A Teensy Bump In The Path To The Altar

by admin on April 21, 2010

I got married in July of 2007 at the age of 33.  It was my first wedding and I asked my dad if he would be willing to help pay for any of it.  At the time, he told me we would discuss it when he came to visit in about a month, but if I could have some details for him that would be helpful.  As he is saying this to me, I hear my stepmother in the background screeching- She’s 33 years old, why would we pay for her wedding!!  Luckily, my dad did agree to pay up to a (very generous) amount.

Fast forward 15 months to our wedding at the beautiful Marriot Waterside Hotel.  Since both my mother and maternal grandmother are deceased, my DH and I decided not to have anyone escorted to their seats in a formal manner, we would just start the wedding once everyone was in and seated.  I am waiting around the corner with my MOH and father when the bridal coordinator and captain come booking towards us.  My stepmother is refusing to go into the room where the ceremony is being held unless SOMEONE escorts her.  My dad starts cussing!  I tell him to just go get her seated so I can get married already!  He comes back, I get hitched, and everything else goes really smoothly!  A few months later, my aunt tells me that after dinner was finished, my stepmother asks the waiter for a box to take the rest of her dinner to her room.  The waiter says they don’t really do that at this type of event, and she replies, “I paid for this f%&*ing wedding and you are going to bring me a f&*%ing box!”  I am so glad I missed that exchange! 0310-10

Yea for you not letting Stepmother ruin your wedding day!  It wasn’t worth fighting her  at that moment over her petty demands for an honor she did not deserve.

{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Casey April 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

Just think, your dad lives with that everyday… I feel bad for the guy. But good on you for not letting it ruin your day!

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DGS April 21, 2010 at 9:09 am

Chalk it up to jealousy and resentment on your SM’s part, plain and simple! What a nasty woman. While your Father certainly isn’t obligated to pay for your wedding, it sounds like you asked him very politely, and he responded very politely and generously gave you a sum towards the nuptials. Whereas as his wife, your Stepmother has some say in how much they can comfortably give towards your wedding, it sounds like your Dad took the lead there (appropriately), and it also sounds like he did his best at reigning in his resentful, mean-spirited wife despite her continuously seething throughout the reception. It seems like you had a beautiful day and didn’t let the Stepmonster get to you – good for you for not letting her ruin your day. And a belated congratulations on your marriage!

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kingsrings April 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

I do have to wonder why a 33 year-old would ask her father for money for her wedding. Seems a bit old to be doing that.

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Margaret April 21, 2010 at 11:02 am

I don’t think it’s odd that she asked if he would contribute to her wedding. It sounds as if she only ASKED, not DEMANDED. And since he did contribute generously, it seems that her family situation is such that parental support was not unreasonable (e.g. if each of her siblings had also received financial assitance from her father, it wouldn’t seem out of line to ASK if he intended the same for her). Anyway, well handled, original poster.

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Op3 April 21, 2010 at 11:14 am

In our case, faire wyfe was 39 and was her first marriage when we married in 2003, and her parents contributed a *lot* as did my mom. Age has absolutely nothing to do with the issue, as I know that DW is and always will be “Daddy’s Little Girl” even with two younger sisters who married 9 & 20 years ago…

Sounds like step-mom is having some real jealousy issues – bravo to dad for standing up to her, and for you to not letting a “bump” become a “crater”!

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Chelee April 21, 2010 at 11:24 am

@kingsrings: Couldn’t hurt to ask. At worst, he’d have said no, right? Personally, I don’t think any bride should EXPECT her parents to foot the bill for a wedding – whatever tradition might say. Times are tough for everyone – mom and dad, too. I think it’s polite to ask for the help rather than just expect it at ANY age.

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Nic April 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

I don’t think that is too old to ask for help from your father. It is awful that your stepmother acted that way.

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Amy April 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm

I never knew there was an age limit to the bride’s family paying for the wedding?? Most people that I know didn’t get married until they were in their 30′s, and their parents contributed at least part of the wedding expenses.

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Patty April 21, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Rude SM aside….why would you ask your dad to help for the wedding? To me, that was rude.

