Shortcuts: “We Can’t Afford My Dream Wedding”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

I have been engaged for going on six years to the same guy and we have two kids together. We can’t afford a wedding dress, let alone a wedding. Our families can’t help. They are either disabled, have no money, or are no longer here. We do want to get married, and we want everyone to come, but times are hard. We have a big family (but few friends). We love each other and need help to make it come true. I always wanted to make my dress, but I can’t because that takes time and money, which are things I don’t have. Help? — Bride in Waiting

Do you want to be married or do you want a dream wedding? If it’s the former, you can do that with little to no money at all. Just go down to the court house to say your “I Dos” and then have a potluck reception at your home — or the home of a close family member — afterward. Wear a dress you already own, borrow one from someone, or hit a thrift store and look for something appropriate. There’s no excuse NOT to get married after six years and two kids if you really want to. You can always throw a lavish anniversary party down the road if your financial situation changes.

I have a good friend from college that I’ve known for years now. He is generally a fun, decent, smart person and a friend that I care about very much, but his insistence on always driving, even after he’s had what we think is too much to drink, is really becoming a growing concern for me and my friends.

We’ve tried all manner of ways to convince him not to drive after drinking, and nothing seems to sink in. If it wasn’t enough that his friends are always opposing his decision to drive, he’s also wrecked one car (with some of our friends as passengers) from driving recklessly after drinking, which he insists was not in any way alcohol-related. Luckily no one was hurt (except the car, which was totaled), and the police didn’t do any sort of sobriety testing for some reason, but I can’t understand how all of the talks against drunk driving PLUS the financial/logistical issues of losing your car haven’t sunk in a bit.

We live in a city where public transportation is not an issue, not to mention my apartment is well-equipped for boozy friends to stay the night. I believe every adult is capable of making his own decisions, and that everyone is responsible for his or her own choices, good and bad. But what do you do when your friend insists on making a potentially harmful choice time and time again? — Concerned Friend

Quit inviting him to places where there will be booze.

I have had a boyfriend for the past 10 months whom I met on a dating site. He is still active on the site and says he just likes chatting with other women to hear all their different stories. How should I feel about this? — A Storied Site

Not good. MOA.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.


  1. kerrycontrary says:

    About LW3….I recently met with a friend who met a new guy on a dating site. She was telling me how they had the exclusivity talk because he saw that she took down her profile. He said “I don’t want to date anyone else but I’ll probably keep my profile active”. Um…what?

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      PS did anyone read that article from The Atlantic on monogamy and online dating?

      1. zombeyonce says:

        Do you have a link? I’d be interested in reading it.

  2. I don’t get how somebody can be engaged for “going on 6 years.” Like, what? You can’t just say you’re engaged when there’s no plans to have a wedding.

    But anyway LW, there’s actually nothing stopping you from getting married. Why don’t you do something like Wendy suggested, & go to the courts, & then invite family back to your place (or go out to a restaurant, if you can afford something like that)?

    1. Avatar photo thewriteway says:

      I don’t understand it either. I know a girl who has a relationship like this. Not that her and her bf aren’t a good, stable couple, but I find it a little odd that they are engaged (for at least three or four years now) with no wedding date set. Her family has had some financial issues and she has been having trouble finishing school. I know her fiance works, but I’m not entirely sure what is holding them back. But yes, she has a ring, they call themselves “engaged” but when I asked if they had a date set, she said no. And it doesn’t look like one will be set anytime soon. So odd.

      1. I feel like the extended engagement is more common these days. When my fiance and I got engaged, we set down and picked a wedding date 8 months away and started planning. But we have friends who are doing much longer engagements with no date set. That definitely wouldn’t work for me.

      2. My engagement lasted a year and a half, and that felt long. We got engaged the spring before I graduated from school, and I wanted a summerish wedding. We didn’t have time to plan that summer, so we got married the following summer. But it felt like a really long engagement.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Ours will be 14 months when we finally get married. It’s about 8 months too long in my opinion. We “had” to wait so long in order to schedule around other family weddings and school schedules.

      4. SpaceySteph says:

        I work with a couple guys who went from engagement to marriage in very short periods of time. (The “gold standard” is a guy who threw together a wedding in 4 weeks and sent evites.) One of them said to me “weddings fill the space you give them.” Words to live by, man. The longer you leave to plan, the more time you have to come up with ideas. In weddings, ideas almost always cost $$!

      5. so many people wont get married until things are “right”, so maybe for your friend that is after her family’s financial struggles are over (how could she burden everyone with a wedding right now?) and/or after she finishes school… i get the logic, but i also find it odd. if you want to get married, just do it. literally, just go to the courthouse or take a three day trip to vegas.

        maybe she is doing her family a favor by waiting. i really could see that happening… but even still. if you want to get married, just do it. a wedding is different from married.

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        I have a friend (male) who has been engaged over a year now and no plan in sight. I’m pretty sure he proposed just to get his gf off his back/please her/let her know he’s committed long term.

      7. yikes. that sucks.

        i do think there are good, legit reasons to have a long engagement… but, on the flip side of that- its literally an afternoon at the courthouse. you can just go do it, and any time, engagement or not. if you want to be married, be married.

      8. Avatar photo thewriteway says:

        That doesn’t sound very promising, but maybe I am reading it wrong .It kind of makes me cringe because I read it like he got sucked into it…

      9. She could do her family a favor by getting married. How do you have 2 kids and haven’t made it to the courthouse in 6 years!?! Who pays health insurance? What legal protections have they put in place for their children!?!

        Yet the LW is worried about a dress. Oy, this sounds like such an immature situation.

      10. LW #1 I can understand. I was suppose to get married in 2010, but our money situation went downhill, i lost my job, we almost lost the house etc. And we tried to work it out in 2011 but we were still not ok money wise. We wantee the big wedding, the fancy hall etc. You know what YOU DO NOT NEED IT. We talked and talked and the ceremony is the most important thing, not some big fancy party, after-party, next day brunch etc. It is the vows you take. After long talks and tired of waiting we mutually decided to still have the ceremony in our church (more so for our parents, we are not very religious) and host a small reception in our backyard. And you know what, our families are more excited and looking foward to our casual backyard wedding than they were for a big fancy ballroom wedding. It is sooo worth it. Invite the people closest to you, use the flowers out of your garden, and have a bbq. Idk where you live, but if it is a small wedding you can have it catered and not spend a fortune.

      11. Love.

        I’m so sick and tired of people telling others what you should and shouldn’t do for your wedding. You are not less married at the end of the day because you wore a pretty sun dress to the court house. Or if you had a potluck or a BBQ or went for Hakka at a hole in the wall diner. You do you. Anyone throwing the word “should” at you – particularly under the auspices of etiquette can shove it. Judging someone has never been considered good manners.

      12. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I’m just so sick and tired of talking about weddings in general.

        And the next person that tells me Sally isn’t following etiquette is going to get punched in their hot pocket. How’s that for etiquette?

        Happy Friday everyone!

      13. Only if the hot pocket was provided by Cory Booker 😉

      14. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Honesty, I have to agree. I was a little bummed there was a wedding letter again.

      15. Amen

    2. Avatar photo lemongrass says:

      Before we got engaged I was ready and my husband wasn’t. He said why don’t we compromise and get you a promise ring-I promise I will marry you someday. I said fuck that idea- a commitment to make a commitment to make a further commitment? Propose to me when you are ready to get married.

