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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 07:01:21 AM

Title: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 07:01:21 AM
My son and his fiancé are planning a $25,000+ wedding next summer and are looking to us for most of the financial help with the cost.
My husband and I are on the same page with the wedding, it's impractical, indulgent and extravagant.
We want to be done helping out our son financially and instead want to speed up our retirement savings, pay off our house and be more financially secure overall. We're not getting younger and we are starting to resent their lack of concern for our future.
Are these over the top weddings the norm now? Are we mean in saying this is their dream but not ours? And Oh let's talk about the guilt..
We believe in helping your kids with food, clothing and shelter when they need help as an adult in an emergency but this is not a need but a want and we feel a selfish one at that. Are we wedding Grinch's? Would you suck it up and help or dig in your heels and stay firm?
We think the kids aren't taking this economy seriously and need instead to start off their future together financially secure.

HELP...
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: PolarBeer on July 29, 2013, 07:12:59 AM
That is expensive, but if they are both working, its well within what they can reasonably cover with savings and you should let them know that. My parents helped out donating a much lower amount for my sister's wedding which was also cheaper than that. I am not a fan of lump sums for assisting children, and if given they should be small. Maybe you can approach the subject by saying that you'd happy to give all kinds of assistance (financial and otherwise) even on a regular basis (in theory totaling to a bigger amount) but not for lavish spending on one weekend? That's an idea I think he would understand.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: tooqk4u22 on July 29, 2013, 07:22:09 AM
Wouldn't be my thing, especially since DW and I didn't have one because it was a waste of money.  Ask yourself this, if your son asked you for $25k to buy a camaro would you consider that?   

If the answer is no to the car, then say no to the wedding, if yes then yes - both would be very generous GIFTS (not assistance) and if you so inclined the its your money. 

There really isn't a difference between buying a car and funding a wedding - actually the car will provide some utility over a long period of time, a wedding won't.  Its very easy to spend money that is yours.

I would much rather provide a down payment to a house or pay off some student loans he has them.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: MissStache on July 29, 2013, 07:23:03 AM
(I'll preface this by saying that I think big, extravagant weddings are the MOST RIDICULOUS thing in the world)

Why are they looking to you for the cost?  Traditionally, it is the family of the bride that bears the brunt of the cost and the groom's family hosts the rehearsal dinner.   Can her family not afford it?  Did you tell your son that you would foot the bill for the wedding?  It seems strange that they would just assume you would pay for it.

Have you actually spoken to your son about what you think is reasonable and what you are willing to give them? 

Personally, I don't think you are obligated to give anything to them.  They are adults who are responsible for their own expenses.  Any amount you give them in generous and kind.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: cerberusss on July 29, 2013, 07:23:29 AM
My son and his fiancé are planning a $25,000+ wedding next summer and are looking to us for most of the financial help with the cost.

My dad would laugh his ass off if I proposed him footing the bill for my wedding.

Is this normal in the US?
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: TrulyStashin on July 29, 2013, 07:27:56 AM
My son and his fiancé are planning a $25,000+ wedding next summer and are looking to us for most of the financial help with the cost.
My husband and I are on the same page with the wedding, it's impractical, indulgent and extravagant.
We want to be done helping out our son financially and instead want to speed up our retirement savings, pay off our house and be more financially secure overall. We're not getting younger and we are starting to resent their lack of concern for our future.
Are these over the top weddings the norm now? Are we mean in saying this is their dream but not ours? And Oh let's talk about the guilt..
We believe in helping your kids with food, clothing and shelter when they need help as an adult in an emergency but this is not a need but a want and we feel a selfish one at that. Are we wedding Grinch's? Would you suck it up and help or dig in your heels and stay firm?
We think the kids aren't taking this economy seriously and need instead to start off their future together financially secure.

HELP...

You are being entirely reasonable and any guilt sent your way should be immediately postmarked "return to sender."

In your shoes, I would like consider these options:

1) as the groom's parents, your only "obligation" traditionally is to host a rehearsal dinner and it is your choice how to do this and as the hosts, you get to decide whom to invite -- you can have a BBQ cookout in your backyard if you decide to, inviting only the wedding party, and Miss Manners would have your back.

2) tell these children that you will give them $_____ (decide what you can afford) as a wedding gift and they can spend it how they choose but that is all you will give.  Then stick to you guns, smiling the whole time.    "But, we need moooorrrreeee!"    should be met with a smile and a gently stated "I'm sorry, that's what we will do / have done."   Then walk away.

Any arguments as to what you SHOULD do can deflected with "Regardless . . . . "   I love this word because it stops an arguments in its tracks.

"But we need a two-story cake with raspberry frosting!"   

"Regardless, we've given what we could.  Good luck."

Decide what is right with you/ for you and then don't budge.   You're actually doing them a favor.



Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: MissStache on July 29, 2013, 07:29:21 AM
My son and his fiancé are planning a $25,000+ wedding next summer and are looking to us for most of the financial help with the cost.

My dad would laugh his ass off if I proposed him footing the bill for my wedding.

Is this normal in the US?

Yes, unfortunately.  Though I do think it is changing as people are getting married later and later.   
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: footenote on July 29, 2013, 07:31:23 AM
Wow - I'll just +1 all these comments.

You are under zero obligation to take a $25k ding to your net worth for a spendy wedding. Even tradition (assuming you take it seriously) only requires a groom's dinner from the groom's parents.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Honest Abe on July 29, 2013, 07:31:57 AM
$25k is actually very common for a wedding in the Northeast.

I would decide for yourself how much you want to contribute, tell your son you will give $xx.xx. Then let them figure the rest out. Hopefully they won't do anything devastating like spending like crazy and holding a huge credit balance that they can't pay off with the gifts they receive.


Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: TrulyStashin on July 29, 2013, 07:32:04 AM
My son and his fiancé are planning a $25,000+ wedding next summer and are looking to us for most of the financial help with the cost.

My dad would laugh his ass off if I proposed him footing the bill for my wedding.

Is this normal in the US?

Yes, unfortunately.  Lavish weddings are a status symbol and quite often the parents pay with the bride's parents traditionally paying the whole cost except the rehearsal dinner.   It's ridiculous and here in the U.S. a whole industry has sprung up to "serve" these "needs."  There are also TV shows where four brides will compete with one another to see who can plan the "best" wedding.  Barf.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: TrulyStashin on July 29, 2013, 07:33:35 AM
For contrast, read about this young couple's idea of a perfect wedding.

http://2000dollarwedding.com/ (http://2000dollarwedding.com/)
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: MissStache on July 29, 2013, 07:36:51 AM
2) tell these children that you will give the $_____ (decide what you can afford) as a wedding gift and they can spend it how they choose but that is all you will give.  Then stick to you guns, smiling the whole time.    "But, we need moooorrrreeee!"    should be met with a smile and a gently stated "I'm sorry, that's what we will do / have done."   Then walk away.
Decide what is right with you and then don't budge.   You're actually doing them a favor.

Word.  When my sister got married, my parents wrote her a check for $3,000 and gave it to her at the beginning of the wedding planning.  Then they told her they would host the rehearsal dinner.  My sister's response:  "Thank you so, so much for this!  We really appreciate your generosity!"

And my parents certainly could have afforded more.  My sister knew it, but she also knew that they weren't obligated to give her anything. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: avonlea on July 29, 2013, 07:59:50 AM
We want to be done helping out our son financially and instead want to speed up our retirement savings, pay off our house and be more financially secure overall. We're not getting younger and we are starting to resent their lack of concern for our future.

Dee, how much does your son know about your financial situation?  I am wondering if he is acting under a false assumption.  If you haven't already, it might help for you to share with him how much is still owed on your mortgage and how much more money you and your husband need in savings to retire. 

I agree with you and other posters that expensive weddings are a huge waste of money.  If your son is expecting you to cover the bill, it makes me wonder if there is any past behavior that would trigger this.  I knew my parents wouldn't pay much for my wedding based on the financial support they had offered before that. (I'm not saying that they had to pay much for my wedding.  It was very nice of them to give me $2,000.  My point is that I knew not to expect it.) You didn't explain entirely how you supported your son financially previously.  If you helped your son in paying for his college education, you can explain to him that choosing to do so was an investment.  An over-the-top wedding is simply throwing money into a trash bin. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: LikeAHawlk on July 29, 2013, 10:07:19 AM
Are these over the top weddings the norm now? Are we mean in saying this is their dream but not ours? And Oh let's talk about the guilt..
We believe in helping your kids with food, clothing and shelter when they need help as an adult in an emergency but this is not a need but a want and we feel a selfish one at that. Are we wedding Grinch's? Would you suck it up and help or dig in your heels and stay firm?

No WAY are you wedding Grinches! $25k is an outrageous amount to ask for no matter what, in my opinion. You and your husband are not a bank nor are you guys a charity. I understand your son asking for help - but twenty five thousand dollars to throw a six-hour long party is not "help."

Unfortunately, weddings are an entire industry unto themselves now.. it's scary how easy it is to spend that much on the event. $25k is the average American wedding now - as someone who got married last year that figure makes my eyes about pop out of my head. And when you're bombarded with all these reality TV wedding shows, wedding websites and blogs, and all the wedding ideas people put on Pinterest, it's really easy to become totally distanced from reality. Perhaps that's what happened with your son and his fiancee - they might be so caught up in all the excitement and possibilities of wedding planning that they're not in a state to think practically about finances and the reality of the situation. They might not realize how selfish and unreasonable their request truly is. A wedding, as special and wonderful as it is, is just one day. And a beautiful, meaningful, and perfect wedding CAN be pulled off for far less than $25k.

Perhaps what you and your husband can do is discuss what amount of money (if any) you would be comfortable and happy giving to your son and his fiancee to put toward their wedding. You can offer that to them as a gift, and to assuage any guilt you still feel (even though you shouldn't feel guilty at all!) you can offer to help with planning or any work that needs to be done on DIY elements of the wedding, like decor. There are an unbelievable amount of resources out there on how to have a lovely wedding on a small budget. And just like living frugally, not spending a lot of money on a wedding DOES NOT equate to giving up everything or doing without. A low-cost wedding is absolutely possible (and I'd argue, a lot more fun than an extravagant one.. sure is a lot less stressful!) when the focus is on the reason for the event. If at the end of the day, two people who love each other are married, then it was a good wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: rockstache on July 29, 2013, 10:11:47 AM
My son and his fiancé are planning a $25,000+ wedding next summer and are looking to us for most of the financial help with the cost.

My dad would laugh his ass off if I proposed him footing the bill for my wedding.

Is this normal in the US?

Depends. My parents would have laughed at me too.

I have been to plenty of these expensive weddings in the U.S. (definitely the norm) but haven't yet attended one that was paid for by the parents. In my experience the parents generally pitch in with a stated dollar amount to either go towards something specific or just to the total bill. Maybe it varies by location?
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: FrugalZony on July 29, 2013, 10:36:36 AM
I find it very inconsiderate of your offspring to EXPECT you to pay for anything.
Regardless of traditions of what Parents of Groom/Parents of Bride side ought to pay "traditionally".
I do agree with the "gift" idea, of saying, this is what we give you as a gift, you can choose how to spend it!

That said, I have always had a hard time to understand, why weddings here have to be such a ridiculous waste of money.
My parents were very disappointed that I wanted to have a small wedding and did not allow them to invite everbody and their brother
(I am from a small town, where everyone knows everyone). My Mum almost hosted a post wedding party, so she could
get her will to throw a party for HER friends....ok this is en entire story of it's own, I admit!!

Anyhoo, if they want to "start their lives together" by spending all that money they don't have! All the power to them,
but they should not count on spending your money on top of that!!

