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Paying For Adult Children?

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Okay ladies....I need your advice.  I have vented a bit about this situation before when it first came to light but am now looking for advice on how to proceed.  This situation is causing both myself and my FI a lot of stress and we are really not sure what we should do.


A bit of background.....


After 10+ years together, my FI and I got engaged in March 2015.  We already knew we wanted a DW and immediately gave friends and family the heads up to start saving.  When initially talking about dates, we decided to go for a longer engagement to make the planning process less stressful, but also to give my adult stepkids (stepson 25 and stepdaughter 27) an extra year to save.  They both expressed excitement and said they wouldn't miss it.  I have a good relationship with both of them and have been fortunate that they were happy to accept me into their dad's life.


When we finally got firm prices and details of deposit deadlines, etc. last April, we made sure to tell them the details and to get their butts in saving mode (in a year neither had saved a penny).  My stepdaughter told her father, "What you're not paying for me to go?  I guess I'll be watching it on Skype."  We were both shocked and upset by her comment.  She still had a year to save and didn't seem interested in even putting forth an effort to do so.  We tried to explain to her that this is a week's AI vacation, and not just her paying to come see us marry.


My FI and I had already decided that we would do what we could to help the kids, but could not afford to pick up the whole tab.  Plus, what you do for one, you should really do for the other.  We had already planned to hand over any airline credits we might receive to them and even help them out if they ended up a little short come the final payment time.  My stepson never batted an eye at the cost.  Even though he is a bit irresponsible with money (as is typical of someone that age), he had indicated that he will be there and hasn't once suggested that he expects us to finance his trip.  (If they had started saving when we first announced our engagement, it would have worked out to $20 a week.  Anyone can afford $20 a week.)


I understand that my stepdaughter is struggling financially as all people in their twenties do.  She and her boyfriend have a 1.5 year old (our granddaughter).  Under normal circumstances, I would probably be super sympathetic and would move heaven and earth to make it happen. But.....it's the sense of entitlement, lack of appreciation and absence of effort that concerns us.  (I am the type that will help anyone that needs it, provided they are putting in a least the same amount of effort I am.)  In the last year, we have probably spent well over $1500 dollars between stuff for the baby (shower gift and a crib when the baby was 6 months), lavish birthday gifts, cash on several occasions when finances were tight, a $500 set of winter tires that was supposed to be loan but that she never paid back and then made us feel guilty when we asked for the money a year later.  In the last six months alone, she won $6,000 at the casino, her and her boyfriend received healthy tax returns, he received a vacation payout of $1500 dollars with another coming in early December.  I've watched her spend money on other things like eating out at fancy restaurants, pedicures, a $500 video game system for her boyfriend for xmas (he already owned one but I guess since it was a year old, it wasn't good enough anymore).  She even agreed to be in a friends wedding this summer which of course will probably cost her close to $1000 by the time all is said and done.  All of this came AFTER we announced our DW.


I understand that when you look at the whole family going (her, him and baby) it's expensive.  But she hasn't even looked at other options like shortening the trip to a few days, or leaving boyfriend and/or child at home and travelling with a girlfriend instead.  I swear, she spent about 10 minutes thinking about it, realized we weren't paying and that was it.  Since April it's been the elephant in the room.  We don't even talk about the wedding when she's over and I can't help but feel it has put a wedge in my relationship with her which was pretty good prior to this.


We just don't know what to do at this point.  I really want both my stepkids to be there.  For me but especially for my FI.  This is our wedding.  But at the same time, I don't want us to end up buried in debt.  I also feel like she is trying to manipulate us into paying for her without her making any real effort to help, and if we did pay for her to go, I'm not even sure she would appreciate the cost or gesture.  (As an aside, she was "desperate" for the snow tires we loaned her the money to get, but when we brought up repaying the loan she made the comment that "she never even wanted them".)  And there is no way that we can pay for all three of them to come. Would she even come if boyfriend and baby can't join her?  


FI and I have discussed them paying their own $250 deposit, we will then give them $500 each of the airline credit which would leave a balance owing of about $1000 not due until the end of the year.  And if daughter wants, we would loan her the money with a slow pay back or tax return time.  We don't even know if she will be open to this arrangement.  Obviously, we need to sit down and have an open and honest discussion with her.  I just want to make sure FI and I are on the same page before doing so.


I am really interested to hear what all of you other brides think.  I know a lot of you have experienced similar situations with friends, bridesmaids, parents, family, etc.  We don't want to regret not having her there, but we also don't want to resent paying for her either.  We just don't know what the right thing is and would love to hear your advice.


(PS - I hope I don't sound like an evil step-mother.  I really do love my step daughter and want my FI surrounded by his family on our special day.)

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You don't sound like an evil stepmom.  I also hate the sense of entitlement and lack of appreciation from people.  I'm only a few years older than your stepdaughter so age does not have to do with anything.  If she really wanted to go then she would find a way to be there.  


Sounds like if you give your stepdaughter the option of having a loan, you are not going to see that money ever again. You can ask her how much she is willing to spend for the trip. Ask if she would go by herself and only for a few days to save on costs like you said.  Your stepson is going so at least some family will be going.  Is there a possibility that your stepson would go alone and can share a room with his sister?  From how you are describing your stepdaughter, the only way she would go is if it were free and she'll probably try to milk it and try to get her boyfriend and child free too.  Even if you offered to pay for a portion of the trip, she probably wouldn't go.


