Seating for wedding reception question

AppleDumpling

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
I never said they did, I said they are engaging in conflict. I'm just bouncing off your comment, don't want to start off the marriage with in-laws with conflict then don't actively engage in it.

Like I said do you want to be right? Or not start the marriage off with conflict. Again a direct response to your comment of "Seems to me like a really bad situation, starting off a marriage with in-law conflicts from the get-go." because the solution IMO wouldn't be for the OP to continue the conflict that already exists as that would be quite hypocritical, no? If that makes it a different perspective I guess it makes it a different perspective.
Huh? How are they engaging in conflict? They have thus far agreed to everything asked of them, except now she is second guessing the dance. Can’t say I blame her for that. It is her son’s wedding too, after all. Should he get no say in anything? My comment about starting off with in-law conflict was referring to her son and his in-laws, not op’s relationship with them.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Huh? How are they engaging in conflict? They have thus far agreed to everything asked of them, except now she is second guessing the dance. Can’t say I blame her for that. It is her son’s wedding too, after all. Should he get no say in anything? My comment about starting off with in-law conflict was referring to her son and his in-laws, not op’s relationship with them.
The engaging in conflict part was about further future action such that people were suggesting. I did suggest the OP talk with their son to convey her feelings about feeling like they weren't really wedding guests but I left it at that. You've got an overbearing family with the bride's family and if your goal is to not start off the marriage with conflict with the in-laws then that may change what you choose to speak up on.

I appreciate you clarifying but your first comment was that her son and the bride to be need to speak up on the OP's behalf. Pretty sure the bride's family is going to take that back as the groom's mom, yadda yadda yadda given that the son thus far has not piped up and I got the impression these two families probably already have formed opinions about each other. When the OP didn't mention in their OP about their son my immediate assumption was the son was taking a backseat to all this drama and that quite possibly may be how he has been with his soon to be wife's family the whole time. Conflict between families from where I was coming from didn't necessarily mean the OP herself spoke to the bride's mother herself, it was just the whole approach to the wedding in general. It sounds like the OP while maybe dejected about possible future feelings is at least taking the wedding in stride and I think there are kudos to be given for that truly.

Like I said I'm of the opinion it should be the couple paying for it. Too many times people get wrapped up in who is paying. I realize I'm the outlier when it comes to weddings on the DIS. The son should have a say, that's the biggest thing to me actually, that the bride and groom discuss things for their wedding, but if one of them decides not to that is their decision. I couldn't tell you how many times people have been surprised at how much my husband was involved with our wedding, we made literally all the decisions together with exception to his tux color and my wedding dress. I spun that back around and told people "uhh why not it's his wedding too". I didn't want a partner that wasn't going to be involved but that is purely me. But stereotypically people do still think of the groom as some passive participant....well that is except when suddenly there's a hint of potential in-law issues ;)
 

Lisa_lvspplmvr

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 12, 2021
I’ve never heard of a wedding with 350 people not having assigned seating .That is ridiculous and a recipe for disaster. Likewise I have never heard of a rehearsal dinner with all the guests invited. It’s for the people in the wedding after the rehearsal . You have been kind to give 5k for the rehearsal dinner. I believe etiquette states that the grooms family usually pays for alcohol . With only 37 people invited from the grooms family I can see why you wouldn’t want to pay that though . The dance-off is not a nice thing to pressure you into . I would never agree to that .You are basically in the company of strangers with the bride monopolizing the guest list.
 

Lilsia

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 17, 2018
I appreciate that. The issues won't be resolved, but we will still enjoy the wedding.



I think like a lot of family relationships, it's complicated. My son is not OK with all of this but he just wants to get through the wedding and move on. Here's an example, the fiancé wants to have a dance off with me and my son vs her and her dad. She's a professional dancer and has a lot of professional dancer friends that are going to the wedding. My son absolutely does not want to do this any more than I do, but he's not going to say no to her. I would be doing him a favor by refusing (because he doesn't want the drama with the mother) but I don't want to cause issues. Did I mention we are expected to take dance lessons for this performance? Ugh!
Yikes. I can not even imagine feeling like I have to have a dance off competition with my MIL. She sounds insecure. I am sorry that you are being put in this position. I feel as if your son needs to stand up for himself a bit more. I get wanting to keep your future wife happy, as he should. But there is a point where common sense should win out. If she does not respect him enough to not force him to do something that he does not want to do, that is a big red flag. If I were you, I would fake an injury and not do the dance off.
 

