Friday, November 19, 2010

My parents slashed our wedding funds

Dear ESB,

I am in Kenya interning and since I've been here my boyfriend (in GA) and I have realized how much we really mean to each other. We want to be married as soon as possible. My parents have not really had the chance to meet my fiance because they live in another state. We planned the date for 27 December 10 (2 weeks after I get back) after checking with both families to make sure this would work. My parents were very excited for me and approved the date. They had set aside $5000 for our wedding. A couple days ago my father informed me that out of that money comes the money for their accommodations, meals, and a flight for my brother and sister-in-law to attend. I was upset, because I was surprised by this new expense. I talked to my parents about it and they got really hurt and told me I was being incredibly selfish and greedy. The whole thing blew up and now my parents are incredibly hurt and don't want to speak to me. I apologized for being selfish and they have said they forgive me but still need time.

In the meantime, I asked my fiancee to write them an email introducing himself and "declaring his intentions." He did so, even though he felt my parents were being childish and doesn't like the way they treat me. In a second email, he mentioned to my parents that we were grateful for the money and he wanted to let them know that everyone else was paying for their own travel expenses. My parents haven't responded yet, but I can only imagine what they'll say, and it won't be nice.

I don't want to hurt my parents so deeply, it's important that they attend my wedding and support me, but I also don't agree with the way they're handling things. We have already started planning the wedding and his parents have already put money towards things so we can't change the date, not to mention the fact that I absolutely don't want to! My fiancee always tells me that I don't stand up to my parents, but I just hate to see anyone hurt! Especially by me! I don't know how everything went wrong all of the sudden, and I don't know what to do.

Parental Woes


Dear PW,

I'm sorry if your parents are acting like a*holes, but throwing a tantrum and insisting that they give you all the money they promised you is not the way to stand up to them.

Demonstrating that you and your fiancé are grownups and you're capable of working within the reduced budget (or coming up with the difference yourselves) is.



Another image from mother via all the mountains...


  1. I don't get the bit about "everyone else paying for their travel expenses." PW's parents are paying for their travel expenses. And generously paying for their son and daughter-in-law to attend. And generously giving money toward the wedding, even if it isn't a full $5000. I can understand being surprised by the decreased figure, for sure, but certainly not offended. My parents generously contributed $5000 for my wedding, but we certainly weren't offended that my husband's folks didn't pony up the same figure (or anything, as was our case). As they say, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. :)

  2. I totally understand that it's a let down, and it doesn't sound like your parents communicated the expectations of their budget very well. Still, the location was your choice. Travel & lodging are a big expense for anyone having to attend a wedding.

    When I budget for an event, I don't count my travel & lodging separately from that budget; it's all together in one lump sum. The cost of the wedding is the cost of the wedding, and for your parents, that cost includes additional travel. It is odd to expect them to increase their budget for your wedding by half because of a decision they had no part in.

  3. To be honest, I read this and thought, whoa, hang on. You've been living in another country without the boyfriend, and have decided to marry your boyfriend - who your parents haven't met - two weeks after you get back. So, your parents are pretty much not going to meet the guy you're marrying before you marry him, at all. From their perspective, I'd say you were lucky they were even initially supportive if they haven't ever met him and the decision was so quick, let alone giving you money for the wedding. (You didn't say when you got engaged but from what you said, it seems like it was recent and you're having a short engagement.)

    There are lots of things we don't know from this - what kind of total budget you're working with, who's contributing what, how far away your parents are and thus what sort of chunk this takes out of the 5K - but from what you've said, it seems to me like they're being pretty generous by supporting you in your decision to get married "as soon as possible" to a guy they've never met but whom you love. The financial stuff to me would be entirely secondary to their emotional and personal support in the marriage itself, which it sounds like you have.

  4. you get engaged countries apart- rush.

    he hasn't met your parents- rush.

    set an impossibly close date (smack in the middle of holiday season when your own siblings or parents will have to fork up MAJOR cash for plane tickets- rush.

    aren't paying for the wedding yourselves- rush.

    why are you rushing? if you're really serious about spending your lives together you should sleep easy knowing you've got plenty of time to have a wedding.

  5. What kind wedding do you think you're going to be planning in a 2 week time frame? Sure it can still be awesome, but it can't really be that elaborate to need that much more cash.

    And I'd like to echo Prac, Schmac. What's the rush? To be honest it made me feel a little unnervy.

