Post # 1
Looking for some advice. My mum is 50+, divorced, and has been engaged to her new fiance for a couple of years. They really are cash poor (she is on a disability pension) and have been unable to get married yet because of this. Recently there became a possibility for her to mortgage some equity out of her home (she owns her home outright) in order to pay out her vast credit card debt and family debt (including to myself) and she would like to get a little extra to organise a wedding. She wants to go for a cruise on the harbour but said to me that she would like people to pay for their heads instead of a gift. It would just be family and close friends, around 50 people.<br /><br />I kind of feel funny about the idea but I’m not sure if it is ok or not? We are in Australia if that makes a difference, and it will more like a standard celebration rather than a wedding if that makes sense. But I don’t know… thoughts?
Post # 2
albee88: Your gut instict is right. This is just bad hosting (at least here in the USA, it is!) The reception is to thank guests for coming to the ceremony.
The general rule of thumb is that you treat people at a hosted event like you would dinner guests. Your mom wouldn’t invite people into your home for dinner and have them reimburse her for groceries, right? Same sort of logic.
Also, one should never expect gifts so to say that paying for a ticket can replace a gift presupposes that there will be a gift given in the first place.
I think it’s great that your mom has some extra spending money for a wedding! I would recommend either an affordable backyard bash with her closest friends/family and saving the cruise on the harbor for a honeymoon date with her new hubby! Either that, or they could do the ceremony privately and celebrate on the cruise themselves and then just throw a party to celebrate their marriage (not a wedding reception) when they return.
There are lots of options, but I would advise that guests paying for themselves is not one of them!
Post # 3
Yeah, it’s not okay. It doesn’t cost much to get married at all.. simply go to a courthouse or county clerk [around these parts, anyway]. It’s the celebration/reception afterwards that is costly, which SHE should be footing the bill for, not her guests.
That’s very rude and I don’t see it going over well.
Post # 4
That’s really rude, entitled, and embaressing IMO.
Post # 5
albee88: That wouldn’t sit right with me either. If it were my mom, I’d try to talk her into eloping or having a very small wedding that she’d be comfortable paying for. I would not have any part in asking people to pay for a cruise. You can’t say “instead of a gift” because that’s making a big rude assumption (that they would be giving a gift). Believe me, I feel for her because I’ve been poor, but that’s why we eloped. We couldn’t afford to host and would never ask people to host themselves for our wedding. (Psycho family also factored in, but lack of funds was the main reason we eloped)
Post # 6
I’m in Australia and have been to weddings where you pay for your meal instead of giving a gift. It doesn’t seem to worry poeple that much, but I personally wouldn’t do it. We paid for everything for our wedding, including all bridesmaid dressess, tuxes, reception etc.
As it’s your mums second marriage and she is in her 50’s, I think it is a little abnormal for her to ask people to pay. If I were her, I wouldn’t do it. I would find it more acceptable if it were a young person and thier first marriage. I think they should just elope, or have a very small wedding. 50 people or more is still a decent amount, which I don’t consider a very small wedding.
Post # 7
Nope, nope, nope, nope. If you’ve got to mortgage your home to get out of debt then you’ve got no reason throwing a 50-person wedding you can’t afford, and even less reason to expect others to subsidize it.
Post # 8
Agree with the other posters. If she can’t afford it, she shouldn’t plan it. This is how she acquired all that credit card debt in the first place.
She can gotothe county clerk for now,and then a reception when she can pay for it.
Post # 9
Thanks so much for your replies, you’ve all confirmed what I thought. Maybe I’ll suggest that she do a wishing well type thing for those who want to buy a gift, and put it towards a honeymoon or something, therefore reducing her overall costs. Or is that tacky too for a 50+ 2nd wedding?
Post # 10
This is cringe all the way … Bad idea
Post # 11
I am in Australia too, I heard of one couple having a reception where people paid their own dinner, but it was at the local pub where people can order their meal at the bar and choose to spend as much or as little as they like and get exactly what they want. I thought that was okay because, as a friend, if it was the difference between not being invited to a wedding because the couple couldn’t afford a reception versus paying for my own meal at the pub – I would rather go and pay and celebrate!
Having said that, I wouldn’t be impressed paying for my own set meal set price on a cruise.
Post # 12
I’m an Australian Marriage Celebrant and have officiated at a number of informal backyard weddings . These can be done very economically. One couple I married asked everyone to bring food and they all did so and had a wonderful time. It was made clear that presents were not required.
One of the nicest weddings I ever did was for a couple in their mid 50s who got married at home and offerred all their guests cake and champagne. It was beautifully presented.
There is no need for a wedding to be extravagant to be wonderful.
Post # 13
- Wedding: A very pretty church.
albee88: It’s a tricky one, given her being unwell/unable to work (I am assuming this as you said they are barely making ends meet and she is on a disability pension) at the moment the ‘rules’ may not be as fixed in the minds of your nearest and dearest. If my mum had been sick and broke, but still wanted to do something special with close family and friends after she and her partner had the service or whatever I would have bought a ticket to join her and I think so would all of her friends. If however I knew she’d spent 3K on her ‘dream dress’ but expected guests to buy their own buffet or whatever, that would be very different.
Post # 14
albee88: Another aussie here. Would I attend a close friends or family members wedding where they wanted me to pay for my own meal. Yes but I would be pissed off about it. I would never say anything to couple but you better believe it would come up in conversation with other guests especially because it is just so rude.
A wedding is only as expensive as you make it. A standard modern wedding is a luxury. In my opinion it is up to you to pay for your luxuries not me.
Post # 15
I understand that weddings are expensive, and there are lots of people who cannot afford even a small one. Still not acceptable. Many people will give cash as gifts, but expecting it is out of the question. She simply needs to cut down the guest list or cut down the expenses of the celebration.
But even more importantly, using equity in the house to get rid of credit card debt is a big mistake. Sounds enticing, but it’s a bad idea. At least here in U.S., credit card debt is unsecured and in worst cases, can be dismissed in bankruptcy. A loan against the house is secured, meaning the house can be taken if it is not paid. Owning the house outright is great. She shouldn leave it that way. Get her to a credit counselor or financial advisor.
I know how tough her situation is to be disabled, in debt, and to still want some kind of special celebration.