      1. I’m totally ready to be married, but our state laws don’t allow it. It will be at least a year and then some that we’ll have been engaged before the laws change, if not more. Straight people have it easy.

      2. I’m assuming you’ve rejected the idea of a commitment ceremony? I’m gay and I luckily live in MD where it just got legalized, and where they would recognize other states’ marriages before that. Are you waiting for the legal thing? I can understand that, but I was just wondering what your logic was.

        (I hope this is coming across right. I’m definitely not attacking your decision, I’m just interested to hear another person’s thought process on gay marriage.)

      3. This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot too, because I live in Utah, where it feels like there is no point to having a commitment ceremony because the state is so hostile to it— but, on the other hand, we want to get married and even have engagement rings we both wear.

        :/ I don’t know (to jump into the convo)? We’ve talked about waiting till California is legal, eloping to Canada (which our friends have talked about doing), having a commitment ceremony here. . . I want to get married, but we’re broke and if there’s nothing legal about it, I just we’d rather just wait till we can have a better party? If it became legal, though, I would throw on a dress from my closet and buy some flowers on the way to the courthouse.

      4. blarfengar says:

        What state do you live in if you don’t mind me asking? I’m from a state where gay marriage is legal, so I’ve wanted to donate to some pro-equality politician in a state where it’s on the fence – you know, spread the love elsewhere. I obviously don’t have a ton of money to throw around so I like the idea of focusing it somewhere where a fellow DW reader is hoping to get hitched.

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Good for you lemongrass.

    3. zombeyonce says:

      With LW1, the way it was worded, especially with the “Help?” at the end, made me feel like she was hoping that Wendy would have a money drive for her wedding the way there have been fundraising efforts for worthy causes here lately (which is awesome). I hope I’m not just reading into it, but she didn’t ask how to have a cheap wedding, she just laid out why she thinks she should get a big wedding and then asked for help. Am I off here?

      1. Eek. You might be onto something: “We love each other and need help to make it come true.”

        Sorry, we only help cats around here 🙂

      2. Omg that’s all I can read into that letter now! tacky

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I thought the same thing!

      4. Same here. Tacky. Saving a cat’s life is one thing. Buying a stranger a pretty dress? I don’t think so. She doesn’t need it.

      5. stickelet says:

        I thought the same thing reading the letter!

      6. That’s what I thought as I read it too.

    4. One of my cousins has been engaged for TEN YEARS. It’s like… what??? I think she (actually both of them) keep trying to plan this lavish destination wedding. First it was Mexico, then I don’t even know where, now it’s Italy. There’s almost no one invited because they don’t want to burden the enormous family with traveling and room/board, but still. Ten years planning a wedding? Especially that almost no one will see? Just do it and have a fabulous honeymoon!! *so confused*

    5. Avatar photo honeybeegood says:

      I agree with Wendy’s opinion that if you’re engaged you should be ready to get married the next day if your fairy godparents threw in and got everything together for you- I think it’s quite sound advice, and how I feel for myself. I think some couples are happy to just be “engaged” regardless if a wedding happens or not. (Obviously not the case for this LW.)

      My aunt has been married twice to crazies. I never met my first Uncle and father of my three cousins. Her next husband she married when I was little, and divorced when I was a teenager. Shes been with the same guy for probably 15 years at this point. She simply doesn’t want to get married again, but they are quite committed. She’s stated he can buy her a ring and they could be “engaged” as a way to show their commitment, but she won’t get married again no matter what.

  3. LW1…my brother was in the exact same boat…we ended up having a minister come out to my SIL’s fathers farm to perform a small ceremony in front of the family and then had a potluck/bar-b-q…with a little creativity you don’t need a great deal of money to have a really nice wedding
    LW2…your friend is responsible for his own decisions…all you can do is keep reminding him how stupid he is behaving and DO NOT ever get in a car with him…(i have a similar problem with someone…i was so tempted to call the cops the one night to report a drunk driver but couldn’t go through with it)
    LW3…sounds like you are not exclusive…if this isn’t something you want then MOA

    1. My husband was killed by a drunk driver. I would have appreciated it if that man’s friends had called the police before he had the chance to murder my husband.

      1. I”m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story- I think the LW really needs to know that her friend’s actions WILL have serious consequences. Not just for himself, but for many innocent people.

      2. I’m so sorry for your loss, Zara. I agree, it is beyond horrible that someone would drive when they are intoxicated. I don’t know why the LW would want to be friends with someone so reckless and dangerous to others on a regular basis.

      3. I’m so sorry.

      4. Temperance says:

        I’m so, so sorry for your loss. My aunt and her best friend were murdered by a drunk driver over the summer, and I was just about to ream out LW2.

        I still may.

      5. blarfengar says:

        Ughh, I haven’t lost anyone to drunk driving, but I’m just so angry that in this relatively small community, we have two people present who have lost someone they love to such a senseless and preventable thing. I’m really sorry Temperance and Zara.

      6. Avatar photo honeybeegood says:

        I’m so sorry for your loss. I don’t understand how someone can consider a person with this attitude a friend. It’s not even as if the lw wrote in saying “my friend drives sometimes when he’s probably one beer over the limit.” Which is still very wrong in my opinion, but a whole different story from this guys over the top behavior. How do you total a freaking car, almost kill your friends, and still continue on with your behavior. Mind. Blown.

  4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    LW1- Seriously, listen to Wendy. Do you want a wedding or a marriage? I’m hoping you pick the second option.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Also, another option may be a small wedding and a cake and punch reception at your home. Have you looked at David’s Bridal for a dress? They have $99 dresses that are beautiful. Most grocery stores make lovely wedding cakes and some sodas/punch won’t be too expensive. So we’re looking at maybe $500 for a ceremony and reception.

      1. artsygirl says:

        The $99 is a myth unfortunately. Yes they sell you on the $99 dress but then normally you have to throw in a lot more for alterations.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Just find one that fits ok off the rack then.

      3. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        But you don’t HAVE to get alterations. Plus the LW said she wants to make her own dress so it sounds like she could do basic alterations herself. My point is- if there is a will, there is a way. Seriously. If you want to be married you can make it happen. If you just want a pretty, pretty princess wedding, your goals in life are probably misplaced.

      4. artsygirl says:

        I agree with your Gator, I am just saying that as soon as you mention ‘wedding’ everything jumps in price. Also, I will say that at the bare minimum you need to get the dress hemmed. I swear they make them for women who are over 6 feet tall just to make sure 99.9% of women have to have them altered.

      5. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I lied when getting quotes for my wedding (only to the tent rental people) saying we were holding a large family get together, not a wedding. That word adds like 20% to the cost.

        You can also take the dress to a different place- not associated with David’s Bridal for alterations. I’m sure they are way inflated there. My dress is a solid 18 inches too long.

      6. I just wore heels, rather than pay the $80 to hem it up an inch.

      7. SpaceySteph says:

        Yup got a bridesmaid dress from there. It needed to be taken in at the waist already, but it was just touching the floor with my heels on, so I opted for the trip hazard over the additional $60 to hem it.

