Another Bloody Destination Wedding

It’s been coming for awhile. First there was the excited text message, high-pitched squealy phone call and gushy FaceBook message to announce that they were engaged. Then there was the over-the-top engagement party complete with belly-dancers, DJ and expensive Moroccan finger-food. Now we have received the ‘Save-the-Date’ card.

And it’s another fucking destination wedding.

Thankfully this one isn’t in Switzerland. It’s in Dunsborough (a highly popular coastal town in WA’s south-west wine region for those inter-state and overseas readers). In December. In fact, it’s the first week of the school holidays.

Crap.

End-of-year summer school holidays means every town along the WA coast is jam-packed with kids (and their parents), dogs, caravans, overseas tourists and ice-cream van owners.

Crap.

So six months before the wedding, Husband and I are looking for somewhere to sleep for two nights in Dunsborough or the surrounding areas (but not too far away – midnight driving and unlit country roads makes me a bit uncomfortable). Last night we visited the websites of at least a dozen accommodation spots. All (well, those that weren’t already booked up) quoted above $350 a night. We need to stay for two nights. That’s over $700 to go to someone else’s wedding.

Crap.

Oh, did I mention that the wedding is on a Friday, so Husband has to take two days of annual leave to attend?

Crap.

And we have to go because, once again, it’s Husband’s family member and we’re already getting a reputation as “the mean boy and his horrible wife who don’t attend weddings.” (That might be because they’re never in Perth! Although that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone…) Dunsborough is only 3 hours away so we don’t mind driving down. We DO mind paying $700 for a hideous little room in a place that has NO facilities. (When I say “facilities” I’m not talking about a luxurious pool or health spa, I’m talking about things like bed linen and kitchen facilities!)

Crapping fucksticks.

So people – if you’re planning a wedding, and you want family/friends to attend and not be mighty pissed off with you then for the love of god DO NOT make it a destination wedding!!!

Wedding Over

It’s over. The wedding of the century has been and gone. Boxing Day was D-Day. Unfortunately, the event was Skyped and I missed out on time with my family to watch Sister-in-law float down the aisle like a marshmallow. (For those interested, the dress didn’t suit her – she’s got a banging body but looked swamped in acres of fabric. However the church was lovely and it was snowing outside.)

As expected, Husband and I are out-of-pocket $4000. Not because one of us went to the wedding, but because my parents-in-law ended up having to take out a loan so they could lend Bro-in-law money to pay for the extravaganza.

My parents-in-law do it tough, financially speaking. The bigger banks refused to lend them the money so they went with a smaller lender who was charging an extortionate interest rate. As soon as Husband and I found out about the loan, we wrote them a cheque so they could pay it out. The in-laws were going to spend nearly double the amount in interest – they just can’t afford it and we weren’t going to stand by and watch them live on noodles and vegemite sandwiches for the next three years. (At this point, I’d like to point out that Bro-in-law was going to pay them back the $4000, but not the interest.)

I don’t expect to see that money ever again. Yes, I know – we could’ve just left it up to the parents-in-law and Bro-in-law to figure out, but if you knew how tightly my parents-in-law have to budget just to get by, then I think you’d understand. We did it for them, not Bro- and Sis-in-law.

The worst thing is that apparently Sis-in-law has a lot of spare time on her hands now that she’s on honeymoon on a beach somewhere expensive and tropical. She’s spent a lot of time on FaceBook talking about how her and Bro-in-law now need to upgrade their house to a four-bedroom, two-bathroom place and also upgrade their car to a family-sized SUV.

Yep – family. I honestly don’t know if she’s pregnant again or just hoping to be. The amount of times she’s said the word “family” followed by a winky face over the past few days is making me think about turning off all forms of technology and becoming a hermit.

The only good thing about the money situation is that I married a tight-arse – Husband will be nagging them to start paying back the money they owe us as soon as they get back to Australia. I know Bro-in-law will want to pay it back. Whether Sis-in-law will let him is another matter entirely. I’m going to enjoy watching her squirm uncomfortably each time Husband mentions it though.

