My niece is getting married. Finally.
She's been living with her boyfriend for four years and now they've decided to get married. Naturally, they expect my sister to plan and pay for the whole bash. Naturally, my sister doesn't get any input into the particulars of the ceremony (ex: my niece doesn't want to say the vows because she doesn't like speaking in front of people. I suggested flash cards.)
Since I'm about to be the proud father of my second little girl, let me just lay down a rule right now: Once you've lived with a man for over two years, I am no longer responsible for the wedding.
I'm not saying you can't live with a guy before you marry him, but if you can't see your way clear to marry the guy within a couple of years, all bets are off. Once a guy has been a part of Family Christmas twice, he's already being treated like one of the family. I'm not paying for what is basically a free party for you and your friends. I'll be happy to help pay for the marriage license but the hall, the D.J. and the booze are out. If you don't think that's fair then I'll make you a deal: I'll pay for the wedding as long as I am not expected to treat the guy like a son-in-law until after the wedding. That means he doesn't do holiday's with us, doesn't get presents, doesn't get to sleep with you under my roof. Remember, he can do all those things for the first two years you live together, after that, if you want me to continue to treat you like you're married, fine, you're married.