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My sister’s wedding demands are absurd

Q: My sister is getting married for the second time next spring. She’s told me I have to lose two stones, grow out my fringe and pay for my own bridesmaid dress. As the wedding is in Italy, I also have to pay for my own travel, accommodation and most meals.

Her first marriage only lasted six months due to her dreadfully selfish behaviour, so I’m not inclined to play ball. However, I know a huge family row will ensue if I dare to question her or disobey. Our mother says I should “go with the flow” for the sake of harmony – but why should I? 

A: You cannot allow your sister to push you around like a chess piece. I understand she craves a stylish Italian wedding, but ordering you to lose weight and change your hairstyle are steps too far.

It sounds as if she’s already extremely excited and giddy. You need to get back to her and make it clear that you’re happy to be involved, but you have your limits, both personally and financially. I can understand your mother’s determination to keep everything calm, but a line needs to be drawn. If being a bridesmaid doesn’t appeal, then tell her.

Also look at other options regarding cheaper accommodation or a shorter stay. Make it clear you don’t want a row, but you don’t want to be bankrupt either.  

My in-laws keep raiding our fridge

Q: I’m sick of my in-laws eating so much. They child mind our daughters three days a week. I pay them, but they feel entitled to help themselves to breakfast, lunch and tea. My mother-in-law will often leave a “helpful” note telling me I’m out of bread, cheese, bacon etc. Yes, because they’ve scoffed it. How do I sort this out without coming across as mean or ungrateful?

A: If your in-laws feel they’re doing you a favour, or if you’re paying them less than the going rate, then you need to go back to basics. Explain that constantly restocking your fridge is expensive and time- consuming. Make it clear you are extremely grateful…

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