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Veteran Contributor

Wedding help

Was asked by some brothers, who are both getting married this summer, to talk to their father about letting them do things their way for the weddings.  Their mom feels the same way that it should be the kids way but is not getting through to the father. The 1st couple are paying for wedding themselves..yet are borrowing money from his parents and plan on paying them back...Dad is complaining that they should do it this way or that and it is putting alot of strain on the these couples, to the point where the future DIL's don't even want to go over any more for casual visits.  All the kids live on their own and the first couple live together.

So we plan on going out to eat tonight with this couple and lead up to conversation about the weddings...and that he should let it be the kids way.

What is something you might inform someone that they should put their kids feelings first without sounding like your telling them how to live??

S.

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10 Replies
Senior Contributor

Re: Wedding help

Sorry to say, Sundae, but when money comes into play, control does too. Intentions probably do not mean much to the Dad. If the couples cannot pay for a wedding now, maybe they should consider eloping. Wouldn't be right, but a marriage license, a judge, and couple of witnesses are the only things necessary. The wedding party can occur when enough money has been saved to pay for it. The wedding ceremony isn't what makes a marriage, it's the couple's commitment to a shared life.

Warning to the couples. If the FIL is making such a fuss now over the wedding, what is his effect going to be on their marriages?

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Honored Advisor

Re: Wedding help

This is a first for me...usually, it's the mom that has a control fetish over the kids' weddings. 

I'd be tempted to ask you if this is a very controlling man in general...or is it limited to the weddings alone? If in general, good luck.  Controlling people are hard to deal with, period.   

Maybe appealing to his sense of wanting to be in the kids' lives, and asking him if he's noticed that they are making themselves scarce lately.  He probably "means well, but is mistaken."

I will take it that this is not a religiously-oriented dictation of ceremony or other cultural constraint, that he might feel very deeply about on a spiritual level, or you would probably have mentioned that.  

What was his own wedding like?  Maybe there were things he wanted and didn't get to have, because someone else took over, or they didn't have the money to do it up "right"  at the time.  If so, I'd suggest that the two parents select a date in the next year or so and renew their own vows, doing it THEIR way this time.  (I have always wanted to do this with Mike, since my mother got into the planning and had to make a big, hairy show out of our wedding. I know we both would have rather gotten married in a small ceremony and put the money towards our home.)

If it's just the weddings, then maybe the way the kids get him to keep his opinion to himself is to get the funding for the festivities elsewhere.  I hate to say it, but money "lent" gives the lender a sense of entitlement a lot of times.  They really aren't paying for the wedding, they are asking someone else to do it, then accept installments (and there may even be a sense that he won't really ask for the money back...that may be in the back of his mind, too.)

It's complicated....

If they can truly afford the wedding they want, then someone else - like a bank with a personal loan note - will lend it to them, and there would be no strings attached, except repayment.  The problem is most often that for some people, "when you spend MY money, I want you to spend it MY way." 

It occurs to me that the bride's family usually foots the bill for the wedding...that way,the bride usually gets more of her own way.   There is a reason customs have evolved the way they have, and this is one that makes perfect sense to me. 

Again, I hate to say it, but controlling the pursestrings is a significant matter, if you choose to make it one, and apparently Dad does. 

My only other question is this:  Why, if these are two grown men who are ready to get married, do they need their sister to run interference?  If their fiancees are the ones with an  issue, it is up to  their guys to deal with their Dad on matters of substance. 

If they are this chicken, then you might prepare to be chopped off at the neck tonight.  I honestly cannot see, given the info you've written so far, how to do this without being seen an a meddler. 

 

Oh, did he act this way with YOUR wedding? If not, what's different this time?  If you had pretty free reign, then it's easier to say,"Daddy, you gave me the wedding of my dreams, no questions asked.  Please do the same for my brothers and their brides." 

Lots of dynamics at work here.  

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Honored Advisor

PS -Sundae...

...be REALLY careful about how you fight someone else's battles for them.  There is a good reason there is a phrase stating "don't shoot the messenger." 

As I thought about the first reply, and read wt's, I started to boil over a bit.  I honestly think you are quite possibly being used, and should be really careful. 

For 45 years, I was the peacemaker and troubleshooter for my birth family.  One sister in particular never called me unless she had a problem she wanted to to fix for her, or needed something. 

