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Wedding Wednesday – Money Can Be The Root Of All That Is Evil About Weddings

For today’ post I am going to respond uncharacteristically by breaking down the submitted story and replying to each paragraph individually…..


Hi, can I ask your and your readers’ advice?

You certainly may.

I’ve been divorced for 3 years. My ex and I were married for 30 years and were friends until just a few months ago when we had a falling out. Part of the falling out was I don’t like his new girlfriend, and neither does most of the family. She is cold and snobbish. They have been dating for about 6 months. Our daughter, Lucy, is very angry with me for “breaking up” the family just before Christmas and blames me for the divorce and a lot of other things. Other things she shouldn’t even know about that my ex told her and spun in ways to make me look bad and himself look like poor Mr. Nice Guy. I am completely avoiding him, since I would really like to rip his head off. Lucy is barely talking to me and has been really hateful.

It is unfortunate when children become the battleground upon which their adult parents fight.

Lucy is getting married in 4 months. She has decided to have a very small wedding with just parents, siblings, and grandparents — about 20 people. I want her to include aunts and uncles, as my SIL (ex’s sister), who I am very close to, is very disappointed. Lucy’s other aunt will be heartbroken to not be invited. This would be bring the count to around 30.

Lucy is going to invite the ex’s girlfriend. I don’t want her there, especially since the party is so small and immediate family only. I really don’t want her there since my SIL isn’t going to be invited.

The ex’s girlfriend being there and the bride’s aunt not being invited are two separate issues.   Be careful to not take up the offense of your sister-in-law at not being invited.   You are justifying rude behavior in retaliation for your sister-in-law not being invited.    If most of the family dislikes the ex’s girlfriend,  trust me, it will be more awkward for her than it is for you.   Imagine being in close quarters with a family that universally disdains you.   The best revenge, imo, is to play the part of the gracious mother of the bride and enjoy the family connections that are there.   If ex’s girlfriend is truly cold and snobbish,  you want to present a totally opposite image of civility, graciousness (defined as kindness to the undeserving) and pleasantness.

Here’s the kicker. My daughter is keeping her wedding tiny so she can use the money the parents are contributing for a house down payment. I had intended to contribute 5k, my ex 3k, which is what we contributed to another child’s wedding last year. Lucy’s wedding is going to cost less than $1k (previous child’s was over $10k).

I really only want to give $1k since she doesn’t have any interest in my wishes. I know this probably makes me sound small and selfish, but I am really hurt and angry about this. Part of me does want to get back at her for being so hateful lately. But mostly I can’t stand the idea of having to be polite to my ex, much less his GF, when people we love are excluded. How bad is it to gift different amounts to children when their expenses are so different? Or can I say to Lucy, if you want my money you have to expand the guest list?

While I appreciate the transparency of your motives, I would caution you to seriously consider the ramifications of what you are pondering doing.  You are considering using money to exert your preferences which will come across as manipulative and petty.   You will confirm to your daughter that you really are the evil creature her father has portrayed you to be and she is the latest “poor Nice Daughter”.  Why behave in ways that plays right into people’s poor perceptions of you?

As for being polite to your ex, you would do well to engage him in what I refer to as “business civility”.  A person can be formal, civil, even pleasant to business associates in order to get a job done but that doesn’t mean there is any depth of relationship beyond that.   Your job is to get your daughter married with as little drama as possible and that means you will greet the bride’s father with a polite “Good morning” and then interact with him throughout the day in a business-like manner which may include having to chat about very superficial topics and stand in proximity to him for photos.

It is certainly within your prerogative to decide the parameters of your monetary gift.   But be careful,  if you did not have these parameters in place with the other child’s wedding last year, you will come across as the evil mother who rewards one child and punishes the other.   There is the real possibility of creting divisiveness between your children.

What you can do is state that your offer for Lucy and the other child was to pay for a wedding, not a down payment for a house.   But if the money for the other child’s wedding was presented as a gift to do with as he/she pleases, I think you are stuck with the obligation to be consistent.

On Ehell there’s been the steady belief that he who would holds the purse string calls the shots.   But in your case, I would be very careful how you call those shots because this is a situation where it can backfire rather spectacularly with repercussions well into the future.


To add detail, the original plan for 20 was due to a very small location, but Lucy intended a big casual BBQ celebration a few months later. That plan has been dropped due to cost, and now it’s just a restaurant dinner following the ceremony for the 20 guests (location can accommodate 30, easily).

One last thing, if Lucy insists on ex’s GF attending, can I insist on a plus one, too? I’ll take my SIL as my guest.

Sure!  I wouldn’t “insist” but merely make the observation that since the father of the bride has the liberty to bring a “plus one”,  you would appreciate the same opportunity.

