Post # 1
Ok, so I need some advice with our wedding budget and what it traditionally covers!
When we first got engaged we had a discussion and I proposed that we sit down with our parents and ask them if they would like to contribute to our wedding, and if so what they would be willing to contribute. When we had that discussion FIs first reaction was that he thought his parents would pay for the rehearsal dinner and the rest was the brides responsibility because that is what he thought was traditional. When I explained that if we were doing it traditionally, there are other expenses that the groom and his family cover as well, he hemmed and hawed because he didn’t realize. Which is fine, guys don’t usually do a lot of wedding research, but at that point he knew that there was a bit more to it than bride pays for everything and he just shows up.
Fast forward….after I had the discussion with my parents, they offered me and my Fiance a generous sum of money. It is more than enough to cover our wedding. The remainder was our gift and to be used as we want to start our lives together. I am so grateful of my parents for this! My fiancés family offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner and alcohol (which is BYOB). They are well off. While I am very grateful for getting this contribution, I was a little surprised that they did not offer to cover some of the other “traditional” grooms side expenses. I’m not upset about it, it was honestly just surprising to me.
So now as things progress with planning, I am starting to get to a point where we decide what is covered by the money that my parents contributed, vs. what is our responsibility. I recently had one of those “red flag” discussions with him so need to get it sorted out! During our planning discussions last night I found out that my Fiance was expecting that my parents money was going to cover EVERYTHING else. Down to the gifts for his groomsmen. He also asked me to reimburse him for the sheet of stamps that he bought. I almost fell over. That sheet of stamps was the first money he spent on this wedding….it just seemed stingy!!! Now I realize we need to get on the same page as to what is being covered from which pots of money. I feel like my Fiance thinks that the gift from my parents relieves him of all financial obligation. While I realize there is no set “obligation” for who pays for what in a wedding, I do feel like it’s a union and we should all be contributing since it is more meaningful than just having my parents pay for everything. And I don’t really want to get down to nickel and diming our expenses (e.g., stamps). I have paid for some things out of my personal savings because I thought they were my responsibility outside of my parent’s funded wedding budget, so I think it should be mutual.
So I’m looking to you all for advice before I sit down with him and have this conversation! Given the situation, what do you think is still reasonable to expect the groom/grooms family to contribute? Some example items which I think we definitely need to clarify are grooms attire, groomsmen gifts, parents gifts, rings, officiant, and honeymoon. I am not going to mandate that he contributes anything, but I think I need to at least have my ducks in a row before entering into this sort of touchy conversation! Thanks for any help/advice/support you can offer!
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2012 - Baltimore Museum of Industry
When we were talking budgets, Fiance said something like “Doesn’t the bride’s family pay for most of it?” I got a couple of library books, which stated that “up to 75% of weddings are paid for either by the couple or a combination of the couple and their parents…only 27% entirely by the bride’s parents.” (Even though her numbers don’t add up, thank you Anna Post, GGGD of Emily) I reminded him that “back in the day” there were dowries, and my Dad would have given him a couple of cows. :)-
If you can get a set dollar amount from his parents, as you did with your parents, that probably would help. Luckily both sets of our parents told us “we will contribute X,” so we know what we’re working with/what individual purchases we’re making.
I think that those items you listed- grooms attire, groomsmen gifts, parents gifts, rings, officiant, and honeymoon- all are “traditionally” groom’s side contributions. So I’d recommend getting a book or magazine that shows those traditional breakdowns. You’re totally correct- (most) guys don’t do bridal research, but most respond well to reference material.
Post # 4
Do you expect the money to be from him or from his parents? Once you’re married, his pot of money will be combined with yours anyway, right? In that sense I don’t understand the concern. Or do you expect his parents to be paying for things like groomsmen gifts?
Post # 5
@ahavah: I know eventually it will all come out of one pot, but right now our finances are completely separate. So maybe it’s just perception? I think it would be very strange if I cut him a check to go buy his groomsmen presents! I mean, they are gifts, from him not me! I also think part of it is that he seems like he expects that he doesn’t have to pay for anything, which is part of what is irking me about the situation.
Post # 6
Thanks for the feedback! I wish we could have gotten a set dollar amount instead of them just saying they will cover it, that’s how most of my friends have worked things, but it didn’t work out that way for us. I did show him lists of things and how they were separated, but I think the fact that my parent’s contribution would cover all those things made him think that he and/or his family were no longer responsible. I use “responsible” loosely, but hopefully you get what I’m trying to say!