KayMichigan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jun 23, 2018
If the "dance off" is supposed to be the mother and son dance and the bride wants to take it over, she has absolutely no right to do that. It'd be one thing if both parties wanted to do it, but you and your son don't. It should end right there. She and her father can bust the moves during their own dance.
 

QueenIsabella

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 17, 2016
I was thinking about this thread after I logged off last night, and I have a few thoughts for the OP:

First, your son is marrying into this family. I assume he's thought long and hard about that, he's a grown adult, it's his choice. Okay. Time for him to put his head down and learn to golf.

Second, if he doesn't have the stones to stand up for you on the dance-off thing, he'll never grow them. Ever. You all should be clear-eyed on that.

Third, none of you should think that this nonsense ends with the wedding. Do you think her parents will stand idly by when they buy their first house? Have their first kid? This will be a constant one-up-man-ship game until you're dead. Or the MIL is. She is used to controlling people with money, and it works for her.
 

Disneybuckeye

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2010
I’ve never heard of a wedding with 350 people not having assigned seating .That is ridiculous and a recipe for disaster. Likewise I have never heard of a rehearsal dinner with all the guests invited. It’s for the people in the wedding after the rehearsal . You have been kind to give 5k for the rehearsal dinner. I believe etiquette states that the grooms family usually pays for alcohol . With only 37 people invited from the grooms family I can see why you wouldn’t want to pay that though . The dance-off is not a nice thing to pressure you into . I would never agree to that .You are basically in the company of strangers with the bride monopolizing the guest list.

I agree with the above. Are they not doing assigned seating for their guests? I would be assertive here and advise you will be happy to do the seating chart for your guests tables and ask where they are and what the set up is number wise per table. You do want to make sure they are all together in the same area. I haven't been to a wedding in years that did not have seating charts/assigned seating.

I would also politely decline the dance off. I would state I am looking forward to watching future DIL wow us with her amazing dance skills during the father/daughter dance and will enjoy it immensely. For the mother/son dance I prefer a more subdued dance that we are more comfortable with. Thank you for accepting our wishes.

The rest will or won't work itself out and you have a great attitude and are being accepting and kind. Enjoy the day and congratulations on the wedding.
 
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TwoMisfits

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
It seems to me the bride's family has done their part deferring to the groom's family on the rehearsal dinner b/c the groom's family is paying. So, both sides may be grumbling, but both sides are adapting.

I think your son and his bride will have a wonderful, wonderful marriage. It sounds like they have 2 different family types to draw on to make the best of both worlds in theirs. That's been the experience of my marriage, and it could not have been better.

So my final advice - please take a step back, don't take requests personally - they probably aren't personal (and just decline them politely), and decide to "go along to get along" this wedding.

PS - And we had no son/mom dance at my wedding b/c the mom didn't want one. And that was just fine and no one batted an eye. My dad/daughter dance was only one verse and then we had the wedding party join b/c they wanted to dance more than anyone else did (my dad also was not a spotlight lover)...
 

RUDisney

Mom to Ivan & Kristina
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Please accept my $.02 as a guest at a wedding with no assigned seating.

Typically, we are seated with my DH's mother, siblings and spouses. It's a nice night out for us and we can all help with MIL.

At the wedding of my DH's first cousin, it was open seating, and they had at least as many people as your DS. By the time we got into the room we couldn't sit together. One of my SIL's was the only one to sit with her mother. It was an extremely fabulous buffet, so my SIL had to get her mother's food and then get back in line for her own. She had to get her mother drinks (non-alcoholic) when she wanted them. She couldn't enjoy the wedding like if all of us were seated together and could help. They were across the room from us. We sat with cousins with whom we never see or hang out. It was fine, but it would have been more fun to have dinner with our close family, and less stressful for my SIL.