Thank you. 0131-17

You are welcome.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • eddie February 8, 2017, 3:18 pm

    I firmly believe it is a bride & groom’s right to choose who to invite to their wedding. The bride chose to invite her father’s SO, and not the beloved SIL or aunts. I understand is causing hurt feelings, but the wedding is about the bride and groom and who they want there on their day. OP, you have made your opinion known and your daughter is sticking with who she wants there. This should really be the end of it. I think it would be classless to “sneak” SIL in as a +1. On top of that, how would SIL feel knowing that she was not invited and was only attending on a technicality? I can’t imagine enjoying a wedding like that.

    Regarding the money, what if instead of offering a set amount, you offer to fund the wedding in its entirety (with a cap)? This might encourage her to be a little more extravagant and maybe even expand the guest list. After the wedding, you could even give the couple a monetary gift of whatever the gap is from what you planned to spend.

  • Vermin8 February 8, 2017, 3:22 pm

    So the new GF is cold and snobbish – another perspective is that she is quiet and holds back until she feels she is welcome. Unless she is harmful to the children, I think OP should reserve judgement. After all, someone of whom OP would approve would be someone very much like OP and since the marriage didn’t work out, that wouldn’t bode well, would it?
    OP is free to give your adult children however much she feel appropriate. OP is not obligated to ensure equitable amounts. However, before adjusting the donation, be aware of motivations – the adult children will see through an effort to manipulate or an effort to passive aggressively punish. BTW I find it especially ironic that Lucy wants to use the money in a manner generally believed to be wisely (ie for an appreciable asset rather than for a day long or weekend long party after which the money is gone) and OP disapproves. So, yes, I do find the desire to withhold small and selfish. That makes me wonder if Lucy’s anger is due solely to the ex telling tales.

    Not directly relevant but is certainly tainting my view:
    My father had cut off my college funds because my grades were low (I had below 3.0 and that was his threshold). The year after he did this, he gave me a check for Christmas. I made the comment it would go towards books and he said “please spend it on something fun!” I thought that meant he was easing up on the “no help” so I called him a couple weeks later and asked for help for books and got a half hour lecture on how irresponsible I was and I didn’t deserve it, blah blah blah. After I got done crying I wondered why he would encourage me to waste money on fun stuff when I had much more important expenses – and wondered who was really the irresponsible one. Moral: why reward children for spending for pure pleasure and punish for trying to spend for a future goal?
    PS. He had bought his wife a boat shortly cutting off my funds. Wife was (and still is) very perky, talkative, charming and friendly. She later talked about how she had insisted on a boat for weekend jaunts at her parents’ lakeside house. I would have preferred a “cold, snobbish” step who would have stood behind me
    PPS. no, I didn’t spend the check before I talked to him so I spent it on books, anyway.

    I agree that there is nothing wrong with asking for a +1 guest.

    • Goldie February 9, 2017, 9:36 am

      Oh my god, I’m sorry. I cannot stand it when people mess with others’ head like your father did. I hope, if I’m ever a step, that I am a better one. One of the two serious relationships I had was with a man who’d cut his kids off financially at 18, and converted their rooms into something else for his own use and told them they were welcome to visit, but that they no longer lived in that house, when they were 20. He’d tell me about these things all proud of himself, and I was horrified. My kids were about the same ages as his, and I supported/am supporting them through college, and had them both move back in with me last year. I’m of the belief that our immediate family is the only support system that we can count on. Everyone else doesn’t really have to be there for us, so we should not expect them to. I can’t imagine letting my kids down like that when they need my help to get through the hard times and get on their feet. And I hope I’d have the spine not to accept a pricey gift from an SO, if I knew that one of the reasons why I am getting this gift is that the SO is no longer paying any part of his kids’ tuition and books.

      • Vermin8 February 10, 2017, 6:39 am

        Thank you for your response.
        I told my husband not to buy an engagement ring for me.
        I’m sure that was lost and Dad and his wife.

        The big loser was Dad – after the emotions subsided and I realized what he had done – ie, encouraging me to be irresponsible when he was always yelling at me for being irresponsible – I lost all respect for him.

        • NostalgicGal February 10, 2017, 5:05 pm

          Some just have the innate NEED for someone to be ‘bad’ so they can be the good righteous one. My DH was like this in the early part of the marriage. What it got him: I will not say it just because you want me to (including AGREEING to something I do not want to do and we both know I won’t do it-it’ll lead to more fighting is all). You can not bully or badger me into it. If I have nothing to say I won’t say anything. Scream all you want, sometimes the response isn’t talking, it’s nothing. (see first part about ‘I will not say it just because you want me to’) and last of all landed his rear in therapy for co-dependency, finally. That helped him VAST amounts.

          Don’t feed the need, is the best way to go.

