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HELP! FMIL wants to invite fiance''s entire church!

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patient1

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Hi all!

So my fiance is from a small town in central Texas. My FMIL just told me that its customary in the church my fiance was raised in for couples getting married to have a shower at the church, and invite all the church families to the shower and ultimately to the wedding. We''re getting married in my hometown (four hours away) so my FMIL says that most if not all won''t come to the wedding and doesn''t see a problem inviting an extra 20 families to the wedding. My fear is that the wedding is already bigger than I wanted (150 invited guests) and my fiance and I are footing the bill. If even 5 or 10 extra people show I honestly don''t know how we''ll afford it (I''m counting on 125 coming). The wedding is June 27th and she wants to have the shower May 16th -- thus she wants to know so she can send out invites ASAP.

What do I do? She says she''s given gifts and money to so many families over the years that she has been looking forward to having the same for my fiance. On the one hand, I see her point and want my fiance''s church honored, but at the same time I''m from a small town and am not inviting my church friends and family friends to my shower in my hometown. But I know each community is different.

Discussions are tense and she asked me to "sleep on it" and let her know what I think... Please please help! I would feel really wrong just having a shower and not inviting these people to the wedding, but I always don''t want to go broke if too many extras show up. But again, I don''t want to be unreasonable as I know many of these families probably won''t show -- but you never know.

*sigh* HELP!
 

Lanie

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 20, 2008
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Oh no...that''s a tough one. An extra 20 families means at least 40 more people if not more. And you guys are footing the bill? Yikes.

First, I have no advice, but I''m sorry you are in this situation. Second, what does your fiance say?
 

Elmorton

Ideal_Rock
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3,998
Here''s what I think -

First, a few extra families do put stress on the budget, and FMIL isn''t paying for the guests, you are. If she wants to pay for guests, that''s fine, but if you''re paying, you get the say. I agree that with an out of town wedding, few people would actually come (and those who would are probably close to your MIL and maybe should be invited anyway?) but - it seems to me that an appropriate response is:

Ask FMIL if she might host a punch and cake reception in her church hall a couple weeks after the wedding, where she can invite the parish. She can make an announcement at her church that "because the wedding is too far to expect everyone to travel..." etc, that she would like to host a celebration for those who have seen FI grow up in the church, etc. You and your FI would of course attend, and perhaps even your parents could come, and photos of the wedding might be on hand.
 

choro72

Brilliant_Rock
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You shouldn't go broke over a wedding. What does your FI say about it? Once you two come to an agreement, have him tell his mom. If she insists on the church coming, then have her pay for the extra costs. That includes the extra stationary, postage, linen, tips, cake, centerpieces, favors, etc.
If your FI insists on inviting them all, show him the price difference and see if he doesn't have a heart attack. Men understand better with specific numbers.

ETA, I like Elmorton's idea of a separate celebration afterward, hosted by MIL.
 

PearlDahhhling

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Date: 4/12/2009 1:11:23 PM
Author: Elmorton

Ask FMIL if she might host a punch and cake reception in her church hall a couple weeks after the wedding, where she can invite the parish. She can make an announcement at her church that ''because the wedding is too far to expect everyone to travel...'' etc, that she would like to host a celebration for those who have seen FI grow up in the church, etc. You and your FI would of course attend, and perhaps even your parents could come, and photos of the wedding might be on hand.
I think this is a GREAT idea!!! I think it''s a win-win without hurting anyone''s feelings and without costing you a ton of money.

Since you and FI are paying for the entire wedding, it''s inappropriate for anyone else to expect you to accommodate more people than you can afford. FI and I are also paying for our wedding and I''ve just explained to anyone who tries to invite extra people that we can''t afford it but if THEY would like to pay for that extra person, they''re more than welcome to. People can''t expect you to spend more than you have.
 

Diamond Confused

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2008
Messages
395
I would tell her there are no funds to do so. My FI are paying for the wedding and are buying a house, so when it comes to finances, I am really not worried about hurting anyone''s feelings. I would tell her that if she wants to invite them she''ll need ot pay for it. Of course it''s best to have your FI talk to her so you don''t come across badly.

My FI and I alloted one friend +1 per parent that they can invite.
 

fieryred33143

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
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6,689
The fact that your MIL already knows these people will most likely not show up to the wedding means that she really wants to invite them to the shower just so you guys can get gifts. While in the end the more gifts, the better
, I just find it very distasteful.

Elmorton''s idea is fabulous. I would suggest that to her.
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Date: 4/12/2009 2:21:50 PM
Author: PearlDahhhling
Date: 4/12/2009 1:11:23 PM

Author: Elmorton


Ask FMIL if she might host a punch and cake reception in her church hall a couple weeks after the wedding, where she can invite the parish. She can make an announcement at her church that ''because the wedding is too far to expect everyone to travel...'' etc, that she would like to host a celebration for those who have seen FI grow up in the church, etc. You and your FI would of course attend, and perhaps even your parents could come, and photos of the wedding might be on hand.

I think this is a GREAT idea!!! I think it''s a win-win without hurting anyone''s feelings and without costing you a ton of money.


