Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 03:47:55 PM

Title: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 03:47:55 PM
Hi eHellions!

I hope you've all been leading dilemma-free lives in these past few months of my eHell hiatus. I have a question for you. I don't think this goes on the wedding board because it isn't a question about wedding etiquette, but a wedding does figure in the story.

I'm getting married fairly soon. (yay) My fiancÚ (Lukas) and I spoke with his parents in late September about our plans for the wedding and to review the guest list and make sure we hadn't forgotten anyone important. At that meeting, they told us that they would plan and pay for a rehearsal dinner and that they would get back to us soon with the details.

Our wedding is now in about 5 weeks and they have not made any plans for the dinner, despite being asked by me and Lukas about 8 times if they had made the arrangements, whether the invitations were ready, etc. because we wanted to make sure out-of-town guests were invited. When I spoke to Lukas' mother yesterday, she said they have still "not made any firm plans".

At this point, I have decided that they are probably not going to do anything and that with the date so close we need to have something in place, especially because of the Christmas holidays creating havoc in people's schedules. I want to simply tell them (Marta and Franz) that we appreciate their offer, but it is clearly too big a job for them to get organized, and we will do it ourselves.

I do not want to estrange them or hurt their feelings, but I think that my feelings are hurt enough. Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent. Can eHell help me draft a response that conveys: they dropped the ball and were rude to promise to do something and not follow through, we no longer want their help and will be doing it ourselves, and it has hurt our feelings to be disrespected in this way. It would be great if this response also had a gentle coating to take the sting from it.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: yokozbornak on December 09, 2012, 03:56:23 PM
First, I would let Lukas deal with his parents because if it comes from both of you, you will end up being the villian.  I would let him contact them to let them know you need concrete plans by the end of the week or you are going to book a venue and host yourself.  That way, you give them time and they aren't blindsided. 

I would also like to point out that they may have a very different idea of what a rehearsal dinner is than you so they may not be interntionally trying to obstinate. I have been to many rehearsal dinners, and they were all different in terms of formality - from a formal dinner at a hotel banquet hall to pizza at someone's house after the rehearsal.  Mine was somewhere in-between.  I have never received an official invitation for one.  They may be planning an informal event that really doesn't need a planning 5 weeks out.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 04:00:55 PM
I understand that not everyone would have the same idea of what a rehearsal dinner would include. However, we live in the same city as Lukas' family and also all his family lives within a 30 minute drive. My family lives about a 10 hour drive away, or a short plane ride. So if they are wanted to be in attendence, they have to be told far enough in advance to make travel arrangements. It also seems unequal to invite all the grandparents of one party and not of the other.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: MOM21SON on December 09, 2012, 04:03:53 PM
I am already confused.  Were they doing the wedding invites also?

Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: sweetonsno on December 09, 2012, 04:04:47 PM
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

I agree that the future in-laws have dropped the ball, but a letter that focuses on hurt feelings may not be the best idea in the long term. Instead, I'd focus on telling them that you've made alternate plans. Without knowing more about your relationship dynamics, I can't say whether this would be better coming from Lukas or you (or you both), but I would just make the plans and then tell them that the plans have been made. "Marta and Franz, I know that you intended to organize our rehearsal dinner, but I was feeling quite anxious about not having firm plans, so I arranged for a caterer to come to the wedding venue that evening. I hope your feelings aren't hurt and we do appreciate your generous offer and good intentions. I just didn't want to hold off on plans so long that it was too late and we didn't have any options."

(Also, you might consult Lukas to find out whether "no firm plans" actually means "no plans at all." If it means "we've narrowed it down to two places and are going in to make sure that they can accommodate wheelchairs/special diets/whatever," then you might not need to sweat it at all, but ask that they nail it down. You should also make sure that your grandmother/grandfather gets an invitation. Assume that it was an oversight rather than being any sort of malicious act.)

If you don't want it to sting, then leave feelings out of it entirely. Simply tell them what your solution was to the problem. No blame, no guilt, nothing.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 04:06:31 PM
I am already confused.  Were they doing the wedding invites also?

Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent.