Reserve tables for your family and have your DS make sure that they are clustered together and that one of them is at the center of the activities.
 

tzolkin

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 3, 2008
The father-of-the-bride is working another 2 years past retirement to pay for the wedding.
I am extremely practical so this makes me cringe a bit. Imagine all the other things that could be done with that money that would have much more long term benefit. Even if we have extreme wealth when our kids are ready to marry, I just can't support spending a small fortune on a wedding. I certainly can't fathom going into debt, delaying retirement, or endangering our financial security as we age to pay for an unnecessarily elaborate wedding.

Who has a rehearsal dinner for 350 guests anyway? Do they need to practice eating? I thought rehearsal dinner was for the bridal/groom party and other important guests like parents, etc. The people involved in the ceremony.
Yes, that part seemed bizarre to me. Why would you want all of the guests at the rehearsal dinner? I always thought a rehearsal dinner was just for the people participating in the rehearsal (bridal party & immediate family)

The most lopsided one I saw was about 25/75 groom's guests to bride's guests
Ours was very lopsided. We had over 100 guests, but only 10 for my husband's side. The guests were basically all close family (I think we maybe had around 5 mutual friends there). I have large families on both my parent's sides, but my husband only has 11 people total in his family including himself.
 

mjkacmom

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2006
Yikes, I can’t imagine a wedding that large without assigned seating, and we didn’t have assigned seating. We only had about 75 guests, the venue was a historic mansion with seating on the large front porch, tables inside, and tables in the back garden in the large tent that covered the dance floor. We did reserve several of the tables for elderly guests and asked where they preferred to sit. Most of the younger crowd was on the dance floor.
 

ak517

Earning My Ears
Joined
Mar 2, 2021
With all of the wedding planning and guides out there, and how elaborate this wedding sounds, I am a little shocked that the bride-to-be thinks it's acceptable to have open seating for that many guests. I had 100 people at my wedding last August and would not have dreamed of letting it be open seating (my DH and I each have some small family tiffs on either side due to some tense relationships so I wanted to be extra mindful of that). Every single one of my guests was from out of town (we moved to Boston a week before the pandemic shut everything down), and our family and friends were coming in from all corners of the U.S. except for Boston. I would have loved to have a cocktail reception for everyone after the rehearsal dinner, but with a large wedding party (care of my DH) we already had 50 people at the rehearsal inclusive of party (18), their wedded or engaged partners, and immediate family. We had to make cuts. It helped that my DH and I paid for the vast majority of our wedding, so we (I) felt comfortable calling the shots and putting my foot down.

OP, I am so very sorry for the feelings you are feeling leading up to this. Money makes people a little extra cuckoo, and weddings even more so. From the details you've provided I believe you and your family have gone above and beyond in your commitments to your son for this occasion. I hope that on the days of the events you can know that you did what was within your control and you can let loose and have a little fun. For the parent-child dances, maybe you can suggest the dance battle leads into a combined father-daughter and mother-son slow dance, so you can at least get that time together. My DH and I did that because he didn't want parent dances at all and I knew my dad would be disappointed if we didn't do it, so I picked a song and lo and behold my MIL had it on her list as well.
 

Mackenzie Click-Mickelson

Chugging along the path of life
Joined
Oct 23, 2015
Ours was very lopsided. We had over 100 guests, but only 10 for my husband's side. The guests were basically all close family (I think we maybe had around 5 mutual friends there). I have large families on both my parent's sides, but my husband only has 11 people total in his family including himself.
I think we invited maybe 150 knowing there would be those who could not make it (like great great grandmother type situation) and ours was lopsided as well. Maybe 30+ for my side including family and friends. But I was only one side of a family and we're not a huge family even including my cousins. My husband had his mom's side, his dad's side and with that came his aunts and uncles and cousins, two sets of grandparents, etc. Mine was only 1 set.

In the end I want to say it was something like maybe 30+/80+.

There was 1 and only 1 guest (well her, her husband, and her daughter that was friends with my husband's sister) that my husband and I nixed that his mom wanted us to invite because while he knew her it was more like her daughter and my husband's sister were friends but not best friends and my husband's mom and her mom while friends not uber close friends. We didn't want to invite people just to invite people. In this case this person was a State Senator but I had only met her twice (once when I was voting lol).

