entire affair) And it would have hurt my feelings deeply to be told it was not neccesary.

But I would hate to think that a piece of the wedding is missing, when married 2 years ago, assuming deployed for a year to 18 months, that is not a long time to be married. They have probaby spent most of it apart. Of course I do not want to step on any toes, but I am giving a viewpoint from someone who has been on one side of the situation.

Soldier's families deal with enough stress when deployed (and when not!), they deserve a normal wedding like anyone else- even if it means two years later.

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Somewhat related, here's what Miss Manners has to say about the cost of a wedding.

Last year around this time, she also wrote an interesting piece about people who have quicky weddings, then have a formal ceremony and reception later on. I'd repeat my remembrance of what she wrote, but I'm sure some people might get offended.

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I am so glad I am 50% done with my children's weddings!

The wedding does not make the marriage. The bride will most likely not even remember the better part of the day, much less the groom.

But any bad feelings will linger for a year or two. It's a shame.

All you can do is the best you can, and young marrieds or intending to marry, have just as much a right to understand the need to face financial responsibilities as their parents. Denying them this experience would do them an injustice, I think.

Edited by annecros (log)
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I am so glad I am 50% done with my children's weddings!

The wedding does not make the marriage. The bride will most likely not even remember the better part of the day, much less the groom.

But any bad feelings will linger for a year or two. It's a shame.

Or longer....

My brother was married in 2002, and my mother still makes little comments on how his wife (and her family) handled the wedding (my brother bore almost all the costs himself, but his wife made all the decisions).

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Thanks to all for your advice.  We've decided to not host a rehearsal dinner and we will pay for our guests at the wedding.

That being said, I know the players involved here, so if other bizarre situations arise (and I'm sure they will), I'll be back for more of your advice.  :wink:

Laurie

Laurie, I'm curious about one thing. Since you have been asked (and are expected) to pay for your guests, who is making the decisions about the wedding reception budget?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Wedding, Potlach, Wedding, Potlach, Wedding.... Many a marriage has foundered on the wedding.

I'm simply incapable of even understanding inflated celebrations, much less participating in them. For many people, that wedding and honeymoon could have been the downpayment on a house. Beyond that, mostly one hears tales like this of ill will and anger generated and perhaps lasting for years.

My personal belief is that wedding parties are most moving when intimate, limited to one's immediate family, held at home.

And wedding or whatever, it's crude to plan a party and plan for someone else to pay for all or part of it.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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Here's another approach: "We will contribute $__________ towards the wedding. How you choose to use it is up to you."

Guaranteed not to make you popular, but it does set some boundaries.

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