I think what matters is that YOU are feeling it's unjustified so you need to share that feeling with them.
And maybe while you are at it, have the "wasteful spending" and "how to stay out of debt" talk with them.
They can thank you later!!!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: anastrophe on July 29, 2013, 10:44:55 AM
My (soon) in-laws gave us $1,500 to help us with deposits, which was very kind as I had not asked them to do so. The total budget for our wedding was determined by the amount that we could pay without cutting into savings or going into debt, not by what The Kn*t or Martha Stewart or anyone else. Perhaps your children can spend some time thinking about their marriage goals and future together, and come up with their priorities that way. As for you, I agree you should say that you have X amount that you're willing to give, that they can use that however they want, but that's all there is.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 10:58:37 AM
My husband at this point doesn't want to give a dime because it's so over the top.
We have money to help them pay the wedding in full but don't feel that it is teaching them to respect money. We have "bailed" our son out maybe one too many times when an emergency came up but this isn't an emergency.. this is a luxury and I would never ask my parents for such a thing.
My husband and I had a simple simple wedding that we paid for ourselves and so he reminds me that we did not have any help for ours and so he thinks they should start their journey paying for this together.
We think our son's fiancée  should get a part time job on the weekends to pay for the wedding also if she's not bringing in enough money.
We think we've been too helpful in the past and now they feel that we "owe" them.
Their behavior has become like that of trust fund babies and they don't want to wait for what they want.
It does strike us odd however that they have no expectations from her family, We don't know the financial situation with them but find it rude that she always looks towards us to help them.
Guess we're frustrated because we have our own life goals and dreams and they act like our life/ money/energy should be focused on them.
Our only goal/dream in life right now is to be financially secure that we can weather any storm that comes our way and that we can retire without worrying about money.We've refinanced our home to a 15 yr. note and we've taped an amortization chart on my desk  with the amount needed more monthly to pay off in 10 yrs.
We are so focused right now on staying on a true course of saving that we resent someone else (even if it's family) telling us what better way to spend our money.
We are happy that they are getting married but we don't feel they are acting as adults with this behavior.
The kids have no savings for emergencies and that scares me, they want to play and not pay or pay later and we're tired of being a safety net to their poor choices. We want to support this wedding but not "support" the wedding. I don't know if we gave them $1,500 if it would be appreciated.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: N on July 29, 2013, 11:15:04 AM
I think if you give them anything, it should be as a gift, and one that you would feel happy to give.
You say that you have given him money before and now it seems as if you resent it.
Boundaries can be difficult to set and keep, but they can be the key to a healthy relationship and less stress for you.

My parents didnt give us any money for our wedding. I think perhaps my dad gave us a few hundred dollars as a gift, at the wedding.
My husband and I paid for it ourselves, and it was about 3k, IIRC, possibly 4 if we include the rings.

I dont think parents OWE their kids big weddings.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: willn on July 29, 2013, 11:31:04 AM
My husband at this point doesn't want to give a dime because it's so over the top.
We have money to help them pay the wedding in full but don't feel that it is teaching them to respect money. We have "bailed" our son out maybe one too many times when an emergency came up but this isn't an emergency.. this is a luxury and I would never ask my parents for such a thing.
My husband and I had a simple simple wedding that we paid for ourselves and so he reminds me that we did not have any help for ours and so he thinks they should start their journey paying for this together.
We think our son's fiancée  should get a part time job on the weekends to pay for the wedding also if she's not bringing in enough money.
We think we've been too helpful in the past and now they feel that we "owe" them.

You and your husband, to your son and his fiance:  "We haven't done a good job teaching you about money in the past, and we are truly sorry for that, we wish we had done so.  Now, we'd love to help you start your life together, and here's what we can afford to give you: $X.  Now, to get that money, you're going to have to match what we put in.   After all these years of marriage, we believe you can start a great life with a modest wedding, and that you'll look back in a few years and realize we have some wisdom surrounding this plan, and you'll value the hard work you put into it."

Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: footenote on July 29, 2013, 11:33:56 AM
My husband at this point doesn't want to give a dime because it's so over the top.
We have money to help them pay the wedding in full but don't feel that it is teaching them to respect money. We have "bailed" our son out maybe one too many times when an emergency came up but this isn't an emergency.. this is a luxury and I would never ask my parents for such a thing.
My husband and I had a simple simple wedding that we paid for ourselves and so he reminds me that we did not have any help for ours and so he thinks they should start their journey paying for this together.
We think our son's fiancée  should get a part time job on the weekends to pay for the wedding also if she's not bringing in enough money.
We think we've been too helpful in the past and now they feel that we "owe" them.

You and your husband, to your son and his fiance:  "We haven't done a good job teaching you about money in the past, and we are truly sorry for that, we wish we had done so.  Now, we'd love to help you start your life together, and here's what we can afford to give you: $X.  Now, to get that money, you're going to have to match what we put in.   After all these years of marriage, we believe you can start a great life with a modest wedding, and that you'll look back in a few years and realize we have some wisdom surrounding this plan, and you'll value the hard work you put into it."
+1, although I would make it a convo with son only. You don't want to shame son in front of fiancee. (And I would make X pretty small; maybe $2,500.)

If he pitches a fit, smile, sigh and wish him the best. Btw, I too would be very annoyed if I had bailed out son multiple times and fiancee's parents are not being discussed as contributing. You are reasonable to contribute zero and generous to contribute anything.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on July 29, 2013, 11:36:00 AM
Wow. That's a tough situation. I know of parents offering to pay that much (and more) towards weddings, but I've never heard of someone asking their parents to pay for a $25k wedding. That takes some guts! My parents offered to contribute, and when it came time to plan the wedding, we asked how much they were contributing. We assessed how much we could pay, and planned with that number in mind. When my parents saw some of the things we weren't going to have, they pitched in more because they wanted those things. Fine with us!

I suggest you come out and tell them (a) how happy you are that they're getting married, (b) how much you would like to contribute, and (c) help them with their budgeting / envisioning a less expensive wedding. I love www.apracticalwedding.com (http://www.apracticalwedding.com). It's a great way to stay grounded and fight the Wedding Industrial Complex's notion of a "normal" wedding. If they think outside the box, they can have a fabulous wedding for less than $25k. If someone sticks to the bridal magazines and the bridal stores, it's easy to think that there's no other option out there than the big country club, seated dinner, wedding.

That said, if you have certain expectations about their wedding, and they're not meeting them, I would be prepared to pitch in more to cover the costs of things you want or guests that you want invited.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Daleth on July 29, 2013, 11:59:23 AM
My husband at this point doesn't want to give a dime because it's so over the top.
We have money to help them pay the wedding in full but don't feel that it is teaching them to respect money. We have "bailed" our son out maybe one too many times when an emergency came up but this isn't an emergency.. this is a luxury and I would never ask my parents for such a thing.... I don't know if we gave them $1,500 if it would be appreciated.

Bailing him out too much is, or was, a big problem and it's probably why he now has this entitled attitude. But I don't know that your best option is giving them nothing--presumably you are happy they're getting married and want to welcome this development and this woman into your family? I think you may be better served by giving them a much smaller but still substantial (i.e., at least $1000) amount.

Here's why: your son and his fiancee will feel a lot more aggrieved, and their friends/other relatives may actually think they have a valid reason to complain, if you give them nothing at all; such an act could be interpreted as almost hostile and at the very least unwelcoming.

But say you give them $2000 or $3000. That's a lot of money! That shows absolute good faith and willingness to welcome her to the family! I can envision your son whining to his friends--"My parents only gave me $3000"--haha, he'll sound like a brat to most people. Most people will figure you must have some financial reason not to have given more, which is totally excusable and understandable (especially since you guys are living frugally, not swanning around in a Ferrari). Whereas if his complaint is "my parents wouldn't give us a dime," most people will wonder if you guys are estranged from him or if you don't like his fiancee or something. In other words, I think you'll actually make your point more effectively if you give him $1k-$3k than if you give him nothing.

Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: MissStache on July 29, 2013, 12:09:11 PM
I don't know if we gave them $1,500 if it would be appreciated.

Wow, this makes me really angry!  How ungrateful.  I would feel the same way as your husband.

But, like Daleth pointed out, that could be taken the wrong way- not as an objection to the lavishness of the wedding, but as disapproval for the marriage. 

You need to talk to him and lay down the law.  They may scale it back bigtime when they find out you aren't paying.  And the sooner the better, because I bet they are already putting down deposits!

And be firm.  You may not have taught him good money management skills, but that lesson needs to be learned sooner rather than later.  Someone going into a marriage thinking that Mommy and Daddy will always come to the rescue is setting himself up for disaster. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 02:21:06 PM
Thanks for all the advice. We haven't said anything rude to hurt our son but feel this big wedding is more her than him.
We also haven't resented what we did in the past until now when it is looking like we will always be supporting him in some way.
We want them to make some sacrifices, grow together and learn that you can't have everything you want especially when you're in your 20's and just starting out.
I think the comment about good faith and giving 3,000 is a great idea, it sets the boundaries and they will look ungrateful if they complain about it.
I do know my son's fiancée loves him but she comes across like she just wants things from us and not a relationship with us that does hurt.
I want to support their marriage but the more I'm around her the more I want to donate our money when we pass to a charitable
organization. I've thought this Xmas of giving her a small gift and also a  nice donation in her name to a charity lol.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: jrhampt on July 29, 2013, 02:36:04 PM
I'm with everyone above.  You owe him nothing more in terms of support, and it sounds like you've already been over-generous in the past.  Might as well cut them off sooner rather than later, or compromise by giving a smaller amount. 

Maybe if you frame it in such a way that they know you need to save for retirement or you will be moving in with them in the future, they will not be as eager to spend your retirement money.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: snshijuptr on July 29, 2013, 02:42:00 PM
I will butt in from the perspective of someone who had the ridiculous $25k wedding. Here are a few things to consider:

1) How many guests do you expect to invite? Think about the relative size of families, your family friends, your extended family that your son might not care about. If your kids feel an expectation to have a sit down dinner wedding, then consider about $50 per person for the basics (chair, table, food). My wedding had 200 people and only 20 were our friends. Most were our relatives or parents' friends.

2) This website might be helpful http://www.costofwedding.com/

3) I firmly believe that ALL weddings are a time for children to struggle with their parents for a last time to assert the rules of adulthood. With my parents it was my want to scale down the silly excesses of the wedding. With my husbands parents, it was even discussing money and negotiating the size of the guest list.

You are going to learn a lot about your son and his bride in the coming months as you negotiate the wedding. They will learn a lot about you. It will not be pretty, but I firmly believe it is necessary.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 02:50:16 PM
When Son and his fiancée wanted to move into a new townhouse (rent) they had a few months left on lease and wanted us to "help" them move into this nicer place and lose 3 months on the old lease. We put our foot down and my husband hasn't had a good opinion of son's fiancée ever since. She recently told us that son needed some work done on his car and the dollar amount... Why tell us? He's over 21 and isn't that a priority over a lavish wedding?
So in addition to helping with the wedding she mentions that he needs close to a $1,000 work on his car.. Who else thinks she's rude??
Son's fiancée  spends $200 on a pair of jeans and they eat out five nights a week, take nice vacations, the list could go on but they don't plan for emergencies and we're over it.
Our son has lost sight of how he grew up and we're at the point of letting him ruin his credit, rack up his credit cards and let him fall on his own sword we really don't know what else to do. How do we save him before he gets financially to the point of no return?
I guess we  resent the fact that our son loves himself and fiancée more than us and our financial future.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: willn on July 29, 2013, 02:54:26 PM
I will butt in from the perspective of someone who had the ridiculous $25k wedding. Here are a few things to consider:

1) How many guests do you expect to invite? Think about the relative size of families, your family friends, your extended family that your son might not care about. If your kids feel an expectation to have a sit down dinner wedding, then consider about $50 per person for the basics (chair, table, food). My wedding had 200 people and only 20 were our friends. Most were our relatives or parents' friends.

2) This website might be helpful http://www.costofwedding.com/

3) I firmly believe that ALL weddings are a time for children to struggle with their parents for a last time to assert the rules of adulthood. With my parents it was my want to scale down the silly excesses of the wedding. With my husbands parents, it was even discussing money and negotiating the size of the guest list.

You are going to learn a lot about your son and his bride in the coming months as you negotiate the wedding. They will learn a lot about you. It will not be pretty, but I firmly believe it is necessary.
Great tips. And recognize that even though you might think your future DIL requests seem extravagant, there is extraordinary social pressure at work here.  The emphasis on making it "the most special day of your life" is huge. Her friends and the media are pushing her toward this fantasy and the pressure is very intense.  Show some compassion toward this and try to view her 'need' in that light, and view her requests which seem strong as perhaps evidence that she goes for what she wants, not necessarily being simply spoiled or looking to game you.   Frankly, 25K isn't on the high side for a wedding these days.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: N on July 29, 2013, 03:03:02 PM

But more and more it sounds like the OP doesnt want to spend 25 K on this particular woman's wedding.