  • Tricia February 8, 2017, 3:26 pm

    I can’t side with the Admin about the money part.

    If the OP is agreeing to give her daughter money for her wedding, it’s not for the daughter to decide to use it otherwise. Unless the OP stated, “Here’s $5000 to get you started in your new life; use as you wish.” I think it’s poor taste for the bride to use the money for anything else.

    If I agree to take someone to dinner, it’s bad manners for them to instead order a pizza and but then expect me to spend the rest of the money to buy them a video game.

    • abby February 8, 2017, 3:48 pm

      Well, you are right about that, but given the financial wisdom of buying a house vs blowing thousands of dollars on a party, I have a hard time believing a parent wouldn’t be supportive of this. It may be a bit presumptuous, but it’s still a wiser decision, in my opinion.

      It would be different if she pocketed the $8K and spent it on a vacation, or a pyramid scheme, or something equally impractical. But I suppose you do have a point that Lucy should *ask* her mother how she feels about scaling back on the wedding and using it towards a house. It sounds like OP is just using that as an excuse to give less money than her real reason- that she wants to punish her daughter for being rude to her and inviting her father’s girlfriend, while excluding extended family members the OP likes.

      I do think Lucy sounds like a brat, based on OP’s account. I don’t care if OP is petty and vindictive and Lucy knows this. I think it’s really obnoxious to treat someone coldly while still expecting a large financial contribution from them. If Lucy wants to give her mother the silent treatment in solidarity with her father she should not be so willing to accept her mother’s money. She can’t have it both ways.

  • lkb February 8, 2017, 4:35 pm

    I rather feel sorry for the exes girlfriend. I side with those who think that the “cold and snobbish” could very well be testing the waters in an awkward situation. She likely knows that the divorce was only three years ago and if the OP comes off as bitter in person as she does in the post, I don’t blame the girlfriend for being reserved and even fearful. Rough waters indeed.

    OP: Given the situation as it now stands:
    How do you want to remember your daughter’s wedding?
    How do you want your daughter to remember her wedding?
    How do you want your daughter, and the rest of your loved ones, to remember you?

    If you want happy memories for you and the happy couple, follow the advice of the Admin and the other posters here. It’ll be worth it, believe me.

    • Goldie February 9, 2017, 9:44 am

      Yes, this part sounds a lot like “most of the family” ganging up on the new girlfriend and freezing her out, like a clique of popular middle-school kids would do to a new student in their class. I agree that she is probably being reserved and fearful. Hate to say it, but the family may very likely end up breaking this relationship up if they don’t lay off the girlfriend. Also, most of what family? if it’s OP’s family, then why do they care who OP’s ex dates? If it’s the ex’s family, then I’ve got news for OP, that isn’t OP’s family anymore.

  • Aleko February 8, 2017, 5:14 pm

    I think this post is wildly mis-titled. Money is clearly not the root of the evil here; it’s just the weapon that OP wants to use to bring her daughter to heel. The root of all evil is the unresolved bitterness of the family break-up.

  • Cat February 8, 2017, 8:08 pm

    The problem with drawing lines in the sand is that you take the chance the person will decide you are not worth the trouble and decide not to see you. If you proceed with your current course of action, you may lose your daughter. Are you willing to pay that price?
    I don’t care what you think of the girlfriend or what you want to make your daughter do. If you want to keep your daughter, tell her you were wrong; it is her wedding and your wish is for her to be happy. Nothing else matters. You will back whatever she wants with your love and your money. Otherwise, you may have to be happy with your money and not with your daughter. You may pay a high price for trying to get your way for just a few hours of one day in your life.

  • Becky S February 8, 2017, 8:14 pm

    OP, my parents pulled the stunt you’re contemplating. They wanted me to have a bigger, fancier wedding, with a larger guest list than my husband and I planned. They assured me they would contribute financially. They reneged at the 11th hour for essentially the reasons you want to — our wedding wasn’t the one they wanted, and that was more important than what my husband and I wanted. It backfired. My husband and I paid for the entire wedding and I decided I didn’t need that level of manipulation and control in my life. I cooled our relationship considerably. My parents pulled a couple more stunts and, long story short, we no longer have a relationship.

    If this is how you want things to be with your daughter, go ahead. Use your money to force her hand. The best that will happen is you’ll attend a wedding that’s kind of the way you want it. If that’s more important than building a good relationship with your child, so be it. Your daughter won’t forget it.

  • BagLady February 8, 2017, 9:03 pm

    Re Lucy’s choice of guest list: Tough toenails, OP. It’s her wedding. If Lucy and her fiance wanted to invite a busload of strangers instead of extended family, that’s their prerogative. Her father and his SO are a social unit; you and your ex-SIL, no matter how close you are, are not.

