Post # 1
When Fiance and I first got engaged, my parents generously offered to give us a certain amount for the wedding; it’s way less than what a wedding typically costs in our area, but we figured out how to make it work. We were lead to believe that my dad would just write us a check and we could pretty much do what we wanted.
However, now that we are ready to book our venue, we have learned that is not the case. My dad is insisting on paying for things as they come due, and is evidently going to veto things that he doesn’t agree with. He is also now insisting on quite a few things, such as a Saturday evening reception, which is not affordable at all. When I tell him this, with evidence of how much what he wants will cost, he just tells me that I should pay for the difference. We just don’t have the money, and I told him this – his response was to tell me to take out a loan!
The money we were going to receive is enough to create the wedding that we want; if he wants something else, shouldn’t he be giving us the money for it? He is making everything so difficult right now. I talked about just eloping, but my father than said that I needed to pay him back all of the money I owed him for my grad school expenses first or he’d make my life "difficult."
ETA: FI’s family will pay for the rehearsal dinner (which they are insisting on a certain place that is an hour away from the ceremony location…anyway), but they won’t help us out more than that.
Post # 3
Wow, so sorry. So if I have this right, your father is not only trying to control you and the wedding, but he’s saying "Do it my way, and put a lot of your own monney into it, or I’ll make you pay up anyway, in other ways." If you don’t pay him for grad school, could he really make your life difficult? I guess you’re the only one who can decide what kind of threat that is.
If your dad is normally a bully, maybe you should consider doing things without him. That might mean eloping, tryingto pay back for grad school if you can, facing him making your life "difficult", and whatever else. But at least he won’t be able to use that stuff to control you.
If this is something new, Ibet he has some adjustment issues about you getting married. Maybe he doesn’t think your Fi deserves you. Maybe he doesn’t reealize you are grown now, and can take care of yourself and make wise decisions. Maybe he’s not ready to let go. Weddings are huge for the couples, AND their families. It’s an adjustment for everyone. I hope you can get to the bottom of this. Good luck.
Post # 4
This is really difficult. It sounds like your dad might be one of those people who uses money to control people and situations – him bringing up money that he has already provided to you is a big red flag.
I hate to say this, but you probably have to be prepared to walk away from your dad’s money. I wouldn’t take it so far as to elope, but go ahead and figure out what you and your Fiance can actually afford on your own. And then I would recommend that you tell your dad that since he clearly still has issues about the financial help he gave you for grad school, you just don’t feel right taking his money for the wedding. That’s a good way of letting him know nicely that you’re not going to play his game anymore.
Then go ahead and decide what you can afford, without actually eloping. We initially planned to reserve a private room at a local restaurant, invite about two dozen people (just our very closest friends and immediate family) and have a friend who is a retired minister perform the service right there, with dinner served afterwards. I was just going to wear a nice dress, and Darling Husband was going to wear a sport jacket and tie, and the whole thing was going to cost us less than $2000 with only wine and beer served. A friend was going to take all our photos. And honestly, it would have been perfectly nice.
Your dad may still be upset at your plan, but if you’re not relying on him for any of the cash then you don’t have to care nearly as much. Once he understands that you’ll do this without him (although in respect of his wish that you don’t elope) rather than argue with him about it, he may change his mind. Just remember, if he does try to offer you money again, don’t fall back into the same trap.
And do try really hard not to be nice (but firm) about it. Getting into an argument with someone who is already threatening to make your life "difficult" is probably a bad idea. Although I’m guessing that he’s really not used to being stood up to, and once he sees that you’re not willing to let him wave his checkbook around and control you anymore things will be a bit better. Plus, even if the wedding you get is significantly simpler and smaller than the wedding you currently have planned, I think the associated lack of stress will probably be worth it.
Post # 5
I agree with suzanno. Let your father know that you and your FH cannot afford to pay the difference for the kind of wedding that will make him happy, and so you have decided that you will pay for a very small, simple wedding yourselves. I like the line about telling him that he clearly is still concerned about the money he spent on your grad school and you wouldn’t feel comfortable accepting more money from him right now.
Then, stick to it. DON’T cash any checks he gives you; write him a check immediately for any money he’s given you up to this point. DON’T give in to parental pressure to have a bigger wedding. Decide what you can afford without any help from anyone, and do exactly that. It sounds like any money you get from your dad is going to have serious strings attached, and personally I would say that it’s just not worth the stress of trying to please him at every step of the way.
Post # 6
If you let him pay for it, then you debt to him grows -do you want him now saying you owe him for grad school AND the wedding? And now is certainly NOT the time to rack up debt to pay for your wedding.
