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9 Women Share Who Paid For What At Their WeddingsFrom the Pinterest-inspired dream venue to that rustic tablescape (what's a table without bundles of lavender bound with twine?) to a DJ who plays just the right amount of your playlist while still appeasing the parents with enough oldies — weddings can be expensive AF. According to the latest survey from Hitched, the average wedding in the UK now costs over £32k — and that's excluding honeymoon expenses. So who exactly is footing these bills?First, we asked six millennial women how much their weddings cost, and now we're getting into the nitty-gritty. Ahead, we asked ten more millennial women: Who paid for what at your wedding, and how did you feel about the payment breakdown?Name: EmilyAge: 29Location: Phoenix, AZHow much did your wedding cost? About $165,000 (£148,200) for marriage prep and church-related costs, ceremony, and reception (including fireworks!)What was the payment breakdown?"My parents paid for basically everything. I paid for a few little 'extras,' like my bridesmaids' gifts, but I lost my job a month after getting engaged, so I didn’t have an income for about half of the time I was wedding planning. I would have liked to contribute more, but it just wasn’t in the cards, and my parents were very generous. My husband paid for my engagement ring, our engagement trip to Canada, his tuxedo and groomsman-related items, and his portion of the bachelor party. My husband's mum paid for and hosted our rehearsal dinner for 75 guests. My husband's dad gave us $5,000 (£4k) toward our honeymoon. Everything else my parents paid for."How did you feel about it?"It was just always understood that my parents would be paying, but I still often felt guilty about how much everything cost. But my parents, my husband, and I all agreed very early on that we wanted a big, fun wedding, and that’s just expensive! I am incredibly grateful that they were about to give us such a wonderful day, and really a wonderful ten-month engagement full of showers, wedding-dress fittings, a bachelorette party, etc. Since I wasn’t working, I would have had to forgo a lot of that stuff in the moment, and they made it possible for me to just enjoy it and not worry about the cost."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I am incredibly lucky that my parents were willing and able to foot the bill for our entire wedding and beyond (engagement photos, etc.). If they hadn’t been able to, our wedding probably would have looked a lot different, and probably would have been postponed. My husband and I are aggressively paying back his six-figure student debt, so a lavish 200+ person wedding would not have been in the cards. I don’t think it is anyone’s responsibility, and I also don’t think that you should go into debt for it. If you can’t afford a big party, don’t have one. It’s the marriage that is important, not the wedding. (I know, I know, easy for me to say, I got both.)"Name: MollieAge: 29Location: Saint Paul, MNHow much did your wedding cost? $42,000 (£33,702)What was the payment breakdown?"My now-husband and I already had combined finances. My mom paid for most of my dress and the fee for the church rental. My dad paid the catering bill for his side of the family (nine people at $121 [£97] a person). My husband and I picked up extra work shifts and paid for everything else. We put roughly $5,000 (£4k) on credit cards and just busted our butts to pay the rest."How did you feel about the payment breakdown for your wedding?"I feel like if we did it again, I would have had a smaller wedding at a less trendy place. But I feel fine with the breakdown."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I think the bride and groom should always pay. If you're responsible enough to get married, you should be responsible enough to budget and pay for it. I’m a grown woman, and I don’t need my family to financially support me."Name: KrishnaAge: 29Location: Philadelphia, PAHow much did your wedding cost? About $5,000 (£4k)What was the payment breakdown?"My lengha (Indian bridal dress) cost about $900 (£7,223), and my husband's sherwani was $200 (£160) (ugh, hand embroidery/sexism). We bought beer and wine to our BYO venue that cost us about $300 (£240) for 35 people. We also purchased a cake from a local baker for about $150 (£120). Our ceremony venue was free, given that it was at a public courthouse. I spent about $50 (£40.13) on a blowout, $50 on a mani/pedi (which my aunts covered), and about $200 (£160) on mehndi for myself and my aunts and girl cousins. I also catered pizza and salad for the mehndi artists for about $75 (£60). I did my own makeup with my best friend/MOH's help. We spent about $3,000 (£2,407) on the reception venue — a local Italian restaurant. My grandmother paid for $500 (£401) of my dress, and I used gift cards from my sweet and generous coworkers for the alcohol. My husband's family ended up stealthily footing the bill for the reception/dinner, which was entirely unexpected and way too kind. In sum, this wasn't all out-of-pocket from my husband and me alone (though we intended it to be when we were planning)."How did you feel about it?"Phenomenally. My husband and I were getting really nervous about the mounting costs of the wedding, because we initially felt pressured to host a three- to five-day Indian/Pakistani (Desi) wedding in keeping with tradition and our families' wishes. I discussed the matter with my family members, and they urged me to do whatever I felt comfortable with. My husband and I discussed the matter a couple of times before deciding on an 'elopement' in the courthouse. It was intimate, affordable, and relatively stress-free."