    What if the roles were reversed and you were the one in a serious relationship, and your ex were besties with your brother? How would you feel if ex were pressuring Lucy to invite your brother instead of your SO — and using money as a weapon to bend her to his will?

    I would love to know if Lucy’s sibling had a $10K wedding because s/he knew mom and dad were contributing $8K, or whether the parents decided on that amount because sibling wanted a $10K wedding.

    If it’s the latter — and even if it isn’t — I think that OP and her ex could, without being accused of favoritism, give Lucy $800 *for the wedding*. That’s 80 percent of the total, which is what Lucy’s sibling got. *Then* they should give Lucy the balance of the “wedding fund” as a gift, or a contribution to the house fund — call it whatever you want, but it should be divorced (no pun intended) from anything related to wedding expenses or guest list drama.

    I don’t begrudge anyone a five-figure wedding — if the HC and/or their families can afford it, more power to ’em. But I think Lucy and her fiance are pretty smart cookies for planning a modest wedding so they can save for a house.

    Please, OP, go to the wedding, celebrate with your daughter and her beloved, and be civil to your ex and his SO. You can always throw a little party of your own for the HC later, and invite your SIL.

  • Rebecca February 8, 2017, 10:45 pm

    Lucy sounds smarter than her mother, wanting to put money towards a house and her long-term security instead of a frivolous party.

  • Kay_L February 9, 2017, 12:49 am

    I feel sorry for the ex.

    Who he dates at this point, when his children are adults, is no one else’s business but his own. It seems to me that the mother of the bride here is a bit full of herself to think that her opinion matters let alone that of the “rest of the family.”

    No doubt her daughter is seeing her father happy and is upset with her mother making judgements where they are not welcome, necessary or appropriate.

    Is the OP not busy enough in her own life that she has time to even give this much thought?

    She is no longer attached to her ex. He is the father of the bride and as a single person can bring whomever he wishes.

    The OP is going to come across as completely silly bringing her SIL and probably being really obvious in proving a point. Had she really cared about aunts and uncles coming to the wedding, she have been focused on that from the beginning. She would not have ruminated on the GFs personality to anyone to know that “the family agrees” with her or not.

    And she would then still have a good relationship with her daughter where she could plead her case for the aunts and uncles attending. But, as it is, she’s made her bed and unformately for everyone who will have to be around her, she will have to lie it.

    As far as I can see, the only person who causing all this strife and drama is the mother, which is very regrettable.

  • NostalgicGal February 9, 2017, 4:32 am

    One more time. I do perform weddings and in my county (small population) I am the one on call that will marry anyone as long as the county clerk will issue the license. I have done a few in the hall outside the office or on the courthouse steps.

    To be married in most places it takes: two people of age of consent as well as legal age, one legally issued marriage license, (holding it within that county within the certain number of days, usually 5 after the license was issued), two witnesses of legal age, and an officiant legally recognized and registered to perform services within that county (be it a judge, justice of the peace, or minister). The ceremony itself involves each of the couple being asked by the officiant if they wish to be married (You?), each responding affirmatively (Yes) and the officiant declaring it to be official (Done) in front of the two witnesses. Everyone signs the marriage license and the officiant turns it in at the county clerk’s office within the allotted time frame. This covers MOST of the US.

    Anything else is nice, window dressing, and extra. From more words to the vows to a ring exchange, to a harpist and a soloist… The couple I refer to in the paragraph above is just as married as if they had booked a huge church, had a horse drawn carriage, she’s in a designer cathedral length train gown and carrying orchids, have a lavish reception in a six star hotel ballroom with sit down catered food done by a renowned chef, a live nine piece band, release doves, and have an 8′ tall cake covered in gold leaf and studded with real gems and live flowers. They’re still just as married.

    I still say a down payment on a house trumps all of the above, a one day party versus something tangible that will last far past the big blow out? No contest. Don’t play money games and favoritism. If it bothers you so much, then don’t go. And live with the consequences of what will bring you.

  • Vicki February 9, 2017, 9:23 am

    “Other things she shouldn’t even know about” implies that those things did in fact happen. There’s a huge difference between “why did you tell our daughter that I wouldn’t do XYZ sexual thing you wanted?” and “our daughter shouldn’t have known that we had financial problems when she was in high school.” When I was an adult, well after my parents divorced, my mother occasionally talked about that, in terms that are critical of my father. While they were married and I lived with them, what I noticed wasn’t the size of the slices of meatloaf, or that we weren’t getting seconds of chicken; I noticed, and remember fondly, that I could have all the rye bread and butter I wanted with dinner. It was really good bread 🙂 and I still miss that bakery, decades later.

