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family wedding drama (aka my wedding is apparently worth 2 months of 2nd grade)


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i'm not really sure where to post this, but i needed to talk about it/get some advice.


a bit of background, i'm 26, have a successful somewhat well paying job, but live in one of the more expensive cities in the US so i don't exactly have oodles of money. plus, i am often having to help out my mom who always has a tough time making ends meet. my fiance is a pennyless grad student. we just got engaged a month ago and are planning a 2010 wedding. we would like a nice wedding, but nothing overly fancy. my family is very small but his is huge, so we're looking at about 200 must-have guests.


his family is awesome. i love them to death. they have offered us money to put toward the wedding however we choose. it's very generous, but honestly, with the size of the family they want to invite won't go nearly as far as i'd like.


in any case, this isn't so much about the wedding finances as my own family drama surrounding it.


my own parents have been divorced since i was four. growing up, i spent exactly half time with each parent. i'm an only child. well, i was until my dad got re-married (for the second time) when i was in college. i have a seven year old half sister. now, don't get me wrong. i didn't have a terrible childhood. i was well provided for, but i definitely wasn't one of those kids with a silver spoon. my mom was poor. really poor. we're talking food shelves and hand me downs for a while there. my dad was better off, but i was still taught to pay my own way through life. he helped me out here and there and for that i'm very grateful, but i paid for about 95% of my own college and grad school education. i worked hard during summers to finance it and was buying my own clothes and all that from HS on. it never bothered me. i just figured he had a strong work ethic, wan't to teach me the value of money and hard work and that was that.


okay, well now there's my sister. i guess public school wasn't good enough these days, so she's at a private school. her 2nd grade education is 18k per year. keep in mind that's probably double of what i had contributed toward my enitre education k-grad school. she also has a college fund.


but, fine. right? maybe my dad is better off now. or maybe his view on how he deals with money and kids has changed. he didn't have the opportunity to do that for me when i was younger and so he wants to do it for my sister, right?


well, i thought then that me getting married was the perfect opportunity for him to- not exactly even the score- but i guess do something nice for me since he has done so much for her. well, apparently not. he told me that the most he is willing/able to contribute to my wedding is 5k.


now, i dont' mean to sound ungrateful, but at this point it's not really even about the money. it's about the disparity...and how in his mind the most important day in my life is worth 2 1/2 months of 2nd grade. i do understand that the most important part of a wedding is not how great your flowers or cake are, but this really bothers me on a deeper level. how can he do so much for her and then claim that he can't help me on this? it just makes me really sad and frustrated. we have always had a really close relationship. i was a total daddy's girl growing up and i always thought that he wold do anything in the world for me if he could. i know that money doesn't equal love, but i really do feel like he's willing to do more for her and gives her a better life than he does me. and that really hurts.


i talked with him about this the other day. basically i had a break down on the phone (i live about 2000 miles away) and explained how it makes me feel. he didn't have much to say. he listened and said he understood how i felt but didn't have much by way of explanation. they are now off on vacation (fitting, huh?) and apparently we'll talk more once they're back.


anyway, it just sucks. planning my wedding should be one of the more fun things i have to do and it just makes me sad. i just don't understand how he can place so little value on something that is such a big deal for me when he has done so much more for my sister.


any thoughts? i guess i'm just looking for someone to listen...i'm not sure how much advice there is to give on this.



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a lot of parents value education over a one day party. Maybe he just doesn't put the same value on your wedding as you do.


Have you told him how this makes you feel? Maybe the money for your sister is coming more from her mom. There are a lot of things to think about, and if you are feeling bad about it you should really talk to him. Maybe he can explain, or maybe he doesn't really know how important this is to you. Just because you think it is clear doesn't mean he knows.

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There really isn’t much you can do about it. Venting is always a good release. Don’t let the fact that he doesn’t have more to spare…Consider the fact that 5grand is actually a very high amount and overly generous contribution…. Be grateful for what you’ve received…it’s more then some of us are able to give away.


If he’s invested so heavily on your sister. 18k per year, plus money towards her college fund. And other finances he faces… (House, Car, etc payment) then adding another 5 grand towards the wedding…all of it really adds up. Granted he may be more well off now and wasn’t able to spoil you as much as he can your sister… but that alone is a lot of money.


He’s in a marriage now especially. Without causing too much conflict in his own household (hopefully) he can spare that… Of course, this is giving him the benefit of the doubt.


But as you already know, the wedding isn’t priced on how many flowers and gorgeous it really is…it’s the moment in itself…what it represents and the commitment you’re about to place yourself in.


Be grateful you have the help from your father for what he can spare, and thank him for that. You’ve already talked to him about how you’re jealous…but have you wondered if perhaps he took his family on vacation so he could try to coax more money towards you? He has a family to be firstly responsible to, and he’s also being a good father in the fact he listened to you and has offered a large sum of money for you…. Granted it may not be as much as he’s put towards your sisters education…but it’s still a lot of money.