For example, when she got drunk on a school field trip in high school, I got a pitiful call, and had to dress myself and my son, drive to our mother's school, and break the news to her on the playground, while her students played.  By the time she got to the parents' conferrence, she'd had time to calm down, and was not so hard on my darling sis. 

I only refused to do her dirty work for her once, when she called from college, four years later, and wanted me to tell our folks that she wanted to back out of her impending wedding.  I am talking less than a week away, big church to-do. She wanted to break it off with her fiance' on the phone.  I told her to get her narrow a$$ into that nice Corinthian leather car seat the folks had given her, and drive home to face the music...that she was NOT to do this by telephone.  No texting back then, or I am sure she would have done it all that way! 

In retrospect, every time I foolishly confided anything in her, she ran back to tell our father as fast  as she could fly...in fact, she's the one who caused our current rift.  In short, siblings who put you on the hot seat are doing so to lessen their own discomfort at your expense. 

My other thought, knowing you for as long as I have, is that if this was a simple thing to do, you would already know how to do it.  Sometimes, it is hard to think of the "right thing to say," because there really isn't one....

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Wedding help

He probably "means well, but is mistaken."  This is the way the man thinks alot.

These are not my brothers though....One of the men knows that his dad respects my husband and I alot and wanted some help with this.

All of them have great jobs...smart...I really don't know how much money is being spent but I do know its not "A glamour type wedding"

Even with the 2nd one getting married later this summer and her parents paying it all he still wants to say do this and not that type attitude.

Well time will tell what the out come will be.

S.

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Honored Advisor

Okay, with much more info...

...I am glad it's not a family problem for you personally.  The "shoot the messenger" dynamic can still apply. 

If these are good friends, I'd listen a lot tonight, and if the weddings come up - and, of course, it's easy to make that happen -  ask what the KIDS' plans are. 

It doesn't take a large or fancy wedding for things to add up considerably.  For any person old enough to have kids getting married, the amount for even a reasonably conservative wedding seems staggering.  We joke sometimes that enough money arrives in the mail here in one or two days to have bought our first home...and it was a nice house.   We'd have fallen over if that had happened 30 years ago...so, I wonder if this is simply a matter of money perspective. 

To be honest, I still think you may be treading into dangerous waters, friendship-wise.  If my kids asked someone else to tell me something, I'd be hurt.  That's why I say it's safer to listen first. 

Then again, I look straight at mine and my SIL and say things like, "If I overstep, all you have to do is say "we need to have that talk now." 

Maybe the boys and their brides can just listen and say "Uh-huh, uh-huh," and then do what they want to do anyway.  I cannot imagine that a man is telling them what flowers to pick, what tuxedos to wear, etc.  Just what specifically is he offering so many opinions about? 

Mike would suggest what beer or wine to serve at a reception, but that's about it!  (Okay, maybe he'd like a tie-dyed tux, too....)  Please post back..this one is a new wrinkle on human relations to me. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wedding help

Kay,  the sister did cancel the wedding?

 

Sundae, we do need more details.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Wedding help

Well we went out last night with this couple and their son did inform the mom about them seeking our help.

 

Talked about the up coming weddings and basically hinted alot about how the kids need to have "their time"

used examples of our wedding and my sons...we didn't but in with my sons  but made it sound like we did...and yes dh and I paid 90% of my sons wedding.

 

The father says hes going to wear blue jeans to the wedding...so time will tell what will happen.

 

This family is spending easter together and the way I get it their not looking forward t it Smiley Surprised(

 

S.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Wedding help

No, she did not ever work up the courage to tell anyone of her cold feet issues.  Honestly, she was very luicky to have this guy marry her in a lot of respects.  

She cannot do her own dirty work to anyone's face...preferred phones back then, and has used e-mails and other technology since.  She is the type who can do anything mean, as long as she doesn't have to be present when the manure hits the fan.  Even worse, she whines and finagles to get someone else to do it for her...which I had the foresight that one time to refuse to do. 

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Senior Contributor

Re: Wedding help

I am just surprised that the father is concerned at all. My DH didn't want to know anything about the weddings for our girls, except when to be there. He does not know to this day what they cost. He just wanted his girls happy, but maybe it would have been different with boys. I just know most men in my family could care less, just as long as the women are happy, they really don't want to be bothered with details.

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