As I said before, its about boundaries. Love isnt money. Money isnt love.
I do sometimes talk to my dad about my money issues, but Im not implying or asking him to help me out. If I was in an emergency, I would straight out ask him. If the fiancee sounds like she is implying something, you could call her on it. "Are you asking me for 1K to repair the car? We arent going to do that"

WRT to the wedding planning, Ask them straight up. How much are they planning to spend of their own money? How much is brides family contributing? Exactly what do they want from you? Then you have the facts and can decide accordingly.

I have a hard time trying to rationalize spending 25 THOUSAND dollars on a wedding. For one day. Its so absurd to me.
Saying its an average amount or there is society pressure is like rationalizing massive cc debt, leasing new cars every 2 years, being consumer sukkers, or any number of other non mustachian things.

Its your money. You saved it. Spend it how you want and according to your values.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: PolarBeer on July 29, 2013, 03:04:50 PM

I guess we  resent the fact that our son loves himself and fiancée more than us and our financial future.

I'm sorry to hear that things have gotten to that point. If its any consolation, there are plenty of young people who are much worse off than him. I don't feel qualified to give advice about your situation other than say that I hope you can stay in touch with them and keep things civil and friendly. That's worth some sacrifice since its family (but not necessarily financial sacrifice beyond what you're comfortable with).
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: willn on July 29, 2013, 03:12:16 PM

Saying its an average amount or there is society pressure is like rationalizing massive cc debt, leasing new cars every 2 years, being consumer sukkers, or any number of other non mustachian things.

Its your money. You saved it. Spend it how you want and according to your values.

Agreed, and my point isnt' to justify it, but that the best way to solve this isn't by being confrontational or coming at her judgmentally, but from understanding and compassion, then she''ll be receptive.  The OP sounds resentful and pissed and judgemental, and DIL is going get bristly with that. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 03:25:42 PM
I will butt in from the perspective of someone who had the ridiculous $25k wedding. Here are a few things to consider:

1) How many guests do you expect to invite? Think about the relative size of families, your family friends, your extended family that your son might not care about. If your kids feel an expectation to have a sit down dinner wedding, then consider about $50 per person for the basics (chair, table, food). My wedding had 200 people and only 20 were our friends. Most were our relatives or parents' friends.

2) This website might be helpful http://www.costofwedding.com/

3) I firmly believe that ALL weddings are a time for children to struggle with their parents for a last time to assert the rules of adulthood. With my parents it was my want to scale down the silly excesses of the wedding. With my husbands parents, it was even discussing money and negotiating the size of the guest list.

You are going to learn a lot about your son and his bride in the coming months as you negotiate the wedding. They will learn a lot about you. It will not be pretty, but I firmly believe it is necessary.
Great tips. And recognize that even though you might think your future DIL requests seem extravagant, there is extraordinary social pressure at work here.  The emphasis on making it "the most special day of your life" is huge. Her friends and the media are pushing her toward this fantasy and the pressure is very intense.  Show some compassion toward this and try to view her 'need' in that light, and view her requests which seem strong as perhaps evidence that she goes for what she wants, not necessarily being simply spoiled or looking to game you.   Frankly, 25K isn't on the high side for a wedding these days.

I understand the social pressure at work but I am pulled by wanting to help them and wanting to speed up retirement. My husband and I don't buy into social pressure, our cars are both over 13 and 14 yrs. old and plan to keep until the upkeep is too high.  My husband wants to retire in the next 10 years and that is my strongest wish I have right now. The kids have their whole life ahead of them and if they want this fairytale I think they should finance  the majority of it and see if it's worth it after paying off the wedding over a few years. How will they learn what is important if they don't experience the costs? I'll sound mean but I'm not Mother Teresa, we have been living very frugally to meet our goals and I'm having a hard time throwing it away. We aren't living that fairytale lifestyle... Have we really been pinching pennies... for this? We have told them about retirement in 10 yrs. but it's falling on deaf ears.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: TrulyStashin on July 29, 2013, 03:29:28 PM
When Son and his fiancée wanted to move into a new townhouse (rent) they had a few months left on lease and wanted us to "help" them move into this nicer place and lose 3 months on the old lease. We put our foot down and my husband hasn't had a good opinion of son's fiancée ever since. She recently told us that son needed some work done on his car and the dollar amount... Why tell us? He's over 21 and isn't that a priority over a lavish wedding?
So in addition to helping with the wedding she mentions that he needs close to a $1,000 work on his car.. Who else thinks she's rude??
Son's fiancée  spends $200 on a pair of jeans and they eat out five nights a week, take nice vacations, the list could go on but they don't plan for emergencies and we're over it.
Our son has lost sight of how he grew up and we're at the point of letting him ruin his credit, rack up his credit cards and let him fall on his own sword we really don't know what else to do. How do we save him before he gets financially to the point of no return?
I guess we  resent the fact that our son loves himself and fiancée more than us and our financial future.

While I am completely sympathetic with your point of view here, I want to caution you against creating a narrative of "she's an awful daughter-in-law."  That's essentially where this line of thought is going and it leads to a very bad place full of family strife and alienation.   Like it or not, your son is marrying her and it is in your best interest to learn to like her and get along with her.  She will likely bear your grandchildren and she will have a lot of input over your access to her home and grandkids.    You don't want to start out on a track toward alienation.

Recognize the following:

1) your son is just a culpable as she is -- both are behaving irresponsibly toward money;
2) what you've taught your son about money is part of the legacy here -- good, bad, or indifferent;
3) they are young and they will (hopefully) learn as they mature -- be patient;
4) decide what is the right money-boundary for you & husband without resentment or anger toward kids and then gently, but firmly, enforce it with a smile. 

It might help to also remember some of the obnoxious things you said/ did when you were in your early 20's (we ALL did it at some point over something!) and also to think of some good qualities in your son AND his fiancee.   Focus on these qualities as you hold your ground on the money stuff.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: footenote on July 29, 2013, 03:34:30 PM
snshijuptr and willn - I am firmly in Dee's corner here. She and her husband should make whatever offer of assistance they assess fits in their budget (with retirement her #1 priority). Period. (I still think urging them to match their contribution is brilliant. It's a lot harder to spend your own money than mom-and-dad's.)

It is not "necessary" to have the wedding be a "standing up to your parents" negotiation. Dee and her husband have supported their son beyond the point of prudence. $25k more for a wedding is throwing good money after bad.

Having said all that, handling it with good humor and patience, as TrulyStashin observes, is important.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Frankies Girl on July 29, 2013, 03:50:37 PM
If your son and his intended are old enough to get married, then they're old enough to pay for it themselves. I firmly believe that parents do not own grown adult children anything whatsoever, and your son needs a sit-down discussion with you regarding the fact that the Bank of Mom & Dad is officially closed. He's a big boy, and things like car repairs, emergency funds and big ass weddings are things that he is 100% responsible for.

I do think you should give whatever amount you feel comfortable with as a gift, but tell him that as much as you love him, he's got to start standing on his own two feet, and if that means scaling back big plans or putting off the wedding until such time as he and his intended can pay for it themselves, then that is something that needs to be discussed with his fiancee.

I'd also tell him that you're always there for hime to offer advice and to listen to him, but he's got to start figuring out things like budgeting and planning for emergencies and saving money for the future. That these things are exactly what you and your spouse are doing now, and you can't rob yourselves and your future to support his current lifestyle.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 03:52:34 PM
When Son and his fiancée wanted to move into a new townhouse (rent) they had a few months left on lease and wanted us to "help" them move into this nicer place and lose 3 months on the old lease. We put our foot down and my husband hasn't had a good opinion of son's fiancée ever since. She recently told us that son needed some work done on his car and the dollar amount... Why tell us? He's over 21 and isn't that a priority over a lavish wedding?
So in addition to helping with the wedding she mentions that he needs close to a $1,000 work on his car.. Who else thinks she's rude??
Son's fiancée  spends $200 on a pair of jeans and they eat out five nights a week, take nice vacations, the list could go on but they don't plan for emergencies and we're over it.
Our son has lost sight of how he grew up and we're at the point of letting him ruin his credit, rack up his credit cards and let him fall on his own sword we really don't know what else to do. How do we save him before he gets financially to the point of no return?
I guess we  resent the fact that our son loves himself and fiancée more than us and our financial future.

While I am completely sympathetic with your point of view here, I want to caution you against creating a narrative of "she's an awful daughter-in-law."  That's essentially where this line of thought is going and it leads to a very bad place full of family strife and alienation.   Like it or not, your son is marrying her and it is in your best interest to learn to like her and get along with her.  She will likely bear your grandchildren and she will have a lot of input over your access to her home and grandkids.    You don't want to start out on a track toward alienation.

Recognize the following:

1) your son is just a culpable as she is -- both are behaving irresponsibly toward money;
2) what you've taught your son about money is part of the legacy here -- good, bad, or indifferent;
3) they are young and they will (hopefully) learn as they mature -- be patient;
4) decide what is the right money-boundary for you & husband without resentment or anger toward kids and then gently, but firmly, enforce it with a smile. 

It might help to also remember some of the obnoxious things you said/ did when you were in your early 20's (we ALL did it at some point over something!) and also to think of some good qualities in your son AND his fiancee.   Focus on these qualities as you hold your ground on the money stuff.

No you're right, We need to cool down a little and smile and tell them what we can/ cannot do and the rest is their problem not ours.
I'm buying into the guilt and it's stupid. I feel like we are in a power struggle with the kids and we all want to win and we are all going to end up losing. I feel like if we cave on the wedding then what's their next agenda for our money?
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: footenote on July 29, 2013, 04:14:03 PM
Dee - "I feel like if we cave on the wedding then what's their next agenda for our money?"

If you want to take a break from supporting their financial needs, offering something in the neighborhood of $2,500 (10% of their "ask") could a strong signal that you are supportive of the wedding / fiancee, but not without limit. And it should be a good preview that the period of financing 100% of everything your son asks for help with, is over.

Come to a decision, communicate it with a smile and love and be at peace.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on July 29, 2013, 04:58:16 PM
Here in Utah, $25K weddings are unheard of. A $5K wedding would be the bash of the century.  I spent less than $1500 on my wedding, and my dh's family kicked in another $300-400. 

I agree that you need to have a talk with your son. You don't have to lay out the details of your financial situation, just state what you can contribute. Let him know you are very happy for them and would be happy to help make floral arrangements or whatever so that the day will be lovely!  ;)
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Mint Chip on July 29, 2013, 06:06:00 PM
FWIW, and I'm not trying to be critical in any way, but there's a chapter in "The Millionaire Next Door," I believe, that looks at the consequences of giving financial support to your kids.  It's personal for me, because my spouse's parents have always "helped" him and his siblings, and, as a result, they have come to expect and rely on this help constantly.  The results that I have personally experienced include overspending, indifference to what things cost, living well beyond one's means, and failure to plan (financially) for the future, racking up large debts only to be bailed out by the parents (multiple times), due, in  large part to the expectation of a substantial inheritance, and the continuous assumption/presumption that the parents' $ belongs to the kids to spend as they please, and not ever worrying about running out of money because they know that they can always get more from Dad & Mom.  In addition, all the siblings have a lack of initiative/urgency/knowledge when it comes to earning money or budgeting.

I have finally convinced DH to  operate under the assumption that his parents will leave everything to the neighbors' cats.  ;) Thankfully, he agreed, and we're making terrific progress -- in large part thanks to the terrific folks in the MMM community!

Good luck getting through this, and working through this situation.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 10:14:41 PM
FWIW, and I'm not trying to be critical in any way, but there's a chapter in "The Millionaire Next Door," I believe, that looks at the consequences of giving financial support to your kids.  It's personal for me, because my spouse's parents have always "helped" him and his siblings, and, as a result, they have come to expect and rely on this help constantly.  The results that I have personally experienced include overspending, indifference to what things cost, living well beyond one's means, and failure to plan (financially) for the future, racking up large debts only to be bailed out by the parents (multiple times), due, in  large part to the expectation of a substantial inheritance, and the continuous assumption/presumption that the parents' $ belongs to the kids to spend as they please, and not ever worrying about running out of money because they know that they can always get more from Dad & Mom.  In addition, all the siblings have a lack of initiative/urgency/knowledge when it comes to earning money or budgeting.

I have finally convinced DH to  operate under the assumption that his parents will leave everything to the neighbors' cats.  ;) Thankfully, he agreed, and we're making terrific progress -- in large part thanks to the terrific folks in the MMM community!

