Alternative birthday arrangements

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Here we go again.

My mum is 80 in a few days time, and we have a celebration planned; by celebration, I mean that I've hired a function room in a restaurant/hotel, with a special menu and a drinks package paid-on. The cake is bought and paid for. There is also entertainment in the afternoon, and a light buffet in the evening. The family and two of mum's best friends plus partners have been invited to the meal, and additional friends to the afternoon 'do' and buffet. My mum's two sisters are away for her actual birthday, and my mum didn't want any celebrations without them, so this has been arranged for roughly two weeks after her actual birthday, to give them time to get home and to get over the jet-lag. My mum knows about the family meal, and that we're doing 'something' afterwards, but not the whole deal.

Last week my cousin got in touch and asked what was happening for my mum's actual birthday. I said that we were having a quiet lunch together, but the main celebrations for everyone were two weeks later. My cousin said that she didn't understand the timings, so I explained that it was so the sisters could be there, one of which is her mum! My cousin said that she'd like to take mum out on the Sunday before her birthday, which I agreed would be lovely and that mum would enjoy it.

I've now got people texting to say that it will be good to see me on Sunday. My cousin has booked a table at a local (and not very nice) pub and his invited all her side of the family on a 'pay your own way' basis; it appears that people are assuming that this is replacing the previous arrangement, and when I've said that it isn't, I'm either not getting a reply, or people are saying sorry, but thought it was, and because it's so close to Christmas, we made alternative plans now. At a rough count, we're looking at 26 people.

How the hell do I salvage this?
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Comments

  • Out,_Vile_Jelly
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    Firstly, what does your mum actually want?

    Then just contact all the people your cousin invited explaining clearly but politely (with no comment on the cousin's choice of venue) that the original plan is still going ahead, and the date was chosen to allow her sisters to attend. They are welcome to attend both.

    The important thing is that the birthday girl has a good time and sees all the family.
    They are an EYESORES!!!!
  • JayJay100
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    Mum wants a family do, with everyone there, including her sisters. Realistically, I can't see a way of achieving that now.

    I've messaged everyone asking if they can still make the original date, as I need to finalise numbers. I've made no reference to pub do at all; I've not been invited to that. First three replies are all no shows.
  • Red-Squirrel_2
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    Is there an issue with your cousin and her mum that means she doesn't want to be at the same celebration? Otherwise it seems odd to basically hijack your mum and sabotage your planned do.

    What does your mum want to do?
  • chesky
    chesky Posts: 1,341 Forumite
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    Was your cousin not invited to the original event? If she was, I don't see how she could misunderstood the purpose.
  • oystercatcher
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    Sometimes you can't get everyone together . I had three birthday meals this year , three times the fun in my view. If your mum is happy to go to both events then let her enjoy them both, as long as her sisters and a few other people are at the party you are organising it should still go well.
    Decluttering, 20 mins / day Jan 2024 2/2 
  • Gilead
    Gilead Posts: 90 Forumite
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    Tell your mum what happened and see how she wants to proceed. Personally, I would tell the cousin you thought it was a meal for the two of them and it has evolved into another party which is not wanted. Either they fix it or it isn't happening.
  • chesky
    chesky Posts: 1,341 Forumite
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    If your mum is happy to go to both events then let her enjoy them both, as long as her sisters and a few other people are at the party you are organising it should still go well.

    Not if the space and catering are all organised for a certain number.
  • Malthusian
    Malthusian Posts: 10,975 Forumite
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    Gilead wrote: »
    Personally, I would tell the cousin you thought it was a meal for the two of them and it has evolved into another party which is not wanted.

    Clearly it is wanted because around 26 people including the OP's mother have agreed to go. It makes perfect sense to have a more laid-back meal on the mother's actual birthday for those who are around. That's what most people would do.
    JayJay100 wrote:
    How the hell do I salvage this?

    If people seriously thought that you'd put all that thought and planning into this extravaganza and then cancelled it in favour of a pub lunch, it seems that it wasn't communicated very well as to how big an event this was going to be. Although it's a bit late now perhaps you should explain that this was to be the "big" birthday celebration with all the closest members of family present, and see if they change their minds.

    If it comes down to it, ring the hotel and explain there will be fewer people than you thought. They should be able to put you in a smaller room so you won't be rattling around. If the entertainment and buffet isn't going to work with a smaller number, cancel it and go to the theatre or something. Your mother won't know that you had a bigger event planned - she will just be enjoying a nice lunch with her sisters and the rest of her family.

    Don't tell me you committed to a certain number of people turning up before you'd taken their money?
  • JayJay100
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    Is there an issue with your cousin and her mum that means she doesn't want to be at the same celebration? Otherwise it seems odd to basically hijack your mum and sabotage your planned do.

    What does your mum want to do?

    No issues that I know of, but I suppose it's always possible. My cousin can be bossy and domineering; she's the type that will walk into an event and declare 'oh, that will never do! and start rearranging the layout of the buffet or the furniture. This is the first time she's had a direct impact on anything I've arranged, though.

    You've hit the nail on the head: I do feel as though she's hijacked the arrangements, and I used that very word, when I was telling my partner.

    Mum has said 'you know what she's like' and 'don't rock the boat'. Rock the boat? I feel like running her over with it.
    chesky wrote: »
    Was your cousin not invited to the original event? If she was, I don't see how she could misunderstood the purpose.

    Yes, she was invited; the whole family were. I did a 'save the date' thing originally, and formal invites after that. In our messages, she made it clear that she thought it was a long time for mum to wait for her cards and presents, and I said that I knew that, but mum's overwhelming wish was to have all of the family together, including her sisters, and that meant a delay.
  • Red-Squirrel_2
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    I'd be annoyed too, but if your mum is willing to do both, knowing that it means splitting the attendees between them rather than the full gathering she wanted, I don't really know what you can do.
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