I have no patience for drama surrounding weddings anymore.  From experience, a bridesmaidzilla who I had bent over backwards to change my wedding date for her to go, price range for trip and chose her bridesmaid dress that I bought her, decided that she is not going to my wedding.  My FI's brother is also not going because he doesn't want to go.  


Whoever loves you and thinks that your wedding is important will go.  Whoever doesn't go should be the ones regretting it.  It shouldn't be you.  Focus on yourself.  This is the only time you and your FI can be selfish.

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Thank you so much OttawaBride.


We struggle with feeling angry one minute and sad the next over the issue and really don't know what to do. We really want her there but also feel like she hasn't shown any effort what-so-ever. If she was "trying", I would feel completely different.


And I agree, it has nothing to do with age. It's attitude , responsibility, compassion, drive., etc. And that can be present (or absent) at any age.


I guess what we need to decide is what will be worse - 1. not having her there or 2. paying for her and regretting that decision. A long talk is definitely in order.


We need to focus on the ones that are excited to come celebrate with us. At the end of the day, those are the ones deserving our our love.


Thanks again!!! You words make me feel much better.

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@@LeanneP  You have my sympathies for sure! My husband and I are second timers too (nearly 5 years ago now) and we each have 2 kids. All together, they're "ours" now. since we've been together almost 15 years. Our oldest is 35 and youngest is 30 and we have 7 grandchildren. We had the same reaction when we said we were getting married in Jamaica. How they wouldn't miss it and very excited, etc. But when crunch time came it was a different story.


Much like you we've done a ton of stuff for all of our kids. Baby things when the grandkids were born, expensive wedding gifts when they got married and so on. We had a great rate that with credits would have been very manageable. Bit by bit the excuses started and when that happened, it snowballed. Other people started being afraid that if we lost "bodies" the group rate would no longer be available and cost would go up so they backed out too. We changed our plans to get married at home and all of a sudden everyone was on board and going to be there. My husband put his foot down and said no. What was important was us and the plans that we wanted, and we wanted Jamaica. If it wasn't important enough to everyone else, then it was their loss. They were the ones losing out on a great family vacation. So we went to Jamaica just the 2 of us and got married just like we planned.


Don't think it was easy because it wasn't. I, like you, wanted to keep the relationship with my step kids just as much for me as their father. But it was the same thing you're going through. We watched 2 of them spending money and not worrying about saving anything at all. It was frustrating. I've said it many times before on this site and I'll say it again. Sadly, your wedding is no where near as important to other people as it is to you. We want everyone to be as happy about it as we are but that isn't the case. You need to look at what is the most important to you, and everyone's thinking is different. Is it having people there to be part of it, or is it marrying the love of your life in a beautiful Caribbean paradise? Only you can make that decision for the two of you. No one else can. In our case it took nearly losing my husband, because he was ready to walk away over all of the arguing and stress of it all, to make me realize that all I wanted was to marry him on a beach in Jamaica and that's what we did. Just the two of us. No guests at all. For a while it made me really sad but we ended up having an at home reception, which my husband still says we shouldn't have done lol because we catered to everyone else, and we did a photo display that run during the evening. Everyone watched the pictures and that's when we heard about the the regrets. Well - you snooze you lose. We had a wonderful week. The resort I think took pity on us after all of our plans had to change, and treated us like royalty. 


It sounds very much like your step-daughter realizes her behaviour is enabled and it will continue to be until you both put your foot down and force her to grow up and make her own way. She has a partner and a child to support. If being at your wedding was important, she would find a way. I would leave it alone. You've done what you can. Unless you're ready to pay whatever needs to be paid for her to attend and be quiet about it, then I would just count her out. Yes - it's unfortunate she won't be there. But as I said - in the end what's the most important to you? Only you can decide, unless you allow your step-daughter to make the decision for you.


Good luck! Keep us posted on what you decide and how things work out!

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Thank you acw (I think I read on Ashhtayy's thread that it's Ann!).


I've seen your many posts and applaud you for sharing your triumps and heartaches. I have no doubt you've helped many, many brides navigate some of the frustrations of DW planning.


And you are absolutely right. At the end of the day, it is about enchanging vows with your love. That's it! Whether there is just you guys or 100 in attendance.


We are definitely doing a DW. I just never envisioned an at home wedding for myself (even though this is "my" first). We have 15 with deposits down and another 5 -10 maybes. This is happening regardless! LOL


And thank you for your advice. I've had another week or more to think about the situation with my stepdaughter. And as much as I want her there, at this point I kind of feel like if she doesn't want to make it a priority, why should we? Of course, I will leave the final decision up to my FI but that's my stance right now. Again, if she was showing some drive and desire to make it happen, I would feel totally different. We're still 7 months out so who knows. Once she's done attending all her friends weddings this summer, and the colder weather approaches, maybe her feelings will change. But maybe not. I am not going to let it ruin my journey to our wedding overlooking the ocean.


Thanks again and congrats on conquering the many obstacles in your path to happiness. The quote on my calendar last month said, "Remember, without trials, there would be no triumphs." Probably a good mantra for DW brides! LOL

Edited by LeanneP

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