Princess

Just a word of warning – this is a bit of a ranty post. And it’s not actually about anything important, just a pet hate. You don’t have to like it, you don’t even have to agree with me – I just need to get it out of my system. Blogging is cheaper than therapy! 

Princess. I hate the word. No – hate isn’t strong enough. I fucking DETEST the word and here’s why.

When did every woman want to become one?

I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to have been a princess when I was a little girl. I grew up watching Disney movies and playing with Princess Barbie. Princesses wore big flouncy dresses with glitter on them, had evil stepmothers (which is a WHOLE other blog post!), dead fathers, slept on peas, married impossibly handsome princes and owned at least one tiara. It looked like a pretty bloody awesome life to a 7-year-old who didn’t have the nicest childhood.

But the thing is, I grew out of wanting to be a princess when I was about 8. So why is it I grew out of wanting to be a princess and (so it seems right now) most other women haven’t?

All bloody month my FaceBook has been littered with posts from my future sister-in-law rabbiting on about how it’s only one month until she becomes a princess, ie: gets married (and no – my bro-in-law is definitely NOT a prince). She has what she and her giggling friends have dubbed “the princess dress”, recently bought a tiara (I vomited a bit in my mouth when I read that) and is having her wedding reception in a Swiss manor house (only because the Swiss castle was too expensive to hire for a day). She refers to her future wedding day as her day to be a princess.

I don’t understand!!! When did grown women become obsessed with princesses? Not only are many women behaving like my future sister-in-law in wanting to be a princess on their wedding days, but when the “princess day” is over they then have a baby girl and thus, “a new princess is born”. (That exact phrase was used in a recent birth announcement text I received. I wanted to break my phone.)

When did this trend of calling baby girls “princesses” start? Because it was definitely not happening 30 years ago. (Perhaps I’ve been ripped off?) Almost every single woman I know who’s had a baby girl calls them Princess, dresses them in t-shirts or dresses embellished (in diamantes of course!) with the word “Princess” and has a princess themed nursery. All these women also seem to call each others daughter a princess as well. It’s like either they or someone they know must be a princess.

This princess thing is a weird phenomenon and one I don’t understand. I didn’t think grown-ups were supposed to play make-believe and think we’re princesses (or pirates or fairies or, dare I say it, vampires) or encourage daughters to become something relatively unattainable (unless you happen to be in the right bar at the right time).

Call me old fashioned, but I’m a woman – not a princess – not even on my wedding day! And if I have a daughter, she won’t be a princess either. Unless she marries one of Frederick and Mary’s sons and then she can call herself Princess.

Suspended

This evening has been interesting. We got a phone call from Bro-in-law (Husband’s brother) who admitted that nearly two weeks ago he was suspended from work without pay, and before now he hadn’t told anyone except his fiancé. He was calling to ask for the phone number of Husband’s friend who is a lawyer specialising in workplace disputes and obviously Husband questioned him on why he needed a lawyer.

I should mention that BIL never mentioned that he’d been suspended when Husband told him last week that we wouldn’t make it to their wedding in Switzerland this Christmas. (BIL was disappointed but understanding. His fiancé was less understanding, more angry – she let us know how she felt in a rather angry email the next day!)

Since BIL is a contract FIFO (fly-in-fly-out) worker for a mining company, he only gets paid for the work he does. So if he doesn’t work, he doesn’t get paid. If he doesn’t get paid he gets further behind in saving up for the Swiss wedding extravaganza.

The reason for his suspension – he was randomly selected for an alcohol breath test. And he tested positive. Along with four others. All of whom were tested one after the other. All of whom insisted they hadn’t had anything to drink. They all asked for a second breath test and were denied. They all asked for a blood test and were denied. They were all marched off-site and flown home.

Just for the record, I believe BIL. He does like a drink, but he’d never be drunk going into shift. Because he likes his work, he respects his boss and he’s so desperate for money ( to pay for the Swiss wedding) that he’d never jeopardize his job and income.

Normally a positive test to alcohol or any illicit drugs results in an instant dismissal, but because of the sites handling of the situation, there is going to be an investigation. I don’t know what will happen. But if BIL gets fired, then how the hell is he supposed to pay for the Swiss wedding of the century.

