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Wedding Gift or Not?

Old 02-03-2021, 05:13 PM
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Default Wedding Gift or Not?

My son, who is a young CB in the Navy, and his long time girlfriend have been making plans for a wedding. His mother and I agreed to pay for the rehearsal dinner (the Brides family is three times bigger than our's). The Navy kind of messed up their plans to get married last October because he was told he would be deployed early. They decided they would get married this coming May. As it turns out, when he was home on leave last year, they snuck to the County Court House and got married. They didn't tell anyone what they had done. This past December he told me they had married; but, they still intend on having a ceremony in a church and having a rehearsal party and a wedding party. He was worried I would be upset (should be a telling sign to his past). He has a long history of making bad decisions and asking for help picking up the pieces after (which usually costs more money than he has). Of course I was upset because of the secrecy (again); however, I kept my cool and managed to tell him I wasn't upset, in fact I was happy. The wedding is over and now I don't have to get them a wedding gift. The party will be a celebration of their (already consummated) marriage. He then became upset. I told him I would still pay for the rehearsal dinner; but, the wedding has already happened.

So my question to the brain trust is, am I right or wrong for planning on not getting them a wedding gift?
Old 02-03-2021, 05:24 PM
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He got mad because you weren't getting him a gift?
Old 02-03-2021, 05:24 PM
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Why would you not get the newlyweds a gift?
Old 02-03-2021, 05:25 PM
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Write to Anne Landers and ask her.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:26 PM
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In my 23-year Navy career I have seen this exact scenario more times than you can imagine and luckily for you I can give the absolute correct answer to your question... you’re in the right, no gift. just put the money that you would have spent aside and use it for his second marriage.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:27 PM
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I give him a gift and tell him they missed out on having a rehearsal dinner.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:28 PM
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I have a somewhat similar experience. My son was supposed to be married last year, the wedding got stalled because of some covid exposure amongst the wedding party. Without telling anyone, he and his bride went ahead and got married at the courthouse. They still went through with the entire wedding including rehearsal supper and everything. They didn't tell anyone until after the whole thing was over. We were all a little bit offended at this, I think it should have been handled differently. I felt more sorry for the brides family, having spent a lot of money on the ceremony. I would have given him just as much money, and I think they would have to, but it could have been celebrated a lot differently.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:34 PM
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You don't want to get your kid a gift?
Old 02-03-2021, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by gmcc View Post
Why would you not get the newlyweds a gift?
Because they aren’t newly wed. They got married last year.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Team Seaside View Post
You don't want to get your kid a gift?
He has been given a lot from me and his grand parents over the years. Isn’t it time for him to start “adulting?”
Old 02-03-2021, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Joe View Post
He got mad because you weren't getting him a gift?
He may have gotten mad because he didn’t get the reaction he was waiting for.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:44 PM
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COVID, lots of people are getting quick marriages because they have no choice, still deserve all the respect and celebration. I flew my girlfriend to Vegas and married her last month, it was awesome, and felt as reverent and significant as a church wedding. We are in our 50s and both make very good money, and don't need or expect gifts, but expect every respect that a church wedding would bring.

Your son is a man, you may disagree with his decision, doesn't make him wrong. Give him some positive feedback, might make a world of difference to him.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Unevensteven View Post
He has been given a lot from me and his grand parents over the years. Isn’t it time for him to start “adulting?”
Get him a gift, don’t let all the other stuff taint what should otherwise me a momentous occasion. No offense, but it seems a little petty.

edit: forgot to add, and thanks for his service.
Old 02-03-2021, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Unevensteven View Post
So my question to the brain trust is, am I right or wrong for planning on not getting them a wedding gift?
Signing a contract at a courthouse is a very different thing than the ceremony that surrounds the event, and in this day and age they should not be conflated. If you think they weren't sleeping together prior to marriage, then I've got a bridge you can buy in New York.

IMO, you're wrong and this isn't the hill to die on.
Old 02-03-2021, 06:07 PM
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Well was this a “bad decision”? Do you like her? Were you planning on objecting to the union at the wedding ceremony?
Old 02-03-2021, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Unevensteven View Post
Because they aren’t newly wed. They got married last year.
That seems extremely petty
Old 02-03-2021, 06:13 PM
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You got a long way to go still. Some "kids" don't grow up until they are 30, 40 or 50. Some never do. Give them a gift and your blessings. He is your son, and you have acquired a new daughter in law.
Old 02-03-2021, 06:28 PM
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I've got 2 stories.