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ginki April 21, 2010 at 1:11 pm

kingsrings, I don’t see what her age has to do with it. A wedding doesn’t get less expensive as you get older, nor is she somehow obligated to have a smaller wedding because she is 33. She has probably spent the last few years paying off student loans and possibly saving for a house and not necessarily in a position to pay for a wedding now anymore than she would be had she married at an earlier age. If her father would like to help pay for his daughter’s first wedding, I don’t see how it matters whether she is 23 or 33.

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Rebecca April 21, 2010 at 1:18 pm

One should never ask a parent if/what they will pay towards a wedding. If the offer, wonderful, but it’s not cool to ask.

The step mother didn’t handle things graciously, though. I think if she’d said to the waiter, “I’m not just one of the guests. My husband and I paid for this food, and I’d really like for you to box it up for me.” that would’ve been OK. Swearing and causing a scene, though? Uncool.

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Mom April 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Because, kingsrings, it is tradition. Certainly he’s not obligated. He may have paid for her sisters’ weddings and wanted to be fair; he may have earmarked the money and was happy to contribute. My folks very kindly paid for mine, and I married at 39 (the last of four daughters to do so).

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phoenix April 21, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a child asking for help with a wedding at any age. It’s not like they cost more just because someone is older. I can see not expecting it, but the idea that if you wait too long, you aren’t allowed any financial help seems strange. Your dad will be your dad for the rest of your life, and I’m sure he’s just as proud of you at 33 as at 23 :)

Congrats, and well done ignoring the Step-mom.

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Leigh April 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

I don’t think it’s a big deal for her to ask for help. Weddings are expensive and if he had the money and was willing to help then why not? As long as if he said no she would be ok with that.

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PottsAntiques April 21, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Kingsrings:
Respectfully, there are many reasons why a 33 year old women may ask her father for financial help for her wedding. Perhaps she paid for college and grad school by herself. Perhaps she lives in an expensive part of the country, and much of her money goes toward housing. Perhaps she helped him at a different time in his life, and now he can return the favor. There are many reasons, and while I agree that her father is under NO obligation to financially contribute, there is nothing wrong with her asking – particularly since this is her first (and presumably only) wedding. Remember, he could always politely decline.

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@kingsrings April 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm

So only young people are allowed to ask their parents to contribute towards their wedding? And what is the cut off date? 20, 25, 30? It wasn’t a second or third wedding and she didn’t demand it, she asked. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

And before you start making any assumptions, we paid for our own wedding and didn’t ask for a cent from our parents although I’m younger than the Bride in this story. It comes down to the individual family dynamics at play.

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Joanne April 21, 2010 at 4:23 pm

@ kingsrings – why shouldn’t her father help pay for the wedding? She asked, he offered a ‘very generous’ amount to *help* pay for the wedding, and good on him. It’s his daughter – I would like to help my daughter when she gets married, at whatever age. The stepmother seems vile, but everything was really beautifully handled and the poster didn’t get hung up on her rude behaviour but instead relegated her to where she deserves to be – EHell.

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JJ Fad April 21, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Kingsrings, maybe she didn’t have much money herself and knew her father would be able and willing to help. From the sounds of thing, it’s not like she went screeching to daddy “PAY FOR MY WEDDIIIIIIIIIING!” She asked if he could help and he said yes. Why the hell does it matter how old she was at the time? That’s the exact attitude the nasty stepmother had. My dad’s already told me he doesn’t care if I’m FORTY, when I get married he’s going to help out as much as he can and I will be extremely grateful for loving gesture of generosity.

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Dan April 21, 2010 at 5:49 pm

When a daughter announces her engagement to her father she has the right to expect congratulations. Anything more she should consider a generous act on her father’s part. Elopement is the best choice these days for the of-age bride. Anything more seems to be a show-off to her friends.
(For the not of-age bride—Wait!)

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PrincessSimmi April 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Firstly, any monetary help when you’re planning a wedding is greatly appreciated. However, if it is provided by your parents, it has more ‘meaning’ or sentimental value, because this is sort of like your parents saying “We’ve done our best for you, and now you’re all grown up, and we want to make sure you have a lovely wedding to start your new life with your husband”. I don’t think there should be any limit to the age where your parents can help you with a wedding, providing it is the first wedding. Getting married at 33 for the first time is lovely, it’s good to see the OP had her priorities straight and waited until she was ready and found ‘the one’. If she was 33 and getting married for the third time I’d be wary.

Your Stepmother is another one of those ‘Mean Old Bats’. I shudder to think, if she had been your mother and not your Step, how much she would have tried to take over the wedding and be the centre of attention. Also, if she does have her own kiddies who are planning on getting married, get ready for the comments of “This is so much better than YOUR wedding” and don’t let them bother you. As long as you were happy with your wedding that’s the main thing.

Congratulations, I hope you have a very long and happy marriage, and I hope Stepmum sucks it up and behaves!

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Andromeda April 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

My parents have offered to contribute something to my hypothetical wedding – I would be in charge of paying for the rest. I actually don’t mind this, because I find that if I contribute the money, then there isn’t any headache on what we should have/shouldn’t have, etc.

However, I also don’t think it’s wrong to ask for help – different strokes for different folks. The LW’s father was in a position where he could afford to help out – and the LW was very gracious. I think the Step-Mother’s comments were inappropriate – if she has an issue with money and how it’s spent, then she need to talk to the LW’s father, not take it out on LW.

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catrunning April 21, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I agree with most of the previous posts – there is nothing wrong with asking your parents if they can contribute to your wedding. I think the operative word is “contribute to”, versus “pay for”. And also be gracious if your parents will not – or most likely – cannot contribute as much as you would wish for.

One thing I am personally seeing with several friends who are “older” brides – meaning they’ve been out on their own for at least a decade – is that now some of their parents are caught up with paying for the care of their own elderly parents and they may not have the disposable income they had a decade ago. But my friends totally understand and are appreciative for whatever sums their parents could contribute.

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Elizabeth April 21, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Dads don’t stop being dads when the little girl is 33. It may not be needed that he help pay, since the OP was not fresh from high school and probably had a good job and maybe even a home of her own. Nonetheless, seeing one’s children get married is still a major part of being a parent, and is in fact a major issue of pride.

As for the stepmother, I see no reason why she would not be worthy of that honor . . . if the bride considered her to be so. Stepparents can be just as parental as the biological parents, after all. However, that’s up to the bride, and the bride made a decision to forego the escorts. The stepmother should have smiled and sat down in the seat of her choosing. It’s not like she is the one getting married.

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amy April 22, 2010 at 3:29 am

Since this is her first wedding, i do not think the BTB was outta line asking for some money for the event…..it is customary in the US that the bride’s family pays for the wedding……whether she marries at 19, 29, or even 49. Weddings are a huge expense…..when I read of the SM behavior all I hear is *jealousy*

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IMHO April 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

33 IS too old to ask for help for a wedding from your parents, especially if you have a full-time job. You’re an adult, for crying out loud. It’s not cool what SM did at your wedding, but I’m going to go against the grain of all the prior comments that agree with you. Did you ever look at it from her point of view? Jealous? Seriously? What in the heck does she have to be jealous of you for? She’s already married. And it’s certainly not you or your new husband’s money, since you didn’t seem to be able to afford it. Maybe, just maybe, she wanted to be treated as someone worthy of having an escort, not merely one of the guests who should just “go find a seat.” Sure, it’s not her right to be treated that way, but is it at all possible you could have been a little kinder and more respectful? I don’t know what the relationship between you is, and maybe it’s not a great one, but I think sometimes people cry and whine about how their SM’s are so evil and out-of-control (albeit there are some who do fit that description), but in reality they help paint the SM to be that by their own actions. Just something to think about.

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Cady April 22, 2010 at 9:37 am

People at age 33 are not necessarily wealthy or even financially stable. We all follow our own paths in life, and not everyone graduates college four years after high school and gets a good job. My dad went to medical school at 27 or 27 and my parents were really poor until he was about 38 and my mom was about 35. Like others have said, parents are in no way obligated to pay for a wedding, and I’m not of the school of thought that people should put themselves and their parents deeply in debt for a wedding, but I think it’s absurd to assume that there’s some deadline in life (30, I guess?) at which you’re able to magically pay for everything you want.

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Raccoon Princess April 22, 2010 at 9:44 am

I’m thinking the relationship with the daughter is going to last much longer than that with the stepmonster, so he was wise to contribute to his girl’s wedding.

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SarahLovesFabric April 22, 2010 at 11:33 am

I think the whole “parents contributing to the wedding” issue comes down to what type of wedding it is. Should parents be obligated to contribute financially to a kegger for the couple’s friends? Of course not. But many families, from numerous ethnic traditions, consider a wedding to be a family event, to which extended family, family friends, and even business contacts are invited. I always wince when I hear a bride complain about having to invite “people I don’t even know” to a wedding her parents are paying for. If a wedding is a family celebration, I see no problem with the family supporting it. Where the problems arise are when the bridal couple and their parents have radically different ideas on what a wedding represents, and that’s where the OTHER golden rule comes into play: The one who has the gold makes the rules. And that’s when we need this site!

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mmaire April 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

@ Dan

Who are you to say the ‘best choice’ is elopement? It may be for you and many people you know, but not everyone! My family would be hugely hurt if I were to marry without their presence, and honestly, who doesn’t enjoy a wedding? If done right, by a bride and groom not concerned with me-me-me!, wedding receptions are great opportunities for family gatherings and a lot of fun. Weddings might be used for showing off for some people, but hardly for everyone, and damning all weddings that rise above a simple elopement as ‘showing off’ is presumptuous.

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Enna April 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Maybe the OP is someone who has always been sensible with her money and just needed some help? E.g she needed some help to pay for the wedding because she had spent money on a hourse or something? If I had a child who had been good to me – as in not committing crimes etc I’d be happy to pay what I could. When my parents got married both sets of grandparents contributed. (Before my time).

Well done OP for behaving gracefully and not rising to the bait!

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Wendy April 23, 2010 at 4:54 pm

To be honest, I don’t think that the stepmother not wanting to pay for the wedding of a 33-year-old person makes her a horrible person. Money contributed by your father is family money, not just his money. However, she should have waited until he was off the phone to discuss it, not yell in the background.

In any case, her (step-mom’s) behavior at the wedding was inappropriate. Nobody (included biological parents) is automatically entitled to a escort.

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Angela April 23, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Don’t jump down the girls throat guys. Notice, she said she ASKED if her dad could HELP pay for the wedding. She didn’t demand that he pay for it.
Also, what does her age have to do with it? Is a girl any less of an adult at the age of 23 than at 33? I don’t think so… at least I know I’m not. Especially now, girls often don’t get married and settled right out of high school. They go to college, sometimes taking longer than four years because the costs are high and they have to work at the same time to pay down student loans. Some spend a long time going into specialty fields and they have no more money after graduating than the “younger set” does. Some go into the military. So I wouldn’t be appalled that she asked her father for some help with her wedding, and apparently he didn’t have a problem with it either. So I see no faux pas there.
The Stepmother… well, apparently she doesn’t approve for one reason or another. Regardless of the reason for disapproval she didn’t have to becomes a shrieking shrew about it. So kudos to the poster for not letting her ruin her day. :)

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Fanboy Wife April 24, 2010 at 4:25 pm

The bride handled the stepmother’s bad behavior well.

As someone whose parents didn’t contribute to my wedding, I am curious about if and why there’s an age limit to parents paying for weddings. People can’t get married until they’re legal adults anyway, so I don’t get why the parents are obligated to pay anymore.

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Asharah April 24, 2010 at 5:38 pm

We aren’t sure what father and step-mother’s financial arrangement is. Some couples have financial agreements to keep their assets seperate after they marry. Especially if they have financial resources and children from previous relationships. So the money Dad donated may have in fact been “his” as opposed to “his and step-mums”

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AS April 26, 2010 at 11:01 am

I don’t understand why some people are criticizing the poster for requesting her father (not demanding) if he can contribute towards her wedding. It doesn’t seem that she put him in a debt or something. Many commenters seem to assume that everyone who is 33 is financially settled. It takes a while for most people to settle down, and if anyone wants to go in for higher studies (as another poster mentioned), they probably have very little savings – or even debt if they don’t get and assistantship. Fathers often like contributing towards their daughter’s wedding (my dad always says he’d contribute to my wedding though we have been putting off our wedding as my boyfriend and I cannot afford to contribute anything as yet as we are grad students with very little savings – and we are 30! We just chased our dreams to pursue a Ph.D. though it has made us earn far less than what we otherwise might have).
It is not clear what the relationship with the bride’s step mom is. But what the bride wants for her wedding is up to her. It is not as if other important guests were escorted (like MoG) but not her SM – that would have been bad. If the bride does not feel as emotionally attached to her SM as she would have to her late mother, she is free to do what she wants with the escorting whether or not her father (and SM’s husband) is paying for it.

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Col April 26, 2010 at 6:48 pm

I’m a little confused? Was anyone being escorted? We had ushers escorting in all of our guests, so it’s hard for me to understand why you would not also escort the SM.

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aventurine April 27, 2010 at 11:43 pm

@mmaire: Dan can correct me if I’m wrong here, but I believe he was being sarcastic.

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yertle turtle April 28, 2010 at 8:40 am

@Col – are you outside of the USA? From reading this site I get the impression that it’s common in the US for the mothers of the bride and groom to be walked down the aisle and seated as a formal part of the ceremony. American Ehellions – is that accurate?

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Jenna April 28, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I’m glad the OP didn’t have to hear SM’s rant at the waiter at least! Since no one had an escort, SM was way out of line and being a special snowflake for sure. I think SM was okay asking for a box for the food, since she did pay for it (most states are community property, right?) but cursing about it was totally rude.

I, personally, would not be comfortable asking for money even for a wedding, at any age. I would have whatever type of wedding I could afford at the time. If my parents offered, that would be one thing. My thought is that you never really know what someone else’s financial situation is like so don’t ask for money unless you really, really need it (as in, you’re going to starve if you do not receive financial help).

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jenna May 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

While I do think it’s OK to broach the subject of finances for a wedding with one’s parents (especially if one is under 35 or so, though there’s no strict age rule IMHO), really, what is with the tacit acceptance on the original post that it’s OK to *expect*, as a 30+ year old, that your parents will pay?

I do think it’s unfair to tear her apart for asking – I think that money should be a fluid subject between loving parents and adult children – but the tone of the letter sounds like she expected something. She got it, which is nice, but still…

…and it has nothing to do with age or being financially settled. I am 29, getting married soon, and did not ask my parents for any money. They offered. Heck, they expected. I was happy for that, but it would have bothered me to the core to ask. IMHO you have the wedding you can afford, and if others offer to help, great. If not, oh well. Do what you can. Don’t expect anything – it’s just a party, after all.

Also, don’t assume every wedding has ushers. Ours won’t – two young cousins will hand out programs and tell guests to “sit where they like” (no Bride’s Side or Groom’s Side – GAH! NO!) and the grandparents will be helped to their seats by loving family members.

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Vrinda May 29, 2010 at 7:39 pm

IMHO ,

It’s not your money that is being spent. It’s none of your business what the original poster’s father does with his money. If he wants to spend it on his daughter’s wedding, even if she did ask him, that his choice to do so. Just because the stepmother is already married doesn’t mean she won’t have a reason to be jealous. Maybe she didn’t get the wedding she always wanted, so it trying to take that opportunity away from her stepdaughter.

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zhoen June 12, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I got that she asked her father if he wanted to help pay, which included him. In many families, NOT asking would have been excluding him from the event. Given every other act of tolerance and politeness she exhibits, I am willing to assume that asking for his assistance was the same as making him part of the wedding, and therefore generous.