I have a feeling it may involve The Bank of PW and Husband.

Wedding of the Century – The Final Decision

It’s official. I don’t think I’ve written it in my blog, although I know I’ve mentioned it on Twitter.

Husband has decided not to go to the Wedding of the Century.

I know it’s selfish, but I’m so relieved. Our plans to start a family will happen sooner than later (once I get the go-ahead from an obstetrician, obviously).

My parents-in-law popped over last week and since we haven’t told brother-in-law yet, we told them that we’re still considering our options when they asked if we were going to Switzerland or not. Father-in-law immediately said, “Do what you want to do and what’s best for you.” My mother-in-law was less easy-going. “He’s your brother – of course you have to go!”

So no guilt there.

Then my parents-in-law had an argument. Father-in-law thinks BIL and SIL are being stupid for spending so much money. Mother-in-law says that it’s a wedding and of course it’s going to be expensive, etc. Father-in-law rolled his eyes at her.

I love my Father-in-law.

And I think Mother-in-law still hates me a little bit for eloping. (Although in my defence, Husband and I had a big party when we came home all wedded and bedded.) And with no daughters of her own, she’s never going to get to go to a wedding of her children now.

As I said above, I’m relieved we aren’t going. And it’s not just for the baby reason. This wedding has never felt “right” to me. Maybe it’s because BIL and SIL plan on spending at least $55,000 on one day. And that money isn’t coming out of their savings account. They are going into debt for this wedding – massive debt. They have had to sell their car to help pay for some of the wedding deposits and may need to re-mortgage their house (if they can). They’re relying on a personal loan from the bank to allow them to pay the remainder of the wedding and fund part of their honeymoon. The rest of their honeymoon will be paid (they hope) by their wedding guests in lieu of a gift. Yes – they are expecting everyone to fly to Switzerland on their own dime AND contribute to an outrageously expensive honeymoon (New York for New Years Eve).

I know I have no right to judge people on how they spend their own money (or the banks money in this situation) but spending so much at once on something that isn’t an asset goes against my entire belief system. (Yes, I’m a strange person.)

And I also resent the fact that my BIL, who I actually really adore, is working himself into the ground taking on extra shifts, extra work, selling his car and possessions in order to give SIL her dream wedding! (Whilst she’s doing nothing to save money – she’s still getting her fake tans, hair extensions, acrylic nails, and so on maintained.)

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that the wedding is important to her, but it just feels like the wedding is more important to her than her relationship to BIL who she’s barely seen in months (he’s a FIFO worker who’s taking on extra work) because he HAS to work because he HAS to pay for her wedding. That really bothers me. I wouldn’t have a problem with the amount of money they’re spending on the wedding if they could afford it. But they’re barely scraping by and may still have to borrow money from us to pay for the final wedding bills if the bank won’t lend them any more money.

Anyway, now Husband has made his decision, we have to break the news to BIL and SIL. That won’t be fun. Any advice on how to break the news to them?

Me and My Selfish Misery

I took a valium 15 minutes ago so excuse what could be a rambling post filled with whinging and lots of spelling errors and the occasional sentence which makes no sense whatsoever.

I’ve having a really hard time today, and I feel like an idiot admitting that.

I feel like a failure for needing to take a drug designed to stop my anxiety escalating. The prescription is old but thankfully in date. My lovely doctor gave it to me years ago when we found out that Husband had cancer and I emotionally crumbled way more than he did. The little yellow pills helped then and they’re helping again today.

That foggy drunken feeling is taking over now and I’m grateful for it. It hasn’t stopped me from having a good cry, but it has stopped the panic I could feel gripping my lungs and forcing all the air out of them.

I’m still waiting for Husband to make a decision on whether to go to the wedding of the century (which you can read about here, here and here) and the waiting is killing me. I feel desperate for an answer. Desperate in a way I never thought possible.

I know that soon an invitation will be in our letterbox with an RSVP date. I know that will force him to make a decision but for me, it’s not soon enough. I need his decision now – I need to know whether I can go into Operation Baby-Making or if I have to put this dream on hold for at least another year.

