Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Real Talk With Rachel: Not Paying for the Wedding Party; Too Much of a Party

by Rachel Kurzius

Dear Rachel,

My daughter just got engaged to her boyfriend of many years. My wife and I are overjoyed. My daughter does not expect me and my wife to foot the bill for the wedding but in the few talks I’ve had with her fiance’s parents, I think that they do. The idea of my family paying thousands of dollars and their family paying nothing seems outdated to me. My daughter and her fiance are well-established professionals who can plan and finance a reception well within their means. How can I make this clear without upsetting the soon-to-be in-laws?

No Big Daddy

Dear No Big Daddy,

Congratulations to your family on this exciting news. Moreover, it seems like you’ve somehow avoided the dreaded wedding fever, a disease that causes odd changes in behavior and undue damage to your purse strings. I agree that paying for the entire wedding is anachronistic, and it seems your daughter (and presumably her fiance) are also on the same page.

So what’s the problem? Have his parents explicitly said that they’re
looking forward to seeing the extravaganza your family will provide for them? It doesn’t sound like they’ve done anything of the sort. Instead, you’re presuming that they feel a certain way, without ever having a subtext-free conversation.

If they ask you about your plans to finance the wedding, tell them what you wrote to me -- that your daughter and their son are well-established professionals who can plan and finance their own wedding. It’ll give them full creative control, and can be a great test for whether they can share in responsibilities, compromise and stick to a budget.



Dear Rachel,

I am a young woman in her late twenties. The other night, I went out with my best friend for drinks. A few drinks turned into a lot of drinks for her, because she was pissed off at her boyfriend (who is a very serious, live-in boyfriend that I know very well). I’ve never seen her so drunk.

When I turned my back for one moment, she started making out with some
random guy at the bar. After seeing this, I immediately took her home. She woke up the next morning and didn’t remember a thing (plus had a huge hangover).

I know she would never ever do this if she were sober, or even if she were pretty drunk. I didn’t tell her about the making out because I know she’ll feel awful about it. I don’t want to screw up anything with her and her boyfriend, either. Should I just pretend I didn’t see it? Or does she deserve to know?

In the Drunken Dark

Dear In the Drunken Dark,

Sounds like quite the night. I’ll take your word for it that this evening was a total aberration for your friend, and that she doesn’t normally use huge amounts of alcohol as a coping mechanism for a fight with her paramour. (If she does, you need to have a much longer conversation with her.)

I understand your inclination to protect your friend. You know she made a mistake, and you want to save her the feeling of regret. Additionally, it seems unlikely that the news of her illicit smooch will circle back to either her or her boyfriend if you clam up.

So then here’s the question: if you were in her slobbering position, would you want to know about it? I know I would, even if it brought me a strong sense of shame.

Additionally, if she’s kissing any old shlub at the bar, she might want to know so she can be on the lookout for cold sores.



Rachel Kurzius revels in giving advice, and has provided counsel both as a columnist and a friend. She lives in Washington DC, where she works as a news producer. Real Talk with Rachel is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv,, on Wednesdays. Need advice? You can write to Rachel via

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