      8. Wow this is the first time I’m hearing about how much David’s Bridal charges for alterations! That’s ridiculous. Tailors are the best kept secret ever… younger generations don’t seem to understand that! I can buy a suit on sale for super cheap and get it altered for super cheap and then it fits like a glove, voila! Even clothes that fit you fit a little better if you get them tailored, and it’s so much more flattering. And I love supporting my local tailor, he’s awesome at his craft.

        So that’s my rant on tailors. Everyone, bring your dresses to your local tailor!

      9. You can get a dress for way less than $99 if you browse the homecoming/prom dress racks. My friend paid $40 for her wedding dress and it was beautiful.

      10. i wore a white prom dress once and i did have to get it hemmed, and the lady asked if i was getting married… lol, i was like… 16? really, lady?

        but seriously, yes- there are tons of white dresses in the world that dont come from a wedding dress store. wear a white shirt for all anyone cares. its not a huge deal.

      11. My prom dress was ivory- I got it from Black House White Market (or White Market Black House?!) a million years ago. It totally could have passed for a wedding dress.

      12. White House Black Market

      13. Yep, I bought a white dress for my cotillion (junior prom) & had it shortened to cocktail length. But anyway, it was a Jessica McClintock that was on sale at Macy’s for…wait for it…$18 dollars.

        LW, I promise you can find a nice quality, affordable gown.

      14. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Or, who cares if you wear white?? Just wear something! Or nothing.

      15. When I get married, I think I’m going with the pre-Victorian “wear your best dress” tradition and wearing my fab purple dress. I actually got it for free–it was a gift from my amazing mom–but it sells for about $100. And it’s a fabric with some stretch, so no alterations.

      16. Megan_A_Mess says:

        My dress will also be purple! It’s a knee length, v-neck number with pretty eyelet edging. I found it on Amazon for $40! The shoes I plan on wearing with it will cost more than the dress itself! Altogether my outfit will be under $100.

      17. blarfengar says:

        The alterations on my dress were less than $75. Just go to an independent seamstress rather than having them do them at David’s. And if you can’t save up $75 extra dollars for alterations, there are plenty of pretty white dresses that aren’t specifically wedding dresses at Macy’s or on Modcloth.com.

      18. Avatar photo theattack says:

        Second this. I got my dress from David’s Bridal (not a $99 dress at all), and the alterations have ended up costing as much as the dress itself. My dress is too complicated to trust someone who hadn’t altered that type before, so I didn’t really have a choice. When I looked at my alterations receipt, I wished I had gotten the tea-length dress I tried on, because it would have been so much cheaper to alter.

        My advice about alterations is to find something that either doesn’t need to be altered or that can be altered cheaply.

      19. lets_be_honest says:

        My mom did that when she got remarried. David’s Bridal ($99), sheet cake from grocery store, church, “reception” in her living room with about 15-20 family members. It was lovely. Total cost was probably under $500, maybe even less.

      20. kerrycontrary says:

        You can also buy a white dress (not a gown) at white house/black market for under $100. I have a “in case my BF gets deployed and we get married at a courthouse” from there…I’ve worn the dress other places, but it’s a good back up option!

  5. My best friend was completely totally broke when she got married, but she did it anyway (she also had very small children, was at home with a baby while her fiance was working overnights as a janitor for minimum wage). I took her to a thrift shop and bought her an actual wedding dress for $30 (she was so happy she cried). I did her makeup for her the day of. My mom lent her some jewelry to brighten up her outfit and bought her a white rose to put in her hair.

    Then we went downtown to the courthouse, they were officially married, and we went to the diner down the street for lunch. A week later, her husbands aunts and uncles etc. had a potluck lunch for her.

    So Wendy is right, if you really want to get married, you’ll find a way and you can throw a big bash in the future when money is better.

  6. LW1 – you need to dream a different dream. Dream more of being married to the father of your children and less of the “wedding”. Court house, pretty dress, and a potluck with your loved ones sounds lovely.

    LW2 – your friend isn’t decent – he is a criminal endangering innocent people on the regular. I know it is hard but I would call the police. You might be saving his life as well as others.

    LW3 – you should feel like you aren’t in a committed relationship…

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Great LW2 comment. I’m also confused why her and her friends are willing to get in the car with a drunk person.

      1. I’m confused why they are still friends with him. Being a drunk is one thing. Driving drunk something completely different. That would be a deal breaker for me.

      2. Me too. If I found out that any of my friends drove drunk, that’d be the end of the friendship. They are risking the lives of innocent people.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Yea, its pretty surprising. Would you still want to be his friend when he kills a family driving home? I don’t understand why more people don’t find that behavior unacceptable.

      4. That’s what happened to the boy I went to school with. Family was driving home from picking out their Christmas tree. Hit by drunk driver. Mother and son dead.

      5. Avatar photo call-me-hobo says:

        That happened to my mother. Her mom and dad were driving home and were hit head on by a drunk driver. One bad desicion left four children under the age of 8 orphaned.

      6. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        So here is a question- what is drunk driving to you? I know the legal definition but sometimes in practice it’s hard to deturmine, you know? Some people it’s any drop of alcohol, others are okay with one drink (maybe two if it’s a few hours).

      7. kerrycontrary says:

        It seems like this guy is way above the legal limit as he crashed his car.

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Whatever the law is, honestly. I think its a good guide. Where I live, you can have 1 – 1 1/2 I think. If you go to dinner and have a glass of wine, you can drive still, legally. If you are a “lightweight,” then don’t.

      9. Drinks/hour is difficult since It depends on the size and gender of the person how quickly alcohol leaves your blood stream. For me, if I’m driving I do not drink at all. Ever. A drink with dinner wouldn’t bother me but if a friend’s judgement seems impaired to me I would tell them they are staying over.

      10. This is such a tricky question. I do take into account number of drinks and time, but usually I focus on my senses: do I feel fuzzy? Are my reflexes slower than average? How is my coordination? The way the body responds to alcohol is so dependent on multiple factors (lack of sleep, emotional state, etc.). There are times where I am sure my blood alcohol level was legal but *I* didn’t feel like I should be driving, so I waited it out. From my observations of people at parties, people usually overestimate rather than underestimate their sobriety, and it’s definitely a problem.

      11. lets_be_honest says:

        I think using your judgment, with time/amount of drinks is wise, but I think the problem is that once you have a buzz going, you think you’re ok or you’re just not thinking at all. Its so dangerous. I just don’t get why people don’t plan ahead. If I know I’m drinking, I make sure my bf isn’t, or make sure cabs are available. Its so easy to avoid, but people don’t.

      12. kerrycontrary says:

        I agree, I never use my personal judgement to figure out whether I can drive or not. If I’ve had more than 1 drink an hour, or more than 2 drinks total I’m not driving. Period.

      13. I understand what you are saying, but that isn’t a problem for me. I am EXTREMELY conservative about my sense of whether I can drive or not. It might also help that I never really drink that much to start with. As I said, “people usually overestimate rather than underestimate their sobriety, and it’s definitely a problem,” so I agree that personal judgment isn’t a good policy for everyone. Although, everyone I know in medical school is super-safe about the drinking/driving thing (even those that seem like they are trying to kill their livers with alcohol).

