Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dear ESB: Pls tell me I can cancel the rehearsal dinner

My fiance's parents have been divorced for about 6 years. Things ended very badly, fiance doesn't really know the details of the situation. Both parents are remarried - I love both his parents and their spouses. FMIL has moved past the divorce emotionally and has no problem seeing FFIL. The problem is that FFIL is still hung up on the divorce and has told fiance that he can never see FMIL again (which we both think is bullshit), even threatening that he will have another stroke if he does (potential stroke = trump card). Fiance and I have talked with FFIL and he had agreed to come to our wedding even though FMIL will be there. FFIL is going to pay for the rehearsal dinner, but has told us that FMIL cannot come while he is there. 

So, we are left with 3 choices: (1) Wait until FFIL leaves so FMIL can catch the tail end of the rehearsal dinner [which is bullshit in my opinion] (2) tell FFIL that we will pay for the rehearsal dinner and invite both sets of parents [FMIL will come, FFIL will NOT come] or (3) Fuck the rehearsal dinner altogether (in my experience, rehearsal dinners have been stressful and pretty lame). What exactly is the point of a rehearsal dinner? If we nix it, will we miss out something? Thanks for reading - I do appreciate it.

- Please-tell-me-I-can-cancel-the-rehearsal-dinner


Shitbags. Just cancel it.

Ideally, a rehearsal dinner facilitates bonding btwn family members, members of the bridal party, etc, who have never met. But in this case? Yeah, srsly, just cancel that shit and go out for drinks with your friends.



  1. ESB is 100% correct here. Do a private rehearsal (if you feel it's needed) and go out and do something fun after.

  2. they don't do rehearsal dinners here in the UK, and no one misses out on anything! :)

  3. Agree with esb.

    He is clearly trying to manipulate. Why let him? This is about you and your FH, not about giving him a venue to act-out his childish issues.

    Deflate his intention from the get-go by doing your own thing.

    I bet you a quarter when he finds out that you're nixing the rehearsal dinner, he'll change his tune. Not that you give a shit about his tune to begin with.

  4. Anon 2 says what I was going to say.

    I've been to lots of weddings and no rehearsal dinners and it's never been a problem.

    We had supper with our respective families the night before our wedding, which we both really enjoyed.

  5. I say option 2. If he's going to be that childish HE should be the or that misses out, not you, not your fmil

  6. in line with Anonymous at 6:14 a.m., we also don't have rehearsal dinners here in Germany... nobody misses them. If you prefer that some of the guests get a chance to meet and bond before the day of the wedding, a super-informal get-together might be perfect.

  7. Sounds like you don't feel the need to have a rehearsal dinner. It's not a requirement for a wedding. You don't need to deal with extra stress right before your wedding. You have enough other stuff to deal with.

    Just cancel it. Done.

    p.s. The stroke card is about the lamest lying manipulative bullshit I've ever heard. Dude needs to understand that his son's wedding IS NOT ABOUT HIM. A decent human being can be in the same freakin' room with his son's mother for his son's freakin' wedding. I mean, I don't care how messy the divorce was, there are consequences to having a child with someone (that doesn't include getting to use them as a pawn in your own personal psychodrama). If he's going to throw a tantrum he doesn't get to go to the party and that's his problem. Some parents need to grow the fuck up.

  8. I'd have a picnic the day before, wholly casual, lunchtime, outside. Then those who want to come can do so. Those who do not, don't have to.

  9. This is super tricky. For us, the bad feelings are with the fil and the mil's new* husband, new* in that they've been married for twenty five years, so my husband's parents were divorced more than twenty five years ago and there are still hurt feelings. Fil and Mil both came to the rehearsal, but Mil kindly left before the dinner portion of the evening, and Fil and Mil's husband were kept far apart from each other during the actual wedding.

  10. Don't have a rehearsal dinner. Go out for sushi and fun drinks with your friends. Or just to a bar. Either way, don't have a rehearsal dinner with that dickwad.

    Oh and f that noise about the stroke.

  11. I'd skip it if it's causing you stress.

    I always like rehearsal dinners, though (whether they are super casual or more formal). I think it's a nice experience for family and out-of-town guests to spend more time together - often in a more relaxing environment. Honestly, I've been to a few weddings where it was MORE fun than the wedding.

  12. the stroke line is BULLSHIT. for reals. [i know you know, but just saying. i don't think is a trump card. it a selfish crazy card.]

  13. I was MOH in my BFF's wedding and her divorced parents had the same attitude. Canceling wasn't an option...parents on both sides flipped. So...she had two full wedding rehearsals and two full wedding rehearsal dinners. She told her mom that "her" rehearsal was the only one and told her dad that "his" rehearsal was the only one...and the bridal party didn't say anything...all of this to say: if you can cancel it DO IT!!

  14. The drinks with friends is imperative.

    Rehearsal dinner + manipulation is shitty.

    I think we have a clear winner.

  15. I would tell him that if he is going to host one he can't ban FMIL.

    I personally wouldn't cut the Rehearsal Dinner... I just got married (on Halloween) and my in-laws hosted a really nice dinner, and it was awesome.
    We got to do a lot more talking with our out of towners and friends than we did at our wedding.

    If you have to host it yourself, just do Pizza or something cheap... You might not miss it, but I was glad to have one.

  16. Bail + Alcohol. Seriously.

  17. @Anon 11:26

    It may have been awesome for you, but it sounds like your in-laws are reasonable people. I was super stressed leading up to my Rehearsal Dinner, hoping that my FIL wouldn't do something insane when he gave his toast, like insult his former wife or my husband (both of those could have definitely happened). So I held my breath, he was fine (a little bit too much God in the toast, but that was the least of my worries). And then, yes, we went to a bar and got drunk with our friends.

    Cancel it and don't look back. I only hope your FFIL will behave himself at the wedding. Good luck.

  18. Listen to the lady (and your gut). In Britain we don't do rehearsal dinners and I hope that doesn't change, from what I hear they can often outshine the wedding day, which is criminal in my opinion ha