What's next... a kidney?

We're the Groom's parents. The wedding WAS to be a simple, intimate affair. Almost imperceptibly, it slowly has become something else.

I volunteered 18 centerpieces, a very tasteful rehearsal dinner for 24 (mom invited extras), flowers and a cake. In came a rented dance floor, decorated arch. Husband needs a tux. "Mom" is wearing a semi formal gown. I guess I have to do likewise. I drew the line at fresh Boston ferns and new curtains for the ballroom.

Every day it's something new. Karaoke, a "money dance". Homemade favors for 200. She just keeps adding minutia, gimmicks from every wedding she knows of. It's getting tacky in my eyes.

I'm all for marriage, ritual, celebration and having it witnessed by those they love, but it's getting silly. I support elegant, simple. All this ..."stuff"? How bout a tractor pull?

The punchline is mom just revealed to me their grim financial situation.

If you've come this far...

Typically assertive, I agreed for the sake of harmony. It came an inch at a time. Now she asks we pay half the bridal suite, which she said was their gift to the kids. Every day it's something new. Give an inch, take a mile?

Do I share this with my son? Living an hour away with demanding jobs they may not know. Or should I keep my mouth shut and just go with it hoping for the best? It's not even 3 weeks away.

Am I being unreasonable? Just how much should the groom's parents contribute, especially when the bride's mother keeps sliding in new "touches"?

17 Answers

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  • 5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I have always known that the Brides family pays for everything in the wedding and Grooms parents plan and pay for the rehearsal dinner. So on a technical point that is all you should pay. Now, I would talk to your son, because this is a lifelong situation. When the first baby is to be born will be paying for it as well. If her family throws her a shower will you be asked to pay for their party and one you are throwing? First birthday... this could go on. Better to say NO now (Kindly of course) than to never say anything and harbor resentments that WILL come out one day. Perhaps call your son and let him know how you plan to handle it first. If your cutting off the money trail then he will know. Don't use a lie like "we cannot afford it". Just be honest and say, "we have paid more than we had intended and the amount is going to be capped... just letting you know". I would not NOT not say anything about how tacky anything is... that will just get you in hot water with his soon to be wife. Just cap the funds and move on.

  • harper
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    You are completely within reason to be upset over all this. It is so unfair for the bride's mother to put you in this situation, and she should really be "reigning in" her daughter and the expensive, last-minute add-ons, which I agree with you about it getting tacky. You can only be a doormat, however, if you are laying down. So get up, call the mother of the bride and politely but firmly explain that the expenses are getting out of control and much more than you were led to anticipate. Give her an exact dollar amount that you are comfortable with, and let her know that is all you can contribute.

    There is no need to bring your son into things at this point. With the wedding so close I am sure he is stressing about plenty of other things. I would not add to his list.

    You have been incredibly generous -- your son and future daughter in law should be very appreciative for everything you've done.

  • 5 years ago

    My daughter is getting married next month. We coordinated with the groom's parents and we are all giving the same fixed amount. If the "kids" want to go over that budget, it's on them. If they stay under, it's a bonus to them. If your son is old enough to get married, he's old enough to understand the realities of planning a wedding. No one has a money tree growing in the back yard. Tell him you are done and he can communicate this to his bride and her parents. I do believe your son's soon-to-be in-laws are taking advantage of you.

    And, just for the record, I've never agreed with the bride's family pays for everything. If you're getting married, you're an adult who should be able to support yourself and your parents are not obligated to pay for a thing (especially if your parents paid for you to go to college!) when it comes to a wedding. If parents do choose to give money for a wedding, it's a wonderful gesture on their part and one side or another (groom's or bride's family) should not have to pay more than the other side just because of the gender of the child.

  • 5 years ago

    Who's holding a gun to your head to do ANY of this?

    Answer: nobody. Not the bride, not her mom, not your son. If you happen to have a bratty, greedy son, then guess who's fault that is for enabling him? If your son isn't involved in any of these requests for money, though, then you have NO business here and you can just shut the mother-in-law down ASAP.

    Here's what you do ... sit down with your spouse and decide EXACTLY what (if anything) you are willing to give the couple. Decide if you want to give them a check for a specific amount of money, or decide if you want to give them specific material items. It's easier and more clean-cut to just give a check for $x and then wash your hands of it, frankly.

    If you're willing to give 18 centerpieces, rehearsal dinner for 24, flowers, and a cake, then your problem is that you've left it open-ended. You need to set price limits for these things. Again, it's easier to just say, "Here's $X. Do whatever you want with it. We cannot give you any more than that."

