Every week, Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. Discouraging a wedding: I’ve been seeing a wonderful man for the past few years, and we’ve been discussing getting engaged and married soon. In talking to my mom about this recently, she seemed adamant that I shouldn’t have a traditional wedding—that going to a courthouse gets the job done. When I rebuffed her comments and told her I’m actually looking forward to having a wedding, she gave me a very cold, “Well, don’t expect your Dad and me to pay for it.”
Prudie, I’ve never once asked my parents to pay for my wedding. My intended and I have actually already had conversations about the finances for the kind of wedding we want and are quite happy paying for it ourselves. My brother got married about two-and-a-half years ago, and my parents made a huge fuss about making sure the rehearsal dinner was perfect, paying for their honeymoon, etc.
I don’t understand why my mom would suddenly take a turn on this with me. I haven’t asked her for anything in regard to this, and her comments make me feel like my brother’s wedding was more important than mine.
A: There are (at least) two conversations to be had here. The first, and simplest, is just this: “Mom, we don’t expect you to pay for our wedding. We have already planned our own budget and are paying for the ceremony ourselves.”
The other conversation you may or may not decide to have, particularly with a stressful event like a wedding coming up: Namely, the manner in which she chose to broach the subject, which was both unclear and unkind. If you do, you can restrict yourself to explaining how it made you feel: “I want to talk about how you brought up the subject of paying for the wedding. I don’t, and never have, expected you to pay for it, but it hurt my feelings when, instead of bringing it up directly, you suggested I just go to the courthouse and seemed angry at me before we even discussed the subject. Can we talk about this?”