      14. I think you’re right lbh and that’s exactly why such a shockingly high number of people end up, let’s call it “buzzed driving”. Once you’re a little buzzed, your judgment is already impaired. The only way for many people to avoid drunk driving or even buzzed driving which is also bad, is to plan ahead. Especially in cities like LA where you don’t have many options other than driving. I mean think about it, you get out to your car, you’ve had a couple strong drinks, it’s kind of a grey area… but if you choose not to drive in that moment, then you’ve got to pay a cab $40 to get home, then find some way to get back to your car the next morning and pray it doesn’t get towed… or you can just hop in and be home and be done with all of that. I’m definitely NOT defending drunk drivers at all, my friend’s dad was killed by a drunk driver and I realize the consequences are devastating. But when you have alcohol being served all over the place and a serious lack of public transportation… it seems like we really need to educate young people about planning their drinking better.

      15. If I have 2-3 beers over a dinner out with a friend or at a party I would drive. However, I wouldn’t drive after more than 2 glasses of wine. For some reason wine makes me lose any sense of self control I have, and I can make some bad decisions.

        Sadly, my answer to this question when I was younger would have been much different.

      16. i think its hard to compare making calls about how *i* feel about driving drunk/not drunk, like others have been doing, and then making calls about someone else driving drunk/not drunk.

        i will drink if i feel ok to drive. if i dont, ill wait and eat until i feel ok. but if this guy was my friend… i mean, how do you say, “well, you had X amount of drinks today in X amount of time, so your BAC must be X%, you shouldnt drive tonight”? you know? how do you make those judgement calls about other people?

      17. lets_be_honest says:

        If you know he drank more than a beer or two an hour? I’m thinking this logic was more for the guy/girl who is clearly buzzed or drunk, because yea, it’d be hard to determine someone else’s ability to drive if he were not showing obvious signs of being drunk.

      18. yea, thats exactly what i mean.

        and then she says that the cops didnt do a sobriety test when he crashed the car… so maybe he isnt a fall-over drunk type? or maybe he isnt driving *drunk* but just buzzed? i dunno.

      19. Alcoholics can be shockingly functional at super high blood alcohol levels (as in, 0.3!). Maybe this guy is kinda like that.

      20. Avatar photo honeybeegood says:

        I’m so far from an alcoholic, yet I’ve had several friends comment on “never seeing me drunk.” I’m like… uh remember this night or that night? I was pretty drunk. I guess I handle my liquor well. Good thing I tend to drink more often in the summer when I can ride my bike. Wheee.

      21. bittergaymark says:

        Actually, I am VERY much opposed to drunk driving. But I was left wondering exactly how drunk the friend was for that car crash myself. I honestly don’t see how their wasn’t a test done at the scene of that accident. Hell, I was in a very minor accident a few years back and they asked all the drivers for a breathalyzer — even though it was the middle of the day. Even though nobody seemed drunk. It turned out that nobody was…

  7. As for LW 2, why can’t you call 911 to report a drunk driver? I’m not sure what the rules are in the US but where I live, you yourself can be arrested and charged if you knowingly let somebody drive drunk.

    Or why doesn’t somebody wrestle him down and take his keys away? YOU CANNOT LET HIM DRIVE!!!

    A boy I went to school with was killed by a drunk driver, along with his mother. Of course the driver was unharmed, and even though he’s been in and out of jail and had his license taken away, he’s STILL out there driving drunk and it makes the news every time he’s thrown back in jail.

    DO NOT let your friend kill somebody innocent because you were too afraid to call the cops on him.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Yup, it always seems the driver walks away unharmed. Have none of his friends lost someone or know someone who was killed by a drunk driver? I just find that hard to believe.

      1. This drives me insane. An entire family is annihilated but the drunk driver walks away with scratches. It’s always one if those things that make me question a merciful God. And vehicular homicide has such light penalties. Just like intention follows the bullet, I think intention should follow the driver that drinks and drives.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        I’d like to think they survive but have to live with that forever. Unfortunately, the most recent DD death I know of, the driver killed his BEST FRIEND on the way home from a bachelor party for his brother (so the groom lost his brother 2 days before the wedding), lied to the passengers about being sober, got NO jail time for it, but just an out patient rehab and therapy for killing his friend. That was a year ago. He was at the bar a few months later, like nothing was wrong at all. It was truly awful.

      3. Sure live with it – but live with it in jail for 25+ years. That story is beyond sad. I pray nothing like that ever happens to my family or else I’m the one that might end up in jail.

      4. Temperance says:

        The woman who killed my aunt, IMMEDIATELY AFTER KILLING HER(!), told the cops in a pissed-off voice that she guessed she wouldn’t be able to help plan her daughter’s wedding after this.


        Are those women okay?
        Are the kids that were in my car okay?

        But, oh shit, this is going to fuck up my daughter’s wedding.

      5. Avatar photo honeybeegood says:

        Wow! I’ve been in 4 car accidents (Driving in 2, neither of which were my fault.) Every time people got out of their vehicles and made sure everyone was okay. Or in the instance where I did get hurt immediately getting me medical attention. I just can’t believe the lack of compassion in some people.

      6. I remember learning about why the drunk person doesn’t usually die… If I remember correctly, it has something to do with the alcohol slowing down your “shock” response or something like that…? But anyway, yeah, it does suck that the a-hole is usually left alive.

      7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        That’s what I’ve heard. That a sober person’s body reacts more quickly and tenses up, while an intoxicated person’s reactions are slow and their body stays more relaxed. So since their body is relaxed they “go with the flow” and bounce around easier rather than fighting the movements or bracing. Ugh, sucky.

      8. Also the drunk driver is more likely to be the one in the “head-on” position. If the drunk hits the side of your car with the front of their car (as would happen if they ran a red light while you were in the intersection), you’re more at risk than them.

      9. Temperance says:

        THe woman who killed my aunt and her BFF is only going to do 15 – 40, and it was her 3rd DUI.

      10. Biologically speaking, a drunk driver is less in tune with their surroundings, and doesn’t “tense up” and brace for impact because their slower reaction time doesn’t allow it. He/she doesn’t really see the impact coming the way the sober family does. They stiffen up and brace for impact; they’re trying to fight the impending injuries — which is the normal reaction — but usually backfires. So the more relaxed your body is, the more easily it bends and curves with the crash, so to speak.

      11. My sister in law’s mother was an alcoholic who was killed when she was driving drunk. My SIL was about 14 at the time, and it was very hard on her. I think she blamed herself for not stopping her mother from drinking, even though there was nothing she could have done.

      12. some of my classmates in high school were killed by a drunk driver- two kids and the driver (older, “step-dad” type) were going on a beer run, and the guy ran into a traffic pole at some un-godly like 90 MPH or something.. and he was fine. they both died almost instantly… it never seems fair. and, they were drunk/high- at least one of them i remember for sure had been inebriated, and he still died and the driver was still fine.

        the world sucks.

      13. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I totally just remembered my dad killed a person while drunk driving. Wow. He was drag racing, while drunk, and hit another car, killing the person. He spent two years in jail (I think) and has a disfigured face because of it. One of my earliest memories is visiting him in jail. I don’t have any contact with him now since he was such a fuck up, but yeah…I can’t beleive I just remembered that.

      14. Temperance says:

        That’s exactly what happened to my aunt and her best friend. Her killer walked out with barely a scratch, my aunt died instantly and her best friend lost an arm before dying a week later.

