Wedding 911

Parent Problems!!

edited October 2014 in Wedding 911
Hi Ladies!

This is my first post on the Knot. I'm not normally one for discussion boards, but I'm in a somewhat difficult situation and need some advice from other brides / brides-to-be.

Here's the situation: I'm a 24yo only child and my parents have been divorced about twelve years. While my dad and the rest of our family has dealt with his undiagnosed severe depression (and its effects) for my whole life, my mother has always done her best to provide me with the best life possible. She has been extremely generous in offering to contribute a significant amount to our wedding expenses - a little more than half of all of our costs. Her husband has also contributed about ten percent of our expenses.

Here's where it get's sticky. My relationship with my dad has been strained, to say the least, over the last few years. He is an alcoholic and a smoker - which has led to cancer and a total laryngectomy (removal of vocal cords - breathes through a stoma), not to mention a lot of harsh words spoken on his part and mine on occasion. At our engagement party in August, he pulled me aside and said in two months' time he would be able to contribute about ten percent of our wedding costs. This was a first, as he's never offered to help me before. In fact, when he was out of work for two and a half years I paid for his cell phone out of my own pocket. Since finding a steady job as a long haul trucker two years ago, he's never even offered to pay me back, and I've never brought it up.

I'm a new mom, work full time and my fiance and I don't have a lot of money. We work really hard to stick to our budgets, paying our bills on time, rarely doing anything at all for ourselves, and saving a little money wherever we can. When my dad offered to help us, I was relieved but skeptical. His parents, his siblings, and their children (my cousins) live on the same plot of land in rural Indiana, which I've visited MANY, MANY times - all the while they've never felt it necessary to visit me in California.

My fiance, my daughter (10mo), and myself are flying out to South Carolina visit some of my mom's family in December who might not be able to make it to the wedding for health reasons. A few weeks ago, my dad essentially sent me a text message (we can no longer communicate by phone) demanding that if I can visit her family, I better be able to make the trip to see his at the beginning of next year.  It felt like a slap in the face, and many tears were spilled over it. I responded to him by saying I am my own person, I've supported myself since moving out at eighteen, worked my butt off, and don't appreciate being ordered to do anything or go anywhere. Traveling with a baby is very difficult, and I can't afford to take the time off work. If they want to see us so badly, why can't they come out here? They are all perfectly capable of boarding a plane.

Fast forward, the time has come to select vendors and find dresses, put down deposits, etc. I haven't spoken (texted) my dad since the debacle, and he's made no mention of sending his contribution to me. I haven't asked. I'm not sure how to go about bringing up the subject, or if I even should.

I could really use some advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation. I don't want to push him farther away, but he did make an unsolicited promise to help with his only daughter's wedding. Should I hold him to that promise? Or should I just move on? I'm so torn and hurt by this whole thing, I really wanted to get through wedding planning without this kind of drama.

Thank you, ladies, for any advice you have to offer!

Re: Parent Problems!!

  • Hi Ladies!

    This is my first post on the Knot. I'm not normally one for discussion boards, but I'm in a somewhat difficult situation and need some advice from other brides / brides-to-be.

    Here's the situation: I'm a 24yo only child and my parents have been divorced about twelve years. While my dad and the rest of our family has dealt with his undiagnosed severe depression (and its effects) for my whole life, my mother has always done her best to provide me with the best life possible. She has been extremely generous in offering to contribute a significant amount to our wedding expenses - a little more than half of all of our costs. Her husband has also contributed about ten percent of our expenses.

    Here's where it get's sticky. My relationship with my dad has been strained, to say the least, over the last few years. He is an alcoholic and a smoker - which has led to cancer and a total laryngectomy (removal of vocal cords - breathes through a stoma), not to mention a lot of harsh words spoken on his part and mine on occasion. At our engagement party in August, he pulled me aside and said in two months' time he would be able to contribute about ten percent of our wedding costs. This was a first, as he's never offered to help me before. In fact, when he was out of work for two and a half years I paid for his cell phone out of my own pocket. Since finding a steady job as a long haul trucker two years ago, he's never even offered to pay me back, and I've never brought it up.

