Author Topic: Uncomfortable hospitality (updated throughout/most recent page 8)  (Read 26460 times)

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EmmaJ.

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2013, 11:35:46 PM »
Hopefully your father's guests are not like some of my relatives:  "Oh, you're picking up the tab? Well, then let's see - i'll have caviar and fois gras and filet mignon and lobster and cover everything with truffles and I want a whole bottle of champagne all to myself..."

Nora

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2013, 06:37:27 AM »
Hopefully your father's guests are not like some of my relatives:  "Oh, you're picking up the tab? Well, then let's see - i'll have caviar and fois gras and filet mignon and lobster and cover everything with truffles and I want a whole bottle of champagne all to myself..."

This, so much.
Just because someone is offended that does not mean they are in the right.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2013, 09:48:21 AM »
^  Another reason to arrange a limited menu if FIL is insistent on going ahead with this plan.

With the dinner I organized, we had a choice of 3 or 4 appetizers, 3 or 4 mains with vegetarian available on request, 2 or 3 desserts and tea or coffee.  It didn't matter what items were selected; each meal was a flat rate price.
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Venus193

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2013, 10:33:33 AM »
Egad.  My father did things like this.  My mother had conniptions.

Is there an update?

DavidH

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2013, 01:56:28 PM »
Everyone here has decided they can't afford this and she'll be horrified, but we don't really know that.  For all we know, he could have been saving for it since they got married.

If it's really anyone else's business how he intends to afford this, then the first step is to say to him, not MIL, I don't mean to pry, but I'm worried about the cost of this dinner, I can see it being $XYZ and hear what he says.  I am not even sure it's okay to say anything more after that since again, it's not anyone business by FIL and MILs.

Under no circumstances should you take it upon yourself to ruin the surprise and tell her what he's planning. 

I'd be pretty insulted if I invited someone to a large function and then they told me they were worried about my finances and here's money to cover their costs. 

If you feel you have to cover your cost give them a generous amount of money as an anniversary gift and call it done.


bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2013, 02:06:16 PM »
Personally, I think you should back away and let it go.  You may think you know their finances and thier situation and you may think you know how MIL will react.  But you don't.  FIL is planning this party, he's paying for it, and is just asking for some help to keep the surprise.  If you don't want to help, then don't.  But it's not your place to offer financial advice to someone who has neither asked you for financial help nor advice.

If you truly believe that FIL is not sound enough in mind to make a grown up decision, then that's another matter...and not an etiquette one.  Etiquette-wise, this is his decision, their marriage, their money.  Stay out of it. 

Amara

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2013, 04:08:14 PM »
Quotes from the original post:

"In laws are not well off."

"... many times mother in law has come to me for advice / support."

"They are not going to starve or lose their home or anything but they have no extra money to fly around."


It would seem there are financial considerations, wouldn't it? And that the OP's mother-in-law has at least in the past expressed concerns to the OP.

Kaypeep

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2013, 04:15:26 PM »
OP do you think FIL is doing this in hopes that his children will offer to pick up the tab?  Or is he truly clueless?  Did he say why he picked this particular restaurant?  What exactly are you and DH doing to "help" him with this?  How much control in the arrangements do you have?  I POD Outdoor Girl and others who suggest getting a limited menu and pp cost pre-determined from the restaurant.  If he picked this place because of a particular dish they love, try to get that dish for them or whatever, but for the most part, control the menu so that other family members don't go on an ordering frenzy.  And spread the word to family that any extras will be billed to them separately.  Instruct the wait staff to inform people "That item is not included in tonight's party menu, but we can order it for you and bill you separately if you like."

Lynn2000

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2013, 04:49:38 PM »
Tough one. I was going along with the posts about how irresponsible FIL was being, and then I saw DavidH's post and now I'm not sure... Sounds like DH is going to talk to FIL about it, so maybe that will provide further clarity (for the OP, if not us).

Honestly if this were my own parents I would know them well enough to know whether I ought to say something to my dad or to my mom, or not at all, and I think my dad would listen to me if I approached it the right way. But with anyone else it would be really, really difficult to know what to do. I would not want to be a party to something that would be hurtful to one half of the couple, but on the other hand, I wouldn't want to make too many assumptions and involve myself in the couple's relationship.

If I chose not to get involved directly, I think I would give them a generous monetary gift as an "anniversary present" and hope MIL didn't earmark it for anything before the credit card bill arrived.

It reminds me a little bit of how my dad likes to swoop in and pay for everything for my mom. But they have joint finances, so the money comes out of the same account no matter who actually handled the credit card, and my mom doesn't have any aversion to handling the transaction herself. Yet my dad gets "credit" in certain circles for being gentlemanly or generous, and my mom is kind of rolling her eyes in the background. You can bet there would be fireworks if my dad tried to pull this with something so costly...
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Danika

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #24 on: March 18, 2013, 06:41:28 PM »
And spread the word to family that any extras will be billed to them separately.

