Help me with a couple of wedding etiquette questions please

Ok, here’s the deal. I’m supposed to be getting married in October (although the way he’s been acting lately, that might not happen), but I’m going ahead with my questions anyway :).

I am 31 and both of my parents have passed away. They left me some money and I plan to use some of it to pay for the wedding. My fiance has no money and doesn’t want to ask his mother for any for the wedding. Do you think it would be rude for me to ask her to contribute?

Secondly, we will be on a pretty tight budget with most of the money going towards catering. I don’t want an open bar, the fiance does. I want to compromise and just have an open wine and beer bar and have people pay for spirits (our friends and family drink like fish so this would be a HUGE chunk of money to have an open bar). I just don’t think we can afford it but he is insisting. WWYD?

Thirdly, I’m not a girly girl. This is going to be a pretty casual wedding. I don’t often wear dresses and really want to be comfortable on my wedding day. Would it be totally out there to wear a pantsuit to my wedding and does anyone have any online resources where I can find a suitable suit or at least the idea of what I could wear? It will be hot here in October (I live in the Caribbean). All the ones I’ve seen online are for the mother of the bride and are all old looking.

Thanks for your help :slight_smile:

I advise against it. I think it would get your relationship with your mother-in-law off to a very chilly start.

IMHO, people in their thirties who get married should not expect their parents to pay wedding expenses. Maybe that has changed in recent times, though. I got married 25 years ago, and I know that etiquette has undergone quite a few revisions in recent times.

INHO, it would be rude for you to ask his mother to contribute. However. . .it would be perfectly reasonable for you to tell him that if he insists on an open bar, he needs to come up with the funding for it, whether he asks his parents for the money or whatever. As to having a beer and wine bar, and a cash bar for hard stuff, well, to me, that just seems a little tacky. If you’re not going to provide the hard stuff, just don’t serve it at all. Or you could provide a couple bottles of (fairly) inexpensive popular mixing liquors (Bourbon and Rum, maybe), and when that’s gone, it’s gone.

As for the clothes, I say if it’s casual and you want a pantsuit, go for it. Personally, I think I’d be more likely to go for a flowy (but not billowy, frou frou) dress in some very lightweight fabric like muslin; maybe with some lacy trim. I don’t know where you’d find such a thing, but probably not in a bridal shop.

Good luck!

My opinions only, so take ‘em with a grain of salt.
Yes, I think it would be rude at ask the groom’s mother for money. Hopefully she will offer. If you don’t have money to pay for a big catered meal, have a tea-dance party instead, between the hours of 1 and 5pm.
Hold your ground on having a dry wedding. Alcohol is expensive and (from listening to the complains of my friends) the bar staff will open and charge for your as many bottles as they possibly can.
Pants? I’ve never seen it done. Can you find a simple skirted suit to wear? Still, comfort is a important point. I have a friend whose primary wedding memory is an ill-fitting bodice. Whatever outfit you get, wear all of it together at least once before the Day.
Congratulations and Good Luck!

It’s perfectly appropriate to just serve beer and wine. If you ask me, cash bars are always tacky, but there’s no reason you have to serve liquor. You don’t have to serve any alcohol if you don’t want to, but open beer and wine is a perfectly decent compromise and one I’ve seen often.

I’ve seen a lot of very nice trim white “older bride” suits, but they’re mostly sort of wintry - heavy silk satin, that sort of thing. One dosen’t want sweat stains. Personally I’d go for cool casual linen, which I’d think in the Carribean there’d be alot of choices in a lot of different styles in.

depending on your relationship with your MIL, i’d say you can 1.) come right out and ask for a financial contribution; 2.) be passive agressive and mention in passing the financial strain this has put on you; or 3.) MAKE your fiance ask.

as far as the drinks go, i’ve decided to have an open bar with hours d’hourvres in lieu of dinner. i’m hoping it will balance things out.

also, ive decided that i’m wearing black at my wedding and no one can stop me! you wanna wear a thong and pasties, it’s your god-given-right to do so! :wink:

I’m with most of the others here. Asking you MIL directly is a bad idea. Cash bars at a wedding are tacky. You can cut down what you serve to anything you you want however. Just wine and beer are fine.

That could certainly help pay for the reception.

Personally, I think it’s kinda lousy that your fiance wants you to pay for the wedding, to pay nothing himself, and wants it to be an expensive wedding at that. But maybe it’s just me.