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I think it depends on the people and their families to make that decision. Ideally, it's a group effort. In Desi weddings, for example, there are typically several events, and different sides of the family host depending on which event it is. Ultimately, if the cost is shared across two people and their families, it's less of a burden on any one person. It takes a village."Name: NicoleAge: 29Location: Los Angeles, CAHow much is your wedding going to cost? We are still finalising the wedding, but it's looking like it's going to cost around $15,000 (£12,000).What's the payment breakdown?"My partner's parents were kind and gave us $10,000 (£8,026) toward the wedding. My parents are not in the same financial situation and offered to give money, but we ultimately turned it down. Any additional costs will likely be paid by my partner as he has more savings, but I will help where I can."How do you feel about it?"I feel guilty about not contributing more, but in the long run, we will be sharing an income and I make more money than he does. It's our money now, not his versus mine."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"It should be a shared decision and responsibility — if it's all going into the same pot after you're married, it doesn't really matter who spends the most."Name: EmilyAge: 24Location: Phoenix, AZHow much is your wedding going to cost? Hopefully under $10,000 (£8026)What's the payment breakdown?"We are paying for pretty much everything. My mum and grandma bought my dress, and my fiancé's mom is paying for the bar, which is amazing because none of them are wealthy. My dad and his wife say they are going to pay for the venue, but they didn't give us a budget to work with and now can't seem to remember offering to pay for it. We saw this happening, though, and picked a place we could afford on our own. They have flaked on paying for things they've promised in the past, so we didn't want to get in over our heads if they did, which it looks like they will. We also refuse to go into debt for this day, so everything we have paid for has been in cash."How do you feel about it?"I feel okay about it. I wish my dad would have followed through with helping, but I didn't ever really think that was going to happen."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I feel like we are responsible for paying. We want a nice wedding and don't want anyone holding the fact that they paid over our heads to get what they want. So other than the few very generous things our moms are doing, we are covering everything. If my dad does come through paying for something, then great, and if not, we are planning on fully paying for everything."Name: KarenAge: 27Location: Los Angeles, CAHow much did your wedding cost? ~$15,000 (£12,039)What was the payment breakdown?"My parents paid around $10,000 (£8,026). This covered the venue and decor. We had our wedding in a backyard and put up a huge tent. The tent alone was around $5,000 (£4,013). (We had just under 230 guests.) The rest of my parents' budget went into table and chair rentals, flowers, fancy cups that I insisted on having, table covers, table runners, etc. My husband and I paid around $5,000 (£4,013). We covered the photographer, which ended up being only $2,100 (£1,685) after a very generous friend discount. My dress was only $1,000 (£802), purchased off a bride on Tradesy who didn't end up wearing her dress. Food for our wedding was only around $2,500 (£2,006), due to the fact that we served tacos! I absolutely hate traditional wedding food, so my husband and I decided on tacos, and everyone loved it! My husband's tux was around $100 (£80) (through a friend discount). Our honeymoon was paid for by my in-laws. My sister-in-law paid for our invites, and my husband's aunt, who owns a bakery, made our wedding cake as a gift to us."How did you feel about it?"I felt it was fair, considering I wanted to elope, but my parents insisted on me having a bigger celebration. Both my parents and my in-laws were very generous."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I think the couple is responsible for paying for the type of wedding that they want. If a couple has a small budget, then their wedding should be planned according to that budget. My husband and I didn't expect our families to help pay for things, but we accepted every offer that came our way. "Name: AshleyAge: 34Location: Chicago, ILHow much did your wedding cost? $120,000 (£96,313) (includes honeymoon)What was the payment breakdown?"My mom contributed approximately $22,000 (£17,657), and my husband's family contributed approximately $27,000 (£21,670). The rest was paid for by my husband and me. The money was kind of pooled into a general fund, and we paid for things as they came up. The only traditional things where our parents paid directly were my wedding dress (my mom paid) and the rehearsal dinner (my husband's parents paid). Otherwise, we just asked our parents for money as the bills started coming in."How did you feel about it?"I thought it was extremely generous of my husband's family to contribute as much as they did, even though it may not be customary for the groom's family to pay. We definitely spent a little too much on the wedding, but it was an amazing day, and we're very lucky our parents were so generous."