1. Several years ago, my nephew was engaged and his Mom was fully in wedding planning mode. He and his fiancee realized that they could get her on his medical insurance if they got married and save having to pay for her insurance plan. So, they got a courthouse wedding without telling anyone, and Mom continued with her grand plans (the wedding was to be in their back yard). Well, the bride and groom weren't very good at keeping the secret and Mom found out soon enough. She chose to ignore it and the wedding in the yard was beautiful with perfect weather. Mom is now looking forward to her first grandchild. Can't tell ya how the gift giving got affected by the early nuptials.

2. Miss Barefoot was to be married last May, and was planning a big shindig. She and her hubby-to-be were paying for lots of the reception, but Mrs B and I were contributing significantly towards the cost.
When it became obvious in the early spring that Covid was gonna screw up the ability of most of the guests to attend, Miss B contacted all the reception vendors and the venue to see about postponing. All the people who already had significant deposits were willing to push back the schedule to November '20. After rearranging things, they decided to get a courthouse wedding on the original date, but the state rules only allowed one witness and no guests. The Groom's sister lived in the same town, so she got to be the witness. Fast forward to the middle of the fall, and it became obvious that November wasn't gonna work either. When Miss B started contacting the vendors again, she got the bad news that the caterer was going out of business, but promised to return the $9K deposit that was on our credit card. Amazingly, they refunded the deposit about a month later. They are now planning to have a reception late this spring. We'll see. The Groom's parents aren't exactly rolling in dough, and the rehearsal dinner was going to be a low key affair with the Groom's Mom preparing the food. As for the Groom's parent's plans for giving them a gift, I have no info on that.
Old 02-03-2021, 06:32 PM
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So, you were going to get them a wedding gift if they had a ceremony, but since they didn’t now you won’t? Sounds like his presumed “immaturity” may be a learned trait, no offense. As someone who grew up with a parent that liked to manipulate and confused love with material gifts, I can tell you this isn’t a great “lesson” to teach him. Look at your own reason for either giving a gift or not, and decide from there. Depending on their reason for forgoing the ceremony frankly I applaud it. I can’t tell you how many friends I have seen that spent $30-$50k on a wedding, and regretted it after. Enormous waste of money, that money could go a long way towards a down payment on a home someday.
Old 02-03-2021, 06:33 PM
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Good on them. Thank him for his service.

Congratulations to both of them and to you and yours! You now have a daughter-in-law!

Often happens in the military and I saw it much more than many several times in my Navy career. I'm almost 20 years removed from active duty, and I can only imagine the CHINA FLU and increased pressures by politicians placed on our military over the last 2 decades or so to meet worldwide deployment commitments has contributed immensely to greater uncertainties in military schedules and has placed increased stress on our military families. You know, the 'do more with less', blah, blah, blah.

Some survived. some failed. Life is already a crapshoot. It is already tough enough for our junior Sailors and marriage does not necessarily make it any easier. Pick any divorce statistic you choose, and I contend it is only worse in our military than for the average Joe or Jane on the street.

That said, a JoP ceremony shows a little more commitment (and hopefully maturity) for them (legally) than just good thoughts, hopes, intents, promise rings, shotguns, or a diamond, and it actually starts some additional legal benefits for them now (healthcare, insurance, housing, etc.), especially in an uncertain occupation, rather than waiting for some yet some uncertain time in the future.

IMO- The fact that they've done it has no bearing on eventual success or failure of their marriage and I could not even begin to comment of the probability of success or failure of theirs.

However, you should be in a better position to do so. If you are questioning his judgement, then who trained him?

The intended future ceremony could be their opportunity to show their commitment to each other with their family and friends. If I were the father of the bride, I may cut out the cinderella carriage, the orchestra, and swans and such, but it is still my kid and I would want to help as much as I could. Who knows, they may even help to fund that celebration.

It's your son. It's your daughter-in-law now. Maybe grandkids in the future. It's your family. That won't change and you need to provide your support, for all the reasons above.

Build the bridge. Not the wall.

You are WRONG.

Gutman
THT

And in grand THT fashion: pics of DiL?

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