    2. “I’m not sure what the rules are in the US but where I live, you yourself can be arrested and charged if you knowingly let somebody drive drunk. ”

      MissDre you’re in Canada right? I don’t think this type of law would ever pass in the U.S…. you’re never legally obligated to help anyone, is the basic rule, and I don’t think Americans would change that. Though in some states bartenders can be held responsible for drunks, but that’s a little different since they’re the ones serving (and profiting from) the alcohol.

      1. Actually I’ve read articles that state some states have laws on books that permit them to charge a social host for over serving – not just bar tenders. You may not be obligated to help but neither can you aid and abet in a situation likely to result in harm.

      2. Interesting… I don’t work in criminal law so I’m not up to date on those laws, I’m curious what states have them and if they’re ever enforced…

      3. One of the cities near me has a law that allows charges to be filed against homeowners if underage drinking is happening on their property.

      4. what about the parents of kids who are not even in the same state and are held responsible for the kids who drank at their house?

        what about permits and things that are needed when you have a large party where you are serving alcohol? those happen.

        i absolutely think that this LW could be held responsible if this guy kills someone after drinking at her apartment. especially with our sue-happy society… she might not be brought up on criminal charges, but a civil suit- definitely.

      5. To be clear I was talking about criminal liability. Yes you can sue someone for pretty much anything, but even then you are not generally liable unless you’ve contributed in some way to their harm in the first place, either through action or negligence, which is what you’re talking about. What MissDre was talking about, where friends who are partying with someone can be “arrested and charged” for not stopping their friend, that’s criminal liability, not civil, and I don’t see that ever happening here, except in cases where you mentioned that you are responsible for serving the person.

      6. Yes I’m in Canada. I’m not sure how often this law is investigated or enforced but it’s certainly talked about. It’s a bit controversial I think.

      7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I know for our wedding at my parents house we’re getting a certain type of insurance that protects my parents against being sued if our bartenders overserve the guests and something happens. So yes, you can definitely sue even if it was in a private residence. Our bartenders are liscensed and insured too just so no one thinks we’re hosting a binge drinking event. I know when I worked as a bartender (and my fiance still does) we could personally be sued/held liable for over serving a guest.

      8. I mentioned the bartender exception in my original comment. Your parents may be vicariously liable since the bartender is working for them. So that makes sense.

  8. artsygirl says:

    LW1- weddings can be pricey affairs but there are tons of ways to cut costs if you are smart. If you want a venue look into public parks or nature preserves which are either free or have a small fee attached. You can buy a used wedding dress or even rent one, because lets be honest, you will never use it again. See if you have any friends that are willing to bake cupcakes, arrange centerpieces, DJ the reception on an ipod, take photographs, etc which can cut down on prices. Wendy has written extensively on how you can have a beautiful wedding without all the expense. God knows, our parents generation would have a simple wedding ceremony and then go down to the church basement or community center for cake, nuts, and punch.

    LW2-There is never a reason to drink and drive especially since public transportation is available. Unfortunately there is not much you can do but continue to express your outrage, refuse to travel with him, limit the time you spend with him if drinking is going to be involved, and keep your fingers crossed that he will see the error of his ways before he hurts himself or others.

    LW3- He is still looking for something ‘better’ than you. Dump him now.

  9. LW1- WWS. Applying for a wedding license was like $30. I’m not sure what sort of fee the courthouse charges, but it can’t be astronomical. If you want a marriage, nothing is stopping you. If you want a big party, do WWS, and have an anniversary party or something.

    LW2- Call the cops on him next time he does it. Seriously. He’s a habitual drunk driver. Eventually he’s going to kill someone. And do what Wendy said, and stop inviting him places where you’re going to be drinking.

    LW3- Aim Higher.

  10. Is anyone else wary that money might not be the actual reason LW1 hasn’t gotten married yet? Maybe they have been holding out for a traditional wedding, but I’d make sure that my fiance wasn’t just using it as an excuse. I’m not trying to stir up trouble, but six years is a long time to be engaged. I’m just surprised that it hasn’t occurred to either of you to go down to the courthouse or wear a simple dress.

    I’d call the cops on LW2’s friend, too. It may seem harsh, but his and strangers’ lives are more important to me than him staying out of trouble. I’d stop inviting him to stuff, too, like Wendy said. And of course, never get in a car with him. If he asks why to those last two things, I’d tell him the truth, that he can’t be trusted when he drinks.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Not to sounds rude, but they have two kids together and I assume live together. I’m guessing “tradition” isn’t the culprit. To me it sounds like she wants a pretty, pretty princess wedding that they can’t afford.

      1. Oh, well, yeah, I didn’t mean “tradition” like nuclear family from the ’50s. I was just specifying a big to-do type of wedding versus going down to the courthouse, whether it’s a princess wedding or just your average ceremony at a nice venue with a bunch of guests (which can still be expensive even if it’s not lavish).

  11. lets_be_honest says:

    Glad to see people say call the cops on the drunk driver. Its crazy no one has yet. I’d call the police on my own mother if she were doing this.

    1. Trixy Minx says:

      I have a coworker that does this regularly. He thinks its funny and jokes about it but I’m just waiting for him to get a dui or something else happen. I don’t ever go out with him for that reason. When he’s talking about it I tell him the risks but he’s not stupid he knows what can happen he just doesn’t think they’ll happen to him! Ugh. Idiot.

      1. Avatar photo SweetsAndBeats says:

        Why don’t we have him meet me sometime? I’ll wear a skirt and a shirt, and make sure to bust out my awesome scars and x-rays at some point and be like “Bitch this could be you, stop being an idiot”.

      2. Trixy Minx says:

        Your scars aren’t that visible anymore.

    2. Megan_A_Mess says:

      My own family called the cops on my alcoholic father who did this, but not before he wrapped his truck around a tree. I would do it in a heartbeat as well. (I was in bootcamp at said time of wrapping trucks around trees, and he knows better than to drink around me, period.) This is one of those things you shouldn’t have to be told about. You don’t get a second chance, as soon as you do it, you’re on my shit list, and you better believe I’m not going ANYWHERE with you.

  12. http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/dailypix/2009/Feb/27/hawaii902270377AR_b.jpg

    LW2: Call the cops next time. I agree with everyone else. My best friend was killed in a drunk driving accident 4 years ago at the end of this month. The driver was drunk, she was drunk, everyone in the car was drunk, but if someone had stood up and not allowed the guy to drive everyone might still be alive, I MIGHT STILL HAVE MY BEST FRIEND! It took rescue workers over an HOUR to remove the bodies from the car, scraps of their clothing was scattered along the highway. Think about that.


    Your friend is an ass. He will get people killed.
    (If the link doesn’t work, Google: Amaya Albertsen and look at the pictures.)

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  13. LW1 – WWS and what everyone else said. A wedding doesn’t have to be expensive.

    LW2 – If you do invite this guy to another party, take his keys at the door so that he can’t drive. That’s being a good friend. Take everyone else’s keys too so he doesn’t feel singled out. If public transportation is readily available, no one should have a problem staying the night or taking the bus home and returning for their car the next day. I think it’s pretty horrible that people are suggesting you let him drive away and then call the cops on him. WTF? Maybe it’s because I’m so anti-establishment but I don’t believe in calling the police on your friend when there are much better options to solve the problem. The police aren’t really out to help anyone anymore; they’re corrupt and greedy. If he doesn’t get out on the road in the first place, the problem is solved.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      The police can take away his license though. Or put him in jail. And what if he goes out without his friend whose willing to take the keys away? I wouldn’t want to be anyone’s babysitter.