Since you and FI are paying for the entire wedding, it''s inappropriate for anyone else to expect you to accommodate more people than you can afford. FI and I are also paying for our wedding and I''ve just explained to anyone who tries to invite extra people that we can''t afford it but if THEY would like to pay for that extra person, they''re more than welcome to. People can''t expect you to spend more than you have.
ditto to both posts. Tell her that you and your Fi cannot afford to invite them. If she wants to pay for them to be there that''s fine but if not, then they can''t go.
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
Ditto the others on telling her the truth - financially you just can''t swing it, so unless she wants to help out, no dice
 

patient1

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 28, 2008
Messages
146
Thank you to everyone for the great advice!!! I particularly like the idea of the second reception for the church parish!

I discussed all these options with my mom, my fiance and ultimately decided to allow it... I definitely think its distasteful (I could care less about getting "stuff" for the sake of getting stuff) but this is something she kept pushing. I really want a happy MIL and this is her only son that will get married (FI older brother was killed in an accident).

What we decided to do is have a sign up at the shower for those who would like an invitation to the wedding could sign up. If the list is huge -- I'm totally requiring her to donate $$. But I'm trying to keep a level head and assume most won't show up.

I feel dirty taking gifts from people for the sake of it -- but my FMIL is going to incorporate other family and friends from the area. My fiance and I live fairly close to his hometown, so we can invite work friends, etc. as more of a couple's shower than just the church family.

(Another note -- FMIL is horrible at planning. She wants to host the shower in a month and I'm counting on her last minute-planning attitude to insure a low turn-out... Cynical? Yes.)

Oh man I hope I'm not opening Pandora's box. Thanks again for all the help!
 

havernell

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
571
Date: 4/13/2009 7:41:12 PM
Author: patient1

What we decided to do is have a sign up at the shower for those who would like an invitation to the wedding could sign up. If the list is huge -- I'm totally requiring her to donate $$.
This is certainly an unconventional plan, so I hope it works out for you all in the end. Have you run this "sign-up" idea past FMIL yet to make sure she's okay with it? Some communities might find something like this distasteful, but if your FMIL is okay with it and this seems like the best compromise to all, then go for it.

Just one thing regarding the part of your post above- Definitely talk with your FMIL *before* the shower to tell her that you'll need her financial help if the list of church friends who sign up to actually come to the wedding is too long. I'd hate for you to get this long list of people you have essentially promised to invite and then have your FMIL say "oh no, I can't pay for all of them. But you still have to invite them now." If she says up front that she can't pay for her church friends to come, then PLEASE don't have the sign-up at the shower. I'd even work out specifics with her- say you and your FI can pay for up to, say, five church friends to come, but anymore over five she'll have to pay for.

Good luck with everything!
 

havernell

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
571
p.s. What if there are people who are not at the shower but who FMIL insists should get an invitation (i.e. I could see her saying that so-and-so couldn''t come to the shower "because they already had plans that day but would LOVE to come to the wedding"?) What would you do then? She could get mad if you say no to extending an invitation to those people.

You''re going to have to work out this shower-sign-up-for-invitations thing *very* carefully and set all rules well beforehand with your FMIL. Again, I wish you the best of luck!
 

katamari

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
2,949
Couldn't your FMIL make an educated guess about who would come and who wouldn't? That seems far more effective than a sign-up sheet. Plus, with the sign-up sheet, it would seem that everyone is invited, so why not just send them the invitations anyways and then see who RSVPs. I don't know what why you decided this was the best option (would need more info), but the idea of sending around a sign-up sheet just really doesn't seem like it would solve the problem and I, personally, would find it distasteful.

ETA: I am really not trying to be mean to you, just honest about how I perceive this idea. This is a really difficult situation and I am sorry you have to deal with it.
 

Clairitek

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 21, 2008
Messages
4,881
Date: 4/14/2009 12:00:22 AM
Author: katamari
Couldn''t your FMIL make an educated guess about who would come and who wouldn''t? That seems far more effective than a sign-up sheet. Plus, with the sign-up sheet, it would seem that everyone is invited, so why not just send them the invitations anyways and then see who RSVPs. I don''t know what why you decided this was the best option (would need more info), but the idea of sending around a sign-up sheet just really doesn''t seem like it would solve the problem and I, personally, would find it distasteful.

ETA: I am really not trying to be mean to you, just honest about how I perceive this idea. This is a really difficult situation and I am sorry you have to deal with it.
I am sort of with Katamari on this one. If I were at this shower and I got a sign-up sheet for a wedding invitation even if I wanted to go I might be hesitant to put down my name because I know that I would be signing up to spend some of the host''s money. I would rather they just decide on their own to either invite me or not.

But if you did run that by FMIL and she thought it was acceptable then I suppose it won''t be perceived the way some of us think it might.

I''m sorry that your FMIL is being so pushy. I hope that the weeks leading up to your wedding are as peaceful and relaxing as possible for you.