    I'm a new mom, work full time and my fiance and I don't have a lot of money. We work really hard to stick to our budgets, paying our bills on time, rarely doing anything at all for ourselves, and saving a little money wherever we can. When my dad offered to help us, I was relieved but skeptical. His parents, his siblings, and their children (my cousins) live on the same plot of land in rural Indiana, which I've visited MANY, MANY times - all the while they've never felt it necessary to visit me in California.

    My fiance, my daughter (10mo), and myself are flying out to South Carolina visit some of my mom's family in December who might not be able to make it to the wedding for health reasons. A few weeks ago, my dad essentially sent me a text message (we can no longer communicate by phone) demanding that if I can visit her family, I better be able to make the trip to see his at the beginning of next year.  It felt like a slap in the face, and many tears were spilled over it. I responded to him by saying I am my own person, I've supported myself since moving out at eighteen, worked my butt off, and don't appreciate being ordered to do anything or go anywhere. Traveling with a baby is very difficult, and I can't afford to take the time off work. If they want to see us so badly, why can't they come out here? They are all perfectly capable of boarding a plane.

    Fast forward, the time has come to select vendors and find dresses, put down deposits, etc. I haven't spoken (texted) my dad since the debacle, and he's made no mention of sending his contribution to me. I haven't asked. I'm not sure how to go about bringing up the subject, or if I even should.

    I could really use some advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation. I don't want to push him farther away, but he did make an unsolicited promise to help with his only daughter's wedding. Should I hold him to that promise? Or should I just move on? I'm so torn and hurt by this whole thing, I really wanted to get through wedding planning without this kind of drama.

    Thank you, ladies, for any advice you have to offer!
    Never plan on promised money. Like never. Ever. 

    Brides come here all. the. time. in panic mode because someone said they'd give them money, the B&G signed contracts they couldn't pay for w/o that money, and the money never panned out. They end up eating deposits, cutting all kinds of things, returning things they bought, downgrading, etc. It's messy and takes a lot of fun out of planning a wedding. 

    Plan the wedding YOU can afford. If your dad comes through with money, then upgrade things after the money is in your bank account. From your story, I'd say he probably will not come through with the money.


    As a side note though, I highly suggest seeking counseling to sort out the feelings you have about your dad. It seems like you harbor quite a bit of bitterness and anger toward him. Counseling may help you work through that and figure out how to let some of this stuff go. You did the right thing by responding to his "request" for your visit as basically "I'm an adult. I won't comply with orders to visit you - if I want to, I will. You are welcome to come to Cali any time." After that, just let it go. Don't let these negative feelings consume you.
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    OliveOilsMomholyguacamole79[Deleted User]CMGragain
  • Oh my god. Are you my secret sister? Because while some of the details in that story were different, it was AMAZINGLY similar to hearing about my own father.

    And, if he's anything like my father, just smile and nod and bean-dip when he makes promises or grand plans. Don't take any of the promises seriously, and don't bring it up again - after all, it sounds like you know the answer to your question before you even ask it.

    If he comes up with the money (and enough good humor to want to contribute to your wedding if he even had money) great, go from there. There's always last-minute things that you can upgrade or add-on, even with the catering.

    Achievement Unlocked: Survived Your Wedding! 
    Knottie75905291
  • OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

    Ditto Southernbelle.  Don't count on your dad's money at all.  Also counseling could go along way in your relationship with your dad.  You cannot control his behavior, but with some help from a good counselor you can change the way you react to your dad.  That will hopefully pre-defuse any arguments.

    While you were right to deflect your dad's demand that you visit your Indiana family, from what you wrote you responded with a little hostility.  You also seem a bit bitter that none of this family has come to visit you.  Perhaps they don't have the funds to do so.  Just like your dad can't tell you how to spend your money, you can't do the same to them.

     

  • edited October 2014
    Thanks for the replies, ladies! I appreciate the time it took to respond.

    I wasn't counting on his contribution, per se, because I've learned everything he promises needs to be taken with a grain handful of salt. It was more like wishful thinking, and wondering if I should even bring it up or count it as a lost cause based on our tense interaction about the family visits.

    Of course, as my post implies, there is some resentment towards my family in Indiana that can most definitely afford to hop on a plane and visit for a few days, if only to see the newest addition to the family. Most of them (5 out of 7) have already indicated they won' be attending the wedding. They choose to do other things instead, like take trips to Germany, China, etc. Which is most definitely alright - I mean life is short, do what you want - I do. However, instead of picking up the phone and talking to me directly, they pressure my dad into pestering me to come out to visit them. He, in turn, takes his frustration with their pestering out on me, in an effort to placate them.

