Ask Abbie: Wedding day dues

Published 1:33 pm Saturday, October 19, 2013

Question: My boyfriend and I are getting married and we are planning the wedding. His family’s guest list keeps getting longer and longer and his family isn’t paying for any part of the wedding. I don’t think it’s fair to my family to ask them to pay for so many guests but he doesn’t seem to understand. Do you think I am being unreasonable?

Answer: Imagine the following parable set after you and your fiancé are married.

You and your family pull into Bubba’s. Bubba emerges from his trailer to greet you;, “Welcome to Bubba’s campground. We here at Bubba’s give a big ‘howdy’ plug in and ‘yee-haw’ flush out to each of our guests. Site #11 is wait’n fer you critters.” He waves good-bye as you pull away. Thirty minutes later your husband and his family pull into Bubba’s. They are welcomed with a the same “howdy” hello and sent away to site #9 with a wave good-bye.

Both families, after setting up their camps, meet at the common area for a fun-filled day of activities. When it comes time to turn in for the night, family members exhaustingly retreat to their respective sites. As soon as you crawl into your tent and your head hits the pillow, you fall asleep. Several hours later you roll over and realize your husband is missing. Hurriedly, you grab a flashlight, slip on your shoes, and set out to find him. Shortly into your search you hear a familiar sound. Using it as your beacon, you are led to the largest tent on your in-law’s site. Unable to resist, you unzip the tarp and look inside. There he is, your snoring husband, nestled tightly between his mother and father.

The preceding story illustrates what is currently happening with regard to your wedding guest dilemma. Your fiance is opting to “camp on his family’s site,” or take their side, rather than yours. This decision appears to signify that he considers his family’s wants and needs more important than yours. Based upon this assessment, it is advisable to establish his willingness to work with you on finding a resolution to your wedding guest predicament before you attempt to do so. Use the following as a guide to help you make this determination.

At a time when you are ready and your fiancé is well fed and rested, share with him your feelings about the situation. Start with an “I feel” statement like, “I feel frustrated because my family is paying for the wedding and I don’t want to place too heavy a burden on them.” This approach places the emphasis on you rather than on him in order to avoid seeming confrontational. A positive response from him signifies his willingness to work with you and discussions should continue. A negative response from him signifies an unwillingness to work with you and is a red flag raised to warn against an attempt to further discussions. If you don’t heed this warning, you are likely to encounter frustration and lack of resolution.

If and when you are ready to continue your discussion, do so without being critical of your in-laws. Don’t even repeat back anything negative your fiancé may have said about them because he could interpret it as offensive. Remember you are a team. Ensure he and his opinion are respected at all times because a perceived lack of respect is one of the most prevalent reasons men give for unhappiness within their relationships.

Next, provide your fiancé with a number of guests for his family to invite with which your family is comfortable. In order to ensure impartiality, this number should be equal to the number of guests your family plans to invite.

In addition, provide the cost per attendee so his family can decide if they would like to invite additional guests over the number for which your family has agreed to pay. When it is time for your fiancés family to be given this information, it will be best if he delivers it to them alone.

Keep your flashlight handy, however, in case you have to go looking for him. Whether or not he returns from their camp should serve as a stronger beacon than his snoring.

ABBIE LONG is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to