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Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Balancing budgets and bachelor parties

My husband and I have been married for 11 years now and if that doesn't seem very long to you, consider that our wedding photos are archived on negatives instead of in digital format.

Most of our friends from high school and college are now married too, but there are a few stragglers who are arriving late to the altar. That creates complications for those of us who are now wedding guests with children.

Don't get me wrong, I would never want to bring either of my children to a wedding unless it was to watch small dogs get married in cute costumes. The question is, should my husband and I spend loads of money to attend an out-of-state wedding when as parents we owe it to our children to be financially responsible?

Next month one of my best friends is getting married in New England. Despite me swearing for years, “Of course I'll attend your wedding,” I am in fact, not going. The Alaska Air tickets alone were going to be $1,300. Once I added on the hotel, rental car, Sea-Tac parking, gas and thank-you gifts for baby-sitting grandmas, we were looking at spending $2,500 for a three-day trip. Holy smokes! So I ended up RSVP'ing “no” and sending a really nice present instead.

Then there is the issue of extreme bachelor parties. My husband has friends from college who are in an entirely different tax bracket from us. One of them had a bachelor party that involved flying to Alaska and bar hopping by floatplane. To my husband's great credit, he only considered attending for about three seconds before he concluded that taking money out of our savings account to go flying around the Alaskan wilderness in a small plane drinking beer was not a good idea.

The next day I told my friend who happens to be a breast cancer survivor about the trip, and she had an entirely different take. “Wow,” she said, “That sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Are you sure you want to encourage your husband to pass that up?”

That gave me pause. Was I the wet blanket on my husband's fun? All those other guys going to Alaska had wives and kids too, but they also had trust funds and nannies. Children and money were not standing in the way of any of them flying around on the booze-cruise floatplane.

So I went back to my husband and said, “Look, maybe you should go on this trip after all.” You know what he did? He skipped the trip anyway so he could stay home that weekend and coach our son's Sno-King soccer game instead. I think my husband deserves a really nice present too.

Jennifer Bardsley is an Edmonds mom of two and blogs at http://teachingmybabytoread.blog.com.
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