Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How Can I Thank Them?

There are no words to describe your parents when they are paying for your wedding. They are more than gracious. They blew by generous about $5,000 ago. How can you ever thank someone for such a contribution?

Yeah this doesn't work.....
Let's try this one:
"Here is a $3 thank-you card. Thanks for paying for my wedding instead of buying a new car for mom this year, even if it is falling apart from that time I wrecked it a few years ago."
Two nights ago I sat in the kitchen and just talked to my dad. I realized I hadn't talked to him in ages about anything not related to wedding stuff. He told me funny stories about his business, and we talked about how his crops are doing. I realized that I can still be a person/daughter/girlfriend while I am in the middle of being a bride (are you really only a bride on your wedding day? I feel like I am a bride right now), and it reminded me that I need to take time to show my gratitude.

This week I took them to dinner, and had the waiter deliver a thank you note instead of the bill. It was a drop in the bucket compared to what they are spending on me, as the bill for the meal for the three of us was actually the same amount that my wedding bouquet is costing (flowers are ridiculous). It put things in perspective, and it gave the three of us the chance to talk.

I guess I should start working on those grandchildren for them. I think once they hold that first little baby in their arms all debts will be paid.

And just to note, they don't make me feel guilty for what they are doing. This is an irrational case of self-inflicted guilt I am harboring, and I am harboring suspicions that I am not alone in this.

How did you show your gratitude for those who made substantial financial contributions to your wedding?


EthidiumBromide said...

It's tough. We have yet to come up with a truly appropriate thank you gift, and we were married almost 4 months ago. Wait -- 4 months ago today! Ha. I wonder how long it would have taken me to realize that. Time to defrost our monthiversary piece of the wedding cake!

Anyway, regardless of the cost, your parents will never put a financial limit on the joy of marrying off a child, and seeing you happy and enjoying the day is the best way to repay them. Seriously. My parents spent a FORTUNE on the wedding. In the end, we nearly tripled the already gigantic original budget they had set (though not all my fault! they kept inviting more and more and more of their friends!! and making more absurd demands!!), and a few days later, we called to say goodbye as we were sitting in the airport to fly off for our honeymoon, and my father's exact words were "I never thought I'd say this after your wedding cost more quadruple [my parents] entire college tuition combined... but seeing all our family and friends in the same place at the same time made it worth absolutely every single penny I spent."

Take the time to truly ENJOY the day. That's what your parents want the most!

Also, I know this is hard to do unless there is anything special to celebrate for your parents coming up, but we got married the day before my parents 35th anniversary, so at the wedding, we had their original bridal party (they all came!) come up on the dance floor and took a picture of them, all lined up in the same order that they were at the wedding, and framed it in a double frame with the original picture, and gave it to my parents afterward. My parents loved the thought, and the extra little recognition at the wedding of having made it to 35 years which is getting rarer these days, and it didn't cost us much (as we were financially wiped out from contributing to the wedding as well).

Guilty Secret said...

That was such a sweet gesture having the waiter bring a thank you note. I must remember that one.

It is fantastic that you are thinking about this, but don't worry about it, will you? They don't want to be repaid. They love you, they want to do this for you and they want to see you happy. Of course you should show your gratitude, but try your best not to feel guilty, because I'm sure that's the last thing they want.

I bet you're right a few grandkids wouldn't go amiss, though...

Whitney said...

I didn't know how to say thank you either. But that is all I could do. I was very grateful and said thank you and I will always be paying back my gratitude in the way I treat them. Jaren's parents live 2 miles from us, we have dinner there every Sunday. And my husband takes very good care of them and I try as best I can to fit in where I can. As for my parents, the best thing I think I can do is to communicate. Call, talk, listen and try to visit as much as possible. I think they just need to always know I am grateful for them and for not just my wedding, but raising me. Because I kind of think I turned out pretty good:)

And I can't get over how much your dad looks like Mike. It's so weird! Were they twins? Or just brothers? Because if they aren't twins, they can sure pass as them.

Amanda said...

That is so sweet. I can completely relate to you here. My parents are making a lot of sacrifices to give me my dream wedding (thank God I'm practical and don't have dreams of Swarovski centerpieces and Manolos for the bridesmaids!). I think I'm going to "borrow" your idea and take my parents out to dinner. While it may pale in comparison to the bill they're footing in the end, it would really mean a lot to them. Such a wonderful idea! (they want grand kids too, but they're going to have to wait a few more years for that!)

Thanks so much and best of luck with your wedding!

Anonymous said...

That was a nice gesture to take your parents out to dinner!

DH and I were going to give each of our parents a weekend getaway in the mountains, but my mum was like: "We gave you this money so that you could have a lovely celebration. Don't waste it by giving us a large portion back. Invite us over to dinner in your new place once you are settled." (My parents aren't really "go out to dinner" types as there are so many allergies it gets a bit stressful.)
For his parents, we're undecided for I think that they would like to get away, as they've never really had the opportunity. But we'll see :)

Shaylene Rene' Photography said...

You are so right about the grandchildren thing! All debts for life will be paid in full then! Although my kids will pay off debts better because I will be living in the same country!

Mrs. in May said...

This is a huge dilemma for us as well and just one that I keep ignoring. Our wedding is about 7 months away but I know it is going to creep up on us and if we want to do something thoughtful I better start that thought process now. We have 3 sets of parents, in-laws, then my mom and stepdad and dad and stepmom. They are all equally involved and equally fantastic. I am in LOVE with your idea of dinner and the thank you. But I also know that I would like to present them with an actual token of something at our rehearsal dinner. I hope you get lots of comments with ideas here !!! I am in desperate need of some thoughts!

Riley (aka Rachel) said...

This is a beautiful post!!
What you did was very thoughtful and sweet!

You're right - you are so not alone in this. My parents are contributing pretty much all of the money for our wedding too, and I've been struggling with how to really tell them how appreciative I am. And also, like you, I'm trying to actually just talk to them about other things going on in life - not just WEDDING!

I guess, in the end, how we treat them from here on out is the best present we can give them. Of course, if I were to happen to win the lottery, I'm sure that my parents wouldn't refuse a new car... ;-)

Jess and Carl said...

You are so sweet and I am sure your parents have enjoyed spending every penny on their little princess! I like the getting started on grandchildren idea! I need more friends having kids! I don't want to be the only one with kids at our 10 year reunion 5 years from now! :) As far as gratitude... well I think it's something you spend the rest of your life showing... through phone calls, visits, pictures, and the little things... there are never enough words or acts that can show parents how much we are truly grateful for them and love them!

Dana said...

I love the card. The dry humor is so me and fiance'. My mom is helping alot with our wedding, so I am think about planning a trip to her favorite place to go VEGAS!!! I am going to plan it for sometime for next fall.

I am also making her scrapbook to give to her at the rehersal dinner.

Jenna said...

ethidium-I hope to hear my father say the same thing.

dana-I think some kind of photo scrapbook would be right as well.