Rehearsal Party/Dinner Etiquette When Groom’s Parents Are Divorced


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My son and his fiance are getting married this summer(August). I (mother of groom) don’t live in the same city as he and his fiance do and also his Dad and his girlfriend.

His Dad and his partner see my son much more than I do because they are in the same city. She is a lovely lady and liked by both my children and she is kind to both of them. The other day I asked my DIL how wedding plans were coming and then mentioned that we should start making some plans for the rehearsal party. To which I was politely told Oh, that’s all taken care of….groom’s father and his girlfriend already have arranged everything. I was shocked and hurt that this was all done without even mentioning anything to me. I am still very much a part of my son’s life and don’t feel I should have been cut out of this, having my ex husband and his girlfriend take over all the planning of this special event when I am his mother and very much want to be involved. I (and my current husband) had been looking forward to co-hosting this event and enjoying the planning of it with my son and DIL together with his father.

I asked my son to mention to his father that my husband and I would like to be involved in the planning of this and feel that we should have at least been considered before they went ahead and arranged everything. My ex husband called me yesterday and raked me over the coals and insinuated that if I was so interested I should have done this ages ago, and my lack of even mentioning this before this point in time indicated that I had no interest. The wedding is still 7 months away and it was just 6 weeks ago that their reception details were finalized. I certainly didn’t think the rehearsal party/dinner plans needed to be made before this date, and felt 7 months ahead was lots of time to start looking at venues and the type of event. Ex husband and his girlfriend have already booked a private room at a restaurant and chosen a meal.

I don’t want to cause more stress for my son and DIL but I really would like to co-host this and be involved in helping to plan this one traditional wedding event for my only son.I now feel that my ex husband’s girlfriend has taken over the role I was looking forward to having in my son’s wedding. I don’t want to just contribute by paying half the cost of something I had no involvement in, and I really am not comfortable with my husband’s partner assuming my role in this and me just being “there”. ( FYI – my ex husband did not ask me to contribute financially, that isn’t what I am upset about. He and his girlfriend just went ahead and arranged everything without even so much as a call to me to see what my thoughts were.
I was “planning” to be shouldering half the cost of this along with half the planning, or if he didn’t want to be involved I would have looked after it and paid for it. But now I don’t want to just give him $$ to lighten his financial burden when he didn’t even consider me in the planning.

Do I make the suggestion that we look at hosting it somewhere else and making the decisions together ( I know him and he will just refuse to be involved if that happens)or just show up as a guest instead of being allowed to assume the role that is mine, and having my husband and his girlfriend hosting this , and me having to ASK her about the plans ? My ex husband is definitely not someone who is detail oriented. When I spoke to him he was extremely nasty and brought up a whole lot of uncalled for past history between us that had no place in this conversation. It seems that I am in a very difficult situation and will be viewed as the “Bad” guy here. Had he done what I feel should have been done and included me in the decision making before they went ahead, all of this unpleasantness could have been avoided. In my head I had envisioned that my husband and I would have had several conversations with my ex-husband and his girlfriend and together would have made a decision about this and together hosted it.

Any suggestions or advice that anyone can give me would be most appreciated.

Donna, Wedding Queen

What does your son say about all of this?

These days, the roles are not so clear cut.

I’d just allow your ex to handle it and foot the bill, making certain your son knows that you wanted to participate but don’t want to make waves now that his dad has things covered.