My parents won't pay for my wedding – I've BANNED them from attending

DEAR JANE: My parents are refusing to pay for my lavish wedding – so I’ve BANNED them from attending

  • In her latest agony aunt column, best-selling author Jane Green gives some very blunt advice to a bride-to-be who has fallen out with her struggling parents 
  • She also shares guidance with a woman whose husband flirts with other women 
  • Do you have a question for Jane? Email [email protected] or ask it below 
  • READ MORE: My wife has been hiding a secret trust fund worth $450,000

Dear Jane,

I am currently in the midst of planning what I hope will be my dream wedding; my boyfriend (fiancé!) proposed this summer and we dove right into putting together our perfect day. 

I’ve always been a girl who has dreamed about getting married – the kind of dress I’d wear, the flowers I’d have, and the first song I’d dance to with my new husband. A big ceremony and reception are what I want – I want that one day where I get to be the center of attention.

And I’ve always felt so lucky that my parents talked about saving money away for my special day. 

So when I got engaged, they were obviously my first call, and while I wasn’t exactly badgering them for money from the off, I was slightly anxious when they didn’t bring it up right away.

But I figured they were just caught up in the excitement of my news and shelved the conversation for another day. 

Dear Jane, my parents are insisting that I pay for my own wedding – and I’m so angry at them that I’ve told them they can’t come to the ceremony

However when that conversation actually happened, they explained that they, in fact, would not be paying for my wedding. They said that they’ve had a bad run of luck with their finances of late, and that, because my husband and I both work in high-paid jobs, they feel the responsibility to pay for a big wedding rests with us.

Then they made a dig at the fact that my husband comes from money, joking that we’d ‘know where to go if we needed help’.

I was stunned. All of a sudden the wedding that I’d dreamed about my whole life just vanished. They didn’t even seem apologetic! I tried to reason with them, tried to explain my side of things, but they were hearing none of it. 

I reminded them that my fiancé and I just bought a new home, we are already planning for kids, and we just don’t have the money to afford this whole thing by ourselves but nothing swayed them.

They just said that they don’t have the resources to help out right now but that they’ll do everything else they can to help without handing over cash.

International best-selling author Jane Green offers sage advice on readers’ most burning issues in her Dear Jane agony aunt column

Their lack of sympathy really annoyed me and I ultimately told them that if they don’t want to be a part of the wedding financially, then they just shouldn’t bother coming. Since then I’ve pretty much cut them off and I’m feeling pretty confident in my choice to not have them attend.

But now my friends and my sister are telling me that I’m going to regret it, that ruining my relationship with them over something so ‘silly’ doesn’t make sense, and they’re insisting I re-consider.

I don’t think they deserve to come – but maybe I would regret not being able to have my dad walk me down the aisle?


Anti-budget Bride

Dear Anti-budget Bride,

Once upon a time I had a wedding that I imagine was pretty close to your dream wedding. 

I had the dress, the flowers, the guests, was the center of attention, and I remember almost nothing from that day. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, that marriage ended, and my next wedding was tiny, family only, in the cozy living room of a local hotel. I did the flowers myself, and found the dress in a bargain basement store. 

I remember every second of that wedding, which wasn’t about other people, but instead about two people who were far more invested in being together than in pulling off a party of the year.

All this to say, there is nothing wrong with wanting to be a princess for a day, but equally, understanding the importance of focusing on a shared life with someone else rather than one day that will pass in a blur, may help adjust your expectations.

Traditionally, the bride’s parents have been expected to pay, but times have changed, and there are many other ways of getting the wedding you dream of. 

Frankly, if you and your fiancé both have high-paying jobs and your parents are not in a position to shower you with cash, I don’t think it unreasonable for the two of you to pay for the wedding that you want.

Your parents may well be hiding their anxieties and fears about money, wanting perhaps to protect you from the full knowledge of where they are financially. It is their right to do that. 

They have offered to help in other ways, clearly love you and want to support you in the ways that they are able. So yes, I do think you are cutting off your nose to spite your face, and that punishing your parents for not contributing financially may appear to others as behavior that is both spoiled, and self-absorbed.

You are old enough to get married, old enough to have secured yourself a well-paying job. 

I hope you are old enough to hear that withholding a wedding invitation to your parents over money is something you will deeply regret over the years. Not just because your father won’t get to walk you down the aisle, but because of what it says about you, and your values.

Dear Jane ,

My husband has an important job, makes good money and he’s handsome, despite being a bit overweight. At first, I wasn’t jealous of the attention that he received from other women as a result of his handsome looks, largely because I have always attracted a lot of interest from other guys. 

But that in turn made him very jealous and controlling, to the point where we stopped going out altogether because he’d get so angry any time another man looked in my direction.

He loves attention on the other hand, so any time he’s around a woman, he forgets about me, and ends up deep in conversation with any woman who will listen. 

Most recently those women included my friend and my cousin. And rather than respecting my marriage, they just flirted back with him.

After seeing how they were acting, I got very offended and hurt, and stopped talking to them or answering their calls.

Shockingly, one of the women is refusing to give up. She keeps calling me to ask to hang out together with our husbands – and she’s even had her husband call mine to arrange a meeting. She seems totally desperate – not to repair her relationship with me, but rather to see my husband.

Last time we went out she and my husband both got drunk and when we went back to her house, she changed into a sexy lace dress and started flashing him. Unsurprisingly he was very reluctant to leave their home. But the whole thing made me so upset that I avoided her for a very long time.

We are childhood friends but our relationship is very on-and-off because she’s around only when she needs something… now it seems she ‘needs’ my husband.

What can I do? I feel like I’ve lost most of my friends because of my husband’s jealousy, and now it’s happening because of his flirting, too.

I’m so incredibly lonely – my husband and I get on well together when we are alone – but when we venture out, we always argue, and he either flies into a jealous rage or ends up flirting with other women. I still love him and I’m afraid to leave, but this is driving me crazy.


Third Wheel

Dear Third Wheel,

I have no idea how long you have been married, whether there are children involved, or how happy your marriage is when your husband is not flirting with other women or flying into a jealous rage, controlling what you do and who you’re with, but nothing in your letter tells me there is mutual respect, kindness, consideration or indeed love.

Dear Jane’s Sunday Service 

There is a meme going round that is something along the lines of, ‘be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.’ 

The quote may or not be attributed to Plato, but it is wise to step back when hurtful things happen, rather than to jump on the defensive and assume people are deliberately trying to hurt us. 

Most of the time, behaviors that upset us have nothing to do with us, and understanding that, giving people grace, is a useful lesson in life.

There is no denying that marriage is hard, and although things are good when it is just the two of you alone, it sounds like navigating life together is something the two of you are not handling at all well. 

Flirting with other women, whether in front of you or merely telling you about it afterwards, shows a lack of respect for you, and a deep insecurity on your husband’s part, which no amount of love or care from his wife is likely to fill.

Usually I suggest couples go and see a marriage therapist, but I think the problems in your marriage may be ones that are too large to easily fix. You can’t isolate yourself and stay home all the time, hoping he does the same because it’s the only way your marriage works.

You say you still love him – but I wonder what it is that you love? Could it be that because he has an important job and is good-looking, this somehow validates you or makes you feel better about yourself in having a partner that other women envy? 

I want you to think about the kind of relationship you want, the values that make a relationship work, and what you think love should both look and feel like.

I can’t tell you what to do, but I suspect making this list may help clarify what you want, and whether or not you are likely to find this with your husband, with or without the intervention of a professional. 

There is nothing lonelier than being lonely in a marriage, and I send you love and strength for whatever you decide to do, and whatever your future holds.

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