ARCHIVE: Summer 2007 Edition




     Editor's Page
     Summer 2007 Edition
                      by Susan Polyot

    This edition of Encore Bride is all about planning a great
    encore wedding on a budget.   

    Encore brides do not always have the resources, finances,
    or time to plan an elaborate wedding. Many feel they have
    had a large first wedding and do not want to opt for the
    same when they become an encore bride.  They do not
    want to burden family and friends with the expense of
    attending another wedding with them as the star.  And
    sometimes, it's simple practicality that dictates how much
    a couple can spend. Parents may have shared the expense
    the first time, but now you are on your own.

    Whatever the reason for minding the budget, it does not
    mean settling for a day that is less than perfect.  There are
    many ways to have a beautiful encore wedding without
    the expense that often accompanies a formal first time
    event.



    Can "Honeymoon" and "Budget" Go Together?                     
                       by Susan Polyot
    Yes!   

    Your honeymoon is about time away for the two of
    you. It's a chance to pause and reflect on your new
    beginning. And that time doesn't have to be elaborate
    or expensive.  A honeymoon for an encore bride can
    be different than for first time brides. In addition to
    budget concerns, children and time constraints are
    often considerations. We have discussed in a previous
    issue taking kids on the honeymoon (yes, it can be
    done, see archives), so we will reserve this discussion
    for budget issues.  A recent article I read stated that
    the average cost of a honeymoon is $3,000 -$5,000.
    But there are many options for $1,000 or less.  If you
    have time restrictions, consider a Bed and Breakfast
    Inn within driving distance. Some B & B's offer a
    honeymoon package with an upgraded room, as well
    as welcome treats such as a bottle of champagne.
    Many B&B's have shared baths, so ask. A
    honeymoon is a good reason to splurge on a private
    bath option.  A luxurious inn can be a fabulous treat
    for a honeymoon, something you wouldn't ordinarily
    do. Prices can range from under $100 to just about
    any price per night, depending on when and where you
    go. Staying 3 days at a great B& B makes a nice
    honeymoon for under $1,000, including a nice dinner
    at a local restaurant. These are generally not places to
    take the kids, but for a short stay for the two of you,
    perfect.  Often located in scenic spots such as
    oceanside or mountainside, they can also be very
    romantic. Find a list of B&B's through your travel
    agent or online through your state's tourism office.

    Summer wedding?  How about renting a lake front
    camp?  Rentals can often be a cost effective option to
    a resort, and are frequently available by the week,
    again, well under the cost of an average honeymoon.
    You will likely have to stock the cabitnets with your
    own groceries, and sometimes linens, but the savings
    are often significant. A private lake front home for
    your honeymoon can also be a great family vacation if
    you have children with you.  For rentals, check lake
    associations, local realtors, or the local tourism office.
    Be specific about what you are looking for, the
    number of bedrooms want, indoor bath or not, and the
    amenities you want included.  You wouldn't want a
    honeymoon with the kids, only to find out "sleeps 6"
    means altogether in a loft. Remember, it is a
    honeymoon.

    If you want a resort style honeymoon, significant
    savings can be found by traveling off-season, or by
    scouting for last minute fares. This requires some
    flexibility in time and destination, but can be worth
    significant savings. Check out budgettravelonline.com
    for ideas on the best travel savings each month, or
    consult your travel agent.

    How about registering for your honeymoon? Encore
    brides generally don't need traditional wedding registry
    gifts. A honeymoon registry can be established through
    many travel agencies, or directly through the place you
    will be staying. You pick the place, secure the basic
    reservation, and guests then choose the extras: spa
    package for the two of you, dinner gift certificates,
    champagne delivered to the room, whatever amenities
    you have registered for. There are also registries that
    allow guests to contribute toward the actual price of
    the honeymoon. As with any registry, do not direct
    your guests to the registry, let them ask.

    Your honeymoon is an important part of your encore
    wedding plan.  Whether you can spare just 1 night or 3
    weeks, take time to honor your new marriage and your
    new spouse by taking time for the two of you. You
    can plan a wonderful, romantic time without breaking
    the bank.



