Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.
DEAR AMY: Our son got married last week at our house.
It was a lovely wedding. Everything went wonderfully. Until now -- now we have bills coming to us for things we did not agree to pay for. We clearly told our son our budget ahead of time, and I think we were quite generous. We spent at least as much as the bride's family, maybe more. Our son's birth mother (my husband's ex-wife) took it upon herself to bring food to the wedding (which we did not solicit but were grateful for), and now she insists we pay her for it! She also took our son and his fiancee to a rental company to rent chairs for the wedding, which at the time I thought was nice. But then she had the bill sent to us! This was not part of the expense that we agreed to. These bills amount to an additional $600. We can't afford it. The ex-wife did not ask us for these things -- yet she is now demanding we pay. I'm hurt because our contribution to the wedding is being diminished, and my husband and I are being painted as cheapskates. It's causing quite a rift with our son.Mother of the GroomDEAR MOTHER: My reading of your letter is that your husband's ex-wife has incurred these bills in her name and is now sending them to you, asking for reimbursement.
So don't do it. Tell her you didn't agree to these expenses, you can't afford the expenses and you won't be reimbursing her for these contributions.
Your son is pressuring you to pay these bills, and you can assume that his mother is pressuring him. Perhaps he is financially in a position to pay his mother a little bit each month until she feels adequately appreciated and reimbursed.
If you are being painted as cheap, you should hold your head up and say, "Well it was a wonderful event, and we have no regrets. We're sorry you feel the way you do, but we've done our best, and -- by the way -- you're welcome."