    This isn't rocket science. If the bride's mother is asking you for an outfit, the bridal suite, make 200 favors, etc., just smile and say, "Sorry but I can't do that." That's ALL you have to say. She can beg, scream, cry, or argue all she wants, but you should ONLY respond with "Sorry but I can't do that." Hang up the phone or walk away if she won't knock it off. Again, she's not holding a gun to your head.

    If the couple is doing karaoke or a money dance, that's none of your business. If they elect to do something tacky, then they can take the fall for it. If they ask you to pay for it, say no. If you prefer that the money you give them NOT cover something you view as tacky, then you need to make that 100% clear when you hand over the check (and even then I would not count on them obeying your wishes).

    Yeah, it might be rude of the bride's mom - or your son and his fiancee - to keep asking you for a handout, but if you entertain their requests then YOU are to blame. Just shut it down - "Sorry but I can't do that." It's not rude or mean to say this to them. If they get upset, well, that's their own problem, not yours.

    "NO" is not a dirty word. Learn how to use it. If you insist on letting people treat you like a doormat or an ATM machine, though, then don't complain about it. Either step up and DO something about it, or stop whining.

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  • 5 years ago

    It's 2015, you don't owe this couple a dime.

    I'd recommend you say to your son "This is how much we are giving you, and not a dime more" and point out how you've already gone above and beyond what you originally said you would.

    DO NOT mention anyone elses financial goings on with the couple, it's up to that person to explain it to them, not you.

  • MM
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    "Here is what we have given so far. Here is the absolute maximum we can contribute beyond that/We are unable to contribute any more. Please use it wisely/finalize the budget accordingly."

    And yes, I think this conversation needs to happen out in the open, with the bride, groom, and both families. It's unfortunate there's so little time before the wedding to address it, but frankly, things shouldn't have been allowed to drag on this long. I'm somewhat sympathetic if the bride's family told them not to worry about it and is now trying to pass the buck to you, but it sounds like the bride herself may have inherited their cavalier attitude toward spending. And that's a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud before they go through with the ceremony.

  • 5 years ago

    I went a little further than any of you suggested. I called "mom" and said,

    "I really feel like I've been generous. Since you keep referring to "etiquette" [and she does] and you have made all the arrangements, I'm stopping here. We have a prior agreement with our son for a sizable gift, and we also feel the wedding is a "gift", but because my son was happy to elope [and so was her daughter till she started planning], I really think we have provided more than our share of the event as it was presented to us in the beginning."

    She acted fairly gracious. I didn't feel any need to tell her we are giving them their honeymoon. In the beginning, when things were simple, a nice rehearsal dinner and a cruise seemed reasonable for our only child and it's none of her business... tho she keeps quoting the price of every dine she spends to me. Sheesh.

    Then I called my son.

    "Oh god mom. Tell me NOT". He said he was happy to let her plan and pay for anything that would make his girl happy and he would stand in the appropriate place at the appointed hour and surely enjoy himself, but it turns out even his girl doesn't care about much of this. Then he said...

    "Mom, she's a conniver. She's living thru (his girl). I guess thought you knew that. And she is all about money"

    How the hell would I know? Then...

    "Stop mom. Let me take care of this. Don't give another dime or minute to 'the cause'. I'm taking over. You and Dad relax. See you at the rehearsal dinner."

    Good kid. Case closed. Thanks to all of you for being sensible.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Yes you should talk to the son.

    There no reason today that couples can pay for their wedding, or pay for extra like curtains or Karaoke Machine or Boston Fern.

    What you could do is say we will give x amount and not more.

    They could use the money any way they want.

    Stop paying for items.

    Tell you son, it's getting out of hand.

    That they need to put money in the wedding, or cut back.

    You can not give any more.

  • 5 years ago

    You should sit down with your son, his fiancee and the other parents and discuss this like the adults you all are. No one other than the bride and groom are responsible for wedding expenses. If things have spiraled out of control, you need to put a stop to it. You also should urge your son and daughter-in-law-to be to get some financial counseling. If they are mature enough to get married, they are mature enough to understand that what a girl wants isn't free. They will continue to have budget issues and you will continue to bail them out if you don't put your foot down now. Harmony is great, but this requires intervention.

  • 5 years ago

    You need to put your foot down, you agreed to A, B and C and now you are being asked for the whole alphabet. You're being taken advantage of and you need to address this with your son and daughter in law. It's not fair and if they're getting married its just the beginning.

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