Of course, it would be terribly rude for you to ask your MIL for money.

Wear whatever you want. It’s your day. Plus, you’re footing the bill.

Thank you all for your input. I have been thinking that it might be better to go with an open bar and snacky type foods instead of a big sit-down dinner. It will be impossible to have just a beer and wine bar as the venue is a bar/restaurant and I doubt they’d put away all their liquor just for lil old me :). Besides, I think our friends will appreciate an open bar more than they’ll appreciate food…lol. As for my fiance not contributing, that actually came out sounding worse than it is. He will be contributing, he just doesn’t have any money saved and will be paying for small things as they come up kinda thing but the bulk of the budget will be coming from my money. I will mention to my MIL that it’s going to be expensive in the hopes she’ll offer, after all she did give both her daughters quite a bit for their weddings, I just don’t want her to decide that if she gives money she has any say in how the wedding goes, so I’m going to keep that one under advisement for now. As for what to wear, the thong and pasties sound like a great idea, but unfortunately I don’t have a 18 yo body anymore and doubt anyone would like to see me in those (apart from fiance, but he’s biased LOL).

It sounds to me like you and your fiance need to have a major talk about expectations, both for the wedding and for your marriage.

I’m probably getting married in jeans, you can wear pants if you want to. :slight_smile:

I’m going to agree with essentially everybody else :

-Don’t ask your MIL money. That’s your fiance’s job.

-Don’t make people pay for their drinks, but you’re under no obligation to have hard liquors served.

-Wear whatever you want (and preferably is legal to wear in public in your area) at your own marriage.

FWIW, in my neck of the woods it’s very common for the bride’s family to pay for the wedding while the groom’s family pays for the bar. Perhaps in recognition of the fact that the groom and his drinking budd…I mean, groomsmen are going to suck down half the tab. :wink:

Honestly, it doesn’t hurt to ask, plenty of places will do that for a catered gig as long as the bar is exclusively used for your party (as in, it will be closed to other customers for that evening). You might also want to ask them to give you quotes for on consumption (you are billed for each drink consumed, the bartender keeps a tally) as opposed to per hour (a charge per person per hour, regardless of how much or how little people drink). Most catering facilities are set up to bill either way, while a private restaurant might only be willing/able to bill one way, but again, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Beer and wine only per hour will be less than a full bar per hour. My basic rule is that if you expect your crowd to be light drinkers, then on consumption tends to be the better deal. HOWEVER, and I used to do this for a living, many people who are usually light drinkers will drink a bit more at a wedding, so your crowd might be heavier drinking than you would expect.

If you’re going to go for the appetizers/drinks thing, you need to have an early afternoon wedding. You can’t have people at a social function at mealtime without having an actual meal for them. And if things run from, say, 1p-5p, people are less likely to get rip-roaring stinking drunk. That’s safer for them and cheaper for you.

I think it would be rude to ask your MIL to contribute. If she wants to, she will offer. You could try getting your fiance to hint though.

I think you can get away with a cash bar, but some of your guests will probably bitch about it.

It’s your wedding, you can wear what you like!

Enough’s been suggested about the other stuff, so I’ll relate my thoughts about the outfit - may I suggest a clingy sleeveless top over some straight or wide-legged trouser style pants? Simple and stylish. No need to wear a white business suit, or a skirt if you don’t usually wear them. No one who cares about you is likely to complain about you being yourself on your wedding day!

I have to agree with the other posters - I think it would be rude for you to approach your mother-in-law-to-be for money for the wedding.

Regarding the open bar, if you’re on a budget, beer and wine would be best. But if your fiance must have the hard stuff, is there any way you could supply that yourselves? Perhaps you could check with your venue or caterer and ask? It’d probably be lots cheaper.

And as for the pantsuit - be comfortable. Wear a pantsuit, wear a dress - it’s your wedding.

As an alternative, have a morning wedding, with a champagne/sparkling wine breakfast - serve Bellinis (orange juice with champange) to spread the cost, and people will not even expect the hard drinks.

This means you can be a little less formal as well, so your white suit/trouser outfit should be less obvious as well. But it is your day, wear what makes you feel comfortable.

I suggest a light, pretty salwar kameez for the wedding if you want something that would be dressy + comfortable + pantsy.