    2. This doesn’t make sense. A police officer pulling over a drunk driver helps everyone on the road or everyone with a loved one on the road… and helps the drunk driver himself. How does greed factor in? You may try and keep your friend from leaving but you cannot legally prevent him from doing so. You are the one that commits the crime if you keep someone – or someone’s property- against their will. I think everyone would try and convince a friend not to drive first but if they insist then the only solution is law enforcement. Or doing nothing. But you have to be prepared to live with that should your friend kill themselves or someone else.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Also, it sounds like the friends have already tried to stop him, to no avail. Its not like weresuggeting they “trick” him into it. He’s choosing to drink, he’s choosing to ignore his frineds’ pleas, he’s choosing to get in the car.

      2. I think they should talk to him when he’s sober—like a “dude, this isn’t cool” thing. It’s unfortunate, but there’s really two kinds of people: those who’d never, ever even consider driving after drinking, and those who, for whatever reason, think it’s totally fine, & that they’re fine, & nothing will ever happen while they’re drunk on the road. The latter tends to be friends with each other, so there are entire friend groups where drinking & driving is the norm, & everyone gets sort of desensitized to the very real danger.

        I’m guessing this guy is in the latter category. His friends may try to stop him in the moment, but I bet nobody calls him out while he’s sober? Maybe a sit-down talk would be effective. I understand all the advice saying to just call the cops, but I think taking a less-extreme approach (at least initially) might be better.

      3. Completely agree Firestar. And honestly I wouldn’t want to be ‘friends’ with someone who repeatedly chose to drink and drive.

      4. It doesn’t help anyone to have a criminal record and not be able to get a job anymore. You can’t prevent him leaving your property, no, but you can prevent him from leaving your property in his car if you’ve already hid his keys hours ago (which takes like 5 seconds, geez). If he goes out with other people, it’s not your responsibility at that point.

        It does sound like tricking someone into criminal charges if you let him keep his keys knowing he will drive, serve him drinks and then purposely wait until he leaves just so you can call the 5-0 on him?! Were you planning to plant drugs in his car too just to make sure he goes away for awhile?

      5. You can’t keep someone else’s property – including their keys – against their will. That’s theft. So no – you can’t prevent him from taking his car legally.

        And it very much helps society for criminals to have criminal records. It puts restrictions on them that protect the rest if us.

        And what the —- are you talking about? How is planting drugs comparable? I don’t understand where the trick comes in. Are you secretly feeding them alcohol unbeknownst to them? Or are they drinking of their own free will and then getting behind the wheel and putting innocent people at risk? Because yeah. That’s what 5-0 is for.

      6. You keep bringing up that taking someone’s keys is theft, but I can’t imagine any law enforcement officer in the country arresting someone for taking the keys of a drunk person. You really wouldn’t take someone’s keys because it is technically “theft”? How would you imagine you would ever get in trouble for that?

        I say take their keys if they’ve clearly had too much (as bartenders are expected to do) if you can do so fairly easily, and if there’s nothing you can physically do to stop them from getting on the road, call the police. But first and foremost? Prevent the situation by not inviting raging alcoholic drunk drivers out for drinks, and talk to them about the problem if you want to salvage the friendship.

      7. It is theft though. Maybe you have a good defence for doing it but it doesn’t change the letter of the law. Law enforcement just handcuffed and arrested a 7 year old this week for the theft of $5. So I don’t know what law enforcement would shrug off reasonably – I do know what the law is though and I think it’s a good rule of thumb to abide by it. Particularly when there are options. Like calling the police to prevent a crime instead of me trying to do it.

      8. I agree that taking someone’s posessions is technically theft according to the law, I just think that the likelihood of enforcement, and the possible consequences of not taking the keys, justify doing so in many cases. It would certainly be an option for me, at the very least to ask for the keys (in which case it’s not even theft) prior to immediately dialing the police. So it’s bizarre that you bring it up in this context.

      9. Asking for keys – no problem. Taking keys away against someone’s will – problem. The thing is you are dealing with someone impaired – whose judgement is flawed so I’m not sure how smoothly those conversations go. I’ve never been in that position but i can tell you I would give them a choice of staying, taking a cab. or leaving while I phone the police.
        And since the context is how to prevent a drunk driver getting on the road and putting others at risk – what you can and can’t do as a friend – it makes sense to me to talk about how legal your actions are. Moral – no question. Legal – maybe not so much. You want to assume the risk – your prerogative – but I think people should realize fully the ramifications of their actions and that there are alternatives if they want to pursue them.

      10. Let me just say – every single conversation I’ve ever had about taking someone’s keys does not end well. Even my friends that typically are not angry drunks fly into a rage about this.

        I do not drive buzzed or anything beyond that because driving gives me such anxiety, but I can say out of all of my coworkers, friends, acquaintances, etc, every single one has driven drunk a handful of times if not more. I’m the only one who thinks it’s an issue. So when people are drinking together and 10 people say “yeah I’m sure you know your limits” and one person says “Maybe you should get a cab or crash here”…guess who the drunk person listens to.

      11. I can imagine. This is why law enforcement tell you don’t confront a drunk – it can escalate in a heartbeat.

        I’m like you…I take it seriously and I’m lucky it isn’t an issue in my friend circle but thinking back to university – it’s amazing everyone survived and didn’t hurt anyone. It’s one of those things I think I’ll be driving into my teenagers like no tomorrow when the time comes.

      12. “You want to assume the risk – your prerogative – but I think people should realize fully the ramifications of their actions and that there are alternatives if they want to pursue them. ”

        But what ARE the legal ramifications? They are nothing. You’re not going to get arrested for theft for taking a drunk person’s car keys. Not ever. That has never happened. It’s not a legal issue. If you’re talking about the conversation not going smoothly or putting yourself at risk, I agree, that’s an issue. But saying that taking the keys is legally theft is completely irrelevant and I don’t think it should be a factor in anyone’s decision to take car keys away from their friend. If the keys are easy to take, I’m going to take them, not wait for him to get in the car and call the cops just because taking the keys is technically a theft.

      13. So it’s a theft…but there is no chance of legal ramifications? Sure.

        In a perfect world everyone would be reasonable and maybe you would be right….but like I said a 7 year old was arrested and handcuffed and interrogated for over 10 hours for picking up a $5 bill in front of him. I’m afraid reasonableness is luck of the draw in some areas.

        You want to take keys? Super – take them. But just know it isn’t legal to do so.

      14. “So it’s a theft…but there is no chance of legal ramifications? Sure. ”

        YES. Point me towards any one single instance where taking a drunk person’s keys resulted in any form of legal ramifications for them, civil or criminal, and I’ll see your point. Otherwise I don’t.

      15. And yes I will take keys if it’s otherwise appropriate without any regard towards your dreaded “legal ramifications”. Because they don’t exist.

      16. (Also as a legal side note, this whole exchange has been posited on the assumption that taking the keys even is technically theft according to the letter of the law. But in most states, definitions of forms of theft include the “intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner” of their posession of the item. Which, if you’re just taking the keys temporarily, this isn’t even theft according to the letter of the law in most jurisdictions in the U.S. So there’s that.)