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"There's no right answer to this. I think that it's based on the family situation. If everyone is able to contribute, then I don't see why traditional norms should prevent that. My in-laws were happy to contribute because it was their guests just as much as it was ours. I think age plays a role as well. We were in our 30s when we got married and were established in our careers making good money, so we spent quite a bit of money ourselves. Our parents insisted on helping, and we greatly appreciate that, but we could have paid for it on our own."Name: MaryAge: 29Location: Greensboro, NCHow much is your wedding going to cost? $40,000 (£32,104)What's the payment breakdown?"We had $30,000 (£24,078) from my family (inherited specifically for a wedding — the joys of being the only grandchild!), which was an amazing start, and we've put that toward the big purchases: venue, food, and booze. My fiancé has some savings and is willing to help pay, so he's been put in charge of buying my dress and his suit, and I'm paying for most other little things. As of right now his family hasn't offered to help, but we also haven't asked. (He's one of four boys, and I don't feel comfortable expecting his family to pay for anything.)"How do you feel about it?"I'm fairly happy with it. I know I'm extremely lucky to have a family that has that kind of money and is willing to spend it on me. I'm definitely feeling some guilt for spending this much on a wedding, but it helps that my fiancé and I are also putting some money down for things that we really want."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I think whoever in the wedding who has the highest expectations is responsible for paying! If the two people getting married just want to have a city hall wedding, and the parents (or grandparents, or friends!) of either of them want a big bash, then those people should be the ones offering to pay. And of course, vice versa. Also, while I love a great party, I don't think anyone should go into debt for a wedding."Name: CaitlinAge: 27Location: San Jose, CAHow much did your wedding cost? $40,000 (£32,104)What was the payment breakdown?"My husband and I paid for $15,000 (£12,039), my in-laws footed the bill for a mere $5,000 (£4,013), and my parents paid the rest of the wedding tab."How did you feel about it?"It was a bit unequal. My parents were forced to pick up quite a bit of unexpected payments, but it all came together to be a happy occasion. My in-laws ended up throwing us an unexpected rehearsal dinner party, so it smoothed a bit of the tension."Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why?"I think we as the bride and groom should be responsible for the bulk of the wedding payment, but we’re so lucky that our parents ended up covering many of the wedding costs to give us the winery wedding of our dreams."Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Money Diary: A 22-Year-Old Living In Amsterdam On €40kHow To Make Your Work Enemy Your Secret WeaponLGBTQ+ Workers Earn £6,703 Less Than Their Colleagues In The UK Today
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Our Obsession With Sleeping Well Is Stopping Us From SleepingFor many of us, a midweek morning routine consists of a couple of alarm snoozes, a fairly lengthy Instagram scroll, a cup of PG Tips and a hefty dose of dry shampoo. But for 29-year-old London-based yoga teacher Indi, it’s a different story. For the last three months, Indi’s routine on waking has been to check her smartwatch for feedback on how she’d slept. She’d then feel frustrated and inevitably exhausted for the rest of the day as the stats on the screen glaringly told her she’d had just four hours and 41 minutes of 'deep sleep'.Indi says she bought her fitness tracking watch to measure her activity levels but, having always been a poor sleeper, decided to give its slumber tracking credentials a go. In the last few years she's tried everything from the science-approved (meditation) to the more holistic (think: valerian root supplements, CBD, moon milk) but nothing’s worked. "I thought my watch would help me," she says, "but it ended up having the opposite effect."She says the stats were interesting at first but quickly became an obsession. "I found myself under pressure to fall asleep and stay asleep, just so it would show good results. It was stressful knowing something was there monitoring my sleep. I was constantly waking up and conscious of not moving around too much when I was in bed." At around the three-week mark, Indi noticed the quantity, and quality, of her sleep had plummeted.Like Indi, us Brits have become a nation obsessed with our snooze time and business is booming, not just in the sleep tracker department. According to a 2017 report, the sleep-health industry is worth $40bn, growing by more than 8% globally every year. From £500 breath-synced sleep robots to thermo-regulating PJs and soothing smart rings, the latest insomnia-busting tech promises the perfect night’s sleep. Millions of us are tuning into meditation app Calm’s Sleep Stories on a nightly basis; Blue Gold, the app’s most popular slumber-inducing fable, narrated by Stephen Fry, has been listened to over 15 million times.If your sleep tracker tells you you’ve had four hours of poor quality sleep – even if the truth is far from this – the chances are this will psychologically impact your mood, energy levels and productivity the following day.But as gadgets proliferate, so do concerns. Like hitting your daily steps or counting macros on MyFitnessPal, sleep has fast become yet another metric we’re tracking via our tech, and it appears we may be taking it a little