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i know that 5k is a decent chunk of money, but it's not really about that. my mom is not able to contribute a penny and that doesn't bother me at all. it just...well, it bothers me that he cares so much about her education but didn't about mine...and it's like when she gets married she's not going to have a thing to worry about for her own wedding b/c she can pay for it herself. it's a little hard for me to do that when i'm also trying to pay of the 80k in student loans i have from not having my education paid for.


i mean, i'm not comparing myself to some random friend. this is my sister. how can he treat us so differently? and it's not JUST about the school. it's the constant family vacations. all the activiites she does...everything. it's a lifestyle i never had and one that i'm totally not included in. am i that crazy to feel hurt?

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I don't know if this helps any but you and your sister are obviously many years apart like me and my sister. Practically a generation apart if she is only in 2nd grade and you are getting married. When i was growing up we struggled off and on a lot as my father got sick when i was 11. My sister, however, had it a LOT better than me as they had more money at that time. I just couldn't see it in my head to be bitter about it. I wanted her to have better things than I did and was glad they were able to do it. I also realized i was now an adult and I did'nt even ASk them for any money to contribute to my wedding. I was 13 when my sister was born. How old were you? If she is in 7th grade and you are 26, I'd say you were what 18? Isn't that a HUGE age difference, to the point you should realize that you likely will have a different lifestyle considering people have more money later in life (usually)?


I understand a little bit why you are upset, but not largely to be honest. She is in the 2nd grade and you are now an adult. It isn't fair to compare your situation 100% to hers. She is younger, and they HAVE to support her right now, you are grown up. Sure private school seems a bit much to you but aren't you glad she is getting oppty's you were not able to ?

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well, i think the point that you are missing is that my dad wasn't badly off when i was a kid. he had enough money to have helped me with school. he just chose not to.


People change bear. My sister got a very different mother than i did growing up. When i was growing up she was critical, domineering, and very strict. By the time my sister came along she had done a lot of maturing, and she got a very different mom. She also got a very different dad because i got one that developed a mental illness that was not properly diagnosed or treated until i was almost out of the home. By the time my sister was old enough to be aware that smoething was even wrong, he had gotten on medication and did very well for many years. She never had to know any of the abuse that i did.


I am not bitter about that because i am GLAD my baby sister was not subjected to the same type of parenting that i was.


With your age difference being even greater with your sister then even I had with mine, it just seems a bit counterproductive to hold this kind of jealousy and bitterness. Don't you love your sister, and have some joy that she is having a better go of it than you did? All is not lost here, even tho they were not as generous with money with you, look at the value of hard work that you learned, and you are able to take care of yourself. YOur sister may grow up without learning those values, and i would be more concerned about her growing up spoiled then i would be that i didn't grow up spoiled.

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okay, maybe i'm just a horrible person for feeling bad. you all seem to think so. but in my mind there is still a HUGE distinction. your mom couldn't help the way she was acting. it's not like she madea a conscious choice to provide two very different lives for her two kids. and i'm assuming now that she's treated she is easier for you to get along with too. she doesn't say, "well, i'm going to be great to your sister, but still difficult for you. be happy for your sister"


i'm not asking for my dad to go back and pay me 200 and something thousand dollars because he's spending that on my sister and not for me. i'm not asking him to pay my student loan payments b/c she has a college fund. i just feel like when he spends 18k a year. a YEAR on her private school, that it's not so crazy to think that maybe he'd help me pay for my wedding (esp. since all my money goes to helping out my own mom, who never asked him for any money after their divorce).


whatever. i'm a bad person. fine.

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You're not a bad person. You're dissappointed in your dad. I think that's understandable, and it would be great if he were to say "Hey- I realize I didn't do as much for you as I could have, and I regret that, let me take care of your wedding"...


But he isn't going to.


Whatever his reasons (I read an article recently that was all about how 2nd time dads- who have another child later on- are more invested in the later child because they have matured, and experience it on a different level), he has offerred to give you what he wants to give you. At the end of the day, no matter how much he makes, or how much he spends on your sister, it is his money and his choice. If everyone on this board agreed that he should give you more, it wouldn't change a thing....


It sucks that you have debt, it sucks that he won't offer more for your wedding. But you have managed to put yourself through school and are now in a relationship worth committing your life to. IMO, I'd rather have what I have and know I've earned most of it on my own, than to have MORE and know it was all given to me because of "birthright".


Find your peace with it. Plan your wedding around what you can afford, and stop looking at what you want that you can't have. It will spoil your planning. The wedding is only one day, the planning is supposed to be the fun part. Get creative and find ways to make your day unique and within your budget. And be proud that you are an adult that doesn't NEED daddy to take care of your life for you.


A gift is a gift, not an entitlement. Thank your dad for his contribution and move on. The only person who suffers by this constant comparison of what you got vs. what your sister gets, is you. So stop torturing yourself, it won't change anything. Instead focus on the pride you can have of knowing you've earned what you have and that you have found a great guy who wants to build on that together.

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