Sorry if this wasn't clear. We are paying for our own wedding and we invited the guests ourselves. I was referring to the rehersal dinner, to which Marta intends to invite her sister and brother-in-law, her parents, her husband's parents, etc., but does not want to invite my grandparent or my siblings "who aren't in the wedding".
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 04:09:41 PM
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

snip

(Also, you might consult Lukas to find out whether "no firm plans" actually means "no plans at all." If it means "we've narrowed it down to two places and are going in to make sure that they can accommodate wheelchairs/special diets/whatever," then you might not need to sweat it at all, but ask that they nail it down. You should also make sure that your grandmother/grandfather gets an invitation. Assume that it was an oversight rather than being any sort of malicious act.)

If you don't want it to sting, then leave feelings out of it entirely. Simply tell them what your solution was to the problem. No blame, no guilt, nothing.

Thank you! It has been a trial to plan while in grad school, after the seamstress set fire to my wedding dress, etc. :)

From what I have heard from both Lukas and Marta (Franz is not involved much), "no firm plans" means "no plans at all". Other than making a very rude and exclusive guest list (see previous post), they have not secured a venue or anything. I'm a touch tired of waiting.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Shoo on December 09, 2012, 04:11:25 PM
I am already confused.  Were they doing the wedding invites also?

Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent.

Sorry if this wasn't clear. We are paying for our own wedding and we invited the guests ourselves. I was referring to the rehersal dinner, to which Marta intends to invite her sister and brother-in-law, her parents, her husband's parents, etc., but does not want to invite my grandparent or my siblings "who aren't in the wedding".

It sounds to me like you need to relieve them of this responsibility ASAP.  Otherwise, you're going to have a rehearsal dinner wherein the guests are comprised solely of your future inlaws' friends and family, and none of yours.

Your fiance needs to be the one to do this.  He should call them up, or go see them in person, and simply tell them that the two of you are getting rather anxious about the RD and are just going to plan and host it yourselves.  They will protest, and your fiance must be firm.  If they ask why, he absolutely must bring up the fact that his grandparents were going to be invited but yours were NOT, and neither of you can tolerate that.  It's not fair, it's not nice, and it's causing a problem, so therefore the decision is made, thanks for the very kind offer, but we'll take it from here.

There's no way to sugar coat this.  They are behaving badly and your fiance is going to have to call them out on it. 
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: MOM21SON on December 09, 2012, 04:21:11 PM
I am already confused.  Were they doing the wedding invites also?

Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent.

Sorry if this wasn't clear. We are paying for our own wedding and we invited the guests ourselves. I was referring to the rehersal dinner, to which Marta intends to invite her sister and brother-in-law, her parents, her husband's parents, etc., but does not want to invite my grandparent or my siblings "who aren't in the wedding".

I am sure it was my reading it wrong.  I have to agree with others.  They seriously dropped this.  However, your DF needs to handle it.  Best wishes!
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: cheyne on December 09, 2012, 04:32:57 PM
I had a long reply ready to go, but Shoo said it all.

Sounds more like Marta is planning a family reunion.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Deetee on December 09, 2012, 04:33:57 PM
I agree that your fiance should be the one to address this with his family. I also agree that it would be best to give a deadline before you take over.

As others have said rehersal dinners vary widely. There really are not firm etiquette rules. I had some that I had a seperate invite for and others that I wasn't aware of until the day of the dinner, but most were a verbal invite some time prior to the wedding that I was welcome to attend. Some are only the members of the wedding party and spouces. Some include close family and some include out of town guests. All of these are perfectly fine but the hosts and the happy couple need to be on the same page.

Plenty have no details in advance or plans like "We will make a huge pot of chili".

So you need to decide who you want invited and find out if that meshes with what you future  in-laws were planning. Then give them a deadline to get things sorted out. Then deal with it yourself.
But if at all possible have everything go through your fiance.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 09, 2012, 04:39:23 PM
I am already confused.  Were they doing the wedding invites also?

Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent.

Sorry if this wasn't clear. We are paying for our own wedding and we invited the guests ourselves. I was referring to the rehersal dinner, to which Marta intends to invite her sister and brother-in-law, her parents, her husband's parents, etc., but does not want to invite my grandparent or my siblings "who aren't in the wedding".

It sounds to me like you need to relieve them of this responsibility ASAP.  Otherwise, you're going to have a rehearsal dinner wherein the guests are comprised solely of your future inlaws' friends and family, and none of yours.

