Should I foot the bill for my angry daughter’s wedding?
Published 10:09 am Monday, June 27, 2022
Dear Aunty Pam,
Here’s one for you. No names or places, please, just the facts:
I divorced my wife after a pretty miserable 25 years of marriage and have remarried a lovely woman. We just celebrated our 3rd anniversary.
My eldest daughter just became engaged and wants a large wedding. As per tradition, I’m expected to foot the bill. Fine.
But this daughter is angry that I divorced her mother, will make no effort to get to know my new wife, and made it clear she is not welcome at her wedding. Not fine.
My new wife is understandably hurt by all of this and I’m thinking of not paying for the wedding. My wife thinks this will cause further problems but right now I’m pretty angry that I’m being used as an ATM machine with no say so about anything.
Father of the Bride
Ooooh, this is a good one. Thanks. I think. Makes a change from pooting husbands and dogs with silly names, though.
You’ve got a real dilemma here and I really hear your frustration with the whole situation. No one likes to feel taken advantage of, yet refusing to pay for the wedding feels a bit ‘then I’m taking my ball and going home.’ I don’t think there’s an easy fix to this one but it does require a major pow-wow with your daughter, STAT.
In a nutshell, a ‘large’ wedding can easily tot up to tens of thousands of dollars and indeed you have some say so in this, as it’s coming out of your pocket, and that should have nothing to do with who is and isn’t, invited. But there seems to be a whole lot of anger coming from your daughter and that is way above my pay scale, buddy. I’ve no idea if you are the victim, share the blame, or are the cause of those ’25 pretty miserable years’ of marriage to your former wife. Nor do I know if these slings and arrows coming from your daughter are her way of weaponizing her anger towards you. All I do know is none of this feels very healthy or happy.
As your daughter is newly engaged, you have time before the wedding to propose one thing that I think will make a world of difference: family counseling. Perhaps just you and her. Ask your daughter to consider that because it’s clear you both have a lot to unload, sort out, and you both are in need of professional direction on how to proceed. This ain’t black and white, Dad. There’s a whole lotta grey involved.
Best of luck.