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Money Lessons from “Royal Pains” and Cancelled Weddings

One of our favorite tv shows is “Royal Pains”.  It is about a concierge doctor doing what he does best in the Hamptons since he was fired from his emergency room position in the first episode.  It’s actually a feel good show, which I appreciate.  As you can guess, there are a billion lessons to learn from the stuff you see in the fake Hamptons, but the most recent subplot is what caught my attention. 

The TV Problem

One of the main characters, Divya, is Doctor Hank’s physician assistant.  She was arranged to be married to a long-time family friend, but she pulled out at the last minute at the end of last season.  Since she has refused to be in another arranged marriage, her very wealthy family cut her off for the first time ever.  At first, I was worried the writer’s were going to make this very intelligent character a complete financial bimbo, but she catches on that she needs to be frugal right off the bat.  The big kink is that her ex-inlaws-to-be have demanded that she repay them for all the money they had spent on the wedding and stupid fru-fru events and plane tickets.  So she gets a second job to pay them back.

Lessons to be Learned

First of all, I thought the writers captured the character perfectly.  She is written as a smart woman with a HUGE dose of responsibility and dependability.  I thought that deciding to pay back the ex’s parents would be right up her alley.  But I started to wonder if she should even be responsible for all the silly charges that were completely up to their whims. 

In the real world, if I had cancelled my wedding at the last minute, I would feel like I would have needed to send back the gifts, return my husband’s family ring, and pay back all the charges my ex’s family had incurred like the reception decorations and honeymoon.  But I wouldn’t think I should have to pay for whatever crazy private dinner they were going to throw for the family the following day.  That would be on them.

In short, I’d have a line.

How Common Are Wedding Cancellations?

All of this said, I’m going off on another rabbit trail.  What is with all of the last minute wedding cancellations on tv and in movies?  I do not understand.  Most weddings take months to plan and hopefully the couple has been together long enough to know if forever is right for them.  Was I the only bride never to even think about cancelling?  It wasn’t “if” we were getting married – it was just a matter of “when”.  We aren’t perfect and there are days that I think “damn it”, but if I wasn’t sure about marrying my guy, I sure as hell wouldn’t have put in all the work to plan a big event.  I hate party planning.  It was a hassle.  We ended up having a great wedding, but I wouldn’t even have called the university chapel if I wasn’t 100% sure I’d be using it.

What do you think?  Should Divya be on the hook for all of the splurges?  Our last minute wedding cancellations that common?

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10 comments to Money Lessons from “Royal Pains” and Cancelled Weddings

  • I didn’t have any second thoughts about my wedding either, but a person I know definitely had second thoughts, not enough to cancel the wedding, but enough that both she and her groom got fairly drunk before the wedding (which I don’t understand either). She decided to take the plunge because she was getting older and wanted to have kids and didn’t know if she would have time to find someone else. That says it all.

    Having said that, I think wedding cancellations on tv occur because the writers think it makes good drama.

  • I have a friend who dated the same guy for 4 years, they got engaged about 6 months ago, and she just called off the wedding 2 months before the wedding. To be honest, I saw red flags 6 months into their relationship so I am not surprised. What surprises me is that she invested YEARS with this person only to decide at the last minute not to marry him. Had she looked at him a little closer years ago she could have saved herself headache and $3000+ in pre-wedding expenses!

  • My wife owns a wedding photography business and we have developed a very detailed contract where we require a non-refundable 50% deposit. We also ask that if the event is cancelled within 60 days of the wedding, we are still due the entire fee, simply because we likely could not re-book for that date.

    Unfortunately, this contract came about b/c we got burned on a wedding that got cancelled. It has only happened once in about 5 years, but once was enough for us.

  • With the divorce rate being about 50% there are plenty of people who should have cancelled their weddings.

  • @Mom’s Plans, yep, they are dramatic.

    @Denise, exactly! Why stick with him for years if he wasn’t marriageable material? :-)

    @STRONGside, I’m glad it only happened once in 5 years and am sorry you had to lose that income…

    @Andy, nah, they just shouldn’t have gotten together to start with, lol.

  • I love Royal Pains too! It pissed me off that her ex-soon-to-be-in-laws were sending her the bill, but I appreciate how noble she is to be willing to take the expenses head on. Also, I never thought of canceling our wedding. We just downsized it :)

  • Some people call off the wedding because the groom-to-be gets cause cheating on his fiance. He & his fling were drinking wine from wedding gifted wine glasses when caught by the bride-to-be. True story. Bride in question paid back her parents for what they’d already spent. She did not pay his parents because they hadn’t spent much. Also his parents knew what he’d done & were mad at him not her. We learned to give money instead of other gifts from that wedding. A check can go in the card at the last minute!

  • If I cancelled my wedding, I would have paid for all the expenses my bridal party has acquired up to that point… (dresses, shoes, etc…) & returned any gifts we had received…

    after that, If there was a certain someone with issues, i’d take it up on a case by case basis.

  • [...] Money Lessons from “Royal Pains” and Cancelled Weddings: Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff brought up one of my favorite shows, Royal Pains, and discussed how one of the characters, Divya, is in a financial predicament where she has to pay back her almost-ex-in-laws for a cancelled arranged marriage. I loved the synopsis and the lessons learned, and glad my wedding wasn’t cancelled. [...]

  • [...] Money Lessons from “Royal Pains” and Cancelled Weddings: You can learn lessons from fake people on TV, as well as people in real life. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff takes a look at the financial lessons that can be learned by watching drama play out on TV. [...]