Your fiance needs to be the one to do this.  He should call them up, or go see them in person, and simply tell them that the two of you are getting rather anxious about the RD and are just going to plan and host it yourselves.  They will protest, and your fiance must be firm.  If they ask why, he absolutely must bring up the fact that his grandparents were going to be invited but yours were NOT, and neither of you can tolerate that.  It's not fair, it's not nice, and it's causing a problem, so therefore the decision is made, thanks for the very kind offer, but we'll take it from here.

There's no way to sugar coat this.  They are behaving badly and your fiance is going to have to call them out on it.
POD to this. 
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: bonyk on December 09, 2012, 04:42:51 PM
I'm still a little confused.  If the guest list has been made, then the people from your side who are invited can go ahead and make travel arrangements.  They don't need specifics for that, right?
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 05:03:23 PM
I'm still a little confused.  If the guest list has been made, then the people from your side who are invited can go ahead and make travel arrangements.  They don't need specifics for that, right?

The guest list is not made. I have asked her several times and even given her lists of all the people who are involved in the wedding rehersal and told her "You need to tell me who on this list is invited - eg. clergy people - and who else you are including." That way, I reasoned, we could at least tell them "There will be a dinner on X date and X pm, details TBA." But she has not told me who is invited - eg. my sister's partner, the clergy, etc. She HAS informed me that they're taking a long time "to keep costs down" and that for that reason they're going to invite only the "local grandparents", but that they're inviting her sister and brother in law because "they're travelling so far". So there is no guest list, no time, no decision about the meal, except that they want to have a "big party" but not pay much, so they asked "Would it be okay to not include your siblings if they're not in the wedding?"

I just want to be told "There will be a dinner. It will be at 8 pm on [date]. We will email/ call [names]." My parents are not arriving until 5 pm by plane for the wedding at the rehearsal is at 630. Marta has said "Oh, we thought of doing a rehearsal lunch because a lunch is cheaper at a restaurant." In that case, my parents will not even be there.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Deetee on December 09, 2012, 05:20:19 PM
With your update, it doesn't change my advice much, but it really sounds like it is up to you guys.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: bopper on December 09, 2012, 06:29:51 PM
Asumptions:
Clearly you are feeling anxious about the rehearsal dinner issue.
You want it figured out.
You also think it reasonable that your out of town grandparent and siblings are invited. 
Your ILs want to keep costs down, so may not be so keen on inviting tons of people.
You are having a rehearsal.

Only Lukas knows if his parents most likely will get something organized.   If he thinks they will, then
What I would suggest is to tell Lukas that although his parents are hosting, you very much would like your siblings and grandp/ma invited as they are travelling from out of town.  Ask if he thinks it okay if he suggests that to his parents, but also offering the $$ to cover them.
See if they think that reasonable. If so,
Then you tell your people: "We are having a rehearsal at 4:00 on DaybeforeWdding.  Lukas' parents are hosting a rehearsal dinner afterward. I will give you more details when we get closer."

At this point, if you think it likely that they will host SOMETHING then this is good enough for now.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: camlan on December 09, 2012, 06:38:05 PM
At this point, I'd give Lukas's parents a firm deadline to have a plan. Any plan. Probably Lukas should be the one to deliver this message. Just be firm and direct. "We need to know the plan for the rehearsal dinner by Tuesday at 9 pm. If there isn't a plan by then, we will take over the responsibility for the rehearsal dinner."

It's usually not polite to tell someone who to invite to a dinner that they are hosting, but in this case, I think it is okay to inform the in-laws that your siblings and grandparents need to be invited to the rehearsal dinner. The in-laws can work with a larger number of people, they will just have to scale back the nature of the party keep within the same budget. Or the OP can offer to pay for them. But to plan the rehearsal dinner and include all the groom's extended family (grandparents) while excluding relatives of the same degree on the bride's side as well as excluding her siblings is, to me, pretty rude.

Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: steelstress on December 09, 2012, 06:39:40 PM
Since they're having so much "trouble" getting this together, help them!  Make up a list of guests you simply must invite, and the time you would need to accommodate them (your parents).  Give the list to fiance, and he can handle it from there with his parents.  Or you can simply hand them the list with a big sweet smile and thank you, and if they need your help, to feel free to call you!  A great big thank you again!
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: camlan on December 09, 2012, 06:54:16 PM

I just want to be told "There will be a dinner. It will be at 8 pm on [date]. We will email/ call [names]." My parents are not arriving until 5 pm by plane for the wedding at the rehearsal is at 630. Marta has said "Oh, we thought of doing a rehearsal lunch because a lunch is cheaper at a restaurant." In that case, my parents will not even be there.

When Marta makes a clearly unworkable suggestion, such as a lunch which would prevent your parents from attending, it is perfectly all right to point this out to her. "Oh, Marta, that sounds lovely and I know you are trying to keep costs down, but a lunch won't work because my parents can't be there." (I'd be biting my tongue to stop myself from adding, "A lunch would have worked if you had *planned* a lunch early enough so they could have reserved an earlier flight.")

And hopefully, your fiance will chime in with, "Oh, mother dearest, we can't have the rehearsal dinner without Lisen's family. A lunch would have been nice, but at this point, we have to have something after the rehearsal."

If Marta is trying to sneak your parents off the guest list, at least force to admit this out loud.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 06:54:42 PM
Since they're having so much "trouble" getting this together, help them!  Make up a list of guests you simply must invite, and the time you would need to accommodate them (your parents).  Give the list to fiance, and he can handle it from there with his parents.  Or you can simply hand them the list with a big sweet smile and thank you, and if they need your help, to feel free to call you!  A great big thank you again!

I gave them a list on October 1st.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: melissa024 on December 09, 2012, 07:03:52 PM
In my opinion, the first thing is for you to decide is whether a rehearsal dinner without your parents and family is acceptable to you. If I am reading correctly, your future MIL is instating an "out of town relatives only" in cases where it benefits her side and "in town only" policy where it benefits her. If your parents, siblings and grandparents being excluded iss a deal breaker, then the late planning doesnt really matter anyway.

I think you should decide your dealbreakers, and you and your fiance decide the best way to communicate with them. If they will not be able to accomodate this, you can gently let them know that you will handle it. If they are willing to compromise on these, then I think you can broach the issue of timing and planning.

It may well be that they have realized they have bitten off more than they can chew and will be relieved to have you take over.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 09, 2012, 07:14:04 PM
It may well be that they have realized they have bitten off more than they can chew and will be relieved to have you take over.

That's very fair. I would be anxious to take over the project, frankly. My concern is that my in-laws' feelings will be hurt if I tell them "I think you need help with this project". I want a way to tell them that we are very willing to take over the project. (Which is actually what my question was about in the first place.) I want to sound like I am doing this to lessen the burden to them, rather than saying that I think they are terrible people who couldn't organise their way out of a paper bag. :)
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: melissa024 on December 09, 2012, 07:30:17 PM
I dont know if its the best way, but if it were me I would broach it as "having them there is really important to me and they need time to plan. I know this places some extra burden on you guys and is a lot to ask, so we  totally understand and can take care of this if that is just too much". You will pick your battles in marriage. For me having my family there would be a battle I would choose but placing the blame on them would not.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: JenJay on December 09, 2012, 07:31:22 PM
I am already confused.  Were they doing the wedding invites also?

Especially when I found out that Marta has invited all four of Lukas' grandparents, but has not seen fit to include my one living grandparent.

Sorry if this wasn't clear. We are paying for our own wedding and we invited the guests ourselves. I was referring to the rehersal dinner, to which Marta intends to invite her sister and brother-in-law, her parents, her husband's parents, etc., but does not want to invite my grandparent or my siblings "who aren't in the wedding".

She seems to think that paying for your rehearsal dinner means she gets to turn it into a mini family reunion. I'd have Lukas contact her and say "Mom, it's important that Lisen's extended family be at the rehearsal dinner too, and I know that is extra work and expense you and Dad weren't planning on, so Lisen and I have decided to handle it ourselves." If you ask to take it over you are opening the door for them to refuse you. Don't ask, inform. Then get busy booking a venue and sending invitations because the more you get done the less there is for her to argue about.

