Aruba, Jamaica, Oooh I Wanna Take You


Dear Dharma,

I’m writing for a friend who’s getting married and she has a dilemma.

She is getting married on an island in the South Pacific where both their parents and a few family members and friends will be attending. A big gathering for those who couldn’t spring for the trip to an exotic locale will happen a couple of months later in her parent’s backyard. They are planning a relatively big gala with all the bells and whistles – tropical food, music, drinks, and a video of the actual wedding, etc. for a rather large group.

The problem is this, money and expenses for the backyard event have not been discussed with her parents, although they are open to the party. The bride and groom are perfectly willing to cover the costs, although some $$ help would always be welcome.

Her parents have not offered, and she hasn’t asked. She’s afraid of offending them given they’ve just sprung to attend the South Pacific wedding and maybe can’t afford any more. She also doesn’t want to assume they can’t afford it – and maybe they want to be asked if they would like to help pay. She doesn’t know how to broach the conversation for fear it will make them feel uncomfortable if they can’t help.

Any tips on how to open the conversation?

Friend of the Bride

Dear Friend,

Nope. No tips on how to open this conversation, because I don’t think it’s your friend who should be doing the opening.

If her parents are so inclined to offer, they’re adults, and they know how to speak up.

You say your friend and her fiancé are perfectly willing to cover the costs, so I think that’s what they should plan on doing.  Should either set of parents pony up some cash, how fantastic!  Imagine how truly grateful they will feel to receive financial assistance when they aren’t expecting it, as opposed to coming off as entitled.

Which is honestly how I feel it will come off…  “Hey mom…dad?  I know a trip to the South Pacific costs a pretty penny, but did you feel like kicking in even more of your retirement to help cover the second party?  We just had to ask, as we thought it might be offensive if we didn’t.”

I just don’t know if I think the parents will recognize that the couple is doing them a favour by giving them the opportunity to donate, you know what I mean?

They should plan the party to fit their budget, and any contributions should be viewed as the gifts they are.

By the way?  I recognize neither Aruba nor Jamaica are in the South Pacific, but I just couldn’t get the song out of my head once it nested there.



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  • sunshine471 says:

    I think it would be nice if the parents offered but they should proceed as if they were paying the whole thngs themselves.

  • Uncle Bob says:

    too right pay for it yourselves! Seriously? She’s afraid of offending them by asking for money in case they don’t have it? How about offending them by making them realize what a money-grubbing self-centered princess they raised?
    It’s enough to have a wedding somewhere that most people couldn’t afford to go, ok, it’s your wedding do it like you want it. But then, to celebrate with the poorer friends and relations (and how do they feel about going to the Economy class party I wonder?), having another party and expecting parents to chip in.
    I think this one is all on you honey, and the classy thing is to realize that, and not ask for money. If your parents can afford it, and wish to contribute, they will without prodding.

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

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