Our daughter is getting married next summer and she’s already planning a BIG wedding. The only problem is that we’re the ones paying for it!
Sandra has a huge guest list and extensive plans culled from all the wedding magazines. I’ve told her father, Andrew, that there’s no way we can afford something so grand but my husband is a bit of a pushover when it comes to our daughter and always gives her what she wants.
We also have two other (younger) daughters and a big mortgage so there’s no way we can afford an extravagant wedding for everyone.
How do we put our foot down without ruining the big day?
I’m with Andrew: give Sandra what she wants.
See, the problem here is, you’re asking ME this question instead of GEM. I’m sure she would have given you sound advice as to the best ways to explain the situation to Sandra, stay within your budget, and still give her a beautiful wedding that she would have loved.
But I’m not GEM. I’m a daddy with a daughter, and I feel Andrew’s pain. I’m the absolute WRONG person to be talking to about bride’s maids and bouquets, but I will offer you a quick reason as to why I won’t be much help here and neither will your husband. Here’s what’s going on:
He’s losing her: Since the day Sandra was born, your husband’s job has been to protect her, provide for her, and help to make the decisions that have shaped her life. The morning after she says, “I do”, those duties switch to another man. We spend our whole lives preparing our children to leave the nest, but we never prepare ourselves for it, and it’s far worse on dads with daughters because… well, dammit it just is!
We dads want our sons to grow up, shake our hands, walk out the door, and go and take over the world. But we secretly want our daughters to sleep in their Mini Mouse PJs forever and come down to breakfast every morning until they need help with the stairs. Is that asking too much?
What you can say to YOUR HUSBAND to change how he feels: Nothing. He knows he can’t keep her, but he doesn’t want to let her go. Very soon, she won’t be his baby anymore. As a matter of fact, this could possibly be the last time she ever asks him for anything… Do you really think he’s capable of saying no? Yeah, I figured you knew better.
What you have to do next: Take the wheel on this one, Mom. Right after you’re done reading this, the throngs of faithful GEM followers will weigh in with advice on not only how to talk to your daughter on this issue but also the best places to get cakes, dresses, flowers, photographers, tuxedoes, etc, etc. Rene herself knows first hand how to throw a wedding on a budget (she has a great story about her own). I’d also suggest you take notes and keep a close record, considering that you’ll be doing this two more times, and Andrew will probably be about as much help then as he is now.
And you can’t really blame us guys on this one. Some women start planning their weddings in grade school. Men NEVER plan their wedding because a man’s job in wedding planning has always been to put on his tux and shut up until he is asked, “Do you take this women…?” so twenty years later, he’s just as confused when he puts on his tux and shuts up until he is asked, “Who gives this women away…?”
Sorry if I haven’t been much help but this is tough one for us dads. A week after the wedding, when Andrew seems restless and either won’t go in your daughter’s old room or won’t come out, write me back; that’s stuff I know!
Good luck to you all, and tell your daughter I said, “Congratulations!!!”
William Jones is originally from the tiny town of Alton, Illinois, and now lives in the tinier town of Reisterstown, Maryland. He is a happy husband and a proud father of three, and writes as a hobby, in those few moments he finds between husbanding and daddy-ing.