Q: My daughter eloped last week and announced that she will be having a big wedding in a year or so and wants us to pay for it. I don’t think it is appropriate to have a big wedding now especially a year or two later and I think she and her new husband should have to pay for it. Am I way off base here?
A: No, you’re not. It was your daughter’s and her husband’s decision to elope. If they want to renew their vows in a year or so that would be fine but they should pay for the expenses. A renewal of vows is a simple religious ceremony where the couple recommits to one another. It is NOT another wedding with gowns and flowers and ushers and bridesmaids – although there is some industry push to make this happen. It often occurs at the time of an anniversary of the marriage. Therefore, the party that follows is actually an anniversary party, which can be as big or small as the couple plans. It can include a replica of their wedding cake, a band, dancing, etc. A guest is not expected to bring a gift but if they would customarily give the couple an anniversary gift, then the gift they would take would be just that–an anniversary gift – not a big gift of wedding gift proportions. Otherwise, a gift is not required. Sad to say, some couples understand this to be another wedding, and actually register for gifts, wanting to have “the wedding they never had” because they eloped or had a very small ceremony and reception when they were married. This is not what a renewal of vows should be.
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