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Help brother, fiance control wedding costs

Dear Carolyn: My brother, 22, hasn’t always made what others would call the best life decisions, but I’ve tried to offer guidance and give him room to make mistakes. Last month I found out that his girlfriend was pregnant and they were getting married.

The issue I’m having is that my brother and his fiancee are really poor, expecting, and having what I consider to be the tackiest wedding I’ve ever seen. They are getting married in a church (when she will be five months pregnant), are inviting over 150 people, and have now upped the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen from three to seven (now totaling 14 people in the bridal party). They wanted to print photo greeting cards for the wedding invitations and use artificial flowers for the bouquets, and they have picked a bridesmaids’ dress that is way too short for a woman of 30 (me) to be wearing in a church wedding.

My parents and I have started to contribute money and advice to make this appear a little classier. I feel the responsible thing to do at this point is either have a tiny church wedding or a simple civil ceremony. What do you think? – Conflicted

The letter I thought I was reading was going to conclude with “It upsets me to watch them burn their money on this wedding when they’ll soon need it for more important things, like food, shelter, health care and the child’s education.”

But the letter I’m actually reading concludes with concerned family members throwing more money into the nuptial shredder, in order to ensure the overkill is tasteful vs. tacky.

I agree that a small ceremony would have made more sense. But once the couple opted for the 150-person show, the clock started ticking on your duty to embrace it and whatever kept the costs down without compromising the guests’ comfort.

The trick with taming strong opinions like yours isn’t to pre-empt them but instead to channel them compassionately.