^^ This is a good idea.

Instruct the wait staff to inform people "That item is not included in tonight's party menu, but we can order it for you and bill you separately if you like."

^^ DH and I did this when we paid for and planned our rehearsal dinner. But the manager didn't speak to the waitstaff about it and they were allowing guests to order things which were not on our pre-approved menu, giving them separate bills, they didn't pay for them and DH and I got stuck with the extras in the bill.

ETA: We specified to the manager in advance "do not let guests order food or drink that's not on the pre-approved menu." I, personally, printed up menus on my own printer only listing the things guests were allowed to order. Some guests asked for additional drinks which weren't on that menu. The waitstaff should have told them no, but they didn't. They gave them the items and a separate bill. The guests (FIL and MIL) didn't pay the bill.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2013, 06:43:31 PM by Danika »

bah12

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #25 on: March 18, 2013, 06:57:24 PM »
Quotes from the original post:

"In laws are not well off."

"... many times mother in law has come to me for advice / support."

"They are not going to starve or lose their home or anything but they have no extra money to fly around."


It would seem there are financial considerations, wouldn't it? And that the OP's mother-in-law has at least in the past expressed concerns to the OP.

She can offer financial advice when she's asked for it.  MIL coming to her for support in the past, doesn't make her party to all their financial decisions.  She doesn't know if FIL saved up for this, and he definitely didn't ask her opinion on whether or not he can afford this party.  This is a milestone anniversary, so who's to say that they haven't planned for something 'big' to commemorate it?  I have asked family members to give me thier thoughts on finances in the past, but that doesn't give them an open ticket to judge, criticize, or provide input into every finanancial decision I make or everything I purchase. 

The OP has not been given that "in" and unless she is, she needs to stay out of it. 

The only thing I think that comes remotely close to ok is her DH saying something to his father, like "Dad, this party is getting big...and expensive.  How about I help you pay for it...as an anniversary gift and thank you for all that you and mom have done for me."  (and really, that's only if he wants to help pay).  This may or may not open up the door for FIL to discuss the specific finances, but if he doesn't offer info or act as if he wants input, they need to respect it.

Trying to talk him into a different gathering all together, I think is wrong. 

ladyknight1

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2013, 09:34:30 AM »
I am in a similar situation to the OP.

My parents will have their 50th anniversary in a few years. Even though they are financially stable, they are not financially able to afford a lavish party, and I know that is what my DF would want to do. I will leave out the details, but my father loves to get into "projects" that end up costing far more than he ever thought it could. Because of their relationship dynamics, it stresses out my mom (she doesn't feel she can say anything to him about it), but he does what he wants. A lavish party is just what my father would plan, without any thought to the financial burden it would place on them.

Myself and my two sisters are in the beginning stages of planning a golden anniversary dinner dance in their honor. My older sister and I will split the cost.

bopper

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2013, 10:43:42 AM »
How do you and any siblings feel about contributing?

Perhaps you can contribute after the fact?

tiggnduff

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2013, 01:05:12 PM »
Thank you for the varied opinions. Much food for thought.

Hubby spoke with his dad the other day and approached it by using a general line of questions about the menu. Is it going to be set prices? Is it an open menu etc?  His dad was quite open about it being an open menu, everything will be covered and that it is going on the line of credit  :-[ Oh Boy!

My sister in law is not in a position to contribute in any way and hubby and I could but not to the extent to make a huge dent in the overall cost.

(A bit of further background on our issue with these types of events and hubby's family)
For the inlaws 40th wedding anniversary hubby's sister decided to plan a banquet hall (wedding reception) type event. We were not consulted in any way about the planning of this event, costs etc.  We provided a cheque prior to the event to contribute to the costs in an amount that we could afford. We had been clear once we found out about all this that this type of event was way above our budget and we had not saved for it as we were not involved in ANY of the decisions.

Halfway through the event we were approached by hubby's sister. She had a remaining balance to pay to the hall by the end of the night. She didn't have it and was in a panic. Hubby wrote a cheque to the hall on our line of credit to avoid any scenes during the party. I was absolutely against it but understood why he felt he had to do it.  We never saw a dime of that money back and knew we never would.

We've decided that this year's anniversary dinner is not our issue! Underneath it will be awkward for us but we are going to put a smile on our face and go. We will likely slip mother in law the funds to at least cover our family's bill a few days after the event.

doodlemor

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Re: Uncomfortable hospitality
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2013, 01:26:03 PM »
Wow, just .........wow! 

Are you sure that you won't end up paying a substantial amount for this event?  You did set a precedent.  It does sound like your IL's are not careful with their finances.

How did MIL feel about the 40th banquet?  Will she be thrilled to do the same type of thing again?

I agree with those who say that this is all about FIL.

We are celebrating our 44th this summer, and have comfortable finances.  If my husband spent that kind of $ on a party, without telling me, though,  I would be very upset with him.