Did you run Elmorton''s idea of a punch and cake reception at the church hall after the wedding?
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
Date: 4/14/2009 8:41:34 AM
Author: Clairitek

Date: 4/14/2009 12:00:22 AM
Author: katamari
Couldn''t your FMIL make an educated guess about who would come and who wouldn''t? That seems far more effective than a sign-up sheet. Plus, with the sign-up sheet, it would seem that everyone is invited, so why not just send them the invitations anyways and then see who RSVPs. I don''t know what why you decided this was the best option (would need more info), but the idea of sending around a sign-up sheet just really doesn''t seem like it would solve the problem and I, personally, would find it distasteful.

ETA: I am really not trying to be mean to you, just honest about how I perceive this idea. This is a really difficult situation and I am sorry you have to deal with it.
I am sort of with Katamari on this one. If I were at this shower and I got a sign-up sheet for a wedding invitation even if I wanted to go I might be hesitant to put down my name because I know that I would be signing up to spend some of the host''s money. I would rather they just decide on their own to either invite me or not.

But if you did run that by FMIL and she thought it was acceptable then I suppose it won''t be perceived the way some of us think it might.

I''m sorry that your FMIL is being so pushy. I hope that the weeks leading up to your wedding are as peaceful and relaxing as possible for you.

Did you run Elmorton''s idea of a punch and cake reception at the church hall after the wedding?
Ditto to Kat and Clair. Inviting a person to a shower would lead them to presume they are invited to the wedding. A sign up sheet might be quite offensive to some. I think the punch and cake reception is a great way around this (and I would skip the shower all together). I would feel like I was being asked for gifts and my presence at the wedding was a burden if I was a guest in such a situation.
 

Amanda.Rx

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 20, 2008
Messages
903
Man, that is a tough one. I have a hard time wanting to pay for people that I''ve never met in my life and will never speak to again.

When it comes down to a financial matter, it''s not worth going broke to prevent offending people you''ll never see again (if those are your plans). On the other hand, if you plan to move to that town and attend that church, it may be in your best interest to invite them.

If it were me, and I were paying for the wedding 100%, I would put my foot down. You''re getting really close to the date and you weren''t planning on inviting that many extras (considering you didn''t intentionally work them into your budget ahead of time).

If it makes you feel better, you could send a wedding annoucement afterwards to let people know that you were at least thinking about them.

Hope that helps- good luck with the decision.
 

cara

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 21, 2006
Messages
2,202
People invited to the shower are supposed to be invited to the wedding.

I understand why you want to have the sign-up sheet at the shower, but really its allowing people to decide your guest list for you and making them do the dirty work. Either you want them to come to the wedding and so you send them an invite or you don''t want them to come but are willing to invite them if they insist (ie. the sign-up sheet) or you don''t want them to come, but do invite them to a wedding shower and are glad when they are too polite to insist that they also be invited to the wedding when its clear that you don''t really want them there because you are circulating a sign-up sheet.

While your MIL may not be doing this as a gift grub (sounds like she really wants to just keep up the traditions of her community) that is the effect of this arrangement. Please come to a shower to celebrate this upcoming marriage and bring a gift (because that is the point of showers) but oh! you may not be totally welcome at the wedding. Here is a sign up sheet if you insist on coming.

Its just not quite the right touch. If you have your MIL throw you a tea party or some other celebration that is not a shower then there will not be the requirement that everyone in attendance is also invited to the wedding. Of course, you will also have discuss with your MIL that you will not be inviting everyone she wants.

Also, about covering costs. If you go forward with inviting more people than you can afford, I would be really clear with the MIL now that you all can afford X people from her group of church friends and if more than that RSVP yes, you will need her to cover their cost. If that is what you are planning. Otherwise you need to be prepared to cover the cost... Some people are totally willing to drive 4 hours for a wedding.
 

aveda6

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 14, 2009
Messages
111
For me, personally, I think it''s crazy to have to invite people to a wedding that you''re financing...I know you want to start off on a good note with the inlaws but there has to be a limit and the costs associated with such an invite list is silly...plus it sounds like you don''t even know these people...I hope it all works out for the best and definitely let us know what ends up happening and whether the signup sheet ends up working...
 

JR320

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Nov 9, 2008
Messages
161
I totally get what you are trying to do. I''m faced with a similar situation because my Aunt wants me to invite the congregation of the church I grew up in to the wedding because traditionally that''s what done. But the majority of those people have smaller cake/punch type receptions... so, its been a point of contention.

I think it your case, I really like the idea of having a small cake/punch reception for the church family at a later date. But if you do use the sign-up idea, even though it sounds personally distasteful to many of us, I bet the community there won''t bat an eye at it. I have seen people post a sign-up sheet on the church bulletin board to RSVP for wedding receptions that were announced in the church bulletin several times!

My Aunt is insistent on offering an open invitation to the church congregation for my bridal shower. I have discussed this will her multiple times she insists that people will want to come and celebrate even if they won''t be invited to the wedding. ugh. I''m hoping to be able to invite some of these people on the "B" list, but we''ll see... Since she and my other aunts/cousins be throwing the shower, I just keep telling myself that she will be the one who appears distasteful!

Good Luck!
 
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