    OP, you can ask for a “plus one,” but it would be reasonable for your daughter to answer with something like “Mom, I didn’t know you were dating someone new. What’s his name?” The customs for bringing a date to a wedding are for just that—a date. Not for adding one aunt or grandparent to the guest list.

    Also, think about this: is the ex-sister-in-law the only relative who will mind being excluded? If not, are you prepared to explain to everyone else why you lobbied to include her rather than then?

    • Aleko February 10, 2017, 6:40 am

      “The customs for bringing a date to a wedding are for just that—a date. Not for adding one aunt or grandparent to the guest list.”

      I wouldn’t dignify even that as a custom. The old custom was that spouses and fiance(e)s had to be invited: it was and is rude to exclude them. The rule has had to be expanded to cover ‘significant others’. This creates headaches for people who aren’t 100% sure just how significant a relationship their sibling / cousin / best friend is in, and some have given up the attempt to decide and simply give them carte blanche to bring ‘a date’ or ‘a guest’. However, there is no obligation whatsoever on them to do so; if you receive a wedding invitation for yourself only and want to bring someone, you must at least claim that this person is your life partner.

      The girlfriend of OP’s ex is clearly being invited as his current partner, not as a ‘date’ – a wedding celebration consisting of only 20 people is manifestly not the kind of shindig where dates are invited. If OP were in an equivalent relationship, it would be rude for Lucy not to invite her partner as well; but to claim that ‘he’s bringing someone, so I can bring a date’ would be absurd.

  • JD February 9, 2017, 9:37 am

    What I can’t tell is, who is hosting this wedding? Lucy or the parents? If Lucy and her groom are the hosts, then why is she seeming to expect her parents to pay the entire bill, as in, you have to pay but you have no say on what I choose to do? If her parents are hosting, then why don’t they get to add to the guest list? The hosts get to make the guest list, but I can’t figure out who the host is.
    I think that using money as a tool to control Lucy is a terrible choice and likely to seriously damage the relationship. I think that Lucy may have to deal with fallout from hurt relatives who were excluded from a wedding that could have been enlarged to include them, but Lucy chose not to do so, even though the money to do so was being provided. I think that Dad’s significant other must be included, like her or not. Most of all, I advise OP to follow Admin’s advice and tread carefully, but graciously, head held high.

  • Steph February 9, 2017, 1:53 pm

    I don’t see the issue with wanting to use the money for a down payment on a house instead of being “princess for a day.” .Far more mature and shows great common sense–frankly that decision shows her maturity far more than your letter demonstrates yours.

    • Lerah99 February 10, 2017, 10:19 am

      Why do her parents OWE her the down payment for her house?

      This is where I keep getting tripped up.
      Why is it her parents’ duty to give her money to buy a house?

      If they offered to pay for a wedding, they offered to pay for a wedding and not a house.
      She is choosing a small wedding, all the better not to burden her parents with a huge expense.

      But this idea that “You gave sister $8K for her wedding, so you OWE me 8K when I get married too!!!!” seems really entitled and selfish.

      I’m not saying that buying a home is a bad idea. Buying a home and building that equity is a great idea. But I don’t see how it’s supposed to be her parents responsibility to pay a portion of her down payment.

      If they offer, fantastic! That’s a wonderful and generous offer.
      But if they haven’t offered – the daughter isn’t exactly OWED this money.

      • InTheEther February 10, 2017, 11:00 pm

        To be fair, who’s to say Lucy was just expecting them to hand over money?

        She may have expected it in that she knew her sister had gotten some amount and her parents would probably do the same with her. But from the OP’s wording, it sound like the parents approached her with the offer, which she responded with “Well, if you’re giving me money, I’d rather have a small wedding and use it on a house down payment.” And if OP had an issue with that she should have said so THEN.

        It seems like she had no issues with the plan until she found out that the Ex’s SO is on the guest list and her favorite relations are not. So NOW she’s wanting to pull the “If you don’t do as I say I’m not keeping my promise!”

        • abby February 14, 2017, 8:05 am

          I agree with this. After some thought, I *do* think that it’s a bit presumptuous to accept money from someone to cover the cost of Event A, and then decide you are no longer planning Event A and will instead use the funds to go towards Event B. I mean, it’s still the wiser choice, but presumptuous. But yeah, it evidently didn’t bother OP enough to consider pulling back the money until 1. Lucy starting treating her rudely, and 2. Lucy insisted on inviting her father’s girlfriend while not inviting extended family members.

          I’ll give her a pass on 1.- if Lucy is treating her mother rudely, she should not be expecting money. And if what OP did to her ex husband is so awful that Lucy can’t help but be angry at her mother on her father’s behalf- well, it still seems hypocritical to be all, “I will treat you with open disdain, but I *will* accept your checkbook”.

