Post # 1
I got engaged about a month ago, and immediately afterwards my parents told me their budget for the wedding (which was the same budget for my sister’s wedding 10+ years ago). I appreciate them helping because otherwise we’d be having a backyard bbq with maybe 15 people, which also would be perfectly ok! However, everyone in our families wants the big wedding. Then they proceeded to tell me what they contributed for my brother’s wedding, and what other family members have done as parents of the groom. They asked what my future in-laws would be doing and honestly I have no idea. I don’t want to offend my future parents-in-law by asking them if they are going to contribute, but I also feel genuinely bad for my parents footing the entire bill. I assumed that if they wanted to help they would have offered by now.
A little inside info about the wedding: for the type of wedding our families want to have, I’ll be contributing “secretly” to the wedding/reception venue because their budget doesn’t really cover everything, but they also feel offended if I pay for any of it. If the grooms family were to contribute on the traditional items :bridal bouquet and liquor, I wouldn’t have to contribute in a stealthy way. Either way, I feel awful about it. The future in-laws have also mentioned wanting to invite some of their friends that neither my fiance or I know. We are trying to keep the wedding as small as possible so I don’t have to pay too much on the side and go into debt. Is it wrong if I suggest they pay for their friends?
I’m assuming I should have a discussion with my fiance. Has anyone else been in this situation and have great advice on what to do?
Post # 2
- Wedding: April 2017 - Valleybrook Country Club
Speak to Fiance. My thoughts are that they would come to you if they wanted to contribute. FIs family is not puttin in a dime, so we’re splitting the remaining costs after what my parents are contributing is exhausted.
Post # 3
I’m confused. You and your Fiance decided to get married, and both families (you guys too?) expect a certain “type” of wedding. Your parents have offered to pay and your Future In-Laws have not. Your parents cannot afford the wedding they
want with their
budget, but they don’t want you to pay for any of it?
Sorry but I think you and your Fiance need to figure out what YOU can both afford, then talk to your parents about what they want to contribute, and then plan the wedding. You’re doing it backwards right now. Sounds like the financial reality doesn’t line up with “the type of wedding our families want” and that’s just too bad. This sounds like a lot of stressful bullshit that could be avoided with that backyard barbecue you mentioned.
Post # 4
Would say just plan the wedding you can afford.
I don’t undertand why you are contributing secretly or why you would allow others to mandate what type or size of wedding you are having.
I would assume you are two adults entering into marriage, so it’s solely your responsibility to plan and pay for the type of wedding you want. If your parents want to help great, but you shouldn’t ask your in laws how they wil be contributing.
Post # 5
“Is it wrong if I suggest they pay for their friends?” Yes. Your wedding isn’t a ticketed event with admission charges…
Post # 6
my husband and i hosted with a small contribution from my parents. i’d sit down with your parents and Fiance and put together a budget so you’re all on the same page. with multiple contributors it sometimes can get a little awkward, from what i’ve seen, if who-is-paying-for-what isn’t coordinated. usually, if someone is paying for something they have a say in whatever that vendor/decision is.
DH’s family asked for a few people to be invited that we didn’t know, so i had DH take care of it and he told his mom no, we weren’t extending the guest list. no pay = no say, at least for the most part.
Post # 7
Your parents can’t expect a certain type of wedding, and then not pay for that wedding. You need to sit them down and tell them that between the amount of money they’ve given you, and the amount of money you’re willing to contribute– there is no sneaky way to pay for this, you need to come clean here– they need to either adjust their expectations or contribute more.
Post # 8
My now husband’s parents did not contribute anything to anything for the wedding. Nor would I have ever asked either.
I think I was a little bit secretly hurt that they didn’t even offer any help. Not just financially speaking, generally speaking. The mom gave a gift of $125. His parents are divorced.
For the rehearsal dinner, we did trays of food. My dad picked up the food and I told him I would pay him back. When I tried to pay him back, he pulled me aside and wanted to know if my husband’s parents had contributed to the rehearsal dinner. I said no and my dad told me that he wanted to cover it if they weren’t helping.
When we had talked about the wedding with his mom, she told my now husband that he should ask his dad to pay for the rehearsal dinner. Which we would never ask either one of them for money. It was weird. His mother did give birth to him so why should the dad pay?
As far as his parents wanting to invite their friends to the wedding. Your future husbands needs to tell his parents “Listen, you can invite whoever you want if you are paying for them.” OR a simple “NO”. You’re not obligated in any way to invite their friends. It’s not their wedding.
Post # 10
I don’t think you should ever ask for or “suggest” contributions to your wedding.
If your family has a “type” of wedding that is expected, and their budget does not cover it all, they either need to up their budget or adjust their expectation. Imposing it on to others is not the appropriate action at all.
For us it was traditional that the brides family pay for the wedding while the grooms family pay for the rehearsal dinner. We did not ask for either of these things, but as both families had the same traditional expectations that’s exactly what happened. My dad paid for the entire wedding and husbands mother paid for the entire rehearsal. So as you can see, totally different traditions than what you have in mind (I’ve never even heard of the grooms family supplying the bridal bouquet, and we truly never expected husbands family to contribute a dime towards the wedding).
You should only expect or assume what people volunteer themselves. Outside of that you should plan on paying for whatever else yourself. If your family can’t swallow that then you need to tell them straught up that their contribution will cover X and if they also expect Y and Z then you will be paying for it.
It’s ridiculous for them to expect your FI’s family to contribute commensurate with them or your other family members “as parents of the groom.” That has no bearing on them or their finances.
Post # 11
To echo the remarks of previous posters, this is your wedding, not your parents’. While the adage “they who pay get a say” is generally accepted, that doesn’t mean that they who pay get to demand things that they cannot afford and then require others to cover the costs for their wants. I’m assuming that since you frame this as all about what they want to have, that you and your partner don’t necessarily share these wants.
If your partner’s parents are not contributing or hosting the event, they lose their right to anything more than minimal consultation on the guest list, IMO.
As usual, I agree with Speck_:
on what your course of action should be and I agree with the PPs who say that it would not be proper to approach your partner’s parents about this. People who want to contribute to an enterprise as large as a wedding aren’t usually shy about offering, so it is safest to assume that if they haven’t offered yet, they may not intend to offer at all.
PS. I was at a backyard BBQ wedding not long ago and it was one of the most enjoyable weddings I’ve attended in years. If that is the type of wedding you and your partner want, there’s nothing wrong with that at all (it’s not “tacky” or “not classy” or any of that nonsense).
Post # 12
Have the wedding YOU want and can afford. Don’t expect anything for anyone. Just tell them you are keeping the guest list small with just close family and friends
Post # 13
Thanks for all your replies! A quick note explaining a little more about our upcoming event.
We are from different parts of the country (maybe that’s why my parents have different expectations about who pays for what), so our close friends and family that we want to invite are scattered everywhere. To make it less expensive for our guests, we are having the wedding in the current metropolitan area where we live (because the flights to come here are cheap), but the venue options cost more than what my parents are used to seeing for weddings. They recently moved to the middle of nowhere, and to get to their location for a rountrip flight for 2 people it’d be $1800, plus a car rental, hotