Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Couple can't agree about parenting their nephew

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

The bride and her family have no money for a reception. My brother and sister-in-law would like to help, but they feel like they should have a say in the planning, if they are underwriting the party.

They are not wealthy.

The bride would like a ceremony on the beach, but it is impractical for many reasons, including distance to travel and guests with disabilities. The bride is also developing a list of guests without consulting about the numbers.

My brother and sister-in-law would like to be included when the engaged couple look at reception venues, menus, etc.

Are they wrong to want to be a part of the planning? Is there a tactful and helpful way to address these issues?

I would like to offer advice to my brother when he talks to me about the situation.

-- A Loving Sister and Aunt

Dear Sister: There is no one way to do this. I can understand anyone who is footing the bill for an expensive celebration wanting and expecting to play a large role in the planning process, but the downside of this is the tension of wrestling with a young couple for control of a day they see as theirs.

My favored way of handling this was proposed by a family member of a friend of mine, who said, "Here is a sum of money I'm giving as a gift to celebrate your marriage. You can either use it for a down payment on a home or spend it on a party. It's up to you."

Whatever your brother and sister-in-law choose to do, they should meet with the couple (not just their son) and communicate extremely clearly and respectfully about the terms attached to this gift, and their expectations moving forward.

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