  • Lady Phoenix February 9, 2017, 5:04 pm

    OP, your actions are gonna lead to losing a daughter. If i was your kid and you pulled this on me, I would want nothing to do with ya anymore. Do you truly want that?

    Why are you more concerned about your kid having a big wedding when they could be getting a nice house? Chances are, you just want to have an expensive family reunion where you can gossip with your SIL about the “Wicked Stepmother”/Ex’s gf. And maybe Lucy sees it too, and decided “Nah, I want my possibly future step mom to be happy.” If you want an expensive family reunion, you can host one yourself and invite whoever you want. Forcing one on your daughter is gonna turn her off FAST.

    You called the girlfriend cold, but I don’t blame her if she has to deal with you. You don’t have any respect for her or ex, so don’t expect the same kindness back.

    Be an adult and see to your daughter’s wedding as SHE wants it to be. If you can’t do that, then burn the bridge already and don’t go.

  • Dragon_heart February 10, 2017, 12:51 am

    To all those who are asking why the mother is opposing the daughter spending the money on a house instead of the wedding itself, the reason is crystal clear. The mom said it herself, it is not about the money at all.

    To quote the OP:
    “I really only want to give $1k since she doesn’t have any interest in my wishes. ”
    “if you want my money you have to expand the guest list?”

    The mom wants those aunts and uncles invited and not the ex’s gf. If those people are not invited to the wedding, then she would not spend the money for it. I am willing to bet that had Lucy invited those Aunts and Uncles and excluded the gf, the OP would not have any issue if the wedding cost was just $500 and Lucy would use the $7,500 as down payment for a house.

    What I really cannot understand is why she is insisting those 10 people be included, Lucy did want to invite the rest to a casual BBQ later, so everyone is still included.

  • PWH February 10, 2017, 8:39 am

    OP, This is supposed to be a happy time in your daughter’s life. She is getting married and planning to buy a house, both huge milestones in a person’s life. Do you want her to remember these as happy events or would you prefer she only remember them for how difficult her Mother was during the entire process? It isn’t up to you to plan your daughter’s wedding or dictate who she invites. It sounds like she’s cut the family portion of the list to make it fair (no extended family on either side) and to accommodate the wedding venue. She may be including her Father’s Girlfriend to try to extend some sort of olive branch to her. Or maybe there are things she sees in GF that you don’t. If GF is indeed cold and unliked, it will be obvious at the wedding.
    As for the money, if you set your mind to treating your children equally, you should provide the same amount of money you gave your other child. I think trying to stipulate how it is used could cause a rift between you and your daughter. If she counted on that money and specifically decided on a smaller wedding so she could have a down payment on a house, you can see where there may be issues. I think you should take a step back and look at the bigger picture. The wedding is one day, but your relationship with your daughter could last a lifetime.

  • InTheEther February 10, 2017, 11:39 pm

    I’m wondering what OP did right before Christmas.

    Apparently it was enough to split the family before the holidays, and it was bad enough that her daughter is still mad about it. And one can extrapolate that it had something to do with the ex’s GF. I’m also assuming the GF didn’t actually do anything too egregious, as by the tone of the post it seems like OP would mention if the GP had done anything.

    Let’s assume that the GP IS actually cold and snobbish. So long as she is generally civil you don’t have anything to complain about. Frankly, I find it strange that you’re still super buddies with the ex-SIL. And if I were dating a guy and his ex-wife was making a production of still being a member of HIS family, I’d be cold too.

    You’re still referring to the family as if it were one mass. They aren’t. The family doesn’t hate the GF. You hate the GF and much of HIS family do according to you. She is not your SIL, she is your ex-husband’s sister. She may be your friend completely outside your prior relationship to her brother, but she’s not your SIL. You can still like and be close to your ex’s family, as you were part of it for 30 years. But once the divorce was finalized you were no longer related to them.

    Lastly, learn to deal with the girlfriend. If the GF has actually done something, you might have an argument. But “I don’t like her” is not a reason.

    • Tracy W February 12, 2017, 2:20 am

      You can still like and be close to your ex’s family, as you were part of it for 30 years. But once the divorce was finalized you were no longer related to them.

      Actually, one can keep on being related to people even if there’s a divorce. I don’t think anyone is obliged to lose a good SiL or aunt or cousin just because a marriage didn’t work out.

      What the hell, I have relatives who merely made the mistake of sharing a lab bench with one of my blood relatives. It’s quite nice being part of a big, inclusive family.

      • PWH February 13, 2017, 12:52 pm

        Totally agree with this one. My Grandmother was married before she met my Grandfather. One of the best things she took away from her first marriage was an excellent relationship with her MIL. Despite the divorce, MIL stayed close with my Grandmother until MIL died (Over 30+ years). My Grandparent’s children (My Aunts, Uncles and my Mom) all called MIL Grandma and she was over to visit all the time.