Good luck getting through this, and working through this situation.

This is exactly what I'm afraid of, I want to focus on the next chapter of OUR lives and our goals. I don't want to sacrifice our future for someone else dream. I know that if we keep handing out money no one will "bail" us out when/if we need it.
I know someone that gave their kids so much money and then gave their grandkids money to the point that they lost their house, their security and you know what the kids didn't even shed a crocodile tear for their parents loss.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 10:22:17 PM


Come to a decision, communicate it with a smile and love and be at peace.
[/quote]

Great advice, give what we decide and then let it go.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 29, 2013, 10:26:38 PM
Here in Utah, $25K weddings are unheard of. A $5K wedding would be the bash of the century.  I spent less than $1500 on my wedding, and my dh's family kicked in another $300-400. 

I agree that you need to have a talk with your son. You don't have to lay out the details of your financial situation, just state what you can contribute. Let him know you are very happy for them and would be happy to help make floral arrangements or whatever so that the day will be lovely!  ;)

Thanks! I would rather see them put 25,000 in a savings account, what's wrong with a 5,000 wedding and money in the bank??
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Katnina on July 30, 2013, 12:43:20 AM
Just chiming in late to the discussion, but I agree with most other posters.  It's time to focus on you and your husband.  Your son is an adult, he needs to stop acting like a dependent. 

My husband wants to retire in the next 10 years and that is my strongest wish I have right now. The kids have their whole life ahead of them and if they want this fairytale I think they should finance  the majority of it and see if it's worth it after paying off the wedding over a few years. How will they learn what is important if they don't experience the costs? I'll sound mean but I'm not Mother Teresa, we have been living very frugally to meet our goals and I'm having a hard time throwing it away. We aren't living that fairytale lifestyle... Have we really been pinching pennies... for this? We have told them about retirement in 10 yrs. but it's falling on deaf ears.

You don't sound mean AT ALL!!!  It is your hard-earned money and you don't owe them a big wedding.  Choose an amount that you feel comfortable with and tell them: we are excited for your marriage and want to help you start your new life together.  this is what we are giving you, we are giving it as a gift, but this is the end of our generosity, as we need to focus on our retirement savings so we won't be a burden to you when we are older. 

Then stand firm!  If they whine, complain, say you're mean, whatever, that is further proof that they aren't mature enough to handle large sums of money.  If they still want the big wedding, direct them to Lending Club.  I see loans on there all the time for wedding expenses & I'm happy to invest all the money I saved by eloping in other people's 10-15% wedding loans :).  Also, buy them a copy of Your Money Or Your Life, The Millionaire Next Door, or The Complete Tightwad Gazette as an engagement gift.  Maybe it will open their eyes to their ridiculousness.

You need to stop giving money to them, after the wedding, because if you keep giving in when they ask/demand/act entitled, they won't ever stop asking.  My sister has a friend like that and her parents took out 401(k) loans to finance their daughter's house purchase.....they are over 65 and unable to retire because their daughter feels entitled to their money,  first with a big wedding, then with the house she & her husband couldn't afford, then with fancy preschool for her kids...if you don't stop it now, it will NEVER end!

Stay strong!  Your son is a grown ass man, he needs to act like one.


Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: MrsPete on July 30, 2013, 07:13:58 AM
Weddings are a tough question for the frugal-minded.  You have to walk a line between it's one of the most important days of your life and it's only one day.  No celebration is just as wrong (in a different way) as $25,000 that you don't have.  I always wanted a wedding, and I would've felt that I'd missed something if I hadn't had one; however, we spent less than $1000 on the whole thing -- by that, I mean dress, rings, reception, everything. 

I personally do not know anyone in real life who's spent this kind of money on a wedding. 

I understand that you're upset that he's making an outrageous financial decision, but try not to be angry with him about it.  Yes, he had a better example growing up, but he's still young and is just finding his way in the adult world.  Around him he sees lots of people his age who are overspending in multiple ways, and he doesn't realize that most of them who appear to be "living large" are actually digging themselves into debt.  It looks nice to have all that stuff, to do all those things -- he's tempted.

My suggestion:

1.  You and your husband agree on what you are willing to contribute.  Once you two have agreed, stick to this number.  OR decide what services you will cover:  For example, you might say that you'll pay for the rehearsal dinner and the photography, but nothing else.  In this case, I think giving a firm number might be the better choice.   
2.  Talk to your child (with or without the fiancée present?  I'm unsure.) and explain that you are concerned about his lofty expectations and spell out just how this one-day spending can affect the couple's financial future.  Offer what you have agreed to pay.  Be kind, but be clear and firm.   
3.  Never mention it again.  Whether he chooses to "go big" or be more practical, you have made your point.  No need to nag or say, "I told you so."  Whatever the couple chooses, be emotionally supportive and offer practical help where you can, but stick to the financial constraints you agreed upon earlier. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: badassprof on July 30, 2013, 07:28:38 AM
Dee, sorry to hear that you're going through these things. One thing I try to remind myself when I have to draw boundaries with other people is that their unhappiness with my decision isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm sure your son will be unhappy since his expectations are that you'll bail him out.  People are entitled to their (bad) reactions and, indeed, their push back can be a sign I'm doing what I need to do.  As a reformed people-pleaser, I find this perspective useful.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on July 30, 2013, 10:07:27 AM

Son's fiancée  spends $200 on a pair of jeans and they eat out five nights a week, take nice vacations, the list could go on but they don't plan for emergencies and we're over it.
Our son has lost sight of how he grew up and we're at the point of letting him ruin his credit, rack up his credit cards and let him fall on his own sword we really don't know what else to do. How do we save him before he gets financially to the point of no return?
I guess we  resent the fact that our son loves himself and fiancée more than us and our financial future.

Wow. I think you are losing sight of the fact that you are his parents, and although you are not there to fix all his problems for him, you are his only parents -- the people that he  has depended on for 21 years in many ways other than financial ways. It makes me sad to think that you are just giving up on him without helping him understand his finances. (unless you have already taught him financial literacy and didn't mention this to us)

Although once we understand personal finances, being in a frugal environment certainly helps, learning about finances is not something that we absorb from our environment. I think that this situation presents you with a "teachable moment." A time when you can sit down with him (including or not including his fiancé) and, coming from a place of wanting to help them, help them learn about budgeting. Show them your plan, communicate to them what your timeline and concept of retirement means, show them your budget (if you have one) or help them figure out theirs. Give them some money towards the wedding (if you can afford it), to show that you support their marriage, and help them learn how to manage their money.

At 21, I was loathe to get any lectures from my parents, but I am open to learning from them when they talk to me from a non-judgmental point of view and actually offer assistance. (The advice from my parents that I loathe is the kind that isn't proactive. A prime example is my mom telling my sister that she should get more sleep, but not offering any insight into how she can achieve that when she has a FT job and two children. Or, when my mom told me that she thought I should focus on my career instead of having kids, instead of saying that she believed in me and offering suggestions on how I could manage having a career and a family.) If you come from a place of being helpful, not judgmental, then I hope that your son and his fiancé will be receptive. I think that reviewing your financial goals and your strategies for getting there might be a good place to start because it is offering practical solutions to the same issues that they face (income v. expenses).
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee18 on July 30, 2013, 10:59:49 AM
If only MMM would have a book in print by the wedding so you could give it to your son and his wife as their gift...
Seriously, my parents gave $5,000 to my sister when she married and told her she could spend it on the wedding, the honeymoon or anything she wanted.  My sister  opted for a small wedding (12  guests) on an island where they wanted to honeymoon. I know my parents could have affordedmore, but they thought it was silly to spend a lot on a wedding---as my parents only had tiny wedding with punch and cookies afterwards.  (My parents did have a really fun, and more expensive, 50th anniversary party!)  I think the key is to be clear, and then to stick to your guns.  If you want to give them money, write a check and give it to them with a note.  If you want to host a rehearsal dinner, be very clear way in advance about the terms of that.  If you want them to pay all costs themselves, write them a nice note and enclose a copy of you and your husband at your own wedding. 

Then go along with whatever color scheme/style the bride wants for your dress at the wedding.  Smile at any showers, with a nice, modest gift.  And keep telling your son and his finace how confident you are that now they are getting married they get to decide how to handle their finances as a couple.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 30, 2013, 11:32:28 AM

Son's fiancée  spends $200 on a pair of jeans and they eat out five nights a week, take nice vacations, the list could go on but they don't plan for emergencies and we're over it.
Our son has lost sight of how he grew up and we're at the point of letting him ruin his credit, rack up his credit cards and let him fall on his own sword we really don't know what else to do. How do we save him before he gets financially to the point of no return?
I guess we  resent the fact that our son loves himself and fiancée more than us and our financial future.

Wow. I think you are losing sight of the fact that you are his parents, and although you are not there to fix all his problems for him, you are his only parents -- the people that he  has depended on for 21 years in many ways other than financial ways. It makes me sad to think that you are just giving up on him without helping him understand his finances. (unless you have already taught him financial literacy and didn't mention this to us)

Although once we understand personal finances, being in a frugal environment certainly helps, learning about finances is not something that we absorb from our environment. I think that this situation presents you with a "teachable moment." A time when you can sit down with him (including or not including his fiancé) and, coming from a place of wanting to help them, help them learn about budgeting. Show them your plan, communicate to them what your timeline and concept of retirement means, show them your budget (if you have one) or help them figure out theirs. Give them some money towards the wedding (if you can afford it), to show that you support their marriage, and help them learn how to manage their money.

At 21, I was loathe to get any lectures from my parents, but I am open to learning from them when they talk to me from a non-judgmental point of view and actually offer assistance. (The advice from my parents that I loathe is the kind that isn't proactive. A prime example is my mom telling my sister that she should get more sleep, but not offering any insight into how she can achieve that when she has a FT job and two children. Or, when my mom told me that she thought I should focus on my career instead of having kids, instead of saying that she believed in me and offering suggestions on how I could manage having a career and a family.) If you come from a place of being helpful, not judgmental, then I hope that your son and his fiancé will be receptive. I think that reviewing your financial goals and your strategies for getting there might be a good place to start because it is offering practical solutions to the same issues that they face (income v. expenses).

I hate the thought of my son falling on his sword but at this point he isn't getting it and a little tough love may make him wake up.
I loaned him the book about America's Cheapest family the Economides within the last year and he grew up with me reading The Tightwad Gazette and he would pick up the books and read them.
I would take him shopping with me when Penney's had the $10/$10 coupon and would explain to him how we should always use them because you can always by a pack of socks or underwear and only have to pay pennies in tax.
I've explained to him how you can buy a weeks worth of groceries for one night of dinning out.
I would make a game out of double coupon days and we would go as a family and buy toothpaste for ten cents etc. and as a teenager we would buy snacks with coupons so that when his friends came over they would have a few fun things to eat that cost next to nothing.
We didn't do the big stockpiles just a few of each item to have as backup.
Since we've bought this house I've asked him to go on Craigslist runs with me to pick up some used furniture, I would tell him the retail price if I could still find it in the furniture store's website and then let him know the price I would be paying used.
When he was a small child our best memory was going on bikes to the neighboring yard sales with a friend and her kids.
I've also told him that when he has kids I won't be spoiling them with boxes of birthday and Xmas gifts, they may get one gift from us and then some kind of savings bond, or money in a 529 for school, etc.
I really think I've tried to teach him by example, I want him to know that it isn't the things you have by the life experiences you enjoy.
We are trying hard not to hurt his feelings by showing our frustration but think any advice is falling on deaf ears.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: nawhite on July 30, 2013, 01:53:03 PM
Dee a few people have mentioned that you are getting fairly emotional about this and it is understandable.

The best advice from many many people so far is:

1. Be emotionally supportive of your son and his choice to get married.
2. As a way to show that support, give a no-strings-attached gift to your son and his fiancee for an amount of money you feel comfortable giving. $2500 has gotten a lot of votes here but it is up to you and your husband.
3. Explain to your son that this is a gift because you love him and support his marriage.
4. Thats it.

No more problems. No more worries about how your son is changing/not acting the way you raised him. No more worries about your future daughter-in-law's spending habits. No more worries about what type of wedding they are going to have. No more worrying about if they think you're a terrible person because you didn't pay more. No more worrying about what the other in-laws are giving. None of those problems matter any more.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: geekette on July 30, 2013, 01:58:29 PM
I think a lot of kids, in an effort to assert their independence, go a different way from their parents, at least for a while.  Not much you can do besides fret, and what good does that do?

