Q. I’m a middle-age woman who’s getting married for the first time in the fall. My parents like my fiance, “Jack,’’ and are very pleased that we’re getting married. Jack and I don’t have much money, so we’re planning a small, informal wedding - but the expenses are piling up. Jack’s parents are deceased. We expected my parents (who are well off) to help us financially. This hasn’t happened. They are, however, going to host a party for us at a fancy restaurant the night before the wedding. It’s a nice gesture, but not something Jack and I wanted or requested.
When my sister (who is financially comfortable) got married 10 years ago, my parents gave her a substantial check to help cover wedding expenses. I’m starting to feel very angry, resentful, and stressed about the situation. However, discussing it openly with my parents would most likely make things worse. They probably feel that the party is their contribution and might resent me for expecting more. Any suggestions?
A. I do have a suggestion, as a matter of fact. Although it sounds somewhat dramatic, I hope you will consider it. I actually did something very similar to what I’m going to propose, though for different reasons.
Anyway, we threw what everyone thought was an engagement party. We took over a French restaurant, and the gathering was tres gay. At some point in the evening, my new husband, in the form of a toast, announced that we had been married by a judge that afternoon. There were great whoops of surprise and joy. In your case, there will not only be the element of surprise, but you will save a nice chunk of change; you won’t have the stress and commotion of even a small wedding; and you will have the fun of a bridal celebration - courtesy of your parents.
Regarding your sister’s gala 10 years ago, perhaps your parents had more money then. (I suspect many people did.) Put that out of your mind.
P.S. Let your parents be surprised along with everyone else.
Q. A recent letter you printed was from a stressed young woman who felt she was disorganized and stretched thin because of school, work, single-motherhood, and chemo. To her and others who might need help, there is a cleaning service that provides free housecleaning once a month for four months during cancer treatments. All that’s required is that the patient sign up and have his or her doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. “Cleaning for a Reason’’ will have a participating maid service in her Zip code area arrange for the service.
This organization serves the entire country and currently has 547 partners to help. Its link is www.cleaningforareason.org. I wish I had known of this service when I was in treatment.
A. These people sound like saints to me. The service they provide is perfectly wonderful and worthwhile, and something I have never heard of. To whoever dreamt it up, bravo! Even taken to another level - without the illness factor - being overrun with messy surroundings can (for most of us) inhibit working and thinking and feed the feeling of being overwhelmed. I hope a lot of people see this and pass the link on to a friend undergoing chemo.
All letters must be sent by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.