For guys, by a guy

A man\'s man isn\'t afraid of weddings

Like many men, Ken York is a real guy. Just look at that cigar. And like many guys, he doesn’t want to have to wade through loads of frilly, frou frou stuff about flowers and lace and support undergarments in order to determine what he needs to know to make his daughter’s wedding beautiful. But he also doesn’t want to be told to sit back and hand over his wallet, either.

“I am about to spend more money on my daughter’s wedding than I did buying my first house and first new car combined and 90 percent of the advice I’ve found for fathers of the bride is to be supportive and write checks,” said York.

So he started a blog which he plans to parlay into an e-book.

The concept behind the blog is to chronicle the experiences that Ken York is going through while helping to plan and pay for his daughter’s wedding in October 2006. “As I go through this process people are opening up to me telling about their positive and negative experiences,” said York. “I intend to both post this information along with my research on the blog and in an E-book that I am writing.”

Good for Ken, I say. I like to see dads getting in on the act in a way that isn’t reflective of Mr. Banks from Father of the Bride. If Ken decides to temporarily postpone the penning of his e-book–which, with all the wedding hullabaloo, he might–he should consider consulting The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Being the Father of the Bride.

UPDATE: Ken has, in fact, read The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Being the Father of the Bride and found that it *didn’t* speak to a man’s sensibilities. His goal is to create a guide that translates the womanly language of weddings into man-speak. I’m no guy (obviously) but I am looking forward to seeing what Ken has to say.

16 Responses to “For guys, by a guy”

  1. Ken says:

    This is from the Guy with the Cigar. I always wondered how you spell ‘frou frou.’ FYI I have read “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Being the Father of the Bride,” along with “The Everything Father of the Bride Book,” which were both good, but written by women. Not that there’s anything wrong with women authors, but we’re different. My goal is to put out the information in man-speak, so please continue to point your fathers and husbands to my blog – http://blog.weddingguidance.com.

    Thanks.

  2. Mcmiller says:

    Dads still pay for weddings? That makes the outrageous average cost even more offensive to me. First of all, that’s a new car or 10% down on a house. Second of all, is this the same dad who just threw down untold thousands for your college tuition?

    My mother helped with the cost of developing our pictures (which were taken by a coworker’s wife for a steep discount) but other than that… yeah, my dad did not finance my wedding, nor did I expect him to. Of course, our budget in total was less than 10% of the average, so I can’t really wrap my mind around that figure.

  3. Never teh Bride says:

    I think plenty of dads still do pay for the wedding, Mcmiller. But as far as I’ve seen, more and more couples are choosing to foot the entire bill or part of it.

    I feel that if parents choose to pay for a wedding, it should be their gift to the bride and groom. They should, however, be under no obligation to shoulder the financial burden of a wedding, and brides- and grooms-to-be should not automatically expect them to.

  4. Mcmiller says:

    Never teh Bride:

    The problem I have seen is that this “gift” of money becomes another tie obligating the couple to fulfill their parents’ ideas about their wedding. Most couples I know have chosen to pay rather than accept gift-cum-obligation.

    I understand why a lot of dads don’t want to just hand over a check. On the other hand, most brides (and grooms) don’t want their dads (or moms or any other relative) making decisions about their special day after offering a “gift.” I, for one, wouldn’t have turned down a check or help planning. It would have been appreciated. But that isn’t always the case.

  5. Ken says:

    McMiller:
    I’m not sure parents are trying to supply a wedding with strings. For most of us older parents, we tend to want to give things that we didn’t have. My parents couldn’t even afford to come to my wedding. However, we can get caught up in the situation and end up in the middle. Both my wife and I often remind ourselves as we’re going through our daughter’s wedding that this is her day and she gets to choose. Yeah, I’m footing a pretty substantial check for this day, but it’s what my wife and I want to do for our daughter. Besides, I intend to consume large quantities of alcohol and smoke a lot of cigars during my 5 days in Mexico.

  6. Twistie says:

    I never occured to me to ask my father for money for my wedding. My beloved and I were both working full time and I’d never moved out of the family home. I figured at that point I kind of owed it to Dad to start paying my own way in the world. ; )

    The only things I asked of him were to: a) come to the wedding wearing his kilt, b) walk me to the altar and speak one line in the ceremony, c) make fruit tarts for the reception, and d) play one tune with the band on his fiddle.

    Of his own volition, he also gave us a full set of professional grade cookware (thanks, Dad! I still love it!), made potato salad for the reception, and bought lovely lace-trimmed handkerchiefs for me and all my bridesmaids.

    I’m glad so much of my father’s participation in my wedding was a matter of his choice and not a matter of money. I’ve seen parental subsidies of the wedding turn into cases where the parents then dictated everything about the wedding. I’ve also seen cases where couples took advantage, overspent, and then expected mommy and daddy to save the day with another, bigger check. And I’ve seen cases where the bride and groom got the wedding they wanted without sending the parents to the poorhouse. I think the biggest key is communication combined with reasonable expectation.

    Ken, best of luck with your endeavor. Very few people seem to think much about the role of the FOB beyond ATM.

  7. Ken says:

    Twistie,
    Thanks for the encouragement. If you’re in Puerto Vallarta the first week of October come on by for a drink.

    Ken

  8. Ninjarina says:

    Ken:

    Kudos to your daughter getting married and you taking on this project. Hopefully, I will get to translate this to my dad for when I get married (he’s not literate in English).