Give what you're willing, with a smile, stop bailing, and enjoy the wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 30, 2013, 04:32:10 PM
Dee a few people have mentioned that you are getting fairly emotional about this and it is understandable.

The best advice from many many people so far is:

1. Be emotionally supportive of your son and his choice to get married.
2. As a way to show that support, give a no-strings-attached gift to your son and his fiancee for an amount of money you feel comfortable giving. $2500 has gotten a lot of votes here but it is up to you and your husband.
3. Explain to your son that this is a gift because you love him and support his marriage.
4. Thats it.

No more problems. No more worries about how your son is changing/not acting the way you raised him. No more worries about your future daughter-in-law's spending habits. No more worries about what type of wedding they are going to have. No more worrying about if they think you're a terrible person because you didn't pay more. No more worrying about what the other in-laws are giving. None of those problems matter any more.

You know you're right, I've been stressing to hard about caving in so there's no hurt feelings, I think if we do more than what we want to smooth things over we will not enjoy this special time in our son's life.
Thanks to everyone that gave me feedback.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: ender on July 30, 2013, 06:19:32 PM
How much influence on the wedding itself do you expect to have (guests, events, etc)?

Or are you letting them plan all the details?
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 30, 2013, 10:53:03 PM
How much influence on the wedding itself do you expect to have (guests, events, etc)?

Or are you letting them plan all the details?

I don't want to plan any details, this really is their day and I do want them to be happy but I also want to start putting my husband's happiness first and he really wants to retire in the next 10-15 yrs. in comfort and to me 25,000 could really help us achieve that goal. They want to spend that on one day and we could use that for almost a year when we retire.
I asked for under 15 guests so that we would not be taking away from the people they want to attend.
I read somewhere that the mother of the groom should wear beige and shut up.
I really don't care what their colors are, flowers, ceremony etc. I just feel like we are getting on a rollercoaster ride that we won't be able to get off of.
We are going to give 2,500 and see how that goes, I also worry what we don't pay will get put on credit cards and how do you did you self out of that much debt?
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: footenote on July 31, 2013, 06:40:23 AM
Time to separate and dump the worry. Your plan sounds outstanding to me: give 2,500, smile, wear beige and participate cheerfully.

Junior is an adult now. If he and fiancee choose to go deeply into debt for a wedding, well, that's their first financial decision together as a couple. They will learn their lesson from that (a lesson I know you wish you had been able to teach him, but he obviously has not yet learned).

Time to shift the energy from worry to gleeful anticipation of a long, healthy and happy retirement!!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: avonlea on July 31, 2013, 06:51:55 AM
Time to separate and dump the worry. Your plan sounds outstanding to me: give 2,500, smile, wear beige and participate cheerfully.

Junior is an adult now. If he and fiancee choose to go deeply into debt for a wedding, well, that's their first financial decision together as a couple. They will learn their lesson from that (a lesson I know you wish you had been able to teach him, but he obviously has not yet learned).

Time to shift the energy from worry to gleeful anticipation of a long, healthy and happy retirement!!

+1

Dee, I totally sympathize with the mommy guilt (which comes mostly from the heart instead of head).  It attacks all of us mothers.  Ugh.  You are doing a great thing for your son!  If the mommy guilt starts gnawing at you, remember: reason over emotion.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: DocCyane on July 31, 2013, 07:12:32 AM
Fascinating conversation. Especially since I never dealt with wedding drama and parents. (Gay)

But my parents made one thing clear when my brother and I finished college. They were done with us financially. They had raised us and educated us, and now we were on our own.

In return, they would save up for their own retirement and not be a burden on us in their later years.

Twenty-five years later, this has all come to pass. My parents did not help us. My brother borrowed, but always paid back. I never asked to borrow. And now that they are old, they have plenty to care for themselves.

The OP should consider that aspect as well. Her son won't appreciate it now or possibly ever, but she and her husband need to strive for an independent retirement. And that means not giving in to Junior's tantrums now.

It's a shame the son didn't better absorb the good financial lessons he was exposed to. But my brother didn't either. Sometimes that's the way it goes.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: TrulyStashin on July 31, 2013, 07:20:35 AM
Time to separate and dump the worry. Your plan sounds outstanding to me: give 2,500, smile, wear beige and participate cheerfully.

Junior is an adult now. If he and fiancee choose to go deeply into debt for a wedding, well, that's their first financial decision together as a couple. They will learn their lesson from that (a lesson I know you wish you had been able to teach him, but he obviously has not yet learned).

Time to shift the energy from worry to gleeful anticipation of a long, healthy and happy retirement!!

+1 except for the "wear beige" part which I'll choose to take as a metaphor.  Ick.  Nobody looks good in beige.   Wear something that makes you feel fabulous and happy.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: SnackDog on July 31, 2013, 07:22:17 AM
We are getting married later today. I estimate total cost, including rings, to be a fraction of one days salary. And we couldn't be happier. (I am not including cost of a new pair of shoes as they are replacements for the pair with a massive hole under the toe which I have been wearing to work for years.)   Honeymoon will be three hours up the coast to our favorite spot. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: avonlea on July 31, 2013, 07:27:44 AM
We are getting married later today. I estimate total cost, including rings, to be a fraction of one days salary. And we couldn't be happier. (I am not including cost of a new pair of shoes as they are replacements for the pair with a massive hole under the toe which I have been wearing to work for years.)   Honeymoon will be three hours up the coast to our favorite spot.

Congratulations, SnackDog!  Best wishes to you and your partner!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on July 31, 2013, 08:10:36 AM

I really think I've tried to teach him by example, I want him to know that it isn't the things you have by the life experiences you enjoy.
We are trying hard not to hurt his feelings by showing our frustration but think any advice is falling on deaf ears.

I grew up in a frugal household too, but just concentrating on saving money in these areas doesn't communicate the entire financial literacy picture -- about why you're saving all the money, what an actual hourly wage is (minus taxes, working expenses, etc.), compound interest, how liberating it will be to not have to work for every penny. How about a book or a discussion about that, instead of just how to save money? It seems like he might benefit from knowing why you do it, not just how you do it. But, he is 21 and IDK what your relationship is like. If my parents were to give me that advice at 21, they would need to think about how to present it so I wouldn't get defensive.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: footenote on July 31, 2013, 08:22:22 AM
We are getting married later today. I estimate total cost, including rings, to be a fraction of one days salary. And we couldn't be happier. (I am not including cost of a new pair of shoes as they are replacements for the pair with a massive hole under the toe which I have been wearing to work for years.)   Honeymoon will be three hours up the coast to our favorite spot.
SnackDog - Congratulations! Husband and I married on our lunch hours in judge's chambers. We just celebrated 28 years, so apparently spending tens of thousands isn't necessary for happiness. Thrilled for you - enjoy your special day.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: CorpRaider on July 31, 2013, 08:49:17 AM
The bride's family is supposed to pay for the wedding.  I wouldn't feel one twinge of regret at only paying what you're comfortable for the ceremony and reception.  Its already more than what is customary.  You could get into how their hosting the reception is small compensation for the foregone right of dowry and requirement of land and/or fortune.  Also, if someone needs to tone down the bride's enthusiasm for the lavishness of the event, it should be the people who let her watch all those disney movies as a child.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: NumberCruncher on July 31, 2013, 08:55:20 AM
The bride's family is supposed to pay for the wedding.  I wouldn't feel one twinge of regret at only paying what you're comfortable for the ceremony and reception.  Its already more than what is customary.

If we were talking about her daughter's wedding, I still wouldn't change the advice. The whole "bride's family pays for this, groom's family pays for that" doesn't make sense to me.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: CorpRaider on July 31, 2013, 09:03:29 AM
Yeah, well maybe you would break with social convention on that, but you should expect to encounter a significant measure of opprobrium for breaking the norms of society on a sensitive issue, particularly coming from the groom's family if they're going to be imposed upon to pay for the wedding and your daughter is the one driving the expense.  If my daughter was in favor of a modest affair and the groom or his mother wanted a lavish affair, however, I think I would be justified in allowing them the privilege of paying for their party.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: NumberCruncher on July 31, 2013, 09:45:39 AM
Yeah, well maybe you would break with social convention on that, but you should expect to encounter a significant measure of opprobrium for breaking the norms of society on a sensitive issue, particularly coming from the groom's family if they're going to be imposed upon to pay for the wedding and your daughter is the one driving the expense.  If my daughter was in favor of a modest affair and the groom or his mother wanted a lavish affair, however, I think I would be justified in allowing them the privilege of paying for their party.

No one should be forced to pay for anything, except for the bride and groom. It is their wedding. :)  Any gifts or financial support from the parents should not be expected.





Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: AJ on July 31, 2013, 10:30:56 AM
I think it is appropriate for the party making the demands to foot the bill. In many cases, those $25k weddings are such because the parents of the couple want it to be lavish, as it is a status symbol for them as well. We had an affordable wedding that we paid for ourselves, but if my mother had insisted on formal catering, lavish floral arrangements, and inviting all her friends then I would certainly have expected her to pay. However in this case, it's the happy couple that is wanting all the amenities.

It's hard for me not to be biased, but I can't help feeling like this young couple should be grateful that you are tending to your own retirement, regardless of monetary gifts you may or may not provide. Not only did I pay for my own college and wedding, I also co-signed my father's house, paid for my mother's inpatient rehab, and provided my father-in-law a stipend to live on while he was unemployed. At the time, we made less than the average US household, though we do make more than that now. My parents have made it clear that we children are their "retirement fund", and that raising us was their contribution and caring for them in old age will be ours. They have nothing saved and have no intention to do so. I would gladly trade DocCyane for the deal his parents made with him (which is awesome, btw, and I hope to one day have the same conversation with my children).

Perhaps hearing a few horror stories of children having to pay for their parents' shit would instill some gratefulness...
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 31, 2013, 05:49:14 PM
We are getting married later today. I estimate total cost, including rings, to be a fraction of one days salary. And we couldn't be happier. (I am not including cost of a new pair of shoes as they are replacements for the pair with a massive hole under the toe which I have been wearing to work for years.)   Honeymoon will be three hours up the coast to our favorite spot.

Congratulations!! I wish you and your beloved a wonderful future together.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 31, 2013, 05:53:06 PM
Time to separate and dump the worry. Your plan sounds outstanding to me: give 2,500, smile, wear beige and participate cheerfully.

Junior is an adult now. If he and fiancee choose to go deeply into debt for a wedding, well, that's their first financial decision together as a couple. They will learn their lesson from that (a lesson I know you wish you had been able to teach him, but he obviously has not yet learned).

Time to shift the energy from worry to gleeful anticipation of a long, healthy and happy retirement!!

+1 except for the "wear beige" part which I'll choose to take as a metaphor.  Ick.  Nobody looks good in beige.   Wear something that makes you feel fabulous and happy.

I agree I hate beige also and plan on asking son's fiancée  what she thinks is best for wedding but do feel that this is their special day to plan.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 31, 2013, 05:58:44 PM
Fascinating conversation. Especially since I never dealt with wedding drama and parents. (Gay)

But my parents made one thing clear when my brother and I finished college. They were done with us financially. They had raised us and educated us, and now we were on our own.

In return, they would save up for their own retirement and not be a burden on us in their later years.

Twenty-five years later, this has all come to pass. My parents did not help us. My brother borrowed, but always paid back. I never asked to borrow. And now that they are old, they have plenty to care for themselves.

The OP should consider that aspect as well. Her son won't appreciate it now or possibly ever, but she and her husband need to strive for an independent retirement. And that means not giving in to Junior's tantrums now.

It's a shame the son didn't better absorb the good financial lessons he was exposed to. But my brother didn't either. Sometimes that's the way it goes.
This is how my husband feels also, we have raised our son and now it is time for him to stand on his own two feet. I think I'm the one that would like to do more but the older our son gets the more I see that my husband is right and he needs to take care of himself financially.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on July 31, 2013, 06:13:10 PM
I think it is appropriate for the party making the demands to foot the bill. In many cases, those $25k weddings are such because the parents of the couple want it to be lavish, as it is a status symbol for them as well. We had an affordable wedding that we paid for ourselves, but if my mother had insisted on formal catering, lavish floral arrangements, and inviting all her friends then I would certainly have expected her to pay. However in this case, it's the happy couple that is wanting all the amenities.

