Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement

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almostMIL Posts : 6 Registered: 4/18/10
Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:18 PM

Can anyone share what is proper when a couple splits and the bride's parents have paid for some expenses, and deposits that they cannot get back. And what about the bridesmaids dresses? My son's ex fiance wants (expects) us to reimburse her family for all the expenses. I'm inclined to split them 50/50, but I also read in a post that we are not obligated to reimburse for dresses. Any help appreciated.

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:23 PM Go to message in response to: almostMIL

Who broke off the engagement?

To me, that would matter...
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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almostMIL Posts : 6 Registered: 4/18/10
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:27 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Bride broke engagement after groom admitted to going out with others during a summer when they were exclusively dating, but not engaged yet.

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almostMIL Posts : 6 Registered: 4/18/10
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:28 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

Or, at least that's what he told us.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:31 PM Go to message in response to: almostMIL

So he cheated on her, with multiple people? Sorry. I don't know about paying, but I can see why she and her family are PO'd. That's for sure. I don't care if they were engaged or not, and imo that is a sad, sad, sad, sad excuse. He got caught. Is HE offering to pay them back?? If you do pay, he should reimburse. HE is the one who did this.

And, good for her for NOT marrying a cheater. I can see why she and her family are angry. For the etiquette of this, I'll let others reply. Sounds like he thinks she should marry him anyway, cause the cheating is excused since it was before they were engaged. whatever. I hope she does not change her mind and does not look back.

Proud Member of P.O.O.P., People Offended by Offended People

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BirdLover Posts : 2,834 Registered: 3/30/06
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:44 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Okay, since he really is at fault for the broken engagement, I definitely thinks that he should reimburse them for some of the money. Frankly, I think he SHOULD pay for all of it, but I'm not sure the official etiquette rule on that.

As for the bridesmaid dresses...the bridesmaids DEFINITELY should not have to bear the cost for a wedding they will not be in. But again, I'm not sure the official etiquette for dealing with this.

From a MORAL standpoint, I think that your son should really reimburse the people for everything. Not because he cheated, but because he lied and hid it. Had the bride known the truth all along, none of this money would have been spent by her family and friends. I personally think that he should man up and cover the costs.

Im not going to bash your son, but obviously what he did was wrong and I personally feel that he should deal with the consequences of his mistake.

I'm sorry for you, though, because this must be a tough spot to be in!
Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

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almostMIL Posts : 6 Registered: 4/18/10
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:50 PM Go to message in response to: cyndi33

Yes, he cheated, he admitted it and is taking responsiblity. He says he will pay them back - but he is still in college and is starting a 5 year PHD program - so we parents felt like the proper thing for us to do is to make it right with her parents and then deal with him - I guess I didn't really make that clear. And no, I don't think they will ever be getting back together.

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almostMIL Posts : 6 Registered: 4/18/10
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:56 PM Go to message in response to: BirdLover

BirdLover - Well thanks for not bashing him - he is doing that himself. He knows he really screwed up and so do we. It is a horrible position to be in as a parent, and embarrasing. I was hoping someone would post who had been in our position and could give words of wisdom. Thanks.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 9:56 PM Go to message in response to: almostMIL

I agree with Bird. It is tough for me NOT to bash your son. I've got two daughters age 24 and 21, and if this were them, I would be furious with your son. For lying and covering it up and also for doing it in the first place. I doubt she'd of said yes if she knew, so he didn't tell her and now got caught. But, I don't believe that cheaters stop being cheaters. I guess maybe some do, but I sure would not want my daughters to marry someone they knew already cheated on them, from the sounds of it, more than once. so, since I picture them, my response is probably more harsh than someone who is not the mom of 20 something year old girls.

If my son did something like this, I would be furious with him. If I covered it because it was the right thing to do, I would most definitely require him to reimburse ALL of it, over time, but ALL of it.

I'm sorry for you. But I don't think the best solution is to cover it for him and if you do, I'd suggest something in writing wehre he HAS to pay you back. AT least, he'll think it is official.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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FutureMrsDJLeo Posts : 615 Registered: 2/26/09
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 10:09 PM Go to message in response to: almostMIL

I agree with the others, that HE should pay back every cent. I don't think it matters if that isn't proper ettiquette or not, what he did was unethical.