    McMiller:

    In my culture, it is customary for the family of the groom to take care of the reception [among other things]. It’s really for bragging rights/family pride more than anything. For the reception, they ask the couple how many tables they want and the larger the number of tables x number of courses, the larger the bragging rights.

    The groom has to to pay off conniving bridesmaids that hide your bride on the big day and your in laws for essentially “selling” a worker to you (in old times it was quite shameful to return to your family’s house after you were married). The bride’s family provides her trousseau (bed linens, pillows, blankets, kitchen things, etc.), wedding dresses, and her wedding jewelery among some other things I can’t think of right now.

    In terms of involvement, when it comes to a Chinese family, nothing is sacred and I’ll probably have a handful of well-meaning aunties breathing down my neck when it happens. It’s not simply the idea of two people getting together but two families and by golly, when one marries into a Chinese family, there will be a lot of family gatherings to look forward to.

  9. Twistie says:

    Alas, my travel plans don’t include Puerto Vallarta in October at this point. OTOH, if they change, I’ll let you know!

  10. Never teh Bride says:

    Wow, Ninjarina, that whole shebang sounds like it could be stressful but also a heck of a lot of fun! I can just imagine The Beard paying my sisters to hint at where I’ve hidden myself 🙂

  11. Mcmiller says:

    Ninjarina:

    I guess it’s all in what you are used to. I still wonder if I should have eloped (especially with the disappointing turnout), but I really wanted my mother to perform the ceremony. My parents were the only family members in attendance from either side, which was a huge disappointment.

    Every wedding has to address all the expectations from different people. Every bridal shower I’ve been to has labeled itself “nontraditional” even though they’ve all been pretty uniform in actual execution. The “traditional” and “nontraditional” weddings I’ve been to have also looked pretty similar. I thought about having a big family wedding in Chicago, where my family is from, but decided on a small one much sooner in San Antonio where I actually lived at the time. My relatives decided not to attend and so did his.

    While I missed out on a lot of the stress and fussing and budget woes, I missed the richness of sharing with my extended family too. Good luck to you when you plan your wedding.

  12. Mcmiller says:

    Ken:

    My reply got eaten by cyber-space (didn’t show up as pending either) – but what I wanted to say is that “best intentions” can still feel like strings depending on the situation. I didn’t mean to imply a concious intent to manipulate so much as an earnest desire to intervene for the good of everyone involved. I think the example that hit me hardest was a friend who lost her job and had her groom lose his job while they were planning their wedding. Her parents stepped in and offered to pay so they could keep the date and location. However, they hired a wedding planner that the couple really didn’t need or want. The couple was very do-it-yourself, down to the bride sewing her own wedding gown (it was lovely) and her parents were afraid that the wedding would turn out really badly without intervention.

    The resulting wedding was beautiful, expensive, and not at all like what the bride and groom had in mind. (Example, the parents ordered a chocolate groom’s cake even though the couple didn’t want any groom’s cake at all and the groom had a severe chocolate allergy.) However, they felt obligated to accept all of this largess without major protest because, after all, they simply couldn’t afford to get married without help at that time. Her parents only wanted what they thought was best for everyone, but the couple just didn’t see it the same way and were very embarassed by the obvious expense of this wedding when both of them were unemployed.

    In no way did I mean to imply that this is the case in your family. Your daughter is very lucky to have a family that can support her emotionally and financially in this. I simply meant to address myself to why some couples would rather pay their own way.

  13. Both mine and my fiancee’s parents are pretty much covering our wedding cost, and they aren’t forcing their ideals upon us, but that said we’re having a fairly traditional wedding anyway. I’d like to think they’re happy doing it, we didn’t ask them to, they both offered and seem happy enough to.

  14. Ninjarina says:

    NtB:

    Haha, there are so many weird ceremonies in Chinese weddings, one is “cookie day” which most brides forego. I cannot find any info on it probably b/c I’m translating it wrong but weddings almost ALWAYS involve a lot of pomp and circumstance. Unless you are ridiculously poor like during Communist China (even then they tried to celebrate), you may end up the subject of family/friend gossip in a worst case scenario.

    A page on Chinese Wedding Traditions:
    http://www.chcp.org/wedding.html#preparations

    Case in point, my mother went back to China when I was in my mid-teens and started buying me my traditional gold bridal jewelery. Her logic was that it was better to buy it when gold wasn’t so expensive. It kind of scared me.

    Oh, and that’s not how the bride thing works. The Beard would probably show up at your house with or w/o this groomsmen and he would have to pay the ladies a sum of money in 8’s (i.e. $88, $888, $8888, etc.). Your mom would probably be wringing her hands telling your sisters and bridemaids to stop extorting him lest you be late for the ceremony but hey, no one gives up a chance for free money! The bridesmaids and other ladies in you entourage get to split up the cash and spend it on what they want ^.^

  15. Twistie says:

    Thanks for the great link, Ninjarina! I’m facsinated with wedding customs of the world (and through history). This gives me some interesting material to read up on.

  16. MNT says:

    I just got married 2 mos. ago, and my husband’s parents had very specific ideas of how a wedding is supposed to be — apparently, a wedding isn’t a wedding if you don’t have a choice of salmon, roast chicken and filet mignon. They would have loved to pay for a rehearsal dinner or help with the wedding costs, but we didn’t want to give up what we wanted for the wedding, so we ended up telling them that we would prefer to pay ourselves. It was difficult to tell them “no,” but it was worth it. So many of my friends have had to tread so lightly with their parents and in-laws regarding how children are to be raised, etc. I hope that setting a precendent re: our independence will actually improve our relationship going forward.