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According to MIL, diabetes is not an excuse to inconvenience everyone.

It was agreed upon very early that the in-laws (ILs) would host us a rehearsal dinner the day before our wedding. Fast forward to two months before the wedding. She called to discuss schedules for rehearsal and dinner. She told me she planned on having the rehearsal at 7:00 PM the day before the wedding then have the rehearsal dinner after. Estimated start of the dinner would be between 9:00 PM and 9:30. At this point of the story I should mention that my mother has insulin dependent juvenile diabetes. She has to eat at certain times or her sugar becomes unmanageable and to be blunt she either faints or goes into a coma.

I mention to MIL my mother’s condition and that I would like her to eat with us and would appreciate it if we could have the dinner before the rehearsal. To MIL this was unacceptable. Her exact words were, “Why should all of us be inconvenienced for her?”  Later that night I talked to DH and he talked to MIL. She then changes it so that the dinner is at 5:00pm and the rehearsal will be afterwards.

Problem solved? Wrong. Two days before the dinner she calls to tell me the time has changed due to DH’s brother getting in late; which would cause him to miss the dinner. I bring up my mother. MIL tells me, “I think it’s just selfish that your mother is using this as an excuse to inconvenience everyone. No one has the dinner before the rehearsal. It comes down to the fact that my son being there is more important than whether or not your mother eats. She can just pack crackers or something to hold herself over. I’ve made up my mind. <phone hangs up>”   I literally had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I alerted my family to MIL’s behavior and we came up with another plan.

We chose to have our own rehearsal dinner with my mom at the originally scheduled time with my side of the family, just at a different place. It worked out wonderfully for us because we were not starving during the rehearsal. MIL’s rehearsal dinner food was served around 10:00 PM. I would also like to add MIL was none too pleased that no one from the bride’s side ate anything at her rehearsal dinner.

After the wedding, I told her she had nothing to be upset over. After all, DH’s brother was at the dinner. And I continued to tell her that since I figured she didn’t mind that my mother would not be able to eat at the rehearsal dinner, since medically she was not capable, that she wouldn’t mind if we all chose not to eat so she wouldn’t stand out.

{ 65 comments… add one }
  • nyoprinces April 22, 2010, 10:43 am

    I find it interesting how many suggestions there are that the Bride should have “simply” declined the MIL’s offer to host the rehearsal dinner, with the implication that doing that would have somehow avoided all conflict or saved them from having the rehearsal dinner be a stumbling block in their relationship down the road. Does anyone truly think that the conversation truly would have gone, “I’d like to host this rehearsal dinner for you,” “No, thank you.” “Oh, ok.”

    Clearly, this is a MIL with a strong investment in what is traditional and “done” – I really don’t think that “simply” declining her offer to host the rehearsal dinner, at any point in the timing discussion, would have helped their relationship run smoothly from here on out.

  • Asharah April 22, 2010, 7:16 pm

    As far as I’m concerned, this wasn’t really about the time of the rehersal dinner or if it was impolite for the bride to insist her FMIL change the time to accomadate MOB’s diabetes. What it is about is the the groom’s mother trying to assert herself as the Alpha Female in her relationship with her son’s bride. “I am in charge and as long as you are married to MY son you will do things MY way.” Bride needs to assert herself NOW or MIL will be attempting to run her and hubby’s life until the day she dies. I really think this is one of the cases where the best advice is “Move very far away.”

  • Linda April 23, 2010, 1:55 pm

    While I feel that the FMIL was very rude changing the time of the dinner, the bride should have given her a warning beforehand that they would be attending, but not eating at her dinner. The bride sounded very smug when she explained to her MIL exactly why no one from her side ate. It could have been handled much better, instead of the MIL getting blind-sided like that.

  • Mechtilde April 26, 2010, 10:16 am

    MIL gets no sympathy from me.

    A lot of people think that because most diabetics can control their blood suger level, that it is no longer a dangerous condition. Sadly that is far from true, and even now diabetics do still die. It is a very dangerous condition. If the MOB says she needs a proper meal at X time, she gets a proper meal at X time.

  • millie April 29, 2010, 7:07 pm

    I’m with PinkPenguin as well, on both counts–the MIL’s general pillishness, but also regarding the management of an illness the MOB has had for her entire life.

  • trailgrrl May 7, 2010, 10:17 pm

    I think the MIL was rude for changing the time. I would have MUCH rather had an early dinner with MY mother and accommodate her condition than a 10pm dinner with my MIL (this is a hypothetical since I adore my MIL and she would never act like this). I have a family member who is a brittle diabetic. She was a member of my wedding party and was diagnosed three weeks before the wedding. I bent over backwards to include her and did what ever I could to help her since she was still learning how to deal with her condition.

  • Kathleen May 8, 2010, 12:41 am

    I think what a lot of people seem to be missing is that the MIL changed plans TWO DAYS before the dinner was supposed to take place. That really is not enough time for the bride to cancel the dinner and schedule another one to host herself rather than putting up with the later dinner. She was basically stuck with the scheduled rehearsal dinner and the MIL knew that. She in fact counted on that to try to force her way. The bride had only 2 days to try and come up with a way to accommodate her mother’s health needs and she did the best she could. The bride’s mother should not have to try and reschedule all her meals in order to make sure she is safe, especially when she had been told a long while in advance that the dinner would be at an appropriate time. And who the heck schedules a dinner at a decent time and then pushes it back 5 HOURS 2 days before the event? I’m amazed the guests still showed up!