I feel so selfish and guilty and full of self-loathing for putting Husband in this situation. But there’s this part of my brain I can’t shut up – it’s telling me the maths. If I want at least three kids (with an approximate gap of two years between them) then I need to start trying to get pregnant a year ago in order to have them all by the time I turn 35 when chances of things like downs syndrome increase. I already know I will have a high-risk pregnancy and birth – after 35 the risks to me and any unborn baby will rise exponentially. I don’t want that – I want to minimize the risks and pray for a good outcome.

If I have to put Operation Baby-Making on hold, then I may only get to have one or two children – especially if it takes quite a while to fall pregnant and I have a couple of miscarriages (which is common with certain conditions I unfortunately have).

I talk to Husband about everything, but I feel like I can’t talk to him about this. I’m trying not to put pressure on him to make a decision about whether to go to the wedding or not. I’m trying not to talk about having babies even though it seems to come up in conversation a couple of times a week – usually just a throw-away comment by one of us about what we’d do in certain situations if we had kids.

I wish I could shut up my biological clock (which I never knew I had until a year or so ago). I wish I could be a better person and tell Husband to go to the wedding with my blessing. But I’m not a selfless person. I don’t want him to go – I want him to stay here and I want us to start trying to get pregnant. I know I’m being selfish. But I’m also downright fucking miserable here in limbo.

Sunday Bloody Sunday

Husband and I had a rather heated discussion this morning. It wasn’t really an argument – there were no sides, no one did anything wrong, but it was an emotionally charged morning to say the least.

I’ve decided not to go to bro-in-law’s wedding in Switzerland this Christmas. Husband knew I was leaning towards that decision. The problem is, he doesn’t know what he wants to do.

He told me he feels obliged to go because he’d be the only family member there. But that doesn’t really want to go. He doesn’t want to spend that much money on a solo trip. He wants to travel, but not by himself to Europe and not at Christmas when prices are insane.

And then, with a tinge of hostility in his voice, he said this: “If it weren’t for the wedding and the cost involved, we’d already be trying to get pregnant.”

And there it is. He voiced exactly what I’ve been thinking for months. Pregnancy.

It’s been a topic of conversation all year and we’re already taking steps towards it because to be honest, I think we both want a baby already. But I’ve been putting off the blood tests I need to get done because I know that if we get the go-ahead from a medical point-of-view, it won’t really be a go-ahead. Because we’re waiting. Waiting for someone else to get married. Waiting to increase our savings again once we’ve (or Husband at least has) spent a large chunk flying to one of the most expensive places to spend Christmas to take part in a wedding we have had so much trouble being enthusiastic about.

To be honest, I’m hating this. I hate the fact that our future is being delayed. And as horrible as it sounds, I hate that we can’t be selfish and do what we want.

Poor Husband is caught in the middle. Torn between me and his brother. He wants to travel, but doesn’t want to spend upwards of $6000 to spend Christmas away from me and his parents in order to attend his brothers wedding. Yet he feels obliged to attend the wedding because his parents can’t afford to go.

We also know that we may be asked to help pay for the bloody wedding of the century. I know we can say no, but if we say no then the family members who can least afford it (parents and grandparents) will pay and we just can’t let them do that. That is not an option.

My gut feeling says that Husband will go to the wedding. Which means we won’t start trying to get pregnant for probably another year because (a) Husband won’t leave me for weeks on end whilst pregnant and (b) we won’t have a nice big chunk of cash sitting in our savings account for if the worst happens (Husband’s work contract gets terminated). We’ll need to re-save all our pennies and we think that will take at least six months post Swiss wedding.

This whole situation feels like one giant mess. And so came the discussion this morning. The one where Husband got frustrated with everyone including himself and where I cried out of sheer guilt for making Husband choose between me (and our future) and his brother.

And although I’ve made up my mind, Husband still has no idea what to do.

Bridezilla on Steroids

So, I’ve previously written about the Wedding of the Century that’s taking place in Switzerland later this year (if you missed it, go here to have a squiz) and since that post, things have taken a rather interesting turn!