too seriously. Meet: orthosomnia, a term coined in a 2017 case report in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. The word stems from 'ortho' meaning straight or correct, and 'somnia' meaning sleep. In short, it’s a condition affecting those who obsess over their sleep. The researchers chose the term, they write, "because the perfectionist quest to achieve perfect sleep is similar to the unhealthy preoccupation with healthy eating, termed orthorexia".Like orthorexia, orthosomnia is not yet a recognised disorder, although Dr Nicola Barclay, lecturer in sleep medicine at the University of Oxford, believes the tide is turning. "Orthosomnia is a genuine condition and a real worry, especially as people rely increasingly on sleep trackers, most of which are wildly inaccurate, giving a very poor estimate of your real sleep. If your sleep tracker tells you you’ve had four hours of poor quality sleep – even if the truth is far from this – the chances are this will psychologically impact your mood, energy levels and productivity the following day. It’s this reliance that creates a vicious cycle and will negatively impact on your sleep," she explains.Barclay’s other issue with sleep trackers is their inability to decipher individual sleep needs. "We’ve become fixated on eight hours of sleep as the Holy Grail but this is a counterproductive fixation. The majority of us need between six-and-a-half to eight hours' sleep every night, but it’s not the case for everyone. Some might only need four or five hours." Plus, you might not actually be as sleep deprived as the headlines say. We may not get enough quality sleep, but the average nightly slumber hasn’t changed much over the last 100 years – around seven hours has been the average for decades.So should we ditch the sleep tracker? Quite possibly. Orthosomnia appears to be one symptom of an industry that has left us mere mortals with more data than we know what to do with. If you already suffer from insomnia, it could be a recipe for disaster. Barclay explains that the typical insomniac is a type-A personality, and daily stats reminding you of your sleep shortcomings may well exacerbate these perfectionist tendencies.If you think you may be suffering from orthosomnia, it pays to go back to basics. Dr Julius Bourke, consultant neuropsychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health, emphasises the importance of establishing a solid sleep routine without a sleep tracker. "Stop relying on tech and create consistency in the run-up to bedtime. A bath, bedtime story and lullaby is a classic example of a good routine – remember we all had to learn to sleep the way we expect to as adults. Our brains respond well to these cues, whether we are infants or adults." His number one tip? Aim for the same 'lights out' time every night and set your alarm for the same time each morning – no weekend lie-ins allowed (these can wreak havoc with circadian rhythms, FYI).Is there ever a place for a sleep tracker? The jury’s out. Both Barclay and Bourke say a certain level of number crunching can be beneficial to those looking to brush up on their sleep hygiene, just be sure to take any 'sleep scores' with a pinch of salt. A healthier, and arguably more sustainable practice, is to keep a sleep diary, monitoring snooze patterns and behaviour with, believe it or not, a pen and paper. You heard it here first.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?What Is Wilderness Therapy & How Can It Help YouWhen Women Get Called 'Sensitive' It's Not A Compliment, But It Should Be5 Women With PTSD Describe What It's Like To Live With
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I Was Friends With My Boss — Then Things Got WeirdWhen Tiffany*, 33, started working as a social media director at a start-up in Washington D.C., she immediately clicked with her boss (who we’ll call Layla). Layla was friendly and funny, and both women bonded about being women of colour in the workplace. “She sort of lit up the room when she walked in, her energy was electric,” Tiffany told Refinery29. But soon, Layla’s behaviour started to make Tiffany uneasy.A few weeks after Tiffany started, Layla began to call her after hours to vent — “first [it was] about work, then it became personal.” Tiffany said. Initially, Tiffany was open to engaging in the conversations as she wanted to impress her new boss, but she quickly started to feel uncomfortable. “I realised she was often calling me to gossip about her bosses or employees she hated,” Tiffany said. “Once she even called me to tell me she was overwhelmed with trying to figure out a way to push some of [her] peers out of the company.” Before too long, Tiffany realised something wasn’t right.Like Tiffany, many professionals have found themselves wanting to develop a connection with their boss — but building a bond with your supervisor can be tricky. On one hand, a strong relationship with a boss can be a foundational career investment and contribute to better communication and collaboration. On the other hand, blurred boundaries between professional relationships and personal friendships can quickly get complicated. Given the fine line separating the two, an important question arises: How close is too close?Olivet Nazarene University recently set out to identify the new norms of boss-employee relationships in the U.S. The survey of 3,000 people found that one in three workers had had a boss ask for personal advice, one in four of those surveyed had hung out with their manager socially, and one in 20 said they were connected to their boss on Instagram or