    Step Parents Need to Ask: Who Pays for the Kids?
                      by Susan Polyot

    In keeping with our budget theme this edition, our step-
    parenting topic is: Who Pays for the Kids?—an issue
    that confronts many encore families.  Answers vary, but
    the key to success is in the process of making a decision
    more than the decision itself.

    Couples who talk ahead of time about how finances will
    be handled—and specifically who pays for what with
    children—will avoid misunderstandings, resentment and
    anger.  Be honest with your feelings.  There is no right
    or wrong way to feel about paying for someone else’s
    children. You may feel you aren’t financially
    responsible; that it is a responsibility of your stepchild's
    birth parents to share expenses for their children. Or you
    may believe family income should be evenly spent on
    everyone, including the stepchildren.  Some of this
    largely depends on your living situation, and whether or
    not the children live primarily with you. It also depends
    on whether both of you or only one of you have
    children.  

    In my own situation, my stepson lived with his father
    and me for a large part of his school age years.  Our
    family finances were combined, and we made no
    distinction between what I paid for and what his father
    paid for. We felt that our family was best served by
    having joint finances in that regard. We did not receive
    child support from his mother (a decision all parties had
    agreed upon) and there were no other children involved;
    all of which are factors in making a decision about
    money matters. Because we talked about this before my
    stepson arrived, we eliminated fears of conflict and
    resentment about this subject.

    While each family situation is different, there are some
    common denominators for all blended family situations.
    If you are choosing to marry someone with children,
    with that comes expenses. There are always unplanned
    expenses, such as school activities, mall outings, movies,
    etc., and to think that your income will not directly or
    indirectly be impacted by those things is unrealistic.
    Many arguments and resentments that surface in
    marriage are tied to unrealistic expectations.  Money can
    be the root of many of those conflicts so talking about
    how family finances will be handled can ease future
    conflicts.

    Whatever decisions you make, make as many as you
    can before you become a stepparent so your transition
    into a new family situation will be as smooth as possible.

    Some factors to consider:
    •        Where do the children spend the majority of their
    time?
    •        Do you receive or pay child support?
    •        Do you both have children, or just one of you?
    •        Do you plan to have more children together? (In
    this case, finances should be as equitable as possible
    with all children to avoid future conflicts).
    •        Have you discussed both day-to-day finances as
    well as special occasion finances, such as vacations,
    college, or other non-routine expenses?

    Remember that talking about these issues ahead of time
    avoids a lot of potential conflict later. If you are already
    married and struggling to sort this out, step back as a
    couple and review the expectations that you both
    brought into the marriage. Because people can have
    strong, possessive feelings about money—especially in
    encore marriages—you should try to keep emotion out
    of your discussion so you can be less defensive and can
    keep in mind that your discussion is about financial
    decisions, not a personal statement about the children.

    And one other thing: Keep your discussions away from
    the children. You need to be honest with each other
    about your feelings and opinions.  Children do not need
    to know if there are disagreements about money issues,
    especially if it relates to them.  

    Becoming a stepparent can be a rewarding and fulfilling
    undertaking, but sharing your clear expectations to each
    other is vital.  Congratulations, and enjoy your new role!



    Groom's Column
    Budget Fuss
                 by Larry Tyler

    Budgets are like fingerprints: no two are alike.  
    Everyone has different income levels, and different
    expenses.  Everyone has different tastes and
    priorities.  But the main reason budgets are unique
    is that budgets are never governed by logic and
    common sense.  Whenever we have any amount of
    money our rules for spending it are based on a
    formula that is both intricate and inconsistent.  It
    includes factors like Necessity (which isn't always
    our overriding consideration), Whim, Passion,
    Guilt, Obligation, Generosity, Habit, and probably
    a bunch of other factors that don't immediately
    come to mind.  We make our choices, pull out our
    wallets, and make our purchases.  When we do, the
    things I choose to buy can seem foolish to you, and
    the things you buy may not make any sense at all to
    me.  

