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?
I’m also planning a wedding, so I’ve been reading your site with great interest! (Love your avatar, by the way). I think in this case, it’s not unreasonable to make a request for people to wear solids. But, you have to be OK with the fact that some people won’t or can’t. As for your dad and your fiance’s dad, if I were in your shoes, I would just offer to pay for their suits. It’s not that expensive, and it’s a gesture that I am sure they will really appreciate.
I’m in sort of a similar situation – not your income situation… but we’re working on it! 😉 – my fiance’s brother and friend probably can’t afford to buy a suit, so we are going to pay for it (or we are going to have to be OK with them not wearing a suit). I’m either going to pay for bridesmaid dresses or I’m going to tell them they can wear whatever they want in a certain color. We are going to try to subsidize hotel rooms for some guests. I don’t want our wedding to be a burden on folks, especially when they are people that I love (like my fiance’s family).
So this has turned into an essay! But unless there has been a pattern of your relatives taking advantage of you because of your income, it’d be an extremely generous and thoughtful gesture to pay for the clothes that you’d like them to wear (including the tutu for your niece).
I agree with Well Heeled Blog’s comment. Weddings are expensive for guests–think travel, gifts, new outfits, and occasionally extras such as accommodation. You’re inviting them as your guests presumably because you want them there because you care for them. In my opinion you should be honoured that your guests are taking time out from their lives to celebrate your wedding with you, and focusing on the aesthetic and the material is perhaps not what you should be looking at.
A wedding is a day where you get together with your loved ones to celebrate your love. Not to colour-coordinate your photographs!
You’re in an enviable financial situation, and many of your family members are not. I’d also think about making the gesture of paying for your family’s clothes, and perhaps thinking about alternatives for your wedding registry. Perhaps a charity registry or an option for family members to chip in together is an option–or perhaps letting them know that no gift is expected might be some welcome respite for your financially struggling relatives.
A wedding is not just about you–it’s also about your guests. Be a gracious host and accommodate those people you’ve invited to share your day with you.
I definitely hear your point of view, but the main reason I disagree is that most of their financial troubles has been due to irresponsible spending habits. If it was something like a medical problem or something like that that had caused so much difficulty, that would be another story. But, they made their bed …
[…] Melissa on October 7, 2011 My fiance and I are extremely lucky. We both make good money and have secure jobs. We decided to keep our wedding budget reasonable, even though we make nearly […]
[…] March 9, 2012 I’m not sure how common Ken and I’s situation is. I’ve mentioned before, that we make good money (Our combined income tax return this 2011 was for $153,000 after things like retirement […]