It's hard for me not to be biased, but I can't help feeling like this young couple should be grateful that you are tending to your own retirement, regardless of monetary gifts you may or may not provide. Not only did I pay for my own college and wedding, I also co-signed my father's house, paid for my mother's inpatient rehab, and provided my father-in-law a stipend to live on while he was unemployed. At the time, we made less than the average US household, though we do make more than that now. My parents have made it clear that we children are their "retirement fund", and that raising us was their contribution and caring for them in old age will be ours. They have nothing saved and have no intention to do so. I would gladly trade DocCyane for the deal his parents made with him (which is awesome, btw, and I hope to one day have the same conversation with my children).

Perhaps hearing a few horror stories of children having to pay for their parents' shit would instill some gratefulness...
I can also relate to this, my family is from the generation that you take care of your parents. I am the opposite I want to be able to not ask kids for a dime and when I can no longer live at home I will happily go into assisted living. My husband wants to live in our home as long as we are able, my only condition to that is the luxury at 80-90 having someone come in once a week to help with the cleaning if I am not able to. I think a housekeeper once a week would be cheaper than assisted living. I think I see our potential earning years dwindling while my son and his fiancée are really still starting out. If we keep giving money away for non emergencies our window for earning is going to shrink and we won't get that time back to save enough needed for the rest of our lives. I guess my fear is that we are going to keep giving and giving then end up giving away our future.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: FrugalZony on July 31, 2013, 06:22:50 PM
Seems like you pretty much figured out what you want to do!
So when are you planning to talk to them about this?
Curious to hear how it goes!!

All the best!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: tomatoprincess on July 31, 2013, 08:11:45 PM
Fascinating conversation. Especially since I never dealt with wedding drama and parents. (Gay)

But my parents made one thing clear when my brother and I finished college. They were done with us financially. They had raised us and educated us, and now we were on our own.

In return, they would save up for their own retirement and not be a burden on us in their later years.

Twenty-five years later, this has all come to pass. My parents did not help us. My brother borrowed, but always paid back. I never asked to borrow. And now that they are old, they have plenty to care for themselves.

The OP should consider that aspect as well. Her son won't appreciate it now or possibly ever, but she and her husband need to strive for an independent retirement. And that means not giving in to Junior's tantrums now.

It's a shame the son didn't better absorb the good financial lessons he was exposed to. But my brother didn't either. Sometimes that's the way it goes.

Love this!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: lifejoy on August 01, 2013, 12:53:58 AM
Hi Dee,

I'm a kid. 24 years old, and my parents are a lot like you - frugal, careful, and generous when it comes to the kids! This is a tricky thing.

My mom won't buy herself a $200 jacket, but she'll buy me one. Yes, she can afford it, and it makes her happy to buy me things once in a while. But it creates habits in me: I know that 50% of the time, if I say "I really wish I had a leather jacket. Oh well, can't afford one right now" she will derive great pleasure in buying it for me. Expand this example, and perhaps your son is not jumping to pay for his own wedding, because he figures mom would just love to - especially if mom has a habit of being generous where the kids are concerned. If my mom won't buy me the jacket, I'll gladly do without - but I'm not going to say no if she offers!

I realize your situation is different, but I was hoping to shed some light on the matter from a "spoiled" kid's point of view. Here are this that help me stay grounded:

-my mom draws the line. She won't pay money for things all the time. Only when SHE wants to. Sometimes she says yes, sometimes she says no.

-my mom supports me in so many other ways. She won't give me handouts of money, but she'll bake me a pie or make sure I'm comfortable when I visit. There are so many ways to show love and support - perhaps for you that could mean offering to help DIY aspects of the wedding to cut costs? Are you crafty? :)

-my mom lectures me about money and the importance of saving. I hate it, but it sinks in. Sorta.

-watching Gail Vaz Oxlade's shows (til debt do us part, princess, and money moron) taught me so much about money, and helped me see how badly I never want to be in debt!! Watch the show when your son is over :)

-I echo the sentiment about maintaining a good relationship wih your future DIL. if your son has to choose between you and her, do the math... She will likely be in his life longer and have a greater affect on his day to day living. Be careful there, and make it so he doesn't have to choose. Try to respect her, and realize that she is a victim of the wedding industry :(

-If you feel selfish about not paying for their wedding, think about it this way instead: it is very generous of you to not make them pay for your old age expenses! You're thinking of their future, and if they can't see it that way now, maybe they will one day.

Good luck, Dee! You sound like a very caring mamma, and of course you want the best for your child. I think a little tough love will earn you respect over time. I love when my mom pays for things, and I may do a teeny grumble when she says no sometimes, but it makes me respect her and admire her values. It's not yes yes yes all the time. She weighs things carefully. I tried asking her if she and dad had ever considered contributing to my future wedding, and she replied "Your dad and I paid for our wedding..." So maybe remind your son that any expectation he had were concocted by his own mind, and you had made no promises. Good luck!!! It's hard being a mom, and you want your child to grow up with things you never had, but also not be a brat. You can do it! Read stuff by Gail Vaz Oxlade. She gets it.

**Please don't think I'm a spoiled brat! :) I help my parents in many ways, spoil them on bdays and Xmas, and call and visit often. I love them and help on their farm, and I realize they are very generous and I am very privileged. It's a slippery slope, though! Parents gotta be firm.

Sorry this was so long!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: pbkmaine on August 01, 2013, 05:26:20 AM
Your children will keep coming to the well until the well runs dry. We told my husband's three daughters that we had set aside $10,000 each for their weddings, but that they could use the money instead for education. (We also paid for 4 years of undergraduate at state schools.) One used most of the 10k for a fifth year of undergraduate, the other two used the money for their masters. Wedding time came and we happily wrote what remained out as a check. Not a peep from any of them. We have great relationships with all three and they are all quite good with money. I think they see that we live a life that is congruent with our principles, that we never worry about keeping up with the Joneses, and that the result for us is a happy life.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 01, 2013, 04:36:07 PM
Seems like you pretty much figured out what you want to do!
So when are you planning to talk to them about this?
Curious to hear how it goes!!

All the best!
Thank you!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 01, 2013, 05:02:07 PM
Hi Dee,

I'm a kid. 24 years old, and my parents are a lot like you - frugal, careful, and generous when it comes to the kids! This is a tricky thing.

My mom won't buy herself a $200 jacket, but she'll buy me one. Yes, she can afford it, and it makes her happy to buy me things once in a while. But it creates habits in me: I know that 50% of the time, if I say "I really wish I had a leather jacket. Oh well, can't afford one right now" she will derive great pleasure in buying it for me. Expand this example, and perhaps your son is not jumping to pay for his own wedding, because he figures mom would just love to - especially if mom has a habit of being generous where the kids are concerned. If my mom won't buy me the jacket, I'll gladly do without - but I'm not going to say no if she offers!

I realize your situation is different, but I was hoping to shed some light on the matter from a "spoiled" kid's point of view. Here are this that help me stay grounded:

-my mom draws the line. She won't pay money for things all the time. Only when SHE wants to. Sometimes she says yes, sometimes she says no.

-my mom supports me in so many other ways. She won't give me handouts of money, but she'll bake me a pie or make sure I'm comfortable when I visit. There are so many ways to show love and support - perhaps for you that could mean offering to help DIY aspects of the wedding to cut costs? Are you crafty? :)

-my mom lectures me about money and the importance of saving. I hate it, but it sinks in. Sorta.

-watching Gail Vaz Oxlade's shows (til debt do us part, princess, and money moron) taught me so much about money, and helped me see how badly I never want to be in debt!! Watch the show when your son is over :)

-I echo the sentiment about maintaining a good relationship wih your future DIL. if your son has to choose between you and her, do the math... She will likely be in his life longer and have a greater affect on his day to day living. Be careful there, and make it so he doesn't have to choose. Try to respect her, and realize that she is a victim of the wedding industry :(

-If you feel selfish about not paying for their wedding, think about it this way instead: it is very generous of you to not make them pay for your old age expenses! You're thinking of their future, and if they can't see it that way now, maybe they will one day.

Good luck, Dee! You sound like a very caring mamma, and of course you want the best for your child. I think a little tough love will earn you respect over time. I love when my mom pays for things, and I may do a teeny grumble when she says no sometimes, but it makes me respect her and admire her values. It's not yes yes yes all the time. She weighs things carefully. I tried asking her if she and dad had ever considered contributing to my future wedding, and she replied "Your dad and I paid for our wedding..." So maybe remind your son that any expectation he had were concocted by his own mind, and you had made no promises. Good luck!!! It's hard being a mom, and you want your child to grow up with things you never had, but also not be a brat. You can do it! Read stuff by Gail Vaz Oxlade. She gets it.

**Please don't think I'm a spoiled brat! :) I help my parents in many ways, spoil them on bdays and Xmas, and call and visit often. I love them and help on their farm, and I realize they are very generous and I am very privileged. It's a slippery slope, though! Parents gotta be firm.

Sorry this was so long!

Thank you, I don't think you are a spoiled brat.. just loved by your parents also. I love Gail Vaz Oxlade shows and have read all her books.
When I feel like I need motivation .. almost like a diet I read books, blogs, etc. on how to save money. It really keeps me focused. I try to see how long I can go without buying something. Watching Gail's show has taught me to keep a money journal and I record everything I spend for the month and then compare to previous months to make me more accountable with our money.
 I really do try to respect my son's fiancée but she comes across not wanting a relationship with us but a relationship with our money. She asks us inappropriate questions about our finances  that really cross the line. We've been going thru a power struggle for a while now and I did talk to my son and asked him why his fiancée is so interested in our money? I have never been disrespectful of what they do. I quietly disapprove and I am worried but I am not vocal. We do not buy much for ourselves now but when we do our son's fiancée  acts like we are taking money out of her pocket or food out of her mouth. She brings it to our attention when our son needs work done on his car or even a new pair of shoes.
The perception she gives us is that we need to take care of their no nonsense bills and free up their money for other things.
We have to maintain our vehicles too, it's a fact of life. You have to be responsible for the things you own, I don't want to maintain their cars, etc.
 I appreciate being able to vent over this issue here it makes it easier to shut my mouth and just smile.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: oldtoyota on August 01, 2013, 07:32:00 PM
Comments above share a lot of my thoughts.

Your son is expecting way too much. He needs to face reality.

My wedding cost about $5,000. I held it in the south where prices are cheaper. I held it during the day and hired a DJ (not a band). If I were to get married today, I would get married on the beach (cheap location) and have a BBQ at my house or a rented larger house (which would still be cheaper than a regular hall or B&B). I would also wear a simple non-wedding wedding dress and bypass the "wedding" store. My dress was $300. Ghastly to us, I know. For a wedding dress, that is cheap.

I've noticed that places tend to charge more once they hear the word "wedding."

Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Kirk1D12 on August 05, 2013, 06:43:20 AM
I feel this is really expensive wedding budget your son had planned. If they both are working then also spending such amount in wedding is not so good idea. Instead it will be better if you Guys can present some expensive gift to them.. You can use various wedding inspirations for the wedding which can make the wedding amazing and not expensive too.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 05, 2013, 03:19:23 PM
Comments above share a lot of my thoughts.

Your son is expecting way too much. He needs to face reality.

My wedding cost about $5,000. I held it in the south where prices are cheaper. I held it during the day and hired a DJ (not a band). If I were to get married today, I would get married on the beach (cheap location) and have a BBQ at my house or a rented larger house (which would still be cheaper than a regular hall or B&B). I would also wear a simple non-wedding wedding dress and bypass the "wedding" store. My dress was $300. Ghastly to us, I know. For a wedding dress, that is cheap.

I've noticed that places tend to charge more once they hear the word "wedding."

I agree the minute the word wedding or funeral is used... empty out your wallet because the salespeople are playing with your emotions and try to  get you to buy into the perfect wedding or you need to spend $$ on a silk casket or you didn't love your departed enough.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 05, 2013, 03:26:48 PM
I feel this is really expensive wedding budget your son had planned. If they both are working then also spending such amount in wedding is not so good idea. Instead it will be better if you Guys can present some expensive gift to them.. You can use various wedding inspirations for the wedding which can make the wedding amazing and not expensive too.