Snapchat. And while the survey found that certain levels of intimacy with a boss — such as meeting their child or significant other — can actually correlate with worker happiness, this isn’t always the case.Jillian*, 29, quickly struck up a friendship with her boss at her tech company in Austin, Texas. The two women were similar in age and, from the beginning, her boss tried to get to know Jillian and the rest of her teammates. “She often invited [us] to her house for social events like holiday parties, and team meals,” Jillian told Refinery29.There were times where she would be working from home and take a video conference call while sitting in bed, with her partner [sleeping] shirtless next to her.But over the course of Jillian's one-on-one meetings, her boss began to share about her past queer relationships. Jillian, who identifies as queer, found this to be an uncomfortable topic to discuss with a new supervisor. "It was as if she was trying to bond over [our] shared queerness," she said. And this wasn’t the only time Jillian was made to feel uneasy by her boss’ behaviour: “There were times where she would be working from home and take a video conference call while sitting in bed, with her partner [sleeping] shirtless next to her,” said Jillian.Though Jillian and Tiffany’s experiences with their bosses weren’t entirely positive, some relationships of this nature are. Abby, 29, ended up developing a very close relationship with her boss while working as a senior account executive at a PR agency. The two would go on vacations together and brunch on the weekends, and acted as each other’s sounding boards for both personal and professional challenges. Abby owed this closeness to the non-hierarchical culture at her company, adding that the two made sure to set clear boundaries — "there [was] an understanding that [our] friendship does not affect work."According to Abby, the relationship with her boss enhanced her ability to work productively and effectively. “While for some people, there can be such a thing as ‘too close,’ it never felt that way for me,” Abby told Refinery29. She added that the two were honest, transparent, and respectful with one another — “just as good friends should be.” Ultimately, Abby credits her friendship with her boss to her success in her role. “Our friendship allowed us to work better together, and ultimately, drove better results for the projects we managed together.”Defining what constitutes an appropriate or inappropriate relationship with a boss varies from person to person. “[The relationship] is okay as long as both parties feel comfortable,” says Ariel Schur, LCSW is the CEO and founder of ABS Staffing Solutions. Ariel started her career as an Employee Assistance Program counsellor for employees of Fortune 500 companies — and she admits she, too, once became friends with a former boss.Though Ariel’s relationship with her boss was healthy, she acknowledges that befriending your supervisor can be tricky territory. “Some people might feel that their boss is contacting them too often, which could be distracting if you are looking to shut off for the night post work,” Ariel told Refinery29. “Being friends with your boss on social media can also be tricky — you don't necessarily want your boss knowing your weekend plans or where you went after work.”For this reason, Ariel recommends reflecting on the type of relationship dynamic you might feel comfortable with — and being very clear about your limits from the beginning. “Unless you set forth very clear boundaries and make a concerted effort to adhere to them, it’s very easy to cross lines,” Ariel said, acknowledging that as people spend more time at work, these lines between the personal and professional can easily blur. “We spend [over] 40 hours a week at our desk, so it's natural to want to have a sense of closeness with your boss.”Unless you set forth very clear boundaries and make a concerted effort to adhere to them, it’s very easy to cross lines.While boundary setting is always a good idea, Ariel also recommends listening to your intuition. “If something feels off, don't ignore the uncomfortable feeling,” she said. If a relationship or dynamic veers into dangerous or uncomfortable territory, say something, she adds. “Don't be afraid to speak up, and don't allow yourself to feel like you 'deserved' it in any way.”Tiffany’s troubled dynamics were resolved after her boss was transferred to a new location after several employees reported her for inappropriate behaviour. And though the situation was settled, it left a lasting impression on her. “I realised it’s naïve to assume that just because [your] boss is ‘cool’ or looks like you means they will be supportive, professional, [or] a good mentor,” Tiffany said. “I’ve learned that the goal is not to be your boss’s pet — [it’s] to be the best at what you do and earn the respect of your team.”As for Jillian, she was abruptly let go after her tech company had a large layoff. And though she is currently out of work, she says her experiences with her old boss are helping her in her job search. “I’m ensuring I look out for some of these signs in future bosses as I interview for new jobs,” Jillian said. “I am learning that it's important to trust my gut — if something seems 'off' there's usually a good reason for it.”Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?How Much Cash Should You Give For A Wedding Gift?Having A Work Spouse Isn't Just Fun, It's Key To Professional SuccessAdvice From A Nice Girl: How Do I Avoid Being A Pushover?
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