PLEASE HELP us Agnes, we need some urgent wedding advice.
Our only daughter, Jodie, wants to marry Jake, which is fine. But being parents of the bride they want us to to pay for the wedding.
If you include the big black stretch limo, a cover band and about 150 guests, we'll have to re-mortgage the farm.
We don't mind paying our share, but Jodie and Jake are in their mid-30s, have been living together for 15 years, have three children - Jaylene, Maibelle and Zackarye - a house twice the size of ours and twice as many cars.
Are we being stingy if we offer to pay for the five-course meal (sans drinks) and the $150 permit for the footy club - which, if I'm paying, is where it will be?
Wendy and Wally, Warrnambool
Dear Wendy and Wally,
I reckon we need a statute of limitations for weddings - like theft, where you can't be prosecuted a number of years after the event.
If the happy couple have lived together for more than, say, four years and have kids, then the wedding is all theirs to fund.
What is it with the big weddings these days, anyway? I thought marriage had been dying out, but now everyone is trying to outdo each other with over-the-top nuptials.
Even worse, you could blow your superannuation on the wedding and find within months that the only conversations between the happy couple are being conducted through lawyers.
It's certainly true that it's customary for the father of the bride to pay for the wedding, which was fine back in the days when you borrowed your uncle's Holden Premier for the wedding car, had your reception at the pub with a few relatives and close friends, and the honeymoon was a long-weekend in a caravan at Lorne.
The whole thing would set you back a pen of lambs or a few bales of wool.
Now they all want to arrive by helicopter, have George Calombaris cater for it, Steven Spielberg to film it, and take off for a honeymoon on Easter Island. Selling the whole farm wouldn't cover it.
I think in your case paying for the meal and the permit is plenty.
And I like your thinking with the footy club venue. Keep the theme going: forget the limo and get the boys to "chair" the bride in. Get the local butcher to donate a meat tray and you can sell raffle tickets.
Don't hire a band, invite a busker. And if you tell everyone to bring a plate, you won't have to fork out for the meal at all.
If all goes to plan, the wedding won't cost a cent - you might even make a profit.