I'm sorry they dropped the ball. That must be incredibly frustrating, especially so close to The Big Day.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Rusty on December 09, 2012, 07:33:50 PM
Although I don't know much about Rehearsal Dinners as they are not something that happens in my part of the world, it sounds to me like Marta got carried away and offered to have one without really thinking about the implications, ie., the cost and how many people would be likely to attend.  I would not be attending any Dinner that did not include my siblings, grandparent etc., and I would get DF to inform Marta of that fact.  I think you should try to keep out of the negotiations with Marta as much as possible, don't forget she's going to be the MIL shortly.  I think in your current situation I'd get DF to offer Marta an out, tell her you will arrange something so she doesn't have to get all stressed out about it, but that you would both accept a contribution  to the costs involved.  The part about only inviting her family strikes me as a handy opportunity for a family get together, for her family only.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 09, 2012, 07:39:44 PM
It may well be that they have realized they have bitten off more than they can chew and will be relieved to have you take over.

That's very fair. I would be anxious to take over the project, frankly. My concern is that my in-laws' feelings will be hurt if I tell them "I think you need help with this project". I want a way to tell them that we are very willing to take over the project. (Which is actually what my question was about in the first place.) I want to sound like I am doing this to lessen the burden to them, rather than saying that I think they are terrible people who couldn't organise their way out of a paper bag. :)

Perhaps you and Lukas could basically plan it all out (without doing anything irrevocable yet) and then tell his parents, "Oh, we know you guys were going to handle it, but then we saw the best little restaurant and decided we would love to have the RD there! Would you mind terribly if we just went ahead and booked it?" Be prepared to pay for it yourself, but open to the idea of them writing a check if you handle all the arrangements--they may find that suits them better, if they aren't good at organizing things. So that way you aren't saying, "We're taking this job away from you guys because you can't handle it!" You're saying, "Oh, we've got a wonderful idea, do you mind if we just go ahead and do it?"

Then you can invite who you want to invite as well. Perhaps be prepared to have some part of it that they could still do, which you phrase as being a "big favor" to you rather than being something harmless you're fobbing off on them to keep them busy... Something like making sure the room gets decorated (when you're perfectly happy if there are no decorations at all) or checking their side of the family for dietary restrictions (when you're pretty sure Lukas knows them all).
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: RegionMom on December 09, 2012, 09:10:16 PM
Most of the weddings I have been in or to, had the rehearsal dinner with wedding party and close out-of-town guests included. 

It is traditional for the husband's side to pay for dinner, but since they are so hesitant, would it be possible for you and DF to take over and pay for it yourself?
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Autumn Rose on December 09, 2012, 09:55:44 PM
My 2 cents

.... in 5 steps or less:


1.   Get a plan with your DF.   What would the 2 of you like?    Guest list.  Time. Date. Location.   

2.   Come up with a plan that you can live with - and PAY for.

3.   If anyone has "mentioned" that they would like to "help" - you can quietly mention that this is "the plan", and if they would like to contribute, you would be most appreciative.

4.  You take care of your side, he takes care of his.



Ultimately, you and DF are "in charge" of this event.   Many people have kind intentions...but dont have the finances/know-how/etc.

This can be a win-win for everyone.

You "control" how your rehearsal goes.
People who want/able to contribute...do
It is not the responsibilty of anyone else to make your vision come true.

Take control.   Be gracious.   Do it with a smile.

And they will love you for it!   ;)

Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: kudeebee on December 10, 2012, 12:02:31 AM
I'm still a little confused.  If the guest list has been made, then the people from your side who are invited can go ahead and make travel arrangements.  They don't need specifics for that, right?

The guest list is not made. I have asked her several times and even given her lists of all the people who are involved in the wedding rehersal and told her "You need to tell me who on this list is invited - eg. clergy people - and who else you are including." That way, I reasoned, we could at least tell them "There will be a dinner on X date and X pm, details TBA." But she has not told me who is invited - eg. my sister's partner, the clergy, etc. She HAS informed me that they're taking a long time "to keep costs down" and that for that reason they're going to invite only the "local grandparents", but that they're inviting her sister and brother in law because "they're travelling so far". So there is no guest list, no time, no decision about the meal, except that they want to have a "big party" but not pay much, so they asked "Would it be okay to not include your siblings if they're not in the wedding?"