  6. Your fiance emailed your parents, who he hasn't met, and said that other people are paying their own travel expenses? That's nervy.

    And what's all this about your fiance thinking that you don't stand up to your parents (who he hasn't met) enough? What is your relationship with your parents like? And why does he think that? He seems awfully willing to put his two cents in even where he has limited knowledge.

    ANYWAY. Take a step back for a moment before you keep hurting your relationship with your parents. What do you want? And what was your plan for your short-notice wedding before your parents offered to chip in?

  7. I second what prac shmac said.

    I know from personal experience that it's worth it to wait - when you have the money to pay for the wedding you want by yourselves, it's worth it, and when you parents have met and approve of and possibly even adore your future husband, it's worth it.

  8. If my parents had not met my future husband I would not expect them to pay for anything. I hope you left somethings our...Yikes!!! Before I go on... maybe we need more information.

  9. If the parents said that they were going to contribute $5k to the wedding, they needed to specify if they were also going to skim travel, lodging, etc off the top. I get what people are saying about the fact that her parents haven't met her fiance, but that just makes me wonder if this isn't a passive aggressive maneuver (I mean, did they really need to wait until the wedding was a mere month away to reveal their budget intentions?). Or it could be more innocent than that: perhaps her parents assumed that their daughter knew part of the money would go towards travel/accommodations because "that's just what you do."

    Either way, cut the letter writer a little slack. She's a month out from her wedding - this is not the time you want any bombs getting dropped. And it sounds to me like the fiance was trying to stand up for her...which, under the circumstances, may backfire, but I'm not ready to write the guy off yet. That being said, it might be worth postponing so she can afford to fund the wedding independently. Parental money is, for a lot of us, more of a pain in the ass than it's worth.

  10. You sound like a spoiled brat! I agree with all the other comments about the rush, but be happy you get anything at all.

    And your fiance must be a big jerk for telling your parents what they should be paying for, especially since he has not met them yet.

    I think you need some time to grow up and grow as a couple.

  11. ok well. that's pretty mean. it's not really necessary to come on here and call a bride-to-be rude names. i can only imagine how being called a spoiled brat a month before my wedding, or ever, would have made me feel. if there's ever a time in your life when you have license to get what you want, it's when you get married! and this woman wrote in for our advice, not to be ripped on. =\ uncool.

    with that license to get what you want also comes a responsibility on you and your fiance's part, however. when your family and friends are going out of their way to make you feel loved and supported, the proper response is gratitude.

    family and budget are two elements of basically every wedding that everyone has to deal with. they're both a pain in the ass...but they're both also luxuries. don't forget to be grateful for both, even when they're causing you stress. esb's advice is good- if you definitely want to get married immediately, figure it out using the reduced budget.

  12. I think the problem here is that the LW felt misled. Usually, when your parents say, "Here's 5K for your wedding," they mean it's for the ACTUAL WEDDING. They really needed to tell her upfront that the 5K includes plane tickets, food, and accomodations (all of which will likely cost a $1000 or more, a significant cut of the money).

    She's probably under a lot of stress already, and then her parents go and drop this bomb on her. Her parents DID handle this badly, even though the LW should not have thrown a fit in response.

    If I were her, I would apologize for sounding greedy and selfish, but I would also say that I didn't appreciate their surprise announcement and that they caused me a lot of unnecessary stress.

  13. Suck it up and apologize. Seriously. Even if you think they are acting immature and selfish? They think *you* are acting selfish and immature, so prove them wrong. Do you really want you parents to meet your fiance on the grounds of fighting over money? Do you really want your wedding to be surrounded over drama of a few thousand dollars and some miscommunication?

    Pick up the phone right now, and tell them you love them and you're sorry for the drama. Because, really, it doesn't matter and it's not worth this much stress and frustration. And if your fiance (who, remember, has never met your parents) thinks you don't stand up to your parents? Do you really want this issue where you change that? Over your wedding and money?

  14. Sometimes people need a reality check. How much could her parents be skimming from the $5,000? And $5,000 doesn't sound like a massive amount, compared to what the average cost of a wedding is.
    And what is this sense of entitlement? You can't get everything and anything you want because it's your wedding! That's ridiculous! If you can't afford parts of a wedding, don't have them! Was $1000 worth making your parents hate your fiance? Or being disappointed that they raised a selfish daughter? Probably not...
    Be grateful for any contribution... Thanksgiving is just around the corner.