Dear Amy: My daughter is going to be celebrating her quinceañera this summer. Things are very tight for me moneywise, and this costly celebration will put a strain on me.
I am divorced from her mom, who has remarried and is extremely comfortable financially. She's bought a new home, put in a pool, traveled all around the country, etc. I do not begrudge her this, and I am happy for her new life.
While I can offer to split the costs of the quinceañera 50-50 (as I should), I am going to have only about a dozen people present, while my ex-wife will have nearly 100. My family drinks very little alcohol, while my ex's friends and family are known to go overboard in this area, and I fear the alcohol portion of the bill is going to be astronomical. I am not convinced I should be expected to pay half of it.
I was curious if you agree with me and how I may go about approaching this with her so as not to ruffle feathers.
Amy says: You should meet with your ex and her husband, and the three of you should go over the details and the related costs of this important — and sometimes lavish — celebration (traditionally given for Latinx girls on their 15th birthday).
I assume your ex is aware of your financial situation, as well as the disproportional representation of your family members at the party. Yes, you certainly could offer to cover half of the costs, minus alcohol.
You must be honest about your personal limit, and also offer to find ways to cut costs. You might be able to raise additional funds from your daughter's padrinos and madrinas (godparents and friends), who traditionally sometimes choose to honor the family by taking on an expense related to the celebration.
No RSVP? Ask why
Dear Amy: My husband and I got married 35 years ago. Our wedding was wonderful — with one exception that still haunts me.
After sending out the invitations, I heard back from everyone except about a half-dozen people. At the time, I asked my mother, who always knew the socially correct action to take (I still have her 1920s edition of Emily Post's "Etiquette"), what to do. She advised me not to contact them so as to "not offend" their choice of not responding. So, I did nothing.
Long story short, these friends never got their invitations. I found out much later that they were extremely hurt because they thought they weren't invited. My apologies and explanations were for naught. Either they didn't believe me, or they took it so personally that the friendships were never the same, and some dissolved entirely.
Mine is the cautionary tale. When I read a recent column of yours and saw your advice regarding hosts following up on invitations, my heart sang. Yes, any would-be guest who has received a "Save the Date" but no actual wedding invitation should contact the couple to follow up. But also, may I add that all future "marrieds-to-be" should contact all guests from whom they have not received a response.
Amy says: This past year, especially, it has been important that anyone planning — or planning to attend — an event should follow up to make sure they have all of the details correct. Because of the pandemic, so many festivities have been canceled, rescheduled or scaled down that it has been extremely easy for guests and hosts to lose track.
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