Reverse Finances: Planning a Wedding when you have Money, but your Family doesn’t

by Melissa on August 25, 2011

My fiancé and I are in a unique situation (or maybe it’s not all that unique, who knows).

We both grew up in families that did not have much money.  And they still don’t have much money.  However, my fiancé and I now make good money.  In fact, combined, we make nearly $180,000/year.

We have both done everything we can to make our wedding as financially easy on our families as possible.  We’re paying for the entire wedding ourselves.  We’re not having a wedding party so we don’t have to saddle our families with bridesmaid dress and suit rental costs.  I told my family that I did not want a bridal shower either.  (although that wasn’t an entirely financial consideration, I also don’t like the idea of being in front of all those people opening gifts).

Yet, I still feel bad about some things.  For instance, I want to suggest that all our immediate family members wear solid colors, and no pastels (instead, bright colors or jewel tone colors) so that we don’t clash in photos.  But I feel really guilty for making that suggestion.  What if they already have a perfectly nice outfit that is a print pattern and they don’t want to buy a solid color dress?

Another example. My fiancé and I went to Men’s Wearhouse to look for a suit for him to wear at the wedding.  We found one, but they’re running a promotion that if you buy one suit, you get a second one for $100.  So, I thought that we could ask my dad if he wanted to get the second suit since he needs a new one for the wedding.  But, that begged the question, since we’d probably try to get two suits that were about equal value, would we ask my dad to pay just the $100, or would we ask him to pay like (fiance’s suit cost (+) dad’s suit cost), all divided by two?

My fiancé’s sister and her husband recently declared bankruptcy, and I feel terrible for asking them to buy a $25 tutu and a cute cardigan for their daughter to wear as our flower girl.  I often wonder if they’re thinking to themselves, “What assholes, they know we’re struggling with our budget, can’t they just pay for it?  It is THEIR wedding after all and they have plenty of money.”

My fiancé’s dad, who also recently declared bankruptcy, is a bachelor and is also in need of some new clothes in general.  His weight has yo-yo’ed because he’s had some medical issues over the last year, so his current clothes are either ill-fitting or just really old. But, how can I ask such a thing from someone who is, literally, bankrupt.  Am I a bad person?

I also feel terrible for registering for expensive items.  But, we already have cheap items that we’ve had since college, and I’m ready to upgrade.

But, here’s the thing.  I need to put those feelings of guilt aside.  Yes, we make good money, but spending $15,000 on one day of our lives is already so excessive.

I’ll offer up everything as suggestions and give my reasoning.  So, for instance, I’ll just say, “since we’re going to be in a lot of pictures together on our day, I was thinking that we could make sure we didn’t clash too badly.  How about if we all try to wear solid colors and nothing pastel?”

What do you think?  Have other couples been in this type of situation?