Bro-in-law and his wife-to-be popped over for dinner on Easter Sunday. Partly because it was Easter, mainly because they wanted advice from someone with a university degree in common sense (ie: Husband).

It turns out they think the wedding is costing them a bit more than they’d expected…..

Husband and I are straight-forward people. So we made a list. We extracted every single little piece of information out of them.

What is the church hire costing? What is the reception costing? Does that include a drinks package? What about flowers? What will the suit hire cost? What has been paid for? What hasn’t been paid for? How much have you got in your bank account? How much can you save between now and then? Are you getting financial help from the parentals?

That took a long time. Wife-to-be was very, VERY reluctant to admit how much some things are costing. And, having been married myself, I knew to ask about things such as music (string quartet for the ceremony, live band for the reception), if the bridesmaids are paying for their own dress/shoes/hair/make-up (they aren’t) and the wedding rings (platinum, of course, with a row of small diamonds for the bride).

The cost for the wedding (remember – this is Switzerland at Christmas and wife-to-be is having a reception at a chateau) is a measly $55,000. This does not include the honeymoon in the Maldives (another $12,000) or things such as boarding their dog at a kennel while they’re away, the mortgage repayments they’ll need to make whilst they’re away (for 8 weeks) or other bills that will come in during that time.

So including all these things (such as pesky mortgage repayments which they hadn’t thought of), ideally they need about $75,000 to cover all their costs.

Have I mentioned that Bro-in-law has a fairly standard job – pays well, but not great. His wife-to-be works in retail three afternoons a week. This wedding (and the other expenses) will cost them nearly an entire years salary.

This came as a shock to Bro-in-law. Wife-to-be had told him how much certain things had cost but neither of them had added anything up.

They have already paid deposits for a lot of things and already bought the wedding dress. They do have some savings. They are getting a little bit of financial help from wife-to-be’s parents. But they’re still short about $38,000.

However, they have a mortgage and two car loans. They do not earn a six-figure salary. I think they may actually be financially fucked.

Their only other option is to get a bank loan. A rather large, unsecured bank loan. I got out my laptop and Husband and I put their numbers into the online banking calculators. They’ll be lucky if a bank will lend them half what they need at an extortionate interest rate of 14%.

At the end of the meal (and after quite a few glasses of wine), I tentatively asked them, “What will you do if the worst happens and the banks won’t lend you the money?”

Wife-to-be said, “Well you guys are rich, you’ll lend us the money, right?”

Of Showers. (But Not the Damp Kind)

Bridal showers. Baby showers. Hens nights. Kitchen teas.

I don’t like them. Here’s why.

This is the wording to an invitation to a Hens Day I received recently. The wording is fairly typical of the kind of invitations I get these days.

Please join us for Renee’s Hens Day! We have arranged a fun day out visiting some wineries in the Swan Valley. Cost per person is $115 – this includes transport to and from Perth CBD and around the Valley during the day. Lunch will cost extra. There will be fun games to play on the bus. Please bring your favourite Stevie and Renee story, your silly sense of humour and a gift for the bride-to-be. And don’t forget to wear yellow as it’s Renee’s favourite colour and we need to show her how much we love her. The bridesmaids have also organised “Hen’s Day” sashes to wear throughout the day.

Let’s look at that closely, shall we?

Please join us for Renne’s Hens Day! Okay, sounds fine so far.

We have arranged a fun day out visiting some wineries in the Swan Valley. Again, okay. I know some friends of the “Hen” don’t drink at all and another three are pregnant, but if it’s what the bride wants then fair enough.

Cost per person is $115 – this includes transport to and from Perth CBD and around the Valley during the day. WHAT THE FUCK?! $115 per person for bus hire? It can’t be for the wine tasting – most of the wineries I know in the Valley have FREE wine tasting.

Lunch will cost extra. Oh good, I was worried about all that cash weighing down my purse…..

There will be fun games to play on the bus. Games? What are we, 8?

