DEAR STEEL ADVICE: I have a question as it relates to the bride's father picking up the tab for the wedding. The traditional school of thought on this seems extremely antiquated. I believe this stems from a period of time when men made the money and women took care of house and children. Clearly things have changed now and this is not the case. Children are also getting married much older and are many times in well-established careers. Should the father still be expected to be solely responsible for paying $20K+ for weddings?
-- FATHER WITH THREE DAUGHTERS
DEAR DAD: In lieu of six goats, some chickens and a pig you may find yourself funding three weddings. Hosting a wedding reception is like throwing a grand party for relatives, friends and people you never met. The bridal industry has skyrocketed. So it is up to you to establish a budget and stick to it. Talk with your daughter and future son-in-law and lay out a plan so there are no unrealistic expectations. In some situations any way the cake is cut causes hurt feelings. Today the groom's family as well as the bride and groom often share in some of the wedding expense, however, do not assume this will be your case. Take nothing for granted and you will not be disappointed or surprised with an unexpected bill. You want to be able to smile at the altar when the clergyman asks "Who gives this woman's hand in marriage" and not secretly wish you kept your goats and your money. Remember a lavish wedding does not necessarily equate to a good marriage. The good marriage is the goal.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My wife and I have been talking about getting a dog, but we can't agree on which breed would be right for us. We would like a low-energy dog that would mostly be content hanging around the house with us, but would also get along happily with our preschool-aged grandchildren when they visit. Neither of us has dog training experience. So we thought perhaps adopting an older dog might be a good idea. We did some research on the Internet but are now more confused than before. Any suggestions on how to go about this search properly?
DEAR DOG DREAMER: A contented dog hanging around the house sounds nice. Glossy dog calendars and coffee table dog books are also nice and a lot less work and expense. A dog is "not a little human." You need to consider the size and energy needs of a dog and be willing to put the time and effort into training. List what you dislike about other people's dogs and choose a breed that has a low propensity for those behaviors. Be realistic when evaluating your own tolerance level and your work and travel habits. Life is sweet and while a canine companion by all accounts enriches it, it can also be an expensive nuisance if the dog you choose is not a good match for your lifestyle. Puppies can be overwhelming. So an older dog may be a more relaxed, better choice. Read dog books and talk to pet owners who have well-trained pets. Visit animal shelters and go to some dog shows to observe and talk with responsible breeders. Fostering a dog is a great idea if you are still uncertain. You will know when you find the right match because your dog will steal your heart and you will soon forget what life was like BD.
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