I just want to be told "There will be a dinner. It will be at 8 pm on [date]. We will email/ call [names]." My parents are not arriving until 5 pm by plane for the wedding at the rehearsal is at 630. Marta has said "Oh, we thought of doing a rehearsal lunch because a lunch is cheaper at a restaurant." In that case, my parents will not even be there.

I think the bolded is where you made a mistake.  You gave her a list and told her to inform you who she will be inviting that is on the list.  She did inform you and it doesn't include your grandparent and non-wedding party siblings.

I agree with other posters that you and df need to sit down and talk about the dinner and come up with a plan.  Make a list of who you want to be present at the dinner (include addresses and phone numbers/emails).  Decide on the time that will work best--how long after rehearsal time.  Then have df talk with them.  He can word it as other posters have put it, so that you and he are wanting to finalize all the details, so will be glad to handle the details and set things up if mil/fil will give him a budget to work with.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: SPuck on December 10, 2012, 07:38:52 AM
I think at the point you have to stop worrying about your FMIL's feelings because she isn't worrying about yours. Seriously, I can sort of understand not considering the brides extended family if your that clueless but your FMIL isn't taking into account your own parents. It is time to shore up your spine, and get your fiance in on this and say "We will be taking over the rehearsal dinner."
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: bopper on December 10, 2012, 09:27:09 AM
Although I don't know much about Rehearsal Dinners as they are not something that happens in my part of the world, it sounds to me like Marta got carried away and offered to have one without really thinking about the implications, ie., the cost and how many people would be likely to attend.  I would not be attending any Dinner that did not include my siblings, grandparent etc., and I would get DF to inform Marta of that fact.  I think you should try to keep out of the negotiations with Marta as much as possible, don't forget she's going to be the MIL shortly.  I think in your current situation I'd get DF to offer Marta an out, tell her you will arrange something so she doesn't have to get all stressed out about it, but that you would both accept a contribution  to the costs involved.  The part about only inviting her family strikes me as a handy opportunity for a family get together, for her family only.

In the USA, it is typical for the groom's parents to host the rehearsal dinner. It typically includes the wedding party and perhaps the immediate family of the B&G and perhaps some out of town guests.  However, it is also not supposed to be a second reception.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: johelenc1 on December 10, 2012, 09:53:44 AM
I wouldn't give the IL's any more chances by way of a "firm" date or more lists. 5 weeks is really soon.  If you want a restaurant or any kind of venue, you need to plan it right now.  I would just take over.

Fiance can tell his parents, "hey mom and dad, since you haven't any firm plans, we've decided to go ahead and plan the rehearsal dinner.  We have already booked ..."

I would make sure you already have definite plans lined up so they can't, "oh, but we were planning on doing it tomorrow...".  If they fuss and say they really wanted to do it, fiance can say, "great, we'd love to have you help.  Would you like to do X or Y?"

But, you really must take control over this or it will completely stress you out - and that's really not fair since it's a stress that really doesn't have to occur.

You probably should plan something you can pay for, even if it's hotdogs and hamburgers at your house - or apartment club house (I've been to several of these and they are a great relaxing fun evening.)  If the IL's want to contribute, great.  If not, you can cover it.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: cheyne on December 10, 2012, 01:25:38 PM
I agree with PP's who have said that 5 weeks is pretty short and the time to do this is now.  No more chances for your IL's.  They have had since early October to do this-two months down the line and nothing is done?  If you want any rehearsal dinner at all I would be planning it now. 

Begin as you mean to go on isn't just about boundaries.  It's also about expectations you have about others keeping their word.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Margo on December 11, 2012, 08:45:26 AM
I think this needs to come from Lukas as these are his parents.

I would suggest that he speaks to them and says "It was so generous of you to offer to host the party, however, as there are many people who are travelling from out of town, and who will need firm information to finalize their travel plans, we do need a definite place and time to be fixed without any more delay. I know we gave you a list on [date] of the essential people who need to be there, can you confirm to me by [short deadline] when and where the dinner will be, and whether you have contacted everyone on the lsit to invite them or whether you'd like us to help with that.

I know that things can get more expensive that originally planned and if you're worried about the costs, or are finding it difficult to sort this out, please let us know, and we will make the practical arrangements."