Post # 7
Our parents have been generous to help with our wedding as well and each side is paying for their number of guests (my side has a bit more) and then splitting everything else evenly (photographer, band, etc). I won’t throw my dress and that kind of stuff into the mix as I feel this is a very fair arrangement!
He probably just needs things laid out more clearly for him. Wishing you all the best!
Post # 8
I understand where you’re coming from with the separate finances & it feeling weird for you to write checks to your fiance to cover things. The part I don’t understand is why the contribution from your parents is ‘your money’. Didn’t they gift it to both of you for the purpose of your wedding? If its more than enough to cover the wedding, why would either of you have to dip into your personal accounts? It doesn’t matter who pays what (his fam or yours). If I were you, I would put all the wedding related contributions in a joint account, and pay all your expenses that way & stop worrying about who paid what.
Post # 9
I would just sit down with him and both your parents have have them give you an exact amount of money. For example, the grooms parents will contribute $2000 and the bride $8000. Anything else will need to be covered by you and your Fiance. That way you will know exactly what is covered and what is not.
It sounds like your Fiance is assuming that he won’t have to put out a dime for your wedding. Maybe you need to explain to him that times have changed and that you both will have to somewhat contribute financially to the wedding. I am assuming that your parents have not given you an unlimited budget? I think this would be the easiest way that way you can figure out what the money from your parents will cover and what you two will have to pay for out of pocket.
Post # 10
@les105: I don’t think I ever said that money was “my money”. I consider it my parents contribution to our wedding. Whatever is left over is our money to spend how we please. Currently, it is in my bank account since my parents have written the checks to me and we have not combined finances yet, and I have been paying the bills with it, so it’s my money in that sense, but I’m just holding onto it for the two of us.
I guess I just thought it was odd that he thought this was going to cover things like his groomsmen gifts. But, that’s why I posted this here before I talk to him!
Post # 11
@les105: I agree. This is what we did. My parents offered to pay for everything “within reason” minus whatever his parents wanted to contribute. We weren’t expecting much from his parents (he has a sister that we wanted the bulk of their “wedding” money to go to, and they don’t have a lot of money) but they gave us a certain amount of money. We put that money into a joint account and have paid for everything we buy for the wedding ourselves (including gifts to the wedding party and personal things for the wedding) and asked my parents for checks for the big stuff.
Why would either of you go into debt to pay for a wedding when you have plenty there to pay for it. If the rest of the money if going to the marriage, it’s just going to replace what you’ve spent on the wedding, right?
Post # 12
it just seemed weird that you said it was weird for you to write him a check for something when the check is being financed by shared money, not your own money. I wasn’t trying to offend, just trying to point out what your fiance might be thinking. I think if your parents’ money is enough to pay for odds & ends, then I personally would expect it to be used for that, and it seems like your fiance does, too. In the end, its all just shifting money around, and both of you will end up with the same amount once you’re married 🙂 I wouldn’t rock the boat over semantics, unless you feel like he’s being selfish/disrespectful about the situation, and that its a sign of future stinginess.
Post # 13
@les105: I see what you are saying and I think it comes down to perception since the money currently resides in my account. Anything that we pay for that’s going towards the wedding is coming out of my account, and I have to write him a check to reimburse him. So yes, in the end it will all be one pot and it won’t matter. But he also has savings so it’s not like he needs the “wedding money” to cover things like gifts, so that’s why I thought it could potentially be an issue as things progress and we need to get on the same page asap. So this is good, different perspective 🙂 So what I’m taking away is that I need to ditch the perception issue that I’m having and face the reality that it’s all going to be one pot anyway, so just pay for it out of the wedding fund my parents gave us even though it might not be what I thought was traditional and get over it 😛
Post # 14
wow I CAN’T understand him asking to be reimbursed for stamps? I would think he would want to buy the groomsmen gift from his own money since its meant to be a gift from him to them. He does sound like he is acting very stingy
Post # 15
I see your FI’s perspective in this. There is currently a wedding fund in existence. He made a wedding expenditure out of his own money and expected to be reimbursed from the wedding fund. That seems fair.
If the wedding fund is only YOUR wedding fund, then that is messed up and I would be pissed if I were your Fiance.
Post # 16
@Tigrrlily04: I think it is reasonable to expect the groom’s family to pay for whatever they offer to pay for. Unless somebody offers to pay for something (withOUT being asked) it is the responsibility of the bride & groom to pay for everything.