wedding bell blues
My ex-husband committed to giving our son $5,000 for his upcoming wedding. Over the weekend, he told my son that he could not contribute anything. He reasons that the bride’s father makes a considerable amount of money and “should have savings and enough to cover the cost of the wedding.” Her parents had their set amount, the bride and groom had theirs and I had mine.
The ex also doesn’t get that since the invitations have already been sent, there is no “uninviting” half of the guests. He thinks it would be okay to explain to people that plans have changed somewhat. I say he should do whatever he can to get the funds he promised. After some pressure, he did re-commit to $2,000.
Should he be let off the hook for the additional money or should he make good on his initial offer?
—Mother of the Groom
The Omniscient One says: Lavish spending to feed the wedding industry is questionable to begin with. Nevertheless, he should do what he committed to do. If he had said from the beginning he didn’t want to contribute that would be different. But to go back on his word is foolish. To reason that the bride’s parents will pay for everything is a very poor reflection on the groom’s family. Your son would be embarrassed, her parents would rightly be angry, the bride would be both. The ex-husband becomes a pariah. Nobody wins. And did he expect to attend the wedding and to dine at the reception on the bride’s dime? No wonder he’s an ex-husband. It’s his “reasoning” that is the biggest problem. No doubt, if he was out of work, had drained his savings, etc. and simply didn’t have a nickel, people would be understanding. But to for him to say “I’ll just let the other guy pay” is unacceptable.
The Gay Perspective: This is not your fight. Just be glad you divorced this unreliable clown. Let your son handle the fallout of his father’s initial attempt to show off, and subsequent attempt to hold onto his money. This man is neither your husband nor your responsibility any more.
The Practical Cogitator says: My father told my both sister and I the very same story. Years ago, when the old tradition began, and the bride’s father paid for the cost of the wedding, the father also got to pick the groom! It was only under this circumstance that he would pay for either of our weddings My point is that we knew from the very beginning that he wouldn’t help contribute.
In this case, your ex is completely wrong. If he committed to $5K then he should contribute the $5K. If he is shorting the happy couple, soon no one will be happy. Holidays won’t be happy, birthdays, Father’s days—I can see a lot of unhappy days to come. I’m sure you had your share of these days, or he wouldn’t be your ex.
The Straight Skinny: What sort of hook do you have him on, anyway? Unless you have him set on a strong gaffing hook, something with multiple barbs and real high test line, I doubt it’s up to you whether or not to let him off. Talk to the DJ: maybe you could follow the father-daughter dance with a cheap bastard’s waltz, and ask him to take a spin on the floor.
Big Daddy says: Your ex’s behavior is irritating. This, no doubt, does not surprise you.
Still, you ought to brush aside the behavior for a moment and ask yourself if there is a legitimate cause for it: Is he broke? Can he not afford the $5,000 he promised? Did he make the promise foolishly, perhaps to make himself appear financially sound, trapping himself? Or have his finances taken a blow since he made the promise?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, he has still acted appallingly. He ought to have confided in you or your son that he was having trouble raising the money. But at least his position becomes understandable. To be caught short at such a moment is to feel inadequate, to be embarrassed, and people behave strangely, often stupidly, and sometimes very poorly, in such circumstances. You can be angry at him, but you should also try to be generous of spirit, if he is indeed strapped, and spare him and your son further embarrassment. Shrug it off. Figure out a way to raise the extra money yourself.
If he’s just being cheap, then screw him. Break down the cost of the wedding; figure out $3,000 worth of goods or services—the hall rental maybe, or the photographer, maybe the band or the flowers, or a combination thereof—and tell him he’s responsible for that part of the bill, and for telling his son and his fiance why they can’t have those things at their wedding.
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