Adult Daughter - Wedding Blues

Updated on August 30, 2010
K.A. asks from Rutland, VT
13 answers

My daughter is getting married. I like her fiancee very much and I'm very happy for her. But during wedding planning, our relationship has totally fallen apart to the point where I feel very awkward with them. I am paying for the wedding, which is, in my opinion, upper end ($40,000 plus). She made it clear from the start that she was making her own choices which I've respected although I've made alternate suggestions (to no avail) on truly less than a handful of decisions (where I felt guests were impacted) and/or where cost was seriously out of line with budget (like 4 times the budgeted amount). However, I learned during the process that if she asked for my opinion, I shouldn't give it, I should just agree with her. She is my only child and I raised her as a single mom (I'm remarried now) so I thought that this would be such a happy time and instead I find myself an emotional wreck over even going to her wedding (which is out of town) because if things go wrong, she will find a way to take that out on me. I don't even know how to put the detail here of the things that have gone on this past year - but my heart is breaking. Has anyone had a similar experience with wedding planning?

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answers from Norfolk on

Do not go bankrupt or go into debt over this. It's not unheard of to advise the couple to elope so you can offer the money as a down payment on a house. You've told her how much you can contribute, and when she spends it up - that's all there is - there ain't no more. She's an adult, and a big part of that is paying attention to an actual budget and staying within it. If she doesn't like it, well - it's her husbands problem now! Tell her 'toodle-loo' as she heads off for her honey moon, but you are going to Disney World to celebrate a job well done!

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answers from Austin on

I do think this can be an issue for many moms and thier daughters. You want to make her happy, give her anything and everything she may want, but in truth.. she is in a "Brides Coma, drunk on her bridal powers.. "It is not pretty. ... She is not always thinking straight.

She just needs to be reminded that you love her and want her to be happy, but you are not her door mat she can take for granted. You are not her open check book either. She will respect you more if you give her a heads up that the line was way back there and she needs to step back on her treatment of you.

Ask her what word could you say to her to let her know she has gone to far when speaking with you , I like to call it the "safe word". You can say it to each other and you each know the other has had enough, but you will not get mad when it is brought up to each others attention.
I do special events and I am so sorry this has gotten so out of hand.

MOM, you have rights. You are not an open check book. Did you tell her and her fiance what your budget was at the beginning of this process?

Have you gathered all of the bills and actually put it on paper so they can see where they are on the budget?

I would reconsider some of their decisions and .ask for them to join you in a public place, like a coffee shop. and have a meeting about this.. Show them the original budget and where it stands right now. "Here is a check for what I can afford. It is all yours to spend any way you want, but I am now all tapped out. I do not have any more money for your wedding."

"I love you and I want you to be happy, but you cannot get blood from a turnip and this is all your turnip has. "

Then let her deal with it. She is an adult, so is your future son in law.. They can figure it out.

I am sending you strength.I know it sounds scary, but you are the mom and you are in charge of how you are treated.

9 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wow. It sounds to me like your daughter is both blessed by you and a brat too. I got married almost a year ago. We had over 250 guests and the entire thing including rings, dress, tuxedo rentals, photographer, videographer, flowers, food, decorations, and etc. was around $5,000. It was simple, elegant and beautiful and we had no bills after all was said and done.

If you intend on spending that much on her big day, let her and her future hubby sign all of the contracts, give them a check for the big day and be done with it. Let them worry about shortfalls and overspending. She is getting married and you can not and should not be her bail out fund. She knows what a budget is and you just shouldn't spend more than you have.

Destress knowing you have done your best. If she wants to be ungrateful you can always just step aside for your own sanity.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Tampa on

Weddings are VERY stressful time not to mention a bit transition for both mom and daughter. Since you are paying for the wedding and have set a budget, you need to stick to it and inform your daughter that as much as you love her and you want her to have everything she needs, that it must be within that budget. Anything up and above is her responsibility and her fiance's. If she can't abide by that then tell her you will be happy to pay for that but that's it. In all honesty it sounds like she's manipulating you and you NEED to be strong and stand up to her . Ok so she pouts for awhile. When the rubber hits the road she is NOT going to want to lose your contribution to the wedding. I would suggest, if it's in your budget to hire a wedding planner to take some of the heat off of you . I've done this for 20 years and trust me, I've seen all scenarios with moms and daughters, monster in laws, momzilla and bridezilla. Boundaries and stick to them.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I think the idea of giving the check for the budget and saying that there is No More Coming might be a good idea, and the wedding planner might be a good idea also. I think you might want to step back from it.

My wedding was 55 people, including the band and us, and we paid for it ourselves, except for the food, plus one thousand extra. We did our own chair set up and clean up at the venue. No cake, just chocolate dipped strawberries and other assorted desserts. I bought a white silk dress at a department store.
I had a wonderful time and aside from a couple of small things, I don't think it could have been any more wonderful. I was really happy.

I used to work for a florist and I saw flower budgets that were 5 or 6 thousand. Flowers die in less than a week---I think it is crazy. I would rather take a vacation with that kind of money!

I think some people spend money out of FEAR...fear of being judged, fear of the huge commitment of marriage. Maybe this is what is happening with your daughter. Try not to take it personally. Be firm about the budget, and be firm with her. Remind her that this isn't supposed to be the worst time of her life, and sometimes we torture ourselves with our own expectations and desires.

"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements
of life. All that we need to make us happy
is something to be enthusiastic about." (Albert Einstein)

But GO to the wedding!! And smile.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Sounds like she's lucky to have you. If you are paying for her wedding you do have a right to your opinion, and she should be respectful of that. I would gently tell her that as well. Not that you should get to pick her details, but when it comes to cost you DEFINATELY have a say. As long as you arent being overbearing and rude about your opinions she has no reason to treat you this way, dont be afraid to stand up for yourself. Although this a highly stressful time for her, she shouldnt bite the hand that feeds her :)

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I'm so sad for you. Like every mom, you hoped it would be a special time, a culmination of your efforts on your daughter's behalf. And $40K is such a generous, generous gift, I'm so sad that she views it as expected. With a budget that huge are you using a wedding planner? (Sorry, that just seems like a big number to me, even after living in San Francisco society for 10 years.) If it is not too late, maybe bringing in an intermediary to help be a buffer (and take the blame) if things go "wrong" would be a good idea.

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answers from Sacramento on

I am also planning my wedding and I would like to tell you that I would never treat my mother like this. Even though she is an adult you have to set boundaries with her because you are the paying for the wedding. She has no right because everything being used on her special day is coming out of your pocket. As easily as you said you would pay for everything, that is how easily you can say "I am NOT paying for your wedding if you keep acting like a child!" Weddings are supposed to be a joyous time and not what you are going through. I am so happy and thankful that my mother is even helping me with my planning. My heart goes out to you. And hopefully she realizes that it is important to let you be a part of this. After all... she only has one mother and your not going to be here forever. Good Luck!

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answers from Boise on

I think that there is always these issues with weddings and moms/daughters (there are two in my office right now going through this). She is very lucky for you to be paying for this, especially so much! I paid for everything for my wedding, so I didn't have to worry about this issue, but from watching others, this is what I learned.

I would tell her that you see your relationship suffering due to the situation. You are paying for it, so feel that you have a right to say what they should do, and it is her wedding, so she is taking offense. I would take whatever amount you planned to use, and give it to her. Then, she can budget and allocate it how she feels fit. If she wants to spend half on flowers and only give the guests appetizers, that is her choice. She will feel less like she has to make you happy as you worry about money, and you can take a step back and give her an honest opinion, when asked.

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answers from Modesto on

Sorry for your anxiety... and this is why I never get involved in things of this calibur. Sounds like an episode of "Bridezilla".
I think you should take a deep breath and relax. Are you trying to do too much since her real dad isnt in the picture and you feel like you OWE your daughter? Is she taking advantage of your own emotional guilt trip and acting so disrespectful when you are spending quite a lot of money on a ONE DAY celebration? I'm probably not the best one to give advice on this subject since I just don't fall for the whole GIANT wedding thing... I think young marrieds would be way better off with some cash gifts to get them started on their new house/car rather than wasted on a dramatic feeding frenzy that ends with a cake that costs a couple of grand. It just isnt logical.
Nothing surprises me these days tho.
If it were me and my daughter.... I'd probably withdraw from the entire ordeal and have her figure it all out herself if she was acting like a brat and letting this possibly destroy your relationship.
You need to get some advice from your personal close friends and family and see what they have to offer you.....
A wedding shouldnt put a wall up between you and your daughter, it should be the opposite.
Good Luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I was 23 when I got married. My parents paid for the wedding. Not as extravegant as your planning, but it wasn't just the Justice of the Peace and some punch in the backyard. My mom and I were at odds ALOT and over EVERYTHING!! She picked the bridesmaid dresses. Thought everything should be matchy matchy. Wouldn't let my sister pick the dress style she looked best in, she picked the style she liked best. I made centerpieces, she hated them. Everyone else LOVED them (and most people still have them 13y later!). She picked this and that becuase she was paying. She even opend the RSVP letters addressed to me because she was paying so SHE needed to know. I told her then her name should've been on the return envelope! I felt I had lost control of MY wedding. She didn't have a big fancy wedding, so this was her time to plan one. I did get to pick the key pieces, like the groom! =-) , and my song, my dress. (I picked it out and then called her to come to the store) but there were other key pieces that she overrode and it hurt. When we went to the caterers she wanted all this fancy food that I wasn't into. I kept asking 'will you make pigs in a blanket and deviled eggs'? She was mortified. I hired the first one that said yes! Those were the first items that ran out!! =-)

So my advice to you is this. Please don't be offended by her actions. She is trying to plan the day SHE has dreamed of. I think it is VERY generous of you to pay such an amount for helping her make that happen. Honestly, beyond helping her stay in your budget, the best way to help is to let it be all her. Then they are HER memories. When something does happen to go wrong, which it will, (i could tell you SEVERAL stories!!) it won't be on you since they were her decisions.


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answers from Los Angeles on

Wow, 40k for a wedding, that is an extraordinary gift in and of itself. When my husband and I got married, my parents sent us one check and let us make our own choices. Although the sum was not large -- 5K -- I can honestly say that we had the most fabulous wedding ever. Simply magical. What was really wonderful is that all of the choices made regarding our wedding were made by us. I agree with the other moms below: cut her a check for the remainder of the money that you're willing to give, and let her create her own wedding. Good luck, mom!

1 mom found this helpful
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