On the other hand my mother-in-law tried to get us to uninvite/not invite to begin with her cousin whom she had a big falling out with. My husband wanted the cousin there and didn't appreciate his mom acting like a child about it (she would go on and on about how it would affect the wedding and you really don't want her there honey trust me kind of stuff).
 

Edna Cloud

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 15, 2017
We paid for the majority of our own wedding (clothes, flowers, transport, Church fees, invitations, honeymoon costs etc), which meant that we couldn’t have everything “money no object”, we had to prioritise and make some difficult choices.

However, my mother helped with the cost of the meal at the wedding reception. I felt that gave her a say in who should be invited and she had input into the meal choice etc. My husband’s family paid not a penny towards the wedding expenses but still presented a guest list as long as your arm. We did cut that back a bit because we were trying to keep it to close family and friends, but they still invited several people that we hardly knew and, I think, were determined not to like the day much because it wasn’t what they wanted. It didn’t matter; we made our vows, we celebrated and then we got on with the real business of building a marriage…
 

Boopuff

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 27, 2015
I'm still shocked that some families know 350 people to invite! But I digress. I'll never understand "free-for-all" seating at a wedding. I think it's very hurtful for close family to get shut out of "good seats' while drunken co-workers get the good seats. (and if I was a mere co-worker I would never presume to sit up front) Family should always get to sit near the bride/groom. That's why you have seating charts! To make sure the crazy cousins, co-workers, friends, neighbors are placed accordingly. Or if you must have festival seating, give family a heads up so they can grab seats before the cattle-call.
 

Disneybuckeye

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 24, 2010
I'm still shocked that some families know 350 people to invite! But I digress. I'll never understand "free-for-all" seating at a wedding. I think it's very hurtful for close family to get shut out of "good seats' while drunken co-workers get the good seats. (and if I was a mere co-worker I would never presume to sit up front) Family should always get to sit near the bride/groom. That's why you have seating charts! To make sure the crazy cousins, co-workers, friends, neighbors are placed accordingly. Or if you must have festival seating, give family a heads up so they can grab seats before the cattle-call.
Not only that, but how do you avoid having lots of odd seats left open all over the place. A family of three might end up at three different tables, or people are pulling over one or two chairs to an already full table so friends/family can sit together. I am perplexed they did not already reach out to you for assistance to help assign seating for your guests.
 

HopperFan

"It's a bug-eat-bug world out there, princess."
Joined
Sep 6, 2003
My son will be getting married next month. They are having 350 people at their ceremony and reception. Our side has around 10% of the guests. I've been asked if we want to do a seating arrangement for just our side or let it be open seating. I'm not sure that I am seeing all the pros and cons. Since we have 37 people, it might be nice for us all to gather at 4 tables (3 tables of 10, 1 table of 8) rather than try to fight for spots among the other 315 guests. What's annoying is that our guest list got cut by the bride and her family so I'm constantly feeling that I need to fight for representation in this wedding. That might be part of why I'm leaning towards reserving tables. WWYD?
I have not read responses but I would TOTALLY tell them you want to do seating for your family at the least and ask the tables be together so family can visit. DD got married end of 2020 (invited 250, due to COVID went down to 130) and even with a third of what you are having and assigned seating there were folks who went to another table to sit creating awkward situations crowding those that were assigned there (not our side because I took care is assigning). We worked hard at matching folks up and placing tables so folks could cross visit.

Every wedding I've gone to without assigned seating has been adult musical chairs trying to get a table with people we know. I've seen guests run ahead and try to hold a table for their gang. I've been to weddings where there isn't enough seating for all the guests so yeah, it's every man for himself. It's just an added stress, especially if you have a large wedding. Can you imagine your guests all being split up among 10 different tables because they were grabbed and there was a couple empty seats here and there. I just think it's disrespectful to host a wedding that large and put that on the guests who made an effort to attend. I know I've left feeling less than positive at weddings that did that to us.

My son went to a wedding free for all and unfortunately in their lack of planning the bride & groom didn't think about the elderly grandparents. My son and friend had chosen a table in back corner that was empty (they knew no one else there but groom) thinking it was the least desirable. Guess who ended up sitting with them - all the grandparents. He felt bad they were so discarded but he thoroughly enjoyed them and tried to make their evening fun too.
 








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