Given the comments you've made about not inviting your grandparents etc I think it is also OK in this instance for him to add "We were a bit worried when you suggested not inviting Lisen's siblings / grandparents - it's really important to us that they are there, just as it's important to us that [his grandparents / siblings] are there  -  that's on of the reasons why it's really important that we finalize the arrangements now , to make sure they fit with the travel plans of the really important guests, such as Lisen's parents and grandparents, who are coming from a distance."

He can then reiterate that you and he are happy to plan the dinner yourselves if they don't feel that they can do it in the time you need, or including the people who are importantt to you both.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Mikayla on December 11, 2012, 12:59:11 PM
OP, does your DH communicate with his parents by email?  If you're reluctant to have him handle this for some reason, would it work for you to write it and have him send it?  I think the approach should be to leave the final decision to them, but present it in a way that makes it easy for them to opt out.

Something like:  Mom and Dad, I appreciate your offer to host our rehearsal dinner, but we're at the point where something needs to be committed to and defined.  There are 2 remaining issues that need addressing.  First, both Lisen and I are very uncomfortable with not including her sibs and her grandmother at the dinner.  They need to be invited.

Secondly, we're being asked about arrangements by out of town people who need to make travel plans.  We're too close to the wedding to not have answers for them.

We are more than happy to take this off your shoulders if it's too much right now, given the busy holiday season.  If you still want to host it, this is great, but you're putting me in the awkward position of having to submit a deadline for final arrangements.  We're spinning our wheels too much on it right now, and I don't want this to cause a problem between us.

So please let me know.  If you can invite Lisen's sibs and grandma, AND if you can get your arrangements completed by (insert date/time), this is great.  Otherwise, it will be easier on everyone if we just take charge of it ourselves.   Love, (his name)

Edited to fix names
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Eden on December 11, 2012, 01:26:35 PM
So there is no guest list, no time, no decision about the meal, except that they want to have a "big party" but not pay much, so they asked "Would it be okay to not include your siblings if they're not in the wedding?"

These are the opportunities you need to seize in the future. She asked. You answer honestly. "No, I'm afraid that won't work. I'd like to have the details pinned down by such and such date with the guest list I provided."

As it is now, I agree that you and your DH need to agree on this and he needs to communicate to his parents. "We appreciate you offering to host, but as you cannot accommodate the guest list , we are going to host the event ourselves so we are sure we can include everyone we'd like to include." If they protest that they will include your original guest list, that's when I'd say that's fine, but getting finalized plans also seems to be a problem so you will just handle it yourselves.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: bopper on December 12, 2012, 07:15:28 AM
As it is now, I agree that you and your DH need to agree on this and he needs to communicate to his parents. "We appreciate you offering to host, but as you cannot accommodate the guest list , we are going to host the event ourselves so we are sure we can include everyone we'd like to include." If they protest that they will include your original guest list, that's when I'd say that's fine, but getting finalized plans also seems to be a problem so you will just handle it yourselves.

The problem with this is that there is no predefined guest list.  The hosts (ILs) define the guest list with the wedding party being the minimum set of people on that list. 
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Eden on December 12, 2012, 08:48:06 AM
As it is now, I agree that you and your DH need to agree on this and he needs to communicate to his parents. "We appreciate you offering to host, but as you cannot accommodate the guest list , we are going to host the event ourselves so we are sure we can include everyone we'd like to include." If they protest that they will include your original guest list, that's when I'd say that's fine, but getting finalized plans also seems to be a problem so you will just handle it yourselves.

The problem with this is that there is no predefined guest list.  The hosts (ILs) define the guest list with the wedding party being the minimum set of people on that list.

The OP said she had provided her guest list to her FMIL and it was after that that FMIL tried to trim the fat so to speak, which is not fair. And in particular it is not fair that the hosts seem to be stacking the list with  people from their side of the family and leaving out very close members of the OP's family.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Biker Granny on December 12, 2012, 01:04:55 PM
I was just thinking....if MIL decides to go with the lunch, B&G can then arrange a dinner with just her family after the actual rehearsal.

OP...you should call a meeting with all involved and have a real sit down discussion about it.  If at the end of the meeting, you don't have a firm answer or a good feeling about it, tell MIL that you will take this burden off her shoulders and do the planning yourself.  Then ask her for her input.