  • Liutgard July 24, 2010, 6:31 am

    *Dinner* served at 10pm? MIL is going out of her way to be a problem- and not just to the bride and her mother, but to everyone in attendance! In what ‘tradition’ is dinner served at 10pm? Most of us are thinking about bed at that hour!

  • Sharon August 7, 2010, 9:50 am

    While I avery sympathetic to the MOB and her diabetes (my own mom has this disease), I cannot understand why this had to make a rift between future families. I am sure the MOB has had other circumstances that caused her to have to grab something to eat at a time when others were not eating. It really was rude for all of the bride’s family to not eat at the rehearsal dinner. The least they could have done is eaten something light before the rehearsal with the bride’s mom, and then at least make an attempt to eat at the rehearsal diiner later.

  • badkitty August 12, 2010, 11:54 am

    @Sharon – Diabetes varies in severity from patient to patient, and not all diabetics have the flexibility to just “eat something light” between scheduled meals.
    I agree with previous posters that this poor bride needs to assert herself quickly or MIL will be running the show (and running the poor bride ragged) forever. Imagine what this woman will do when it comes time for grandchildren!

  • Lenera August 16, 2010, 7:09 am

    I cannot believe this MIL’s hypocrisy! She won’t let the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE “inconvenience” anyone by breaking with tradition, but she can inconvenience *everyone* by having a meal at 10:00 at night? Also: Mother of the Bride with life-threatening illness vs. Brother of the Groom’s late flight… is this really so hard to comprehend?
    I have to agree, the FMIL’s arguments had nothing to do with rationality or even wanting her son to be there. I’m sure, had the brother been able to make it to the original dinner, she’d have found some other excuse to change the time. This is all about her asserting dominance, and props to the OP for denying the woman her superiority. There are, perhaps, other – marginally – better solutions to the dilema, but the bride’s family did what they felt was best, presumably in as polite a fashion as possible. And double kudos to everyone else in the family who stood with the bride and her mother. It’s good to know your family will stick by you through thick, thin and in-laws.
    And, no, I don’t think cancelling the dinner would have solved anything. And declining in the first place would have been spitting in the face of such an offer.
    I think, had it been me, I would have suggested having the actual dinner before hand – at a reasonable hour for the meal – and then having cocktails or dessert afterwards, so the FBIL wouldn’t feel left out. But, who knows? That plan might have blown up too, and the FMIL might have started whining about my “money-grubbing ways,” expecting her to pay for 2 meals! With people like this, there realy is no winning.

  • Cindy September 17, 2011, 4:25 pm

    To expand on Margaret’s point; if dinner was supposed to be at 5, I assume that’s when you had your own private first rehearsal dinner. I find it hard to believe that not one of you was hungry enough when food was served at 10 p.m. to have anything at all to eat. I was so with the OP on everything in this story except for that refusal to eat the MIL’s meal. Rehearsal dinners can be pricey, and often paid per person ahead of time. While MIL was incredibly rude, the OP’s behavior is, too.

    I think standing up for yourself was good to the point where you had another meal to accommodate your mother, but it crossed the line when you all refused to eat what the MIL provided. You either shouldn’t have stuffed yourself the first time, or as I’m inclined to assume here, intentionally refused to eat just to make a point. Or, better yet, informed her when she changed the time that given the change none of your family members would be eating at that hour. To announce it in such a way while you’re already at dinner is spiteful, and just adding fuel the fire. This is your MIL. What an awful spot to put your husband in to not be the bigger person and just have the two meals and not make a big deal about it.

  • Tails October 3, 2011, 12:02 pm

    A few things I noted:

    The original dinner was scheduled for 9-9:30. The OP hints that dinner (in the end) was not scheduled for 10pm, but rather ran late and dinner was only served at 10pm. Is the late dinner the MIL’s fault?

    While I sympathise with the MOB, I wonder what will happen at the wedding reception itself. If the weddings I have photographed are any indication, dinner is usually served at 7pm+. What would the MOB do then if she needs to eat at 5pm?

    I think the Bride’s family were not completely out of line, though 70% was a little out of line, because it wasnt only “sticking it to the MIL” but the guests sitting around those not eating would have felt uncomfortable too. I know I would have. And the convos that night would have focussed around “why arent you eating?” “oh, we had dinner early.” and then whatever shocked reply came next.

    But I also wonder, did they not eat at all, or did they pick at their food and only eat half….

  • Maggie May 17, 2018, 6:35 am

    I really this is an old post, but I have to point out – what if the groom’s brother’s flight was late? Does that mean dinner at midnight?

    And dinner before rehearsal is not unheard of. That’s what we did (we called it a “welcome dinner” for out-of-town guests).

    • Maggie May 17, 2018, 6:36 am

      *REALIZE* – not really.

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