As I mentioned in my previous entry, as much as I wish it were not the case, money is a concern for us as we plan our big day.
From the minute we got engaged, I was told by my parents that they would not be contributing financially in any way to help us pay for our big day. My mother thinks that long engagements are ridiculous and both my parents feel that it is a big waste of money on what “essentially boils down to a big party.” This reaction did not surprise me since I have always known my parents to have very set ideas about money, especially due to the three years of financial hardship we faced when my father was unexpectedly laid off from his job. When he became re-employed, he not only ended up having to take a pay cut (his senior management salary was considered too much) but we ended up moving into a smaller house and a precedent was set – every man for himself.
From the time I was 18, I was seen as an adult in the eyes of my parents and left to my own devices when it came to cash. When I wanted to go to school, I was left to pay for it myself and since I moved out three years ago, I have received no financial support, so I really never imagined that they would give me any cash for something as “fluffy” as a wedding. That said, it does make things a little more difficult in that, not only do I have to deal with the monthly costs of living in a major urban centre, but I also have to simultaneously squirrel away money for the wedding myself. I can’t be angry, I mean I get it, especially with retirement on the horizon for them, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little nervous about the upcoming months.
While Mr. Hummingbird and I have similar thoughts about money, because his family is generally better off than mine, he was raised with a slightly different attitude. Though he won’t go out and spend, spend, spend, he has always had a bit of a safety net in his father who, if the going gets tough, will write him a cheque to bail him out, something that in my eyes, is a bit of a luxury.
Which is where our problem lies.
Recently, after a discussion about our financial situation, we touched upon the idea of moving out of the apartment we have lived in for two years. While the rent is very reasonable (at least $200 less than most one bedroom apartments in the city we reside in), there are also a number of reasons to move. It is not close to my work so I rack up $100 worth of transit fees every month (Mr. Hummingbird works from home), it is not close to any of our friends and affects our social life in that we can never stay out late, we live in a slightly undesirable neighbourhood which sometimes brings about safety concerns and honestly, after dealing with all of its little bugaboos for the past 24 months, I’m just kind of sick of it. I mean a girl can only get stand the water running out so many times while she’s showering, you know?
Anyway, after days of talking, we decided that it would probably make sense to find a place we like and to just do it and get the cost out of the way so we could be settled and then jump into the wedding planning because, at least that way, we wouldn’t get stuck dealing with first and last and the catering deposit at the same time.
Now I figured, with Mr. Hummingbird’s pay from the game company and my meager publishing salary, we could afford a place for X number of dollars. It wouldn’t be a palace, but it also wouldn’t be as dumpy as the place we currently reside, and we would still be able to put aside a few hundred a month for the wedding. When we originally went over this idea, everything seemed great and then it happened. We saw an apartment in the building of our dreams. The building that, since we came to Toronto, we have loved from afar, loved from up close and secretly referred to as our building. We both couldn’t help it. We drooled. It was so gorgeous. Before we knew it, we were picturing ourselves living in the building, furnishing the spacious apartment and frolicking in the nearby park on weekends. It was bad.
However, I knew it was cutting it a bit too close. As someone still working on contract, I know my job isn’t hugely secure and if God forbid something were to happen and I ended up being out of work, the nest egg that I have currently put aside for all wedding expenses would be depleted in less than three months.
I told this to Mr. Hummingbird. He snorted. “Why are you so worried?” He asked me, “We can always get my dad to help with expenses.”
I nearly died.
Though I’ve always been of the mind that whatever financial aid Mr. Hummingbird’s family chose to give him was none of my business, the idea of suddenly intimately being involved in the transaction was never something I intended. Mr. Hummingbird’s rationale is that we will all be family soon and that the money that exchanges hands between family doesn’t matter, but I cannot help but feel wildly uncomfortable at the idea of asking for what I consider to be a handout, especially when we can no doubt get an acceptable apartment under our current budget. It would just bother me too much.
I always knew that when I married someone that there would be a certain amount of reconcilation that would need to happen between our lives because, unless for some bizarre reason you were raised in the same house as your significant other (a la Marcia and Greg Brady), everyone’s circumstances growing up are different. You grow up thinking that things should be a certain way and then, with the addition of a partner to your life, you have to learn to adapt and compromise to strike a happy balance. Logically, I know this. But I cannot help thinking that depending on someone else’s family for funds, even if it’s just a short term situation is highly illogical.
So ladies, how ’bout it? How did you and your man deal with the great monetary debate once you started to merge your lives? Do you still go halves on everything or is it all one big pot of cash? Would you accept currency from your significant others’ family? Yeah or nah?