My maid-of-honor invited her parents without my permission
September 25, 2008 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Asking for desjardins: My maid-of-honor (MOH) invited her parents to the ceremony, which is fine since they can watch her young son, but she also asked if they could stay for the dinner, and share her hotel room (which I'm paying for). I reluctantly said OK, but I'm wondering if I should ask for recompense from the parents?

[This question is being posted for desjardins]

Other factors: She's been estranged from her parents for awhile and they've barely seen their grandson. This is one of their few opportunities since she lives 1000 miles away. They're picking her up from the airport, which means one less thing for me to do. They're also watching her son while she stands up in the ceremony and during the reception. He's 3, so there's a good chance he'll, um, act like a typical 3 year old.

We had a cancellation of 2 people for dinner, so her parents essentially take their spot. They're not really coming for the wedding; none of us get along and I haven't seen them in 15 years, so I wouldn't count on a gift from them. They're not going to know anyone else except my parents (barely). I think it's rude to ask to come, but my MOH phrased it as "Well, I guess they could take [son] to Burger King while we eat [really fancy] dinner." It was manipulative but it worked.

Am I wrong to be upset? Is there any tactful way to ask for recompense for either the dinner or the hotel room? (The dinner is $150/plate, the hotel room is $200). Should I just let the whole thing go and chalk it up as a gift to MOH (my gift was going to be paying for her dress and hotel room)?

I'll be unlikely to check Metafilter after 10 am CST on Saturday, so any further answers can be sent to
posted by salvia to Human Relations (27 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
...there is a reason why she is your maid of honor I assume. Frankly, I think it would be rude to do this to her of all people.

Ignore her parents and go about your way, this shouldnt be an issue honestly....

good luck
posted by TeachTheDead at 11:26 AM on September 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Let it go. You were paying for the hotel room anyway, and it sounds like you would have been paying for those plates at dinner, too.
posted by amarynth at 11:26 AM on September 25, 2008

Should I just let the whole thing go and chalk it up as a gift to MOH?

Yes. You were already paying for both the food and the room anyway.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:27 AM on September 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

It was a little rude and manipulative of your maid-of-honor to get her parents to come to your wedding. however, I think the gracious thing to do is to just pay for their plates and hotel room, without asking for additional compensation. Consider it your gift to the MOH, in that she can have fun at your wedding without worrying about her kid.
posted by sutel at 11:31 AM on September 25, 2008

Is there any tactful way to ask for recompense for either the dinner or the hotel room?

Absolutely not.
posted by Nelson at 11:31 AM on September 25, 2008 [11 favorites]

I think it's TERRIBLY rude of her to invite HER parents to not only YOUR wedding, but YOUR reception - what is she thinking??

Tell her that you did not invite them, and while they're welcome to stay with her in the hotel (because it will cost you the same either way), you intend to reduce your catering request by the 2 that cancelled, in order to save money.

It is not up to members of the wedding party to invite people to a wedding or reception, that is the job of the soon to be married couple ONLY.
posted by tristeza at 11:32 AM on September 25, 2008

Agreeing with "let it go." The two plates at dinner and hotel room were already part of your wedding budget, so you're not out any extra cash. Try to open your heart to these people by basking in the warmth of the extra love your wedding has brought about (grandparents getting to see grandchild) instead of worrying about whether you'll get a gift out of this or whether things are fair and even. Not trying to be harsh - it sounds like there's a history here with these people that's making this difficult - but maybe this is a good exercise in patience and understanding that you could try to see actually enhancing your wedding day rather than detracting from it.
posted by hazyjane at 11:35 AM on September 25, 2008 [4 favorites]

No, I would consider it bad form to ask for recompense. They may have been estranged, but perhaps your wedding will help them heal the wounds. She's your maid-of-honor, which I would assume is your closest friend.

If you didn't want to do it, you should have said no. I don't think it would be fair to say "ok" and then say "oh, by the way, could you reimburse me?"
posted by pokeedog at 11:38 AM on September 25, 2008

Okay... take a deep breath. Two weeks ago you were asking how you could give your MOH something to help her financially, even thought she would be reluctant to accept it. This is it. This is your gift. It allows her to maybe heal the rift between her and her parents, as well as letting her child get some time in with his grandparents.

You are stressed with the wedding. Maybe your judgment is a little clouded, and you don't like these people much. But just take a deep breath and let it go.
posted by kimdog at 11:40 AM on September 25, 2008 [15 favorites]

You've got plenty of other details to worry about, and you were paying for the food and room anyway. Let it go.

She's been estranged from her parents for awhile and they've barely seen their grandson. This is one of their few opportunities since she lives 1000 miles away.

"Well, I guess they could take [son] to Burger King while we eat [really fancy] dinner." It was manipulative but it worked.

Why do I suspect that your MOH is merely passing along the guilt trip received from the parents? With whom she will now be sharing a room? The parents coming to dinner is yes, ridiculous and awkward, but if the prospect of a free dinner is that damn important/keeps the peace with your MOH and her parents...well...just count your blessings.
posted by desuetude at 11:41 AM on September 25, 2008

Tell her that you did not invite them, and while they're welcome to stay with her in the hotel (because it will cost you the same either way), you intend to reduce your catering request by the 2 that cancelled, in order to save money.

