Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries – Weddings & Finances

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Here, weddings, finances and when it’s better to throw tradition out the window.

Q  Our daughter is getting married for the second time. My wife and I paid for her first wedding, but we feel this time she and her new partner should foot the bill themselves. Unfortunately, our 30-year-old daughter doesn’t see it that way and has asked us to pay half. How do we stick to our guns without causing a lasting rift?

—Keith, London, Ont.


A  And you thought the years of tough love were over! Apparently not. You have a perfect right to say no and mean it. And your daughter will get over it – sooner or later. At least, that’s what seven years of being immersed in the wild and wonderful world of weddings has taught Amira Harris. Your dilemma is nothing new to the wedding planner and owner of Calgary-based Posh Productions Event Planning and Design.

“I see this situation all the time and I agree with the parents 100 per cent,” says Amira. “The expectation that parents should foot the bill for a wedding – whether it’s the first, second or third marriage – is outdated and unfair. Toss that tradition out the window. The daughter will get over it. They always, always get over it eventually.”

Amira suggests your daughter and her fiancé instead sit down and draft a budget, outlining how much they themselves can afford to spend on their own wedding – and without going into debt to do it. Depending on their financial situation, they may just have to pare down their vision or put off the wedding for a year.

“It all comes down to what they can afford,” Amira says, adding that weddings can cost anywhere from $5,000 to well over $1 million. “Parents of a 30-something daughter are likely at the age of retirement or close to it, and they may need to be planning for that, not financing another wedding.”

The thing is wedding expectations easily and often do run amok, sometimes fuelled by an unbridled sense of entitlement. Amira has seen it all, but she continues to encourage couples to plan for weddings they can actually afford. “At the end of the day, this woman and her fiancé have to ask themselves, ‘What’s important here? Is it the marriage or is it the wedding?’ ”

Send Diane a brief description of your dilemma, along with your first name and where you live, to [email protected]

A professional journalist for more than 25 years, Diane Sewell has written for some of the top newspapers and magazines in Canada and is a baby boomer herself. Her new blog “Boomerangst, Turning Dilemmas into Discoveries” is interactive with readers and focuses on life issues – like aging, dating, second marriages, sex, death, family and fashion. Diane will use her expertise to find the right expert to help solve your predicament, unearthing kernels of truth and quickly getting to the heart of the issue.