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Carolyn Hax: Plan celebration guests can afford

Carolyn Hax Washington Post

Dear Carolyn: Most of my close friends and family celebrated huge life milestones by their early 30s. I spent most of my early adulthood climbing the corporate ladder and living single. Enjoying those special times with my friends was a natural and gracious gesture, from coordinating bridal showers and junkets to Vegas to baby showers.

Now over 40 and on the verge of marriage, I’m torn. With the recession looming, I feel like it’s wrong for me to want to celebrate. Registering for gifts, destination bachelorette parties and all the things I celebrated with friends 10-plus years ago seem unreasonable.

Is it appropriate for someone my age with my economic status to still wish for these things or, more importantly, ask for these things? Am I too late to the party? – N.S.

If you mean little-girly, fetch-me-my-tiara, “dream” wedding party, then, yes, you’re too late. But that’s a great advantage to marrying later, not the booby prize.

Of course, I also see destination bachelorette parties as unreasonable at any age. Still, people from all vantage points might concur that, no matter how disappointed you were to be denied a 6th birthday party, it’s weird to celebrate your 21st birthday by playing pin-the-tail-on-the- donkey. You celebrate the moment you’re in, not the one you’re upset to have missed.

That means you create a modest registry intended only to help guests who don’t know what to give you versus to browbeat them into a comprehensive upgrade of your household stuff – and you provide this information only when someone asks for it. Of course, these apply to couples of any age.

It also means that if your friends’ participation is important to you, then you celebrate in a manner they can afford. Also age-proof.

The only nods, then, to your age are that your household is stocked and your friends are settled. Celebrating this maturity doesn’t equate, I hope, to not celebrating at all.

E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.
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