    There is totally a dysfunctional family dynamic - lots of background. My main issue is that I'm questioning whether or not to bring up his promise of contribution at all. Which is probably a question only I can answer - I just kind of needed an outlet. TBH I wasn't even really expecting a response!

    Anyway, thanks again! Glad to know I'm not the only one.
  • NYCMercedesNYCMercedes BOS, NYC, DC. Forever a city girl member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 2014
    Your answer about whether to bring up his contribution is no. I'm sorry you're dealing with a difficult dad situation.
  • Thanks for the replies, ladies! I appreciate the time it took to respond.

    I wasn't counting on his contribution, per se, because I've learned everything he promises needs to be taken with a grain handful of salt. It was more like wishful thinking, and wondering if I should even bring it up or count it as a lost cause based on our tense interaction about the family visits.

    Of course, as my post implies, there is some resentment towards my family in Indiana that can most definitely afford to hop on a plane and visit for a few days, if only to see the newest addition to the family. Most of them (5 out of 7) have already indicated they won' be attending the wedding. They choose to do other things instead, like take trips to Germany, China, etc. Which is most definitely alright - I mean life is short, do what you want - I do. However, instead of picking up the phone and talking to me directly, they pressure my dad into pestering me to come out to visit them. He, in turn, takes his frustration with their pestering out on me, in an effort to placate them.

    There is totally a dysfunctional family dynamic - lots of background. My main issue is that I'm questioning whether or not to bring up his promise of contribution at all. Which is probably a question only I can answer - I just kind of needed an outlet. TBH I wasn't even really expecting a response!

    Anyway, thanks again! Glad to know I'm not the only one.
    The answer would be no.
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  • holyguacamole79holyguacamole79 a taco truck in Houston member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree with PPs.  Don't count on the contribution, and don't bring it up.  I hope your engagement & wedding planning go well!
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston member
    10000 Comments Seventh Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    As everyone says, promised contributions mean nothing until the checks clear.  Plan your wedding as though you are never going to get the contribution and don't bring it up.  All the best!
  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    He isn't giving you any money. Proceed without it.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
    image
  • Been there! Both my parents were gone all my childhood- but suddenly they wanted to give money and be part of my wedding. 

    Sorry you're going through this. Counseling helps immensely when going through something that painful with your family- not the money stuff but the whole history. Lots of unresolved stuff to talk about and work out.
     
    As for moneym Money isn't real until it's in the bank. 

    If you are going to ask about the money I would ask only once if that's still happening or not- as you need to plan- but if it doesn't happen asap (no more than a week tops!) then plan as if you're NEVER getting that money. I know it's 'crass' to bring up that stuff- but when it comes to your own parents, I see no issue with that as far as 'politeness' goes. It's more an issue that this could cause a fight. It could cause a lot of drama, emotionally, you might not be able to afford.

    I had a relative waffle on and off again about money for months- at first I'd plan on having it- after they waffled I learned my lesson. It became a 'thing' very quickly- so be wary when it comes to asking. I never ask for anything, and was shocked at people offering money- but many people talk a big game and welch when it comes to actually following through.

    Plan with the money you have in hand- all accounted for- all in the bank.

    If you suddenly get extra- hurrah! That's extra money that can go towards wedding, honeymoon, or, more importantly really, your every day expenses.

    Best of luck. These sorts of things are so hard to go through, and weddings seem to bring out all the emotional skeletons from the family's emotional closets. You can brave the storm- but make sure you have help, and not just friends family or fiance. I have a very dysfunctional family, and this wedding is only making them all worse.
  • I'm so sorry!  If I am reading correcly between the lines on this one, it sounds like it isn't really even the money...but that he was finally going to be a supportive and giving father instead of a taker.

    I know that got your hopes up and I sincerely hope he follows through on his promise.  But, like the other PPs said, do not count on this money and do not bring it up.  If he does give you the financial help he promised, than treat that money like a "bonus" and buy upgrades for the wedding or use it toward your honeymoon.

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    [Deleted User]
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