(Closed) Suddenly Dad won’t pay for wedding, hands us the bill. How to handle?

posted 8 years ago in Family
Post # 3
Hostess
18643 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Is there a way he can cut down the food bill?  $55 a person seems pretty high.  Also, could he reduce the alcohol to wine and beer only?  You might even be able to bring it in yourself.  Also the biggest cost reducer, cut the guest list.

If he isn’t going to pay for it and these suggestions don’t help, I suggest cancelling it and having something small that the two of you can afford on your own.  I hope you figure something out.

Post # 4
Member
23 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2011

You’ll just have to do what you can afford to! (My fiance and I have to pay for everything ourselves on a $8,000 budget. That’s why our guest list is under 100 and we aren’t having a traditional wedding!) There are many websites and books out there to give you ideas on how to cut costs. You could have a brunch reception for instance or have your wedding on a day other than Saturday. If it’s cheaper to have it in TN then do that and invite only close friends and family. If family is helping pay for things they will get more say in how your wedding will be and that can be frustrating.

Post # 5
Member
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

If I were you I would say to him: “Look, we decided to do it in Buffalo because you said you would pay for it. Now you are not paying for it, then it’s going to be in TN”. That’s it.

Post # 6
Member
2475 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

Well first of all, $55 a person for a country club is extremely reasonable, so I’m not sure why your dad is flipping out.  Second of all, I understand where you are coming from.  It’s not fair of him to tell you he would pay for everything and now he’s calling it a different story.  Regardless, 9k is a huge chunk of the wedding bill, so I would take advantage of whatever he can give you at this point…so I wouldn’t try to change the wedding location if he isn’t going to foot the bill at all.  I woud suggest you have a frank discussion with him and let him know you are upset the way things panned out.  You had expected him to cover all the expenses and him changing his mind puts you in a difficult position.  Maybe when he sees how this has caused a problem for you he may be willing to pay for more.

Post # 7
Member
2066 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m confused.  Why was he surprised at how much it costs per person?  Before you signed a contract with the country club, you should have received detailed pricing information and your Dad should have seen that information.

I think the only thing you can do is have a frank discussion with him about your budget.  Find out EXACTLY how much money he is willing to contribute and work in that budget (much easier than getting approval for every item).

Post # 8
Member
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Yeah, $55 per person, including open bar is reeeeeally cheap.  Especially in a country club venue.

I don’t think threatening to switch the location to TN is going to help, then he might not pay at all, and you’d be stuck with an even bigger bill.  Unless you were able to do something much smaller and cheaper on your own.

Bottom line is, when you accept money from parents, most of the time it comes with strings attached.  If he’s offering you money, he gets a big say in what it goes to pay for.  If that’s not the kind of wedding you want, you’ll have to pay for it yourselves.  Nobody says weddings have to be huge, featuring a full dinner, a band, etc.  You need to plan a party you can afford to pay for.  If that’s a small ceremony with your closest family and friends followed by dinner at a nice restaraunt, that’s it.  Or you want to invite more people?  Have a casual picnic reception in a park, or desserts and champagne in the middle of the afternoon.  Once you adjust your expectations of what a wedding “should” be, you’ll be able to find something that works for you.

Post # 9
Member
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

Cut all of your FI’s parents’ guests if his parents won’t contribute because they’re expecting it to come from your dowry.  A little, “I’m sorry, but I’m not willing to humor sexism in the name of tradition, so if you want any guests of your own, here’s what they’ll cost” will go a long way.

As far as your dad, you have to weigh whether you’d rather refuse his money and hold it elsewhere, or accept his money and hold it in Buffalo.  Your dress, invites, and etc are not going to cost significantly more in Buffalo than wherever else you wanted to hold it.  You would, however, be perfectly justified in sticking him with the deposit fee if you do decide to cancel and pay for everything yourselves elsewhere.  It’s not like he promised to pay for your dress and you went and bought a $4000 dress in reliance on that–you’re not going to find a dress much less expensive than $650 anyway.  And if you haven’t purchased any other expensive accompaniments yet in reliance on a specific promise to pay for them, you’re really no worse off than when you started.

Post # 10
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

Um, didn’t he know how much it was goign to cost when he booked it? I’m guessing if you dad got the bill, technically HE signed the paperwork, right? Did you discuss an overall cost/budget with him beforehand??

I’d scale back the wedding considerably and allocate some of the food costs to the over stuff.