      17. Though I completely agree with you about preventing the situation from happening in the first place.

      18. 6napkinburger says:

        Eh, it probably becomes a bailee/bailor situation, rather than a theft, as you have no intention of keeping them. Theft implies an intention to keep title to the objects “I was just borrowing it” actually is an excuse to theft (or larceny), which is why joyriding is a different crime than grand theft auto. (most of the time, it just isn’t believable — I was “just borrowing” that candy bar? yeah right). You wouldn’t/(shouldn’t) be found guilty of theft if you take someone’s keys until they are sober. You don’t consent to the tow truck who tows your car away, but it isn’t theft for them to do so. Similiar (though not entirely parallel) situation.

      19. The thing is he’s an adult. If he chooses to do something illegal, like drive drunk, then he should know that having the cops called on him is a possibility. As a friend you can let him know you don’t think he should drive and try to prevent him, but he’s an adult. You can’t absolutely prevent him. And at the point that he leaves your presence and gets in a car drunk, all you can do is let the cops know that someone is on the roads driving drunk and may potentially kill someone. He should have thought about his job prospects and everything else before getting behind the wheel of a car drunk.

      20. see, you thinking of this from the wrong angle- “It doesn’t help anyone to have a criminal record and not be able to get a job anymore”…. thats incorrect. it should read “it doesnt help anyone (literally, anyone who happens to be out driving that night) to let someone drive drunk”.

        your giving the criminal the benefit of the doubt, instead of giving the potential victims of his behavior the benefit of the doubt. thats kind of shitty. and i can appreciate that your all “fuck the PO-lice” or whatever, but this isnt something that just effects him. *hopefully*, if something was to ever happen, he would just crash into a pole and kill himself, but chances are that he wont- he will probably hurt someone else in the process. so this isnt just like he shootin up heroin and your calling the cops and screwing him over- you are potentially keeping other people safe… so, thats where you go to. and if you friend is an asshole and wont listen to you, wont give up his keys, ect, then you are forced to play your last card- which is telling the cops that there is a drunk driver on x street that night.

      21. Better unemployed than umm I don’t know…dead??

        But honestly, I stop caring about the best interest of your friend the minute he jeapordizes the interests of me and everyone else on the road by driving drunk.

      22. temperance says:

        I would certainly rather the woman who murdered my aunt with her car over the summer be unable to get a job. I mean, it’s certainly better than two dead innocent women.

        Sorry, but if you want to DUI, you should get whatever paltry legal consequences happen.

    3. um, yes, this guy needs the cops called on him. very, very much.

    4. Um, what? The cops are corrupt and greedy and the friends should act as the drunk driver’s babysitters? This is so wrong on so many levels.

    5. I’m not sure what police being corrupt and greedy has to do with this. If they arrest a drunken driver because they are greedy or because they are trying to protect people’s lives, it doesn’t really matter. Same result. And even if the cops had bad motives, it doesn’t mean that people should just go around committing crimes that endanger other people’s lives. Should I not call the cops on an intruder in my home because the police might be corrupt?

  14. ele4phant says:

    LW2, maybe you don’t want to do this to a friend, but have you considered calling the cops if he you see him get behind the wheel drunk? Maybe getting a DUI will wake him up, and even if it doesn’t, it’ll get him off the road that night.

    It may destroy your friendship, but for God’s sake his might kill someone some night (and he almost already has!)

  15. LW1- WWS. just go get married. wear jeans and a tshirt if you have to. who cares? if you want to get married, get married. it will be as special as you make it. a courthouse wedding isnt any less “valid” as a white-fluffy-princess-pinterest-inspired wedding is. and, interestingly, a lot of people who have the big white wedding dont actually feel that it was special. they feel that they were pulled in a million different directions, had to worry about a million things, didnt get to eat, ect- maybe a small, intimate wedding would be perfect for you and you just dont know it yet.

    LW2- i like fabelle’s suggestion of talking with him. if you wanted to, and if the rest of your friends arent assholes, you could instate an alcohol ban on him until he straightens up. just tell him that until he is willing to give up his keys and promise not to drink and drive, you (meaning the circle of friends) will not be giving him alcohol. tell him that you dont want to be morally and legally responsible for his stupid decisions if he is at your apartment. and then the next time you have a party, buy him a bottle of martinelli’s sparkling apple cider. if that doesnt happen, i would honestly do that just in your own apartment (you mention that your apartment is good for people sleeping over, so i assume you have parties at your house)- you *could* be held liable for giving him “too much” booze if he kills someone one night. remember that. and then if it doesnt stop, i would call the cops on him. thats a shitty behavior and it needs to be corrected.

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      “a lot of people who have the big white wedding dont actually feel that it was special. they feel that they were pulled in a million different directions, had to worry about a million things, didnt get to eat, ect”

      I totally agree. I’ve pretty clearly expressed my wedding planning frustrations on DW, and maybe a small intimate wedding is the better option (no I’m not going back now). I think a lot of people assume wedding planning (and the big wedding) are going to be sunshines and rainbows, but it’s a lot of work and possibly frustration (not to mention a lot of money).

      1. I totally feel your pain. The fact that my fiance wanted the big wedding but I did not (but I’m having to plan it for a number of reasons) has added to my annoyance about the hassle of a big wedding. I think the day of will be fun and special, but I’m not sure I’m going to survive the weeks leading up to the day of. If I never look at another wedding budget spreadsheet again it will be too soon.

  16. I’m confused.

    Which is it, DW?? Everyone is telling LW1, “NBD, just get married, go to the courthouse and have a potluck reception!”….

    …While every other wedding letter is like, “ZOMG!! A potluck reception is beyond tacky. According to etiquette, you must have formal invites, save the dates, a gift registry (and don’t you dare ask for cash or say the word ‘gift’ anywhere), a wedding website (for the guests!!) a block of hotel rooms, and btw how dare you not have enough chairs and a space for dancing!!

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      So, since I’m the one usually advocating for our second paragraph…

      I do think potluck receptions are tacky. Which is why I suggested a cake and punch reception which will most likely cost under $500.

      I see absolutely nothing wrong with going to the courthouse (in reality everyone has to go so). Small initimate weddings are an awesome idea, and in my response I didn’t advocate for breaching any etiquette. It’s one thing to host guests for a short celebration with cake and another to host a full dinner you ask people to bring a dish and not have enough seating.

      1. Sorry, GG! That wasn’t meant to be a jab at you specifically. I just think it’s funny to see the stark difference in the tone of advice for this LW compared to the other LWs/DWers whose weddings seem to revolve around drama and formality.

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        I didn’t take any offense. My point all along is that you need to host people properly. Hosting people for a super small cake only reception is totally fine! Hosting people for a full 7 course meal is totally fine too. I just beleive you need to provide everything (food/drink/seating/proper notification) for your guests. Wear what ever you want for your wedding. But don’t ask your guests to be uncomfortable or to pay for anything. They are your guests after all. 🙂

    2. If I remember correctly that during that whole pot luck thing, we said that it was totally acceptable if you were really low on cash and just wanted to so something low key to celebrate. It was unacceptable if you counted on your guests to cater your big fancy wedding.

    3. To quote Peggy Post: “Potluck wedding receptions are fine in communities where the potluck tradition is entrenched, or when it is a family or community gift to the couple. Usually the community or family that proposes the idea to the couple, not the other way around. Often, it’s not what you do but how you go about doing it that can either gain enthusiastic support or raise hackles.”

