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!