I don't think you should be paying back either. If he's mature enough, and adult enough to get married he shouldn't need his parents covering his mistakes. If he has to go into his savings, or take out a loan, or work long hours, just to pay back her parents, then that is what he needs to do. I know if that was my son I wouldn't be covering for him.

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almostMIL Posts : 6 Registered: 4/18/10
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 11:29 PM Go to message in response to: FutureMrsDJLeo

Thanks ladies for your answers and perspectives. You have been very helpful.

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auntofthebride Posts : 9,354 Registered: 4/2/06
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 18, 2010 11:52 PM Go to message in response to: almostMIL

Dear Almost,

I am the mother of two adult sons.

Here is what I would do, if I were in your situation.

First, I would ask myself if the money advanced for the wedding is in line with my own lifestyle. If I am of a moderate, middle class income, and if the bride's parents were similarly of a moderate, middle class income and if the wedding was in line with a moderate, middle class income, then I would consider it appropriate to reimburse the bride and her family for the out-of-pocket costs.

However, if the bride was from a wealthy family and if an extravagent wedding was planned, well beyond my moderate, middle class income means, I would consider it appropriate to reimburse the bride and her family as much as I could afford. In other words, I would ask myself what I might have budgeted for a wedding for a hypothetical daughter, and then offer them something along those lines. I would hope they realize that for me, $X is a large amount of money and realize the thought behind the gesture.

Next, I would ask myself if my son was trustworthy to pay me back, should I advance him the money to reimburse the bride's family. If I believe that my son will pay me back, eventually, then I would (1) pay the bride's family out of my own pocket as a way of making them whole as soon as possible and (2) ask my son to sign a legal promissory note for the entire amount. Then, as he earns money he can pay a minimal amount towards the debt. Once he finishes school, he can start paying more on a monthly basis to retire the debt.

And, yes, I would charge interest on the loan.

If I believe my son is not trustworthy, then I would look at what he owns and can sell to pay this back. Can he sell his car? His motorcycle? In other words, I would make it very painful for him in the here-and-now if he cannot be trusted to honor a debt into the future.

I would also have a talk with him about the possiblity of the bride's family suing him in court for the money, and the dubious joys of having a judgement over his head for the indefinite future.

As you said, this was not an engagement that was broken by mutual consent. This was broken by his own despicable actions and lying by omission. He ought to own up to his responsibility and pay for his mistakes.

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cyndi33 Posts : 2,585 Registered: 1/3/07
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 12:15 AM Go to message in response to: auntofthebride

AOTB, I think that is wonderful advice and agree with all of it. Glad you found the thread. I do, again, agree with all you said.

 Proud Member of P.O.O.P.,  People Offended by Offended People

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EWF Posts : 158 Registered: 7/16/09
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 11:06 AM Go to message in response to: almostMIL

I am assuming that there is a ring that your son's ex-fiance has returned to him. Your son should sell the ring and give the money to his ex-fiance's family. He was obviously going to be taking on the responsibility of paying for a wife, whether or not he was in college (unless you were going to support them), so he should take the responsibility of paying her parents, not you.

 

 

Proud Member of P.O.O.P - People Offended by Offended People

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MsDenuninani Posts : 3,962 Registered: 3/16/07
Re: Proper etiquette for Broken Engagement
Posted: Apr 19, 2010 11:41 AM Go to message in response to: EWF

Does she not have an engagement ring that could pay for some of the expenses?

Personally, it's my opinion that paying for part of the wedding expenses is a nice, classy thing to do, but neither he nor his parents are obligated to do it. And if, as a parent, I did want to get into it, that would be out of a sense of my personal regret about everything -- it's completely up to the son whether or not he feels he should reimburse anyone.

What I'm saying is this -- while it's possible that the parents completely know about the lives and workings of this couple, I doubt it. When it comes to the break-ups/make-ups of others, only those two people really know what went down in their relationship. It's easy to lay fault at his doorstep -- but she chose him, and who knows what her reasons were, or what her parents even know about it all.

Just some dissenting thoughts to chew on.


__________________________________________

"I'd hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, or insanity, but they've always worked for me." Hunter S. Thompson

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