  • K. D. February 12, 2017, 6:59 pm

    If you promised her they money, give it, and enjoy your daughters happiness.
    If you did not say anything about money to your daughter and she made an assumption that you will provide for her, that is something else entirely.
    My parents only met what my in-laws gave because they felt obligated. I did not like how that felt.
    Make your relationship with your daughter the very best you can. Don’t discuss your problems with anyone related to the ex family, I know it is difficult after 30 some years of being best-ies. But this is where the complaints have to stop, soundboard a different friendship outside of the ex’s family so the info doesn’t get repeated back to ex, or daughter. If you need someone to talk to and don’t have other relationships, head to church, meet some people, or (and I am not being mean) go see a therapist.
    You can feel how you want, but Show your best. I wish you a calm, beautiful day with your daughter.
    P.S. My mother did not attend my wedding, we don’t speak unless we see each other out, and we are civil. I know you don’t want that. Be your best self.

  • Elisabeth February 14, 2017, 2:56 pm

    So, OP, you don’t like Lucy’s wedding plans and you don’t like how Lucy has been treating you lately – so instead of putting your personal drama aside for your daughter’s wedding day, you are going to go out of your way to sabotage her.

    She has not invited your Sister In Law, but you’re planning on bringing her along even though she wasn’t invited and being a bully to get Lucy to agree with that plan.

    Lucy is upset because of the bad blood between you and her father, and she is choosing to have a small wedding to save for a house, so you are deciding to give her 1/5th of the gift that you would usually give her as a punishment? When she behaved against your liking as a child, did you present her with 1/5 of a teddy bear at Christmas?

    This is your daughter’s day. This is about her happiness with her fiance, not about you getting your way in all things. Her wedding, her choice.

    • Lerah99 February 21, 2017, 4:31 pm

      “Her wedding, her choice” – ummmm, sure if she was paying for it.

      Also, the comparison with the giving a 1/5th teddy bear to a child is ridiculous.
      Adults should understand consequences for their choices in a way we don’t expect children to understand.

      From another point of view, Lucy is perfectly happy to accept $5,000 from her mom while also treating her mom poorly.

      Why is it ok for her to snub and be nasty to her mom while also holding her hand out expecting a big payday?

      Without a doubt, the letter writer has issues. But that doesn’t give her daughter a free pass for her poor behavior.

  • Devil's Advocate February 15, 2017, 12:06 pm

    Just a few thoughts:

    In regards to giving money in general: you are either giving money specifically for certain purpose i.e. wedding, school, house, etc. or you are giving money that the purpose of can be decided by the giftee. That is the first determination the LW has to make, which way is she giving the money and which way does Lucy think she is getting the money.

    Second, it regards to equitable money between children: I am going to disagree with the majority and say you do not have to give equal amounts of money to children. I am married, my other sibilings are not. My parents–generously–paid for my wedding. They did not go out give the same amount to my siblings ( and due to my siblings now advanced age, I doubt they would pay for their weddings if they ever do get married). Further, I now have kids, my parents buy them gifts and give my kids money. My siblings have no children. My siblings do not get extra money because my parents buy gifts and give money to my spouse and siblings. It is never up to a child to determine how a parents spends their money–if the child is offended, then they should have the guts to sit down and talk with the parents.

    Finally: I tend to roll my eyes at the mound of emails that talk about how the LW should be encouraging Lucy to have a small wedding and by a house with the down payment she would receive from LW because that is the *wise* and *better* decision. I do not applaud one person over another for having a big or small wedding. A wedding is a once in a life event (hopefully) and should be celebrated without guilt (if that is what you want to do). I don’t think anymore of someone who gets married on the courtroom steps so they can buy a house vs someone who rents an apartment but had a big wedding. Neither one is *better* or *wiser* in my book. The thought “you are just as married” could be taken to extremes—why buy a big house–you are just as sheltered in a small one? Why go on vacation? Why buy the latest model gadget? Why buy name brand food or clothes? Why have cable? The list could go on and on. the bottom line is one isn’t smarter or wiser or better—it just people choosing to spend their money differently.

