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Minor Deity
Picture of Cindysphinx
posted
OS is engaged! This is good news. They’ve been together 4.5 years; we like him, his parents, his siblings.

It has been three weeks since the proposal, and there is already some tension.

Mr. Sphinx wants to help pay for a big wedding because this would be the first wedding on either side of the family. Me, I want to renovate our 1958-era bathrooms.

OS has considerable savings, and I suspect that the two of them combined have down payment levels of savings. Yet they are smart enough to know draining their accounts to pay for a party is nuts. Trouble is, they are the last in their friend groups to get married, so they feel they “owe” invitations to a lot of people. Wedding reciprocity, doncha know. Toss in keeping up with the Jones’ and the bar is high.

I’m also hearing snippets reflecting a desire for expensive things. Like, he wants a band instead of a DJ. She doesn’t want my gown (shantung silk, from Saks in 1990), that fits perfectly and could be modernized.

I feel like the stage is being set for conflict, disappointment, or worse.

Many have told me that we should pick a dollar amount and give it, no strings attached. But . . . I’m willing to kick in more for, say, a wedding in DC compared to a destination wedding in Aruba.

How have you all navigated these treacherous waters?

P.S. groom’s parents have no money.
 
Posts: 19012 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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popcorn
This should be good. Big Grin


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After seeing how some people wear their masks I can understand how contraception fails.



 
Posts: 22602 | Location: Still living at 9000 feet in the High Rockies of Colorado | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I can’t help, I got married in my 30s and there was no question we’d pay our own way. And of course as a parent I’m decades away.


I just want to say congratulations!


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If you think looting is bad wait until I tell you about civil forfeiture.

 
Posts: 32838 | Location: On the Hudson | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Let me add congratulations
You have done well.


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After seeing how some people wear their masks I can understand how contraception fails.



 
Posts: 22602 | Location: Still living at 9000 feet in the High Rockies of Colorado | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
Picture of Steve Miller
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quote:
Me, I want to renovate our 1958-era bathrooms.


Off topic, but I thought of you earlier this week.

IIRC your current baths have the original pastel (peach?) plumbing fixtures. I was at an architectural salvage place on Monday and they were selling a yellow toilet and matching wall hung sink for $3000. The guy who runs the place swears they can get that and he's having trouble keeping up with demand.

Might help with the cost of the remodel, no?

No wedding advice here, but congrats on the upcoming nuptials!


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 29863 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
Picture of ShiroKuro
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Congratulations!! How exciting.

quote:
I feel like the stage is being set for conflict, disappointment, or worse.


I can see how it could go that way.

Hmm... in my case, we got married in Japan, where things are so different that I don't think I have any firsthand experience that would be in any way relevant for your situation. (And we don't have our own kids so can't help there...)

But money moving around among family members is something everyone experiences... So I will start out with some more general things, which you may already be discussing or thinking about, but may be worth emphasizing.

First, re Mr Sphinx: I think you and he need to first get on the same page, and only after that start talking with OS. You say Mr. Sphinx wants to help pay for a big wedding because it will be the first wedding on either side. That's a nice sentiment, but what about your other children? When they are ready, will you not chip in very much money since it's no longer the first wedding? If I were MS, I might not feel very good about that. So maybe one place to start is, how much money would you/could help out with for each of your children? Then maybe that's the amount you can offer to help for this wedding?

Then you and Mr. Sphinx also need to decide whether you'll offer an amount with no strings attached, or whether you'll offer conditional support (i.e., we will pay for X, but not Y). I agree with you that I would be less likely to enthusiastically support a destination wedding. But is that something they are considering? It's probably best to try to avoid hypotheticals.

So get on the same page with Mr. Sphinx, then have a sit down with daughter -- IMO it's fine to have the first conversation without the fiance there, esp. since his family will not be contributing much. Also maybe agree in advance that no decisions will be made in the first conversation. Talk with daughter, then you and Mr. Sphinx can talk on your own while daughter talks with fiance.

