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Whatever you want…

August 27, 2009

T‘s parents called last week to let us know that instead of the original $5000 for “whatever we want” for our wedding, they are now giving us $500, plus a formal reception in his home state.

When we were first engaged, both sets of parents told us they were fine with whatever we wanted.  Months later, they decided they wanted a formal reception, and we agreed because it seemed wrong to tell them how to spend their money, even if it was for our wedding.  And I’m sure the reception will be a fun celebration — it just wasn’t something that was a priority for me.  They started planning, put down deposits, and then called to say they could give us $500 for the wedding that we planned.  

His mom implied that it was because we chose to have our ceremony in California.  First, not true — if we had it in my home town, we’d be in the exact same situation, since they are pretty far apart.  The only way it could have been avoided would be to have everything in his hometown.  Second, why didn’t they say so in the first place, anyway?  We might have done something else, though it certainly wouldn’t have been “whatever we wanted”.

She also implied that the California ceremony and dinner was mostly for my family, so they shouldn’t have to pay for it.  It is true that some of my relatives travel for weddings and can make it, but a lot of them can’t.  That is fine with me, because to me, the day was for T and I, our friends, and our immediate families.  But mostly for T and I.

I don’t mean to imply I’m ungrateful for the reception they are giving us, or that they aren’t doing enough for us.  I’m grateful, and it is more than enough.

I’m not of the opinion parents owe their kids expensive weddings.  Frankly, I’d be embarrassed not to be contributing, considering we are adults who have supported ourselves for years. But I think it is lame that they said we could do what we want, changed their minds (after we put down deposits), told us they are giving us 1/10th what we expected (after they put down deposits).  Then implied it was partially our fault.

It was frustrating, but not unexpected.   We can still afford “our” wedding, and we are proceeding as usual.  On the bright side, totally unrelated, my parents said they probably will contribute more than they originally stated, and they are still totally fine with any plan we come up with.   And, at the end of the day, we’ll still end up married, and wasn’t that the point?

12 Comments leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 11:15 pm

    I’m glad you’re still able to move on with your original wedding plans – $5000 to $500 is a major downgrade!

  2. August 28, 2009 5:58 am

    You can NEVER make everyone happy. I have 2 sets of In-laws that don’t speak to each other at all. Makes it soooo much fun to plan stuff. Ha!

  3. Bonnie permalink
    August 28, 2009 6:43 am

    I’m really sorry, SP. I’m annoyed with both sets of parents because they’re going back on what they promised you, and by stipulating that the majority of the money has to be used toward a reception of their liking. That just doesn’t sound right to me. I guess I would be grateful, too, but I really, really hate “gifts” that come with major strings (ropes?!) attached. That’s how things are usually done in my family, too.

  4. August 28, 2009 6:57 am

    @anny – yeah it is, but we had already figured we’d only get $1500 or so, so I’ve had time to be prepared.

    @courtney – I know, it makes me wish we eloped!

    @bonnie – I do think that they have a right to insist on it… Though it would be nice if they didn’t. But I hate that they said there were no strings, then pulled them later anyway!

    My parents don’t have any strings (yet?), but they’ve always been extremely laid back and let me make my own decisions, while T’s parents are more traditional

  5. August 28, 2009 7:02 am

    wow… I would be disappointed in their lack of clear communication with me and my partner. This post, I think, identifies a couple of potential ‘flakes’ that are in your life. *cough *cough re: yesterday’s post.

    My partner’s parents are fairly similar, and it drives us both crazy. They will make plans, promises and the like and then ‘flake out’ change their minds. Simply, they are not dependable. Only, they think that they are the most dependable, focused people ever! *sigh

    Your post made me think of them…

  6. August 28, 2009 12:20 pm

    I would be furious! You already started making plans based on their commitment, it’s unfair for them to change their minds. Plus do you even want a formal reception in T’s hometown? It sounds like that will be his parents wedding, not yours. I’m sorry they did this to you and I guess don’t count on them in the future to keep their word. It’s stuff like that that makes me think eloping would be the best idea.

  7. aladyinred permalink
    August 28, 2009 2:32 pm

    We’re having the same problem with Chris’s parents. Although no money is involved.

    His mom said she would go along with whatever we wanted to do since it was our wedding not anyone else’s. And now that we are planning every decision we make is ‘fine, but not the way you *should* be doing it’. Its terribly taxing.

    We opted to wait two years to get married so that we had time to save up money for it (we just bought a house). They wanted to front the money so that we could do it sooner. But Chris insisted we wanted to do it on our terms, because he knows his parents never do anything just because they want to. There is always going to be a “You owe us because we did XYZ for you”

    The wedding is for you two and no one else. Its nice to not offend any parents but in the long run its for you not them.

  8. August 28, 2009 2:55 pm

    No, I don’t want a formal reception, anywhere, and they wanted to do “something” in his hometown (understandable) and all the sudden it turned to… this. The formal reception is 98% their doing and 100% their money, but that doesn’t mean we’d refuse to come.

    The wedding is for us, and we are still doing everything wotj “our” ideas. We just aren’t really getting any money from his parents to help us do it the way we planned. And we are attending their reception too.

    Sure it is annoying, but we can either accept it and move on, or start a feud that certainly won’t end in them giving us more money anyway. You know?

    (Although at first I was really quite upset, it has been about a week and there really is no good option but to be mature about it)

  9. August 28, 2009 6:28 pm

    Oh that’s so frustrating! I also am reluctant to cede control of our wedding to our parents even though they’re paying and I would be furious if they went back on their word like that after I made plans accordingly.

  10. August 28, 2009 6:56 pm

    I think i’d be way more upset if this development forced us to change what we have planned. but their thing is pretty separate, so… it’s just money. Which is something, but not the main thing

  11. August 30, 2009 5:34 pm

    I think you have an awesome attitude about everything. It’s natural to be a little annoyed or upset, but you have a mature way of looking at things.

    As a devil’s advocate, his parents may be getting pressure from elsewhere to have something close to home, and costs are always prohibitive in terms of having 2. I just found out my mother has a cousin (who I can’t even remember, which means I probably haven’t seen her in 10+ years) who is really angry about not being invited to our wedding and vowed never to speak to my mom again.

    Seeing it from that side, I understand why Chad’s parents insisted on inviting so many people, and I feel bad that my concerns about the guest list caused a family rift (although ultimately, I would not have been happy with the situation where all of the distant cousins were invited either).

  12. August 31, 2009 2:18 pm

    This is a “nice” follow up to your last post on how people are flakes. People ARE flakes, aren’t they? Frustrating, but ultimately, it’ll be good for us to learn that we are ultimately alone and liable for ourselves. This also means, anything others provide and give, are like icing on the cakes.

    Well, that’s the attitude I take.

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