    • MzLiz June 2, 2017, 12:00 pm

      Sure, things don’t have to be necessarily perfectly equal between children (that’s impossible) but it’s cool when parents demonstrate fairness with their kids. I’ve rarely (never) heard the kid who was the beneficiary of their parent’s generosity, like you were with your wedding, complain about it. But I’ve known of quite a few people who felt the sting of their parents’ favoritism (intentional or not) towards another sibling when it comes to things like that. Even if they know logically they shouldn’t feel that way, feelings aren’t usually logical, unfortunately. I’m not saying this is the case with you but many families have a ‘Superstar’ for whom everything seemingly works out for & after years of one person getting the lion’s share of the attention, accolades & monetary gifts, it can & does cause bitterness. If you were to slip some truth serum into your Sibs’ coffee, I wonder what they’d say about you receiving a large gift that they did not & from your post, most likely will not, even if they do get married at some point. I’m pretty easy-going, I’m no bean-counter. But if my parents paid for a Sib’s wedding & didn’t at least offer to contribute to mine simply because I didn’t find the right person until later in life, unless there’d been a severe shift in their financials in the interim, I’d feel 2nd-class & be extremely hurt. Regardless of my own personal financial situation cos it’s not just about the money, it’s the perception. When I see this kind of thing occur in other families, I think mine was lucky in that my Mum & Dad couldn’t afford to pay for anyone’s wedding so it was never an issue. Mo’ money, mo’ problems. 🙂

      I have a friend who would like to get married but hasn’t as of yet. She’s not upset about it but hasn’t made a secret of her desire to find her Someone. When her sister was getting married, their parents gave both of them the exact same amount saying they could each do with it as they wished – Pay for a wedding, down payment on a house, travel, put it in savings – whatever. No strings. By coincidence, Friend happened to be turning 40 the same year Sister got hitched so they framed it as a ‘milestone gift’ to their daughters. This sensitivity also helped because it didn’t come across like their parents were ‘giving up’ on Friend ever getting married at all but if she does, she already got her contribution from them & won’t expect any more. The girls are close, supportive & loving towards each other & always have been. Their parents fair treatment of them is a big reason why. My folks weren’t/aren’t as well-off but every Christmas, if they spent even one more dollar on an individual kid, the rest of us got the money in our stockings. Same with birthdays, they spent the same amount on each child to the penny. Yes, there were different times where one Sib may have gotten a little extra help or something nobody else got but the others never minded because when it came to the obvious stuff – the occasions where they had control – my Mum & Dad always tried their best to treat us all the same. In fact, years ago when one Sib was having a rough go of it (not of her own making, she had a run of bad luck), we all told our parents to funnel whatever money they would have spent that year on birthday & Christmas gift for us to that Sib instead because she needed it way more than we did. We were all pretty young & still at the age where birthdays & Christmas were a Big Deal so it actually was quite a ‘sacrifice’, if I’m honest. 😉 but we wanted to help our sister more than we wanted presents & this was how we could do that. If you treat your children fairly it makes for harmony & generosity among them, I believe.

  • DutchyMcDutch February 18, 2017, 8:31 pm

    As Admin wrote, some things need to be kept separate.

    Why were/are you giving her money? To contribute to the wedding? Surely it’s somewhat silly to contribute 8000 dollars, together, to a 1000 dollar wedding….
    If it’s a wedding gift it might be separate but I don’t think the 1st gift was unrelated to the wedding expenses.
    In my opinion: If you, as a bride, want total autonomy, pay for everything yourself. If parents contribute to the wedding, especially if it’s to be more than the wedding actually costs, I feel they can expect some reasonable input into the arrangements.
    You might expect some input in who to invite, however I don’t think it’s fair to expect to be able to exclude people from the wedding. That is quite out of the question.

  • Cheryl March 9, 2017, 8:57 am

    there is more to this story, I am sure that everything in your marriage wasn’t all of the ex’s fault, it takes two. However, you didn’t state if Lucy asked for your part of the story which shows either immature she is or how in denial you are and after receiving both sides of the tale, she isn’t sympathetic towards you, that is her opinion. If you give your one child a certain amount then you should do the same for her, after all that is fair, if they want to only spend 1,000 for a small wedding vs. 14,000 for a large wedding, that is her choice. You are divorced and therefore, your husband has a right to date whomever, regardless if you like her or not, whether the family likes her or not, that is his choice and your child’s choice to invite her. If you want a plus one, fine, that is only fair, but you being childish to give one child a certain amount because she was married earlier and she is in your corner vs. your other child who doesn’t is just wrong, you are supposed to love your kids, no matter what, you are doing this because one child doesn’t agree with you, that makes you the child.

  • Joanna June 5, 2017, 12:11 am

    Lucy needs to Google “narcissistic mother” because that’s what she has.

    You have no right to control your adult child’s choices, no reason to be angry and call her “hateful” for not letting you run her life, no reason to be petty about the ex’s girlfriend, no logical reason to be mad at your daughter for choosing to be wise and use money for a home rather than a wedding, and no right to use money to blackmail your ADULT child.

    The admin here was far too nice to you in her reply. If I knew Lucy, I’d tell her to keep her “Mother of the Bride-zilla” out of the wedding because you are attempting to control and destroy HER special day. Shameful.