    Case in point:  On a recent shopping spree, I went
    out and bought 4 quarts of motor oil, 1 oil filter,
    and 1 gallon of windshield washer fluid.  Total cost:
    $12.57.  I went out to my driveway and changed the
    oil, and while I was doing that, the kid up the block
    who mows our lawn showed up and began mowing.  
    We finished at about exactly the same time.  My
    wife came out and asked me why I go to all the
    trouble of changing the oil myself when I can pull
    into a Jiffy Lube and have it done in about ten
    minutes for about twenty bucks.  "Because I can
    save eight bucks," I told her.  "But it takes you a
    half hour to do it," she said.  "Isn't your time
    worth anything?"  "Eight bucks is eight bucks," I
    explain to her.  It feels good to save eight bucks.  
    The kid shows up at that point and I hand him $20
    for the lawn work.  It feels good to not have to mow
    the lawn.  Money well spent.  

    Now, it's hard to pull any logic from decisions like
    that.  All I know is that it felt right to change the oil
    myself, and it felt right to pay twenty bucks to have
    the lawn mowed, even if the whole transaction put
    me about $8 in the hole.  I ended up feeling good
    about my decisions and you can't put a price on
    that.  Well, yes.  I suppose you can.  I just did, after
    all, didn't I.  But my point is, any time you can
    spend money to help you feel a little better, that's a
    good thing.  For me, it's motor oil.  For my wife,
    it's eye cream.  She's happier than a gold
    prospector stumbling onto the mother lode when
    she scores an eye cream bargain online.  I don't
    understand it.  I try not to judge it.  I just try to
    accept it.  And when she sees me outside, crawling
    under the car, scraping my knuckles, and swearing
    at a stubborn oil filter, well, I guess she just accepts
    that too.  I suppose it's all part of that fascinating
    partnership: marriage.  You get married, you start
    pooling your budgets, and you end up not only
    puzzled by your mate's spending habits, but you
    start questioning your own decisions as well.  

    I still don't get the thing about the eye cream
    though.



    ~   Encore Bride ~  LETTERS

    Dear Susan,

    My boyfriend's son is getting married.  He has been
    estranged from his wife for over 10 years-- long
    complicated situation. Now, his wife has agreed to
    behave during the wedding.  What we would like to
    know is, where  do we sit during the wedding, and what
    about pictures?  He does not want to have his picture
    taken with her, their son and his son's new wife. He
    feels he should be in the picture with his son and me,
    and she should be in one with the son also.  What do
    you say is the right thing to do?  Would you be able to
    answer these questions?  Thank you,

    -Evelyn

                          
    Dear Evelyn,

    These situations can be awkward for everyone. The key
    is for all of the parent's to remember the day is about the
    bride and groom, not them, and to put any differences
    aside for a few hours. While that is sometimes easier
    said than done, it will make for better memories later.

    As far as seating is concerned, all parent's and his/her
    significant other, such as yourself should be in the front
    row.
    If that is not possible, sit the mother in the front(sorry,
    tradition says mother gets top billing), with you and the
    father directly behind. Ideally, all should be front and
    center.

    Pictures should be done however the bride and groom
    want them. It would appear there may be a lot of conflict
    between mother and father, so together in the same
    picture would not be the preference, that's fine. A picture
    with the mother, and son (and the new wife) and a
    separate one with his father is appropriate. Your
    inclusion would be dependent on your relationship to
    both the father and the groom. How long have you been
    dating, do you live together, are you engaged, etc would
    all be considerations. Do you get along with his son,
    etc.  If you are in a non live-in relationship, or a
    relationship with an uncertain or undetermined future,
    you would be best served to either bow out, or have a
    picture with you included, and one without.

    Please remember this is a day for the bridal couple. You
    may have to swallow a few distasteful moments, but
    taking the high road is always best for future relations
    between all parties.

    Thank you so much for visiting Encore Bride.
    -Susan


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