My fiancé and I have been together since we were 16 and we’re getting married next year.
We both really want a quiet register office wedding and dinner afterwards with about 12 of our family and very close friends. I don’t want to wear a big white dress or have any bridesmaids, or even have a hen do.
When I told my parents this, my mum burst into tears. She’s very upset that my dad won’t be walking me down the aisle — I’m their only daughter.
She’s also upset that I’m not inviting all her friends and my godmother, who lives in France and who I haven’t seen in years. I don’t want to upset anybody, but I feel like it’s our wedding.
Please can you give me some advice?
Oh, this is so hard. I get that it’s your wedding day, but my heart absolutely bleeds for your mum. If my daughter said she wanted to do this, I’d feel a little bit upset too. In fact, sometimes she says she’s going to go off and just get married — I hope she’s joking.
But if she did, I’d ask if we could go dress shopping together because going shopping for your daughter’s wedding dress is something most mums of daughters look forward to.
When you’ve got daughters, you have certain events in your mind and their wedding day is one.
It’s the same with seeing their dad walking them down the aisle. So perhaps you could compromise and let your dad walk you down the aisle of the registry office? It’s such a small gesture but it would be such a huge deal for your dad.
I get it’s your wedding day and you have to do what’s right for you. So explain to your parents you’d rather spend your money on a house, or a honeymoon, or put it towards having kids in the future.
Smaller weddings can be so moving because they’re intimate, so remind your mum of that too. It doesn’t have to be a big white affair to be a “real wedding”. But just try to be mindful of your mum’s feelings and include her and your dad as much as you can.
I have a 17-year-old daughter who I used to have a really good relationship with, as did my husband. But over the last year or so, she seems to have grown so angry towards us.
She spends a lot of time out with her friends or locked away in her room, and whenever we try to spend time with her she tells us to go away, or shouts at us. When we ask her to do something like homework or housework, she says we’re too hard on her.
It’s so sad to watch our relationship with her, which has always been so lovely, fall apart.
Growing up as an only child, she was always such a daddy’s girl, and my husband in particular is frustrated with the situation. He gets more angry than I do when she won’t do her homework or is downright rude to us.
They often end up in shouting matches and I feel like a referee. Things are reaching boiling point and I’m not sure where to turn or what to do anymore. What can we do to fix our relationship?
Oh God, teenagers! I mean she’s 17, which can be a nightmare age. I hear the same thing from other readers and from my friends so, firstly, please don’t think you’re alone or that your situation is in any way unusual. And while I know it probably feels as if your relationship is falling apart, I promise you it’s just a phase and you’ll get through it.
I was lucky when my three kids were teenagers and the biggest advice I’d give is to try not to lecture, because the more you try to parent a teenager like they’re 12 — even if they’re acting like 12-year-olds — the more they’ll dig their heels in.
Teenagers have no concept of what it’s like to be a grown-up with responsibilities, yet they think they’re adults. So when an actual adult tries to tell them what’s what, their ears close down, they stop listening to you and they shut themselves away or get angry.
It’s nothing personal. Sometimes my teenage daughter will come home and go straight to her room without chatting to me first. But it’s just the way they are — you can’t get angry or think it’s a character flaw.
So stop reading too much into things and thinking your relationship is breaking down.
Everything will be fine. She’s just a teenager. However, you can still have rules in your house. So things like her tidying up after herself need to be non-negotiable. Just try explaining that to her in a calm way, as though you’re talking to another adult.