DEAR ABBY: My oldest daughter (I'll call her "Alexis") is being married this year. She is planning a very large, expensive, fairy-tale wedding. Her father and I recently divorced after 29 years of marriage.
I have told Alexis and my ex-husband that I don't have a lot of money for this occasion because the divorce wiped out most of my savings. My daughter claims she doesn't want to hear it. I have offered to pay for her wedding gown. My ex insists that he expects me to pay for half the wedding, even if I have to take out a loan from him to do it.
I have tried to be upfront, but no one is listening. I'm 50 years old and need to save toward my retirement. I can't possibly afford to risk my entire future. Also, we have two more daughters -- so it's likely there will be more weddings in the future.
Please keep in mind that it won't be possible for me to volunteer to pay for only "my" invited guests. Almost everyone on the bride's side will be mutual friends and family both of my ex and myself.
Give me some desperately needed advice that won't hurt my daughter's feelings. I love Alexis very much and don't want to be responsible for spoiling a very special time in her life.
What are my responsibilities in this matter? -- NEEDS HELP IN NEW YORK
DEAR NEEDS HELP: It is extremely unwise to jeopardize your future for the sake of one day. I have always advised parents not to go into debt for a wedding. A wedding should be a gift from the parents, not an obligation.
Don't allow Alexis' unreasonable demands and those of your ex to intimidate you. Pay for what you can reasonably afford, and let your daughter adjust expenses accordingly.