I agree with Suzanno – tell him you feel like he has spent enough money already, you guys don’t have the $$ to make up the difference between his contribution and he wants anyways, but you respect his wish for you guys not to elope. And then you have the tough part – find a simple wedding you can afford. A low-key restaurant with a private room, a dress off ebay, have friends officiate, take pics, whatever.
The goal is for you not to go into debt, for your dad not to have anymore financial control over you, and most importantly, to marry you FI!
Post # 7
I agree with previous posters, get out from under this guy! He is threatening you and attempting to blackmail you? Is that how dads treat their daughters in your family? Elope and have a great time being in control of your life!
Post # 8
Wow, I agree with the above posters. Anytime money is given or borrowed from family it should be no strings attached — if it isn’t you need to walk away! This does not bode well for your wedding or your life after the wedding. As for the threat he made about "making your life difficult", it sounds like he already is! Get out from under this now.
Post # 9
If it were me, I’d cut my losses and tell my father I didn’t want his money. It really seems that he equates money with power, so I doubt he’ll back down as long as you’re taking money from him. I’m sorry you have to deal with your father bullying you.
Post # 10
Thank you so much for your help, everyone! Unfortunately, my father’s money has always come with strings attached, but things seemed different when I got engaged…I should have known better, I guess.
When my fiance gets home from work, we’re going to have a long talk about what we can and can’t afford and how we want to proceed with things. I think that we are probably going to have to just finance things ourselves, which will make for a VERY low budget wedding, but I am totally fine with just having our closest friends and family at a restaurant. I know my dad won’t like that but, honestly, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to like anything that we do and I refuse to go into debt for my wedding.
Thank you for your support everyone, I’ll post when I have some new information.
Post # 11
So I have a bit of a different perspective. I’m not justifying your father’s actions, they are truly horrendous and I’m sure they are tying you up inside. But I have also dealt with controlling parents. And before you make decisions on what you want to do, you need to ask yourself how important your relationship with your dad is to *you*. This is only something you can decide. If you decide it is something you want in your life, then that will dictate how you approach talking to him. If he’s like my dad, he won’t respond well to ultimatums (nevermind the fact that he’s giving you one). But I do think, given how controlling he sounds, cutting yourself off financially will ultimately allow you to have a better relationship with him and cut the stress out of your wedding. I think that you should tell him you are not interested in paying for the type of wedding he’s suggesting. And so while you appreciate his offer of financial help, you will go it on your own if that’s a condition to receiving it. If his response is to ask you to repay his grad school loans, then by all means do so. If they were truly loans, then you expected to pay them back. Come up with a reasonable payment schedule (you could use soemthing like prospero.com to help) and let him know that is how you intend to pay him back.
It sounds like you talk fairly regularly, but you are not obligated to do so just to be bullied. If he does make your life "difficult" in future interactions with him, tell him *calmly* that you are an adult and do not need to be spoken to in that way. And until he’s ready to treat you as an adult, you would prefer not to speak with him. From what you described, he has contributed a lot to your education which makes me think that he does care about you and your happiness…he just doesn’t know how to make them a priority above his own needs and desires. But my guess is that ultimately having a relationship with you will be more important than getting his way all the time…and he’ll come around.
The most important thing, imho, is that you feel comfortable with everything you are doing. If you don’t want him out of your life, don’t tell him you do. But at the same time you clearly don’t want him to treat you this way so tell him that. I don’t know for sure how he will react, but I do know that you’ll feel a lot better about the situation if you feel comfortable with how you approach him. Then if he decides his need to control his money is more important than your wishes, at least you know it was all his doing.
Post # 12
I’m sorry he is acting this way, but this is the reason we have decided not to accept any help from anyone. Yes, we are doing thing very simply. We aren’t having any flowers except for mine, we are having the wedding on a Friday evening, and I got my dress off ebay.
The best thing you can do, IMO, is to talk calmly with your dad. No attitude, no accusations. Tell him you always dreamed of things in a certain way and because of budget constraints you realize that things can’t be exactly that way. Tell him you don’t really want the evening thing he wants to do and you don’t want to start your married life with a loan for the wedding. Make sure you stay calm and don’t give in to any kind of attitude. If he insists that things are done his way or he takes his money back, then you have to seriously consider refusing the money, but for your future relationship with your dad, make sure you do it in the nicest possible way. As in, we’ve talked about it and it is important to us to do this ourselves.
I hope I helped. Good luck with this.