I think that's a bad idea. A move like that isn't about saving money, it's a passive-aggressive exercise of power. Honestly, if I were your MOH, I would be pissed if you knew my parents were going to watch my kid during the ceremony (assuming that's happening on-site or in a town where they don't live) and you didn't invite them to the reception. She probably doesn't get to see a whole lot of them, seeing that they live so far away.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:41 AM on September 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

It is rude for her to have done that - but let it go. It's not going to affect you in any way, except that it will make your Maid of Honor happy. Raising a stink about something like this is how people end up holding grudges for decades. Don't ruin your wedding day over it.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:44 AM on September 25, 2008

OP here

OK, thanks everyone. I've really been losing perspective the past few weeks as the stress has built. There's been a few other minor dramas involving family members and this just got to me.

I fucking hate these people because of what they did to her as a child, but it's none of my business if they want to take some steps to reconcile, and more power to her if she can find it in her heart to forgive them. It'd probably be a good lesson to me.
posted by desjardins at 11:49 AM on September 25, 2008

I reluctantly said OK, but I'm wondering if I should ask for recompense from the parents?

You had your chance when this first was brought to your attention. The fact that you didn't does not allow you the opportunity to ask for money back after you've already agreed for your MOH's parents to be there. Your MOH was not looking for a free meal for her parents - she was looking for free child care so she could focus on you and your needs during the ceremony, reception and dinner. Rather than recognize what your MOH was doing, you instead focused on her parents. If this really bugged you, you should have offered to pay for a nanny or a sitter to watch the child during your wedding.

And you really need to let this go or else this is going to cause you to resent your MOH during your wedding day. You made your choice now stick with it and focus on your wedding day not your-MOH-parents-eating-dinner-that-i'm-paying-for day.
posted by Stynxno at 11:50 AM on September 25, 2008

Maybe a better gift would be a separate hotel room for them so she can escape...
posted by sondrialiac at 11:50 AM on September 25, 2008 [4 favorites]

First of all: yes, it sucks when other people invite people to your wedding. Especially when it makes you feel you're losing control over something as important to you as this wedding (I read your other questions with interest, as our weddings were rather close to each other in dates). I don't think you're not wrong to feel upset, but you would be wrong if you acted upon it like with the things you're considering now. Don't ask them to pay for the dinner or the room, for all of the reasons stated above.

Try to see this in a different light, as soon as possible (so you'll reduce further stress about it), see it as a chance to do something very nice for your MOH, her son and her parents. Don't expect something back for it. You might be pleasantly surprised, you might not be, but don't focus on it and don't count on anything - you'll only set yourself up for disappointment or some very awkward situations!

But whatever you do, try to enjoy the day as much as you can, try to relax. Some things will go different than you imagined. Don't let them ruin your day, focus on all the other things that will be going on around you!
posted by Ms. Next at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2008

Nthing let it go. Weddings are stressful, and the less you have to stress about (like a cranky MOH) the better. Based on my experience (four weddings (to the same woman!), three of them small and one of them big and fancy and with dinner and whatnot), the day is going to be kind of a blur. You may not remember even talking to half the people at your reception, so with any luck, you won't even notice the parents.

Take a deep breath, keep in mind that pretty much no one else will notice if the centerpieces are a little off-center, or the Champagne toast started fifteen minutes late, or whatever. You're going to be gorgeous, and you get to marry your love, and that's the stuff to keep your eye on. Congrats!
posted by rtha at 12:11 PM on September 25, 2008

I remember being very annoyed when people were invited to our wedding by others (i.e. other than my wife and I), even though our wedding was not an extremely formal affair.

When the day arrived, I had way too many things on my mind to care in the slightest about who was there down to the last person. I saw all the people I wanted to see, and there were so many of them that I don't think I even noticed the uninvited crew (maybe 10 out of 150). One of them made a gesture that, though it didn't register at the time, ended up really sticking with me. That may not happen in this case, but it seems pretty unlikely you'll regret letting this slide (and that you may well regret making an issue out of it).
posted by louigi at 12:26 PM on September 25, 2008

Are you wrong to be upset? No.

Do you ask for recompense? No.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:57 PM on September 25, 2008

I think it's rude to ask to come, but my MOH phrased it as "Well, I guess they could take [son] to Burger King while we eat [really fancy] dinner." It was manipulative but it worked.

This may be one of those cases where the bride doesn't really realize what a tough position the women in her party are going through to support her at her wedding. Your friend is newly divorced and flying to your wedding on her own dime (and, it sounds like, paying twice the airfare so her child can come as well). She doesn't get along with her parents and apparently has had a difficult time with them in the past, but is desperate enough for child care (because obviously she needs something to do with the child while she is walking down the aisle with the wedding party or making a toast at the reception, etc.) that it looks like she has asked these folks for help, and for some reason (maybe out of a desire to see their grandchild) they have agreed. Your MoH may actually have a pretty tough weekend in front of her asking her parents for the favor of watching her kid all day and then sharing a room with them at night, all the while possibly spending more money on last minute extras like the stockings she forgot to pack that she can't afford, and possibly also dealing with the pain of being at someone else's wedding when the results of her own wedding have recently busted up into a million pieces. This sort of situation is precisely why some people go through the expense of arranging for on-site child care at the wedding site. (I did not.)

