This Wedding Season, the Gift of Gall

By Michelle Singletary
Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ah, 'tis the high season for weddings. Inevitably, with this season comes the financial foibles that can stress or even end relationships with friends or family members.

Money magazine and columnists Jeanne Fleming and Leonard Schwarz -- authors of "Isn't It Their Turn to Pick Up the Check?" -- love to collect stories of people behaving badly when it comes to money. They recently they put together a list of the five most audacious, you-have-got-to-be-kidding-me wedding and money stories.

Here are the five, listed from the least appalling to the most outrageous:

· Someone was invited to a destination wedding. It's a trend that can get very costly for the guests. Five times as many couples opted for destination weddings in 2006 as did in 1996, according to the National Tour Association.

In this case the bride and groom selected a resort hotel in Hawaii for their guests to stay. Because of cost, one invited guest balked at going. However, he said the bride and groom twisted his arm. So he went. After the guy got there, he found out that part of the reason the couple was so insistent he come was that they got free accommodations for bringing in a certain number of guests. Had he not booked a room, the bride and groom would have lost their sweet deal.

· Another egregious money story started in a Las Vegas wedding chapel. The bride and groom decided to go it alone and didn't invite any guests. Then the bride's cousin decided to get married. A friend of the cousin was throwing her a bridal shower. So how did the bride who had no guests at her wedding respond? Since she never had a bridal shower, she suggested that everyone at her cousin's shower bring a gift for her, too.

· During a reception, four members of the groom's family decided to order a dish that was different from what other guests were eating. This was not for any religious or health reasons. They just didn't like what was being served. So these rogue guests bullied the waiter into bringing them ahi tuna entrees. The bride's dad got stuck with the tab -- in addition to having to pay for the meals the pushy guests didn't eat.

· A 30-something woman asked her divorced parents to help pay for her wedding. They both gave her big checks. But the wedding was called off when the groom got cold feet. Naturally the parents wanted their money back. The daughter refused. Why? She had hoped the reluctant groom would change his mind. The parents did eventually get repaid.

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