Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Guest List

The guest list has been an ongoing fight, nearly from day one. We are less than six weeks from the wedding and the fight is ever ongoing. I honestly believe it will continue to be a topic of conversation and argument until the wedding day, with my luck it will continue even after the wedding. I have always envisioned my wedding as a very small and private affair. Never considered having the big blow out party that so many people have these days. I never imagined a sit down meal, never imagined a DJ with dancing, never considered having a bar. Not that I don't have fun when I go to weddings with these features, it's just not something I ever really wanted. Jerry, on the other hand, wants a huge party. Lots of drinking, eating, and dancing. Obviously, we had to draw the line somewhere and we had to try and accommodate both of our wishes. We spent many nights laying in bed throwing out numbers and hashing out what was a fair compromise on both ends. I agreed to the dinner, DJ, and bar....he agreed to cut the amount of people invited. We finally had a reasonable number and started planning from this number. Everything you do when planning a wedding depends on the number of guests you have. Table decorations, invitations, cake, food, favors, etc. The list really goes on and on.

As we started to make our guest list we quickly learned how large our families are. The list was nearly full on family alone. This suited me and Jerry agreed to add only a small handful of our friends to the list. We passed this information along to our parents, to keep them informed of our plans. My family took the news in stride but the future MIL did not. She and my FIL had a very large wedding and as they told us, "we have a large number of friends who we will be inviting". Jerry and I discussed this in private and both agreed to stick to our original plan. After all, it was our wedding and we should do what we wanted. Jerry called his folks and told them this news, of course they were not satisfied. Mainly the MIL was not happy with our decision. Remember when I told you Jerry had not "grown a set"...well this again comes into play. His mother is quite the manipulator and eventually had Jerry on her side working against me. I was growing tired of the fight and agreed to allow additional people to the list.

Weeks passed and the planning went on. As the costs started adding up, Jerry began to ask questions and wanted to know why everything was so pricey. I explained how the number of people we invite increased the total cost on nearly everything. He did not like this as we are paying for almost everything on our own. He began to see just how expensive the wedding was going to become. As such, he pulled me aside and said he was going to have his parents cut down their friends list. See, my family is extremely large, and my parents only added 4 friends. Jerry's parents had a larger list of friends than family. So after some discussion, we set the number for them to remove from the list.

Once again, he is on the phone with the MIL who, from two rooms away, I can hear screaming at him. She is insane with anger. She calls us anti-social, stubborn, spoiled...several different names. Now, I am 30 years old and Jerry is 29 so we are not children. I'm not even a young bride who is "trying" to be a pain or rebel. I simply want what I want and since Jerry and I are paying for it, we want it to be a special day for us. Anyway, the names are flying and she informs him that, "the wedding is not even fun anymore" and proceeds to hang up on him. We laugh it off and carry on with our plans. Days later, Jerry's father calls to "discuss" this change with him. It is obvious the MIL has had words with FIL and FIL gets roped into calling Jerry to push MIL's wants. Anyway, FIL tells Jerry that we WILL do what THEY want because THEY have to show the people of the small town where they live a good time. Jerry does not want to fight with FIL but does try and explain that is is OUR money paying for this and its not what WE want. I listen from the sidelines as the argument goes in circles. The FIL offers to pay for the extra costs and we say no. Jerry and I like having control over what our day will be and with that comes the responsibility of footing the bill. Conversation ends with nothing resolved.

I get angry and say ultimately it is our decision, we are the ones sending the invites so tell them to get us the address of all they want to invite and we will simply cut it down ourselves. Jerry understands this is not the adult way or the right way to handle the situation and agrees to force the issue with them to resolve the dispute. I sit on the sidelines while 2 more phone conversations take place. Both of these involve Jerry talking with the MIL and FIL together. The MIL even wants to come to our home, which is two hours from them, so we can talk about it in person. I am so red with rage at this point and Jerry realizes a personal visit would NOT be a good decision on his part. He avoids the topic and tries to keep arguing his case. Again, it becomes a circular conversation. Bamboo and I don't want this....why....because we don't....well that's not a reason...well we don't have to tell you more than this....yes you do. On and on it goes. Finally on at the end of the 4th call about this, nothing is resolved and the conversation is about to end. I completely lose my mind. I run, pick up the second phone and completely blow up at my future in-laws. I have been sitting back, biting my tongue since day one and now I am so angry I unleash weeks of frustration and anger in 30 minutes. I try and be nice initially and explain how it is not our wishes to have a big wedding. They don't hear it. I then explain how my wishes were to have no reception at all, they still don't hear it. Finally, I have to get rude and basically tell them, "we are paying for it, this is the way it is, I'm sorry if you don't like it but it's not your choice".

Well, there is a catch to all of this. See, the in-laws are paying for part of the wedding. We decided a catered meal was going to be too expensive for us and we let them know we weren't going to do it. We decided to have small sandwich trays and finger foods instead. They would not have it and insisted on paying for catering. By doing this MIL thinks they are paying for the MAJORITY of the wedding costs. In reality they aren't even paying for a quarter of what it is costing us to have this wedding. So MIL tells me we will do what they want since they are paying for it. I explain to MIL how they are paying for a small part, which was their choice to do as we did not ask for it nor want it. She gets even hotter with anger to hear me say this. I explain how I would be happy to show them the bills for all the other costs of the wedding to prove this but she won't hear it. In the end, we have a shouting match and I win....or so I thought.

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