DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am the heartbroken mother of my only son (and youngest child), who is to be married soon. Due to COVID-19, he and his fiancee are having a backyard wedding. They discuss nothing at all with us.
Her father is unable to pay for his daughter’s wedding. He can only afford to pay for the DJ, photo booth and liquor at the reception, so my son has taken on the bulk of the responsibility. My husband and I are trying to help out: We gave them a lovely Hawaiian honeymoon at one of our lush timeshare resorts, and bought his fiancee’s engagement ring to go with the wedding band. We are paying for the tents, tables, lighting, dance floor package, etc., and will pay for tux rentals, boutonnieres, bouquets and a few other things on the list.
My son claims that this is their wedding, and all we need to do is show up. He didn’t even speak to me about the song for our mother/son dance. He picked it out already.
I was looking forward to making some candle centerpieces for their tables, and my future daughter-in-law seemed to be on the same page with me. All design decisions would be theirs, but since I’d had no other chance to do something personal for their wedding, and have been stuck at home with a disability, making the centerpieces meant a lot to me. Suddenly, I was told they had decided to streamline the wedding, and didn’t need the candles. I am very hurt.
Am I being selfish? Do I have a right to be selfish, or am I wrong? I feel like they are the ones who are being selfish, to not include their parents in any way.
GENTLE READER: While you should expect your son and his fiancee to be grateful for your financial generosity, Miss Manners does not see the connection between that and your question.
She suspects that all have been anesthetized by advertising campaigns (not just ones orchestrated by professionals, but less formal ones by friends and family) that acknowledge the pricelessness of love, friendship and family -- and then go on to state a price.
Your financial generosity is lovely. It is always thoughtful of a son to seek his mother’s advice. The two are not related: You would, rightly, be highly offended if he quoted you a price for choosing the song for your dance.
Please suppress the idea that you have somehow been cheated, and tell your son that it would mean a lot to you if you could do something personal for the wedding. Such an appeal will not only be harder for your son to resist, it will be cheaper.