Now, in terms of daughter's wishes... maybe have her start writing down categories that can have a dollar amount attached and arranging them in order of priority?
Wedding dress
Number of guests
Bridal party (?)
Professional photos (?)
Food
Cake
Venue
Music
Flowers
Honeymoon (?)
New household expenses (?)

Then maybe talk her through each of these.... Or have her read all those magazine articles about how no one ever looks back and says they wished they'd spent *more* money on their wedding?

As an aside... When we got engaged, we thought we would have a small wedding with maybe 50 guests. We ended up having a (from my perspective) huge wedding with over 160 guests. It was an absolutely wonderful day, still one of the happiest of my life. But it was happy because of us, our families and our guests. In terms of wedding dress... Looking back at photos is something we do a lot (relatively speaking), so I wouldn't change the money we spent on wedding kimono... And I loved having everyone there, so I wouldn't want to have a smaller guest list than we did. I do not remember the food or alcohol.. I remember the cake (esp because Japan doesn't do wedding cakes so it was a struggle to even make that happen!)... We did not have a DJ or a band, just a playlist we made ourselves...

So if I were giving advice, or in the position of giving money, I would say money should be spent on: the wedding dress (if that's important to the bride) and the ability to seat everyone you want to attend. Flowers and food do not have to break the bank... Oh, but a professional is highly recommended (even in the days of fancy cellphone cameras)...

I'll stop here, don't know if this is helpful or not! :P

Good luck!!


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Posts: 14612 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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All good advice so far.

Oldest and his wife took on their wedding on their own. I paid for the flowers, her parents paid for the dress (at discount) and X Mr. Beelady, the rehearsal dinner.

The rest they organized and paid for themselves. They worked over the year to tackle each item one by one. It was a backyard wedding with a trailer porta potties, no band but the music for the ceremony was played by young friends (who did a great job!).

The bride's sister got a 24 hour justice of the peace permit so she was both maid of honor and officiant. They borrowed decor from a friend's wedding left overs, (lights etc).

These savings helped them rent a large tent and then hire the caterer. They had a full on New England lobster boil. It was fantastic..My 90 year old mother thought it was the best wedding she had ever been to.

It was a great project for them and they were very frugal knowing they didn't want to go into debt or ask us to pay for it.

Having all family and friends pitch in made the whole day so much more meaningful. Yes


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that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the
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proclaimed and denounced." Frederick Douglass 1852

 
Posts: 10628 | Location: Massachusetts | Registered: 22 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Minor Deity
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You have really gotten good advice so far. The most important is probably that you and Mr. Sphinx get on the same page asap. Our wedding was in my dad’s back yard, under a rented tent with great catered finger food and drinks, and no music. My dress cost $125. I am NOT a fan of spending a lot on a wedding, and don’t intend to do that for either of our kids.


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Posts: 19080 | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Pinta & the Santa Maria
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Hmmm. Tough one. I think the notion of giving them a dollar amount and letting them determine how to spend it makes a lot of sense. I'm also not a big fan of dropping huge amounts on a wedding. I agree with the advice of getting you and Mr. Sphinx on the same page. What exactly is a definition of a "big" wedding?

As far as keeping up with the Joneses, I say forget going down that path. There are always people willing to go into hock over a wedding, you'll never be able to match that level of (imo) stupidity.

When we were planning my daughter's wedding, she and I had a long convo about her favorite weddings that she had attended, what made them good, etc. She quickly realized that what made them good wasn't the money that had been spent. It was the fact that all their friends were there, there was good music, and an open bar. Big Grin Even the concept of "open bar" can be modified--you can select the types of booze (no need to get top tier), you can give drink coupons so you stand everyone to their first 2 drinks, say, then they're on their own, or whatever.

So you might want to talk to OS and fiance about what type of wedding they really want, realistically. Because the wedding industry is massive and ruthless. You really need to fight the expectation that she "needs" a wedding dress that runs well north of $5,000 in order to "prove that it's a special day." (Sorry, I can feel my blood pressure rise as I'm typing this.)

