Dear Preston,

My husband and I have only one daughter, and she’s everything to us. Last January, on her 25th birthday, her wonderful boyfriend proposed, and they’re getting married in November. We were thrilled, but we had no idea how much the wedding would cost. And now, we don’t have the money to make the final payments to the hotel and the florist.

Our daughter’s fiancé comes from a family with quite a bit of money. My husband and I swallowed our pride and asked the groom’s parents if they would be willing to chip in. They said no. What can we do?

Devoted but Desperate Parents

Dear Devoted but Desperate,

This is a serious problem, and as much as I love weddings, no one should go into debt to pay for one.

What does your daughter have to say about all of this? Have you told her what’s going on? You need to talk to her. She has a right to know. And, if I were you, I would caution her about the family she is marrying into. What kind of parents refuse to help pay for their son’s wedding, especially when they can afford to? Assuming, of course, that they really are as well-off as you believe them to be; perhaps their finances are not as strong as they once were. However, if this is not the case and they do have money, then it seems obvious to me that his parents are not happy about the wedding for some reason. That’s not good.

Practically speaking, you need to make some drastic changes to this wedding immediately. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already sent out the invitations; you have no choice.

First, go to the hotel and explain the situation. Ask them what they can do to help. You’ll be surprised at how receptive people usually are about helping. Maybe they can arrange a breakfast wedding instead, which will be less expensive. Or, perhaps you can change the date of the wedding to a slower day like a Sunday or a Thursday. What about hosting a cocktail reception instead? That way you won’t be responsible for serving a full dinner.

If you’ve already sent out the invitations, send an e-invite with the updated information. I understand that none of these suggestions are ideal, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

As a florist, I’ve had my fair share of clients who run out of money. In one case, we set up a monthly payment plan. Over the course of sixteen months, my client paid off her debt, and we still keep in touch.

Of course I also had a client once who promised she would pay and never did. It’s a gamble, and it’s your florist’s call. Talk to your florist as soon as possible. Maybe it’s not too late to downsize your floral arrangements, centerpieces and bouquets to fit your budget.

Dear Readers, what do you think Devoted but Desperate Parents should do? Please help them out with your own suggestions. And why do you think the groom’s parents’ refused to help?

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