Annie's Mailbox: Fed-Up Daughter-in-Law
Dear Annie: My son lives in California and is going to marry a local girl in the fall. Our entire family lives in the Midwest. My husband and I, along with our daughter's family, will attend. But I know it is far too expensive for any of my relatives to be there.
Should they receive invitations even though we know they can't come? I don't want it to seem like a gift grab. Do I have a "meet the bride and groom" party in our hometown after the wedding? What is the proper procedure?
I have another question, too. My husband and I are retired, but are giving our son and future daughter-in-law a large sum of money to help with wedding costs. As the parents of the groom, we will pay for the rehearsal dinner, but what about the rest? What are our responsibilities when it comes to out-of-state guests? -- Don't Want To Get Another Job
Dear Don't Want: If these are close relatives, they probably would be hurt or offended to be excluded. Please invite them. They may wish to send a gift whether they attend or not. But you can skip more distant acquaintances, such as business associates or people you rarely contact. And should you decide to have an informal reception of your own after the wedding, that would be lovely and much appreciated.
As for expenses, your son should be covering most of them without your assistance. These days, most couples split the costs, perhaps with help from their parents. Traditionally, the groom or his parents would be responsible for his attendants' accommodations, along with the officiant's fee and travel costs. Other out-of-town guests, however, are on their own. They should be given information about available hotels in the area, and you can supply a gift basket to each room so the guests have something to nibble on should they arrive too late to find an open restaurant. (Some hosts provide a hospitality suite or include all out-of-towners at the rehearsal dinner, but this is optional and certainly not a requirement.) Our congratulations on your upcoming special event.
Dear Annie: I want to respond to the letters you've printed about relationships between mothers-in-law and their son's wives.
When I first married my husband, my MIL was great -- shopping, vacations and activities with the grandchildren. When her parents experienced health problems, I helped care for them, including trips to the ER in the middle of the night, checking in on them daily and managing their health care needs for 15 years. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law continued her traveling and active social life.
When her parents died, they left me an inheritance that ticked off my MIL. (Mind you, had she paid someone for the care I was giving, there would have been no money left.) My MIL never calls anymore, and I only see her on holidays, and she barely acknowledges me. She has given her daughter a trip to Europe and her other son a home makeover, but my husband receives nothing. I am cordial and polite, but things will never be the same. -- Fed-Up Daughter-in-Law
Dear Fed Up: You became the daughter her parents needed. When you were rewarded, it underscored her guilt, and that made her angry. We're so sorry.
This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.