Please bring your favourite Stevie and Renee story… I’m the wife of Renee’s cousin. I have seen her and Stevie about 6 times in the last 3 years. Four of those times were funerals. I have no Stevie and Renee stories….

…your silly sense of humour… I wasn’t born with one.

…and a gift for the bride-to-be. A gift? Why? I’m all for buying a wedding gift, probably a very nice wedding gift. I’ll even buy off the registry. But a gift just for having a hens day? Again, why?

And don’t forget to wear yellow as it’s Renne’s favourite colour and we need to show her how much we love her. Wait – so you want me to pay $115 for bus hire to drive me out to the place I LIVE, pay for lunch, buy a gift AND buy something yellow to wear on the day? Fuck off! And shouldn’t turning up to this gift grab event show her how much we love her?

The bridesmaids have also organised “Hen’s Day” sashes for us to wear throughout the day. Only if you get me into a straight jacket first will I wear one of those things.

Needless to say, I have politely declined the invitation.

 

 

Round and Round and Round We Go…

My brother-in-law (Husband’s brother) is getting married overseas this year.

His parents have already decided they can’t afford to go. They’ve been cash-strapped their whole life and will be heading into retirement soon with very little superannuation and nearly no savings. They’re trying to channel every last cent into “retirement proofing” their house – rainwater tank, solar panels to generate electricity, learning how to grown fruit, vegetables and herbs – all to make their life easier (and cheaper) when they retire.

Personally I think they’re doing the smart thing.

So it turns out that BIL will only have us – me and Husband – at his wedding to his “princess”. No other family can afford to go.

Let me just mention that they’re getting married in Switzerland. At Christmas. Where even a 3-star Best Western on the very outskirts of town will cost about $450 a night.

So this “holiday” could potentially set us back $10,000 – including flights, accommodation, car hire (necessary to get around that time of year!), meals, suit hire for the wedding, plus a gift (which has been hinted at rather heavily from the bride).

$10,000 is a lot of money. But we can afford it. Thankfully Husband has a good job which pays a good salary.

But the real question is – do we even want to go?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Switzerland is lovely. One day I’d love to go skiing there. However, what Husband and I actually want is to have a baby. We had planned to start trying later this year. Baby’s are expensive little things. I hadn’t realised until I started pricing up things last week (a pram costs HOW MUCH?!) We had also planned on doing some maintenance/improvements to our house. Things like renovating the 1970’s bathroom, installing air-conditioning, removing the lovely floral tiles from the kitchen and turning the sand pit in the back garden into, well, a garden.

The problem is we can’t afford to go to Switzerland, do the improvements to the house AND have a baby.

So conversations have been flowing like this:

“So if we have a baby, we can’t go to Switzerland.”

“But if we don’t go to Switzerland then BIL will never forgive us – we’ll be his only family there.”

“But if we go we can’t start trying for a baby before then – I can’t fly when pregnant due to health reasons.”

“If we go, we can’t afford to install air-conditioning or rip out the avocado bathroom suite.”

“If we don’t go to Switzerland then we’ll need to tell BIL soon. And we’ll have to give him a reason – but we can’t tell him we don’t want to go because we want a baby – he’ll tell the whole family and there’ll be an inquiry into our sex life.”

“But I suppose we’re only young and we can always delay having our first baby a couple of years.”

“If we delay our first and if we want three or four babies then unless we have them in very close succession, we could be nearly 40 by the time we have our third. Risks of downs syndrome and other health issues increase.”

“And we can’t tell people we’re trying for a baby – we don’t want to deal with the pressure.”

“But if we don’t go to Switzerland then we’ll have to tell BIL why.”

And on and on it goes. At the end of the day, someone is going to get hurt. Either we shelve our desire to start having babies or we break BIL’s heart. Part of me really resents this situation – BIL has put a lot of pressure on us (unwittingly) to go. And he knows we can afford it.

In our ideal world we’d be able to renovate bits of the house, install air-conditioning, do one last child-free cheap holiday to Thailand and then try for a baby.

But family has a way of throwing the best laid plans into chaos.

As I said, someone will have their feelings hurt. And as selfish as it sounds, I’m scared it may be me.