      If you let it be known amongst your family and friends that you plan to marry at the courthouse and not have a reception for financial reasons, you may find that some generous soul(s) will volunteer to help make your day special by organizing something for you. If not, then no big deal. Bing married is more important than “having a wedding.”

    4. temperance says:

      I think that particular letter dealt with a woman who gave everyone invited to her (free) “manor wedding” a high-end assignment. It was also her 2nd or 3rd wedding, if memory serves.

    5. Lol!

      tbh, I hate wedding related letters 🙂

      My adivce in all cases is: just go to the courthouse and elope!

  17. LW2 – you can call the police on him next time he lives a place hammered. You may save someone’s life by doing this and if you lose him as a friend, at least you’ll be able to sleep well at night.

  18. LW1: Dream smaller. Seriously. Wendy hit it on the head here. Nothing is stopping you from going to the courthouse. Yes, it’s not your “dream wedding”, but honey, you can’t afford it, so stop holding off. If something happens to YOU and you die before you get married, your fiance loses any/all benefits he may stand to gain if you had been married. Reverse the situation if he dies before the two of you marry. Stop waiting for money. It takes less than $200 to marry in a courthouse. In Anchorage, it takes $85 ($60 for the marriage license and $25 for the justice of the peace at the courthouse). Everyone tells us to dream big. I’m telling you to deflate your bubble a bit (or a lot) and dream small.

    LW2: Dude’s got a drinking problem. He insists on drinking and driving. Buzzed driving is still impaired driving, no matter what he says. Tell him that the next time he gets behind the wheel, you will report him to the cops. Then follow through. What happens if he crashes and kills someone? Technically, you could have helped save that person (or those people) had you reported this “friend”.
    This asshole shows depraved indifference at best. Show no remorse when reporting him. He certainly cares not one whit who he may hurt, or who he’s hurt in the past.

    LW3: Talk to the guy you’re dating. If you’re exclusive and you want the account closed and he doesn’t, move on.

  19. LW2: Next time he gets behind the wheel drunk, call the cops and give them his plate number. If you think you’ll feel bad about it, just think of how much more terrible you will feel if he maims or kills someone while driving drunk, when you could have done something to stop it but didn’t.

    Also, you and your friends should be smart enough not to get in the car when he’s driving drunk.

  20. @ LW2 – Maybe others can confirm/deny if you can actually do this: but doesn’t another popular advice columnist (Dear Wendy being the best of course) always advise readers to report suspected drunk drivers to the DMV? Perhaps a bit less daunting than going to the police, which is exactly what you should do if you witness this indefensible behaviour again.

  21. Temperance says:

    LW2: my aunt and her best friend were slaughtered by a drunk-driving piece of shit a week before my birthday this past summer. If you’d like, I’ll email you photos of what that fucking bitch did to my aunt so you can rethink your friendship with this scumbag loser. Her car was so full of blood that the tow-truck driver threw up upon seeing it … and this is a family friend who clears up accident scenes as part of his job.

  22. For the love of God, LW2, call the cops on this guy. I know multiple people that were killed by drunk hit-and-run drivers. Those drivers are still out there and people are dead.

  23. SpaceySteph says:

    So many things I want to say to LW 1…
    If you had spent half an hour a month for the last 6 years working on your dream wedding dress, it would be done by now. I can’t imagine you couldn’t have carved out that kind of time.
    And it’s not like money can buy you a dream wedding… a dream wedding is when the right two people start the day as single people and end the day as married people. That’s all.
    Go read some APracticalWedding.com and see some amazing courthouse weddings. You can get married for less than $100, and it could still be the best damn day of your live.
    But I have to imagine there’s some deeper reason that you and your fiance, the father of your children, haven’t managed to swing by a courthouse in 6 years and get married. Figure out why you’re dragging your feet, and if you actually want to marry him and he wants to marry you…. do it already!

    1. “a dream wedding is when the right two people start the day as single people and end the day as married people.” Love it!!

  24. LW1 – what’s holding you back? I echo what everyone else is saying. Just go get married. Plan an anniversary party later. Save your money for a dream wedding down the line. My hubby and I got married at the courthouse. Collectively, everything cost under $600 and that was for the lunch for the 10 people and us, the cake, the rings, and the dress. Go on eBay if you have to – I found my dress there for under $100. A tea length ivory lace dress.

    There is nothing holding you back from being married other than the money for your “ideal” wedding. You do want to marry your fiance, right? You do realize that marriage is about the people involved, not the wedding itself, right?

  25. lets_be_honest says:

    Lw2, if you still think its NBD and don’t want to call the cops, think about how many people who commented that personally knew someone who was killed by a DD.

  26. John Rohan says:

    Concerning LW1, if I understand correctly, a lot of women dream of their wedding day from the time they are children. (this is NOT something that men do – at all). Anyway, the popular suggestion here to have a civil ceremony now and years later throw a lavish anniversary party or second wedding might not work, because she her “wedding day” is so important to her, and those other things won’t count as real weddings.

    To LW1 – I have a solution that might work, if you are religious. I was married at a US embassy in about the least romantic ceremony possible, but much later we were married in our Church and had a real ceremony. You could do the same. Have a cheap civil ceremony, but no party, NOTHING, because that is not your “real” wedding. Then later on, when you can afford it, have a Church wedding, with the dress you want, the guests, everything. If you are religious, the second ceremony still “counts” as the real wedding, because it was done in the eyes of God. My wife and I consider our anniversary date to be our Church wedding date, because that was the day we were really married, as far as we are concerned.

    Just a suggestion.

    1. Great point! It sounds like LW1 really does have her dream wedding in mind, and it’s hard to change all of your expectations so that you aren’t disappointed by something very different from what you always imagined you wanted. But, we can’t always have what we want. And LW1, you are not in a position to get what you want in regards to your wedding. So either do what John suggest, or find a way to accept that a simple courthouse wedding can be just as special and wonderful as a huge lavish wedding. Or look into having a backyard wedding, or at park. There’s got to be something out there that’s affordable. Be proud in having a unique wedding, instead of the standard froufrou princess wedding.

  27. Trixy Minx says:

    For LW1: Why don’t you get married in an orchard when its in bloom? That way you are surrounded by beautiful trees and the scents are romantic. Bring your closes friends and family. Get a dress on clearance at Macy’s (I’ve gotten some really nice stuff there that’s 80% off). Maybe your family can volunteer some folding chairs and linens that way you can cover the chairs with bows. Not sure what else you need besides a minister. lol.
    I was talking about this wedding to a friend of mine saying this would kinda be my DREAM wedding.

  28. LW1: only you know your future potential earning and how far that realistically push out the time when you can afford your wedding.

    That said, the number are probably against you. Elizabeth Warren makes a great case that life in the middle class is getting worst: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVL7QY0S8A and so does Steven Reich with decent data about the decline of the middle class https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCu-XnVxhfk So you might be stuck in this trap for much longer than you thing (admittedly only you know)

    With that in mind, you probably want to follow the other commenter that suggest cheap weddings with celebration much later.

  29. Re: Wedding

    I understand just wanting to be married as well as wanting to celebrate. Most women imagine their beautiful wedding dress, at the very least. If you have a family already I don’t see why you can’t just go to a court house and become legally married then in the future when you have the funds host a modest party celebrating your marriage (perhaps on an anniversary). Many people do this.

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