 I worry about the cost because they really could use the money repairing their vehicles or purchasing some new/used ones, building a nest egg for emergencies. I would rather help them with $ for a house fund and I keep thinking of that also. I have been thinking of ways to support them without paying for the wedding. Thanks!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: penny on August 05, 2013, 05:37:41 PM
Sounds like you've gotten some great advice. I come from an area that $25,000 are common, but I have to say, although there may be some expectation that the bride's parents chip in, it is completely unheard of to expect the groom's parents to pay. Frankly these days the couple seems to pay, and if they are lucky get a gift along the way from their parents. Just stick to your gut and don't think twice about any guilt- even the dozens of Bridezilla's I've meet would think your son and his lady need to come back down to earth with their expectations.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: MrsStubble on August 05, 2013, 07:17:25 PM
Dee - Congratulations on your son's upcoming wedding!    I know you are already making your decisions about what to do to help your son and his wife-to-be but I just wanted to say stay strong and firm.  You kids need your love, not your money.  If they can't tell the difference then they need to learn the lesson the hard way.  I know MMM doesn't have a book, but sometimes it's not bad to start with the idiot's guides books (Suze Orman comes to mind for habitual spenders but there's a bunch of good ones out there).

If you decide to give them gifts in the future for something (which you are not under any obligation to do!!!) I suggest you give them matching gifts for worthwhile purchases to incent them to save.  You save $30k to put as a downpayment on a house... i will give you another 10k, or 5k, or whatever you like.   Otherwise you may just want to wait until they have kids and open college savings or kids investment accounts for them that you can manage. 

My parents taught me that lesson.  I picked a stupid-expensive out of state school for no reason except it was out of state and they told me if i decided to go out of state i was on my own but if i went in state they would help pay for some of the costs.  I learned the hard way ( 1 year out of state that i paid for, 3 years in state that they helped me with), but i never forgot the lesson of paying for my decisions.

Congrats again on the wedding and I hope you upcoming retirement! Looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.  (And wear any color clothes you want - just don't match the bridesmaids, the bride, or the mother of the bride!).   
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee on August 05, 2013, 08:19:13 PM
I'm going to chime in with the crowd that says funding your own retirement is a much greater gift than funding a wedding for your kids. My mom is aging and having some health issues and I'm trying to help in various ways (such as accompanying her to appointments, keeping an eye on her bank accounts and doing her banking, etc.) and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I don't have to worry too much about funds. The fact that she fully funded her retirement (with the help of an inheritance she received from an older sibling to whom I am also very grateful) takes loads and loads of stress off my mind. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am to not have to take on the added difficulty of footing any bills in her old age. Her growing old is stressful enough for both of us as it is!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: tomsang on August 11, 2013, 11:01:57 AM
Thanks for posting this. With four kids who are under 16, this has been a topic that has been discussed.  How is your relationship with your son?  If you let him know your feelings will he be able or want to communicate to his future wife this in a constructive and family conducive manner?  Do you feel like he is mature enough to be getting married?  It seems like taking him out for a beer and talking about the facts of life are important.

You sound like you want to have a better relationship with his future wife, yet don't want to intrude in the wedding planning. Is there a way to say that paying for their wedding was not in your budget, that you can sacrifice your future and help out by contributing $2,500, and help out with planning, setup, and negotiations to keep their costs low.  Ie you are willing to give your time, but not your money.  If she/they accept, then you get to know her better, and you get to see the cost to value of decisions being made. You also can show them that a wedding is not about how much you spend, but on bringing friends and family together for a special event.

Good luck with that!

P.S. At the Seattle meetup, MMM hinted on a book coming out for Christmas?  Not sure how many beers he had, but I will be buying a case if that is accurate.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 11, 2013, 02:26:41 PM
Dee - Congratulations on your son's upcoming wedding!    I know you are already making your decisions about what to do to help your son and his wife-to-be but I just wanted to say stay strong and firm.  You kids need your love, not your money.  If they can't tell the difference then they need to learn the lesson the hard way.  I know MMM doesn't have a book, but sometimes it's not bad to start with the idiot's guides books (Suze Orman comes to mind for habitual spenders but there's a bunch of good ones out there).

If you decide to give them gifts in the future for something (which you are not under any obligation to do!!!) I suggest you give them matching gifts for worthwhile purchases to incent them to save.  You save $30k to put as a downpayment on a house... i will give you another 10k, or 5k, or whatever you like.   Otherwise you may just want to wait until they have kids and open college savings or kids investment accounts for them that you can manage. 

My parents taught me that lesson.  I picked a stupid-expensive out of state school for no reason except it was out of state and they told me if i decided to go out of state i was on my own but if i went in state they would help pay for some of the costs.  I learned the hard way ( 1 year out of state that i paid for, 3 years in state that they helped me with), but i never forgot the lesson of paying for my decisions.

Congrats again on the wedding and I hope you upcoming retirement! Looking forward to hearing how it all turns out.  (And wear any color clothes you want - just don't match the bridesmaids, the bride, or the mother of the bride!).

Wish MMM had a book and also a reality show, something to sit down and watch with my son and his fiancée. I still watch Suze Orman and other shows on money just to stay motivated and on track. Thanks for advice on wedding colors. hoping to have a good update in the future!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 11, 2013, 02:28:03 PM
Sounds like you've gotten some great advice. I come from an area that $25,000 are common, but I have to say, although there may be some expectation that the bride's parents chip in, it is completely unheard of to expect the groom's parents to pay. Frankly these days the couple seems to pay, and if they are lucky get a gift along the way from their parents. Just stick to your gut and don't think twice about any guilt- even the dozens of Bridezilla's I've meet would think your son and his lady need to come back down to earth with their expectations.
Thanks! I appreciate all the support!!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 11, 2013, 02:32:03 PM
I'm going to chime in with the crowd that says funding your own retirement is a much greater gift than funding a wedding for your kids. My mom is aging and having some health issues and I'm trying to help in various ways (such as accompanying her to appointments, keeping an eye on her bank accounts and doing her banking, etc.) and I cannot tell you how grateful I am that I don't have to worry too much about funds. The fact that she fully funded her retirement (with the help of an inheritance she received from an older sibling to whom I am also very grateful) takes loads and loads of stress off my mind. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am to not have to take on the added difficulty of footing any bills in her old age. Her growing old is stressful enough for both of us as it is!
I agree with you and I want to be prepared if we have any health issues that could also drain our retirement. I want the kids to be happy and start out their life knowing that we love them and wish the best for them but I also want them to realize they need to start out their married life on more solid ground financially.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 11, 2013, 02:58:14 PM
Thanks for posting this. With four kids who are under 16, this has been a topic that has been discussed.  How is your relationship with your son?  If you let him know your feelings will he be able or want to communicate to his future wife this in a constructive and family conducive manner?  Do you feel like he is mature enough to be getting married?  It seems like taking him out for a beer and talking about the facts of life are important.

You sound like you want to have a better relationship with his future wife, yet don't want to intrude in the wedding planning. Is there a way to say that paying for their wedding was not in your budget, that you can sacrifice your future and help out by contributing $2,500, and help out with planning, setup, and negotiations to keep their costs low.  Ie you are willing to give your time, but not your money.  If she/they accept, then you get to know her better, and you get to see the cost to value of decisions being made. You also can show them that a wedding is not about how much you spend, but on bringing friends and family together for a special event.

Good luck with that!

P.S. At the Seattle meetup, MMM hinted on a book coming out for Christmas?  Not sure how many beers he had, but I will be buying a case if that is accurate.

We have a pretty good relationship with our son but feel the relationship with our future daughter-in law is deteriorating. I don't know if my son has told her in passing what our financial situation is and so she believes us to have the money to pay for the wedding because it will be no hardship to us. We want to help with the wedding in some way but don't want to pay for it all and then there is the comments on the honeymoon. It is my husband and my perception that she wants us to cover that as well. We keep thinking 10% of costs shows them our support but also tells them they have to earn the rest or cut some costs. We are trying to butt out but don't feel they are financially ready to be married and that worries us. They want a wedding they can't afford and after the wedding, what next? We are still young enough and not charitable enough to want to give them this lifestyle they want. I guess to sum it up We haven't been living a frugal lifestyle to give them an extravagant lifestyle. If they want to live that way then they need to find the ways and means in which to do so. Guess we are not sharing our opinion like we probably should because if we are openly critical of the wedding we think she will assume it's because we don't want our son to marry her and that's not the case.
I'm with you on hoping MMM puts out a book this year, that would be awesome!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: homeymomma on August 12, 2013, 09:19:17 AM
You seem very aggressive toward your daughter-in-law to be. Remember that one day she will be the mother of your grandbabies and will have control of when you get to see both them and your son. As someone who has a VERY strained relationship with my own mother-in-law, I can say from experience that you will not be the winners there.

If you have the money - go ahead and help them out with a large fixed expense, say, the venue or the catering. Then they will have the get down into the nitty gritty to budget for the rest of it themselves. Also, have you actually come out and said, "we expect you to pay for this, even though we set the budget of 25K?" Are you maybe reading into things a little bit? Maybe they are expecting some help from you, but not the full amount. It's easy to get carried away with assumptions.

Also, on the practical side, we live in a very high COL area, but decided to have the wedding locally to accommodate most guests who were local. We had small ($1000-2000) contributions from a couple parents, and one parent covered all the catering. We are pretty frugal people but we still ended up spending about 14,000 on our 60 person wedding, NOT including the catering. Wedding are expensive. Also don't forget that if you don't pay - you don't get a say! If you decide not to pay a decent amount, you do not get to produce your own 30 person guest list.

Good luck. Weddings seem to always be stressful. I hope you all make it though with your relationships intact.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Iron Mike Sharpe on August 12, 2013, 09:39:33 AM
Sounds like they need to be given the book The Millionaire Next Door to read.  That is the best gift you can give them.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: CheckEngineLight on August 12, 2013, 11:02:02 AM
Very interesting post, I will add my two cents to this.

First of all a 25k wedding is peanuts outside of the MMM world.  I am not sure where most of you live, but 25k for a wedding in a major north american city is just scratching the surface (it's on the low end).

I don't think the cost of the wedding OP's kids have in mind would be lavish or extravagant, that's the simple math if you have 150ish people at $100+/plate (going rate, can go up to $300/plate if you want lavish), photographer, video, dress, suit, transportation, honeymoon, etc.

Living the nightmare right now and marrying into a Greek family we are making the best of it, however certain traditions in different cultures require some things that can be quite costly.  Yes the wedding is for bride and groom, but you also have to satisfy your guests, especially your family.  That’s just how it goes, it’s not just penny pinching at the expense of awkward situations and damaging relationships (yes some people are shallow, but this is life, enjoy your stay and make the best of it).

Having said all of that, $25k is not unreasonable for a wedding, what is unreasonable is the request for money.  Something leads me to believe your son is probably pretty young and naïve.  I think you should just have a sit down with both of them and explain that you are getting older you are uncertain of your employment, yadda yadda yadda and you can’t afford to pay anywhere near the requested amount and you should probably throw it out there that they really should stop throwing out money requests, that’s ridiculous, I’d be ashamed personally.

As a parent you should help because you want to help him, not because you feel obligated.  No point to give $2500 if it will not be appreciated, end results will be same.  On the flip side if they see the costs adding up and they change their outlook, etc then offer some help.  Are the bride's parents helping, I don't understand why they are only asking you for financial help?

Let them fall on their ass, this attitude can’t be changed verbally, it will only be through time and hitting “rock bottom” if you will. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: CheckEngineLight on August 12, 2013, 11:04:37 AM
Sounds like they need to be given the book The Millionaire Next Door to read.  That is the best gift you can give them.

Based on what OP has posted they would probably scoff at that, they are too young/imature appreaciate a book like that at the moment.  Been there done that.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Hunny156 on August 12, 2013, 12:23:42 PM
We lived in the Northeast when we got married, and I knew what the "expectation" was.  I tried very hard, and couldn't plan a wedding in the $25K range that wouldn't be criticized by family.  That was 12 years ago.

My parents could have afforded the pay the whole thing, but they felt it was a 50/50 thing, and hubby's parents weren't financially able to give much.  Didn't matter, hubby & I really didn't see the reason to spend so much money on a 5 hour party.