They can have a big wedding, invite lots of people, and simply adjust accordingly--buffet instead of sit-down, semi-open bar, nice setting but not necessarily the ballroom of the swankiest hotel in town, etc., etc.

Destination weddings? Forget it--hate them with a passion.

My 2c, and congratulations!
 
Posts: 33586 | Location: West: North and South! | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
(self-titled) semi-posting lurker
Minor Deity
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quote:
Because the wedding industry is massive and ruthless.


this! It might even be a good idea to talk about that specifically and ask how much of her "wants" for the wedding are the result of commercial manipulation.

quote:
You really need to fight the expectation that she "needs" a wedding dress that runs well north of $5,000 in order to "prove that it's a special day."


Also this! I personally feel that the dress is important and so it's reasonable to spend "a lot" of money on it... But $5000 and up is way more than what I had in mind as "a lot" -- yikes!!

So, maybe the other thing you might want to do before talking with her about specifics is try to figure out for yourself what *you* think constitutes a lot of money for various things, put hard numbers of them. And then google around to see how realistic that is, scale back where possible. Then when you sit down to talk with OS, you'll have specific numbers in your head and that should help....

Maybe. This is gonna be hard!


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My piano recordings at Box.Net: https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

 
Posts: 14612 | Location: not in Japan any more | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Serial origamist
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My first wedding went overbudget to the point that I almost called it off. Of course, that was based on my frugal idea of what a wedding should cost. It was in a community center and it was basically a big picnic for all our friends at which we happened to get married.

My second wedding was at a breakfast place where we had our second or third date. We had seven people there including us. I think the whole thing was under $500 including Mrs pj's dress and a very generous tip for the servers.

But enough about me...

I would agree with the advice you have been given. You and Mr S agree on a dollar amount, and present it to the couple with an offer to help with the planning/budget.

Forgetting the Joneses for a moment, if there are many friends to be invited, that can be managed... like I said... my first wedding was basically a catered picnic and featured two buck chuck and beer from Costco. Oh, and a floor show courtesy of my juggling friends. People will remember the fun and connections, not how much you spent.

C'mon, wouldn't you have wanted to be at this wedding?
https://youtu.be/P1E3DIdbnxE
(Except for the woman in the blue jacket who really doesn't seem to be having a really good time.)


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mod-in-training.

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Posts: 28025 | Registered: 27 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
What Life?
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My two cents -
Its really nice to be able to invite everyone you want to (and a selection of folks your parents want you to invite)

Its important to have enough food - as long as the food is tasty, doesnt have to be fancy. Just dont run out or your guests will leave early in search of a meal

If this is likely to be the one chance to wear a ball-gown level dress, go for it. But shop hard for a price that is in line w your life.

I had a co-worker allow herself 1 month to plan her fantasy wedding, and she got quotes for every little fantasy item. She said it was a real wake up call. She enjoyed that month but the actual wedding was dialed back and they saved enough to start house shopping.


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OT's ball 'n chain

 
Posts: 2691 | Registered: 07 April 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
REPEAL THE 16th AMENDMENT!
Minor Deity
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Don't ask me. I think spending money on a wedding is stupid.


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Shrink the damn military industrial complex already!

 
Posts: 12939 | Location: Wisconsin | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Does This Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?

Minor Deity
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They're still mulling.

Actually, we attended a wedding this weekend. It was a dry wedding, and the venue did not do a good job. Like, they ran out of cups for water. And the food was really basic. And you had to stand in line for the cheese plate, and then stand in line again for chips and salsa-- that people were grabbing from a bowl with their bare hands because there were no tongs.

Mark, I also think wedding is are a waste. Spending money to entertain friends and family doesnt feel like a waste. But still, there are limits. . . .
 
Posts: 19012 | Location: A cluttered house in Metro D.C. | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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What are your family traditions?


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 29863 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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