I had a BBQ at my house after rehearsal with both sides family, out of town guests, attendents and their spouses.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: lisen on December 12, 2012, 10:23:56 PM
Hi All-

I had a chat with Marta on the telephone yesterday. I had to do a bit of damage control. Apparently Lukas broached the subject as "Lisen says that if you can't give her all the details about the rehearsal by Wednesday, she's going to do it herself." Marta got very upset and called me very angry.

We had a long chat, in which I expressed my deepest feeling about the issues, which was that I felt that she was not keeping her word to me. I explained that she told me that she would do something three months ago and the fact that she has not done anything means that I think she does not keep her word and that she has essentially lied to me. I explained I didn't care whether there was a party in her home with crackers and cheese or a catered meal in a restaurant, but that I wanted her to honour her promise to plan something. If she felt that she couldn't plan something, I would.

Marta apologised for making me feel that way and promised that she would have plans by Friday. Apparently she's waiting to hear if her mother-in-law "would prefer to have a party catered at home or would prefer to go out". I really think that it is unreasonable to make so many people wait just to satisfy a grandparent, and I think it shows that she is more interested in the scheduling of her family than of my family, but at least I know that I have been promised an answer by Friday. If on Friday I do not hear anything, then I will be disappointed that she has broken her word again and I will feel blameless in taking control of the event.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: Really? on December 12, 2012, 10:31:41 PM
Lisen good for you for standing up. Follow through and let us know how things go.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: Shoo on December 12, 2012, 10:40:47 PM
Did you insist that your family be included?
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: jedikaiti on December 12, 2012, 10:41:57 PM
Did you insist that your family be included?

I was just about to ask that.

And who cares what one grandparent wants - if they're not footing the bill, they really don't get much say in the matter.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: Lynn2000 on December 12, 2012, 10:43:50 PM
Yes, good for you. I think you should be prepared to implement your own plan if she doesn't follow through by Friday, or if she doesn't have a plan that works for you (including everyone important to you, for example).

Also I would have a chat with Lukas about throwing you under the bus! Sometimes the words just come out awkwardly, but maybe for the future you guys can practice what to say so you aren't subjected to calls from angry in-laws.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: gmatoy on December 12, 2012, 11:47:02 PM
Yes, I think this was a classic case of throwing your partner under the bus!
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: rashea on December 13, 2012, 08:55:01 AM

Also I would have a chat with Lukas about throwing you under the bus! Sometimes the words just come out awkwardly, but maybe for the future you guys can practice what to say so you aren't subjected to calls from angry in-laws.

POD!

I think that's a bit of a warning sign that in the future you need to practice or something, because this is going to be a pain in the butt if it turns into a pattern. If it already is a pattern, I would recommend doing some work on it early in the marriage before it tanks your relationship with your In-laws.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions UPDATE 39
Post by: jedikaiti on December 13, 2012, 01:19:15 PM

Also I would have a chat with Lukas about throwing you under the bus! Sometimes the words just come out awkwardly, but maybe for the future you guys can practice what to say so you aren't subjected to calls from angry in-laws.

POD!

I think that's a bit of a warning sign that in the future you need to practice or something, because this is going to be a pain in the butt if it turns into a pattern. If it already is a pattern, I would recommend doing some work on it early in the marriage before it tanks your relationship with your In-laws.

Let's be honest... if this is a pattern, she might want to re-think the wedding, or at least insist on some pre-marital counseling.
Title: Re: Need "Firm but Nice" Wording Suggestions
Post by: Hmmmmm on December 13, 2012, 03:10:32 PM
Snip
Marta apologised for making me feel that way and promised that she would have plans by Friday. Apparently she's waiting to hear if her mother-in-law "would prefer to have a party catered at home or would prefer to go out". I really think that it is unreasonable to make so many people wait just to satisfy a grandparent, and I think it shows that she is more interested in the scheduling of her family than of my family, but at least I know that I have been promised an answer by Friday. If on Friday I do not hear anything, then I will be disappointed that she has broken her word again and I will feel blameless in taking control of the event.

Oh goodness.  It sounds like this family believes in the oldest matriarch of the family has control.  If future MIL has been operating under the thumb of her MIL for a few decades, she is going to have a hard time adjusting to you not knuckling under too. 

Good for you starting to set the boundaries now.