My MIL had an amazingly long guest list of every person she ever met.  We firmly and politely informed her that if we were doing a local wedding, she'd be limited to X # of guests, and that would be it, unless she wanted to contribute to the wedding fund.  That cut her wedding dreams short very quickly.  My whole family and their expectations were another big consideration, and we cut that dream short by doing a very small wedding in Las Vegas.  (No, Elvis was not at my wedding!)  It was classy, it was cost-effective, and it kept the drama factor down substantially.

The comments from friends and family were shocking to me.  People suggested that I just do a cheap wedding at the local Knights of Columbus, or my personal fave was an aunt who commented that "only damaged goods people get married in Las Vegas!"  Whatever, my response to many of these comments was that we preferred to spend the money on purchasing a co-op apartment, as that would last a lot longer than a 5 hour party.  Our marriage was more important than our wedding day.

It's so easy to lose sight of the big picture, especially when little girls grow up on the Disney princess fantasy and all the bridal magazines tell you what you MUST do.

Our little co-op apartment appreciated very quickly, and within 18 months we sold it & used the proceeds to buy our first townhouse.  We earned 3x our investment.  A wedding party?  Not so much.

Our parents on both sides gave us several gifts - the wedding dress, our bedroom set, some cash, and it was all greatly appreciated by us. 

Reality crashed down on us shortly after the wedding fanfare was over.  Dad was diagnosed & died of lung cancer w/in 3 months of our wedding.  I was silently grateful that I did not make my parents pick up a big ticket wedding - my newly widowed Mom would have lost her home in the aftermath of his untimely passing.  That's the biggest point to drive home to your son and future daughter in law.  Life is tricky and things happen when you least expect it.  Be there to support them in every other way.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 12, 2013, 12:48:02 PM
I think when you bail your son out once, that sets the precedent. They need to fail and learn from that. You can put it off by bailing them out, but they will only fail harder later in life.

Better now than 5yrs later when he's married with 2 kids.

Give him the 2500 wedding gift and let him work it out. Best of luck!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: lhamo on August 12, 2013, 04:10:10 PM
If you want this relationship to develop in a healthy direction you need to sit down with your DS and DIL-to-be and have a frank conversation outlining what you will/will not/can/cannot do.  Something very simple and non-dramatic, but that makes the boundaries clear.  Something to the effect of

"We love you both to death and are thrilled that you are getting married.  We want to help, but we need to be responsible about our own finances to ensure that we will not be a burden to you in the future.  Given our financial situation and the possibility that one or both of us may lose our jobs or need to stop working before full retirement age, we have decided that the maximum we can contribute to your wedding costs is $X.  We understand you may have been hoping we could do more for you, but we can't.  We hope that you both will be responsible about planning this event and not plan something that is beyond your financial resources.  But ultimately the choice of how much to spend is yours.  We wanted to be very clear now about what our own limitations are financially speaking, so that you don't make plans based on unrealistic expectations of what we can give you.  There is no limit on our love for you, and we hope you feel the same."

Speaking with both of them, directly and frankly, is crucial so that you don't get into game playing situations where your DS is saying things like "well, let me see if I can talk them into giving us a little more" etc. or making promises on your behalf that you are not privy to.  You also need to cultivate a healthy communication pattern with the DIL-to-be, or she's always going to be triangulating through DS and that also gets messy.

Good luck.     
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Hunny156 on August 12, 2013, 04:28:27 PM
+++ 1, lhamo!!!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 12, 2013, 06:23:01 PM
If you want this relationship to develop in a healthy direction you need to sit down with your DS and DIL-to-be and have a frank conversation outlining what you will/will not/can/cannot do.  Something very simple and non-dramatic, but that makes the boundaries clear.  Something to the effect of

"We love you both to death and are thrilled that you are getting married.  We want to help, but we need to be responsible about our own finances to ensure that we will not be a burden to you in the future.  Given our financial situation and the possibility that one or both of us may lose our jobs or need to stop working before full retirement age, we have decided that the maximum we can contribute to your wedding costs is $X.  We understand you may have been hoping we could do more for you, but we can't.  We hope that you both will be responsible about planning this event and not plan something that is beyond your financial resources.  But ultimately the choice of how much to spend is yours.  We wanted to be very clear now about what our own limitations are financially speaking, so that you don't make plans based on unrealistic expectations of what we can give you.  There is no limit on our love for you, and we hope you feel the same."

Speaking with both of them, directly and frankly, is crucial so that you don't get into game playing situations where your DS is saying things like "well, let me see if I can talk them into giving us a little more" etc. or making promises on your behalf that you are not privy to.  You also need to cultivate a healthy communication pattern with the DIL-to-be, or she's always going to be triangulating through DS and that also gets messy.

Good luck.   

Great advice, thanks!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Simple Abundant Living on August 12, 2013, 06:25:59 PM

Yes the wedding is for bride and groom, but you also have to satisfy your guests, especially your family.  That’s just how it goes, it’s not just penny pinching at the expense of awkward situations and damaging relationships (yes some people are shallow, but this is life, enjoy your stay and make the best of it).


So... the purpose of a wedding is to satisfy your guests?  Sorry, that's the most insane thing I've heard all day.  Yes, there are different expectations due to culture and religion.  But, at the end of the day, it is the choice of two adults that matter.  I've watched the "big fat gypsy weddings" shows with over the top teen weddings costing tens of thousands, to see the couple look forward to living in a trailer for the rest of their lives.  Strange way to spend your money.  I think traditions are important to acknowledge, but at the end of the day, you have to use simple logic.  If everyone in a major North American city thinks that $25K weddings are the norm, they are buying into the biggest lie ever fed to them by wedding industry marketers. 
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: JellyBean on August 13, 2013, 06:55:21 AM
I think there are two parts to this, the cost and the expectation. $25k is a lot to ask for. It should be a gift that you feel comfortable with. But, as some have pointed out it's not considered a lot to spend on a wedding. We spent $20k just over 10 years ago and that was considered low cost back then. My Dad was able to give $5k as a gift but it wasn't expected. Now, wedding expenses can get crazy. People go all out on not just the wedding but everything leading up to it.

This is their day. For some it's the biggest day to start a new life. For others, its just another day. Your son and DIL need to work it out. Offer what you can afford. It will not be a good start if you start "poo-pooing" their goals and dreams. They need to come to that conclusion themselves.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: ace1224 on August 13, 2013, 07:21:41 AM
If you want this relationship to develop in a healthy direction you need to sit down with your DS and DIL-to-be and have a frank conversation outlining what you will/will not/can/cannot do.  Something very simple and non-dramatic, but that makes the boundaries clear.  Something to the effect of

"We love you both to death and are thrilled that you are getting married.  We want to help, but we need to be responsible about our own finances to ensure that we will not be a burden to you in the future.  Given our financial situation and the possibility that one or both of us may lose our jobs or need to stop working before full retirement age, we have decided that the maximum we can contribute to your wedding costs is $X.  We understand you may have been hoping we could do more for you, but we can't.  We hope that you both will be responsible about planning this event and not plan something that is beyond your financial resources.  But ultimately the choice of how much to spend is yours.  We wanted to be very clear now about what our own limitations are financially speaking, so that you don't make plans based on unrealistic expectations of what we can give you.  There is no limit on our love for you, and we hope you feel the same."

Speaking with both of them, directly and frankly, is crucial so that you don't get into game playing situations where your DS is saying things like "well, let me see if I can talk them into giving us a little more" etc. or making promises on your behalf that you are not privy to.  You also need to cultivate a healthy communication pattern with the DIL-to-be, or she's always going to be triangulating through DS and that also gets messy.

Good luck.   

this.  this this this.  my brother made that mistake and the lines of communication got bad.  he would say to my sil that "oh they'll cover this don't worry" and then she'd pay the deposit and my parents would be all "what? what are you talking about?" and the answer would be no and then sil would be mad at them. and then my parents not knowing that my brother had promised it thought she was a brat and it was just....ugh...annoying.
i was so glad when "their special day" was over.  my parents are well off and my bro and sil kinda thought they would pay for it bc they are able...my parents are very traditional.  their pov was as the grooms parents they were responsible for the rehearsal dinner (traditionally i guess) and that they weren't going to pony up 25k for a dream wedding for someone else when they had gone to the justice of the peace
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 13, 2013, 11:16:31 AM
I think the rub is that the DIL expects the MIL to foot the bill for the wedding with no consideration that HER parents are supposed to be doing that. I would be miffed too.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Dee 72013 on August 14, 2013, 06:19:30 PM
I think the rub is that the DIL expects the MIL to foot the bill for the wedding with no consideration that HER parents are supposed to be doing that. I would be miffed too.

That's it exactly!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: olivia on August 14, 2013, 08:27:46 PM
I think the rub is that the DIL expects the MIL to foot the bill for the wedding with no consideration that HER parents are supposed to be doing that. I would be miffed too.

That's it exactly!

Have you communicated any of your concerns to them?  If you have continued to support your son and have not told him you don't wish to do so anymore, then honestly I don't really blame him for expecting you to cover the wedding expenses.  My parents were very up front with me and my siblings about our weddings as far back as I can remember.  We each were told that we got $5k, male or female, and we could do whatever we wanted with the $, and that was that.  So when my turn came around, I knew I was getting $5k and planned accordingly.  My MIL did give us $2500 and she and my FIL also paid for a rehearsal dinner, but that was a nice bonus. 

I'm a very direct person so I address issues with my loved ones when they crop up.  It doesn't sound like that's your style, and it's likely contributing to the issues with your son and DIL.   

I will say a $25k wedding isn't really super lavish.  Obviously it's not necessary, but once you add up food, catering, photography, dress/tux/etc., it adds up quickly.   That's about what ours cost for 120 people in Richmond, VA.  However, we were both working full time and living on our own, and paid for everything above the $7500 ourselves.   We would have paid for the entire thing if our parents weren't able or willing to give us the money.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: zarfus on August 15, 2013, 09:29:04 AM
Here's my experience on the topic:

My wife and I had a 25k+ wedding. Neither of us wanted it (we wanted to elope), but it was important for her mom.  To keep family peace, we did it.  She made it clear what she would pay for, and we gave her 'control' to plan those things accordingly.  Everything else that was on us, we planned (and kept on a nice budget). If she didn't like something we planned, she would contribute towards that.

It may sound ridiculous to some, especially to mustachians, but it worked for us--and the peace that was kept was definitely worth it.

My parents, on the other hand, made it very clear the specific amount they would contribute.  They didn't care where it went.  Rehearsal dinner, honeymoon, dress, flowers...didn't matter. That's how much we got.  And that's how much they'll give ALL my siblings.  They just wanted to be fair.

Two different methods, peace was kept on both sides of the family.  Our relationship with either of our parents took no hit, and has since only gotten better (THIS IS THE ULTIMATE GOAL.) If a big wedding is important to your son and future-daughter, then don't stop them.  Just be honest with what you're willing to 'chip in', they can figure it out from there.

Good luck!
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Rebecca Stapler on August 15, 2013, 09:53:37 AM
I think the rub is that the DIL expects the MIL to foot the bill for the wedding with no consideration that HER parents are supposed to be doing that. I would be miffed too.

That's it exactly!

Have you communicated any of your concerns to them?  If you have continued to support your son and have not told him you don't wish to do so anymore, then honestly I don't really blame him for expecting you to cover the wedding expenses.

+1

And what is this about the DIL should know that her parents are "supposed to" pay for her wedding? If the OP were the parent of the bride, would all this advice be "you're the parents of the bride, so you should pay for this"? Maybe her parents, like mine, have already made it clear to her what they will / will not pay for. My sister was married before I was, and when she was married my parents told me how much they contributed, and that I would get the same amount towards my wedding.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: Mr.Macinstache on August 15, 2013, 09:58:00 AM
I am guessing the DIL's family might not have much money and you all appear like you do. There's really no nice way to sit down the DIL and tell her to ask her own parents for the money if that is the case.

I would sit them both down and say this is what you get and set that boundary.
Title: Re: Wedding Blues
Post by: beltim on August 15, 2013, 10:08:31 AM
Having just gotten married this summer, I think the original situation is totally backwards.  My wife and I planned our wedding around what we could afford to spend, and we adjusted that amount when we received some generous gifts from our parents.  But we never would have planned a wedding beyond our budget, and then expected other people to come up with the money.  In this situation it sounds like the son and/or his fiancée decided on the amount of money they were going to spend first, and now they're fundraising.  Again, this is totally backwards.