I would NOT just cut out all of your Fi’s family, though. Don’t blackmail/strongarm them into paying for the wedding. I think that’s a little rude. You’re basically saying, “your family can’t come if you don’t pony up” but that’s your FI’S FAMILY, too. Surely he doesn’t want the wedding to be all your side of the family. Not fair. In a perfect world either both families would contribute or the bride and groom would be able to cover it all, but you can’t make people contribute.

Scale back as much as you can. if you move the wedding back to TN, chances are you will lose all funding from your dad. Find out what the cost of the food bill is (let’s say it’s 5K), see what you can afford as an overall budget, and do something that actually fits the budget. If your dad bit off more than he can chew, you can’t do it. Just b/c he has expensive hobbies doesn’t mean he necessarily has 20K sitting around in an extra fund for expenses (maybe a lot of his money is tied up in CDs or something that’s not accessible?) but if you are living paycheck to paycheck, i think it’s obvious you cannot afford everything else and i doubt your dad will want you to pull out a loan for the wedding.

If you lose all the money somehow, well, you can elope, have a VERY small wedding, or postpone it. Do what you gotta do and you can only do what you have money for

Post # 11
Member
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2009

@ejs4y8    I think it’s more rude and unfair if the Future In-Laws are inviting their friends and relatives who are not close to the Fiance, and insist the other side pay for them as part of the bride’s modern day dowry.  I didn’t say her Fiance shouldn’t invite guests, and obviously some of them are going to be his relatives.  I was saying that they might want to be unwilling to invite any of Father-In-Law‘s guests.  You can’t make people contribute, but you can decline to humor their bullcrap if you hold the purse strings.

Post # 12
Member
14186 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I didn’t see anywhere where the OP complained about her FI’s parents inviting their friends/distant family and I didn’t see her state anything about her dowry. They are just traditionalists, plus, since they live in Tennessee and the wedding is in Buffalo, I think it’s safe to assume that unless the guests are close to the bride and groom, they won’t take on those travel costs. You can only make so many cuts

I don’t know where this “dowry” talk came about, though, since the OP didn’t even mention that. All she said was that they are traditionalists, as many families are.

Post # 13
Member
13099 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

@chicagobride092010 – I know ejs4y8 has already replied to you but I also feel the need to comment.

Just because you and your family are not traditionalists doesn’t not mean that there is anything wrong with those that are.  My parents are paying for the vast majority of my wedding and have been planing to do so since I was born.  They will be doing the same for my younger sister.  My Fiance parents are paying for the rehearsal dinner which is obviously much less than the wedding the next day.

You can’t penalize her FI’s family just because they are traditional (especially because it sounds like the OP’s family is somewhat traditional too).  The only thing that that will accomplish is to create unnecessary tension between the OP and her future in-laws.  Viewing the bride’s parents choice to pay for the wedding of their daughter as a dowry is just simply ridiculous!

Post # 14
Member
1641 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

There is an adult way to handle this without seeming ungrateful. Just go to your Dad and be honest. Tell him straight out how much you appreciate his paying for things ,esp. in this day and age, when the grrom is not doing the family a favor by taking the daughter (another mouth to feed) away (I believe that is how this “tradition” started). Go to your Dad and ask if maybe you could discuss the cost of the food or tmaybe find a different venue, since the expense of the country club leaves you in a position that you can’t afford.

 

Post # 15
Member
1403 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

So you were originally going to pay for an entire wedding in TN and now are paying for a portion of a wedding in NY.  Assuming you had a budget plan in place for the TN wedding, you should be able to use the same plan to pay for your portion of the NY wedding.  Let’s say you were planning to save up $4K for the TN wedding; then just apply that $4K to the NY wedding instead.  Granted, costs in NY will probably be higher, but since you don’t have to pay for the biggest part (the reception and alcohol) it should come out even in the end.

Has your dad already signed a contract with the country club venue?  If he can’t afford it, and you don’t like it, then perhaps he and you should shop around for another venue together.

Post # 16
Member
1765 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m sorry, I’m confused.  Did your dad actually sign a contract? Did he put down a deposit even though he didn’t like the price?   If he did not, I would look at other venues.  Perhaps something that would allow you to bring your own food/drink.  Since your Fiance is finishing school, does he (or you) know of anyone that does anything wedding related?  (Photography, music, flowers, cake, graphic arts/stationary)???  You said the Country Club wasn’t what you really wanted anyway, what is it that you want.  What are YOUR priorities?  We certainly can help you find another venue and ways to save money.  I found countless ways to save money on my daughter’s wedding last year.  It would be helpful to have more information about what you do want to help you out.  Sounds like your guest list will be about 165 people based on what you wrote, is that right? 

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