Step parents who claim precedence over their spouse’s (even adult) children, are asking to be put in their place. NO parent should force another to chose between them, and the son or daughter. Some of the money stepmother shares with the father really is earmarked for his offspring. Her behaviour looks desperate and petty, which makes his giving aid to his daughter an even more wise long term decision. SM may well not be around much longer.

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Liutgard July 24, 2010 at 6:13 am

Oh man…

I married at 18. It was my parents’ idea, and an arranged marriage. But when we started planning the wedding, my father rummaged around in a file cabinet in the library and then presented me with a slip of paper. It was written- and signed- in a very childish writing. By me. When I was FOUR years old.

“I will pay for my own wedding”

The groom and I had very little money, and the wedding was a rather sad affair. The marriage lasted 11 years. Dad got what he paid for.

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CherryBlossom October 2, 2010 at 2:10 pm

@ IMHO – Firstly, why are you attacking the OP about the issue of the SM being jealous? The OP never mentioned or even hinted that she suspected any jealousy on the part of the SM, that is a conclusion that others have come to in their responses. Honestly the SM sounds like a bit of a pill, refusing to sit down until she was escorted when no one else was receiving an escort and abusing the waitstaff, it’s a reasonable bet to assume that there was some underlying jealousy there. Second, why the assumption that the OP and her new husband didn’t have any money at all? While she noted that the father was generous in his contribution she never gave us any actual figures, it could still be that she paid for the majority of the wedding and he only covered the last little bit she couldn’t afford? Maybe he had made it clear earlier in her life that he expected to help with expenses when she did marry, and she was just contacting him to see if the offer still stood in light of the fact that she was now in her 30s? The fact that she asked if he could help pay for ‘any of it’ leads me to believe that she had at least some of it covered herself.

@Liutgard – Wow, I am so sorry. Who takes one sentence scribbled by a 4 year-old as a legally binding document? I would have been furious.

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TheBardess October 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm

@IMHO- wow, harsh much?

Nowhere in the original post did I get the vibe that the OP demanded or expected that her father pay for any or all of her wedding. Rather, I got the impression that she respectfully and politely asked her father if he would be willing to contribute anything, that she and her fiance definitely planned on contributing much of their own money, and that she was more than willing to accept “No” for an answer. It seemed to me that she was asking more so that she could plan appropriately- if Dad was willing to contribute something, then that could conceivably change some of the planning because the budget would be different. When planning a wedding, you want to know right off the bat how much you have to work with, and I think she was just trying to figure that out. I could see the conversation going something like this:

OP: Dad, fiance and I are talking about wedding plans, and we were wondering if you might be willing to help us out with any of it? If not, that’s totally fine, we’re just trying to figure out the budget.

OP’s Dad: Okay. Tell you what, why don’t you give me some details, and I’ll think about it, and we can talk it over when you come visit next month.

OP: Okay, thanks dad.

I fail to see how there’s anything wrong with that.

And as for the stepmother “wanting to be treated as someone worthy of an escort-” NOBODY was being escorted. It’s not as though the stepmother was being deliberately slighted- there were no escorts at all, for anybody. It was not the stepmother’s wedding- it was the OP’s. The stepmother does not have a right to be escorted; the OP DOES have a right to choose how her wedding proceeds, and she chose (as is her right) not have escorts. Rather than throw a hissy fit, the stepmother needed to put on her big-girl panties, respect the OP’s choices, and graciously take a seat.

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gramma dishes October 2, 2010 at 8:53 pm

@Luitgard ~~ That’s so sad. But who arranged your marriage? That very same Dad who held you to the note your wrote as a four year old? To pay for your own marriage that someone else pushed on you?

I just feel so bad for you.

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Catherine March 3, 2012 at 12:55 am

I was late for my wedding but not because I was being ‘fashionable’. I got to the church on time only to discover that my mother-in-law to be had yet to arrive. So my father and I had to sit in the car for about ten minutes until she turned up and then we could go in.
That was just one of the things she did to try and spoil my wedding. Another was telling my husband, in front of his friends on the wedding morning, “It’s not too late to back out, you know.”

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