If you can, my advice would be to not just pay these expenses without pushing the issue, but also try to remember to ask your MoH how she is doing on the day of the wedding and how things are going with her parents, and if she needs anything. Anything you ask the parents for is going to get back to your MoH to cause trouble for her, and don't put her through that. I think it would be good to be as gracious as you can to her parents, and as supportive to your friend as possible. Life can be really tough out there for single moms, and it sounds like your friend is still getting her bearings. I think she would not have asked you for these things unless she really needed them
posted by onlyconnect at 1:12 PM on September 25, 2008 [13 favorites]

It might come in handy for someone other than the MOH to be watching the son at dinner, surely your MOH will still have things to do pertaining to your wedding at this point. If you are sitting with the rest of your wedding party, have the parents and the 3 year old (who will probably have not stopped acting like a three year old just because he´s at a formal dinner and not the wedding ceremony) sit at any out of the way table where they will have ¨more time to enjoy their lovely grandchild¨ and ¨he won´t be overstimulated¨.

On the hotel room: Were you planning to keep tabs on whether the MOH invited anyone else into her hotel room, and ask them to pay? Why would her parents being in the room make a difference in this case? It´s not as though you would be saving any money if they were not there.
posted by yohko at 1:17 PM on September 25, 2008

Not to pile on, but paying for her dress and hotel room is not a "gift." It's compensation for expenses she's incurring in order to do you the honor/favor of standing up for you. If you want to get her a gift, get her something that benefits her, not something that helps her to help you.

It sounds as though your friend has had a really difficult time lately, and anything you can do to make things easier for her is great. That includes helping her to secure childcare, and possibly helping her to make up with her parents. That's just part of being a good friend.

Then, in addition, get her a real present to thank her for being in your bridal party.
posted by decathecting at 1:42 PM on September 25, 2008 [4 favorites]

Another thing to remember is that if you refuse to cover the hotel and dinner all that will happen in reality is that your MOH will end up paying for it. She won't tell her parents and she certainly won't get them to pay. Or worse yet, it'll cause a huge fight with her parents and she'll be out of a babysitter and you and her will either have to find one last minute or enlist an unlucky guest to watch the kid. And really they are coming to watch her kid while she is in a wedding for someone they also know, it'll be painfully awkward if they are not invited. Really you may not like the people, but their presence will probably end up being very convenient for the both of you.
posted by whoaali at 2:01 PM on September 25, 2008

Nthing everything everyone else has said. You want her to be your MOH, and she obviously wants to be a fantastic MOH for you - and that means finding someone she trusts to look after her kid so she can concentrate on being there for you.

And it's possibly an opportunity for her to reconnect with her parents (which if that's what she wants, is a good thing - bad timing for you, but good nonetheless).

It means that she'll be able to walk down the aisle and stand next to you without having to worry about her 3 year old. It means that she'll be able to sit on the top table with you, and do her speech without interruptions. It means that she'll be there at the end of the reception, dancing to ABBA with you, like you used to do when you were first friends years ago (okay, I'm making that bit up - substitute appropriate music!).

Yeah, it's a bit cheeky, but they're not taking anyone else's places, and you don't have to talk to them. And it means that your best friend can really be there for you on your wedding day with less stress. Which should be worth the price of 2 dinners.

Hope you have a beautiful day!
posted by finding.perdita at 3:22 PM on September 25, 2008

It's your day your families and your friends. Unfortunately, people we love come with baggage. If you want your MOH, you'll need to endure her parents being at your wedding for a few hours.

You know, it'll probably be a lesson to her parents about the value of their child. You're willing to support her - through thick, thin and asshat parents.

Onward to the important things. Best wishes for a lifetime of happiness.
posted by 26.2 at 5:00 PM on September 25, 2008

I may be a cheese standing alone here but I think this is incredibly rude. I think you're doing more than enough service paying for her dress and her hotel room. Honestly, it's not across the board etiquette that brides automatically pay for maid of honor/bridesmaid dresses. And now I think she's basically using your wedding as an excuse to (possibly after a well placed guilt trip) bring her parents and her kid together. It's not imperative that her parents come - they don't know you that well, you don't get along that well - the only reason they're coming is to see their grandson. And that's very nice, but it doesn't have to involve your wedding, nor does it give you any obligations to them at all. It doesn't cost that much to hire a nanny for an afternoon to watch a 3 year old. At any rate it certainly is something that should have been thought about long beforehand, when she agreed to be maid of honor.

I'm not saying that you need to take any action against her - you have far better things to spend your time and energy on. But I just want to assure you that others would definitely feel wronged.
posted by dithmer at 8:24 PM on September 25, 2008

You picked a broke, out-of-town maid of honor with a toddler. These sort of complications come with the territory. Ride it out and don't make waves. It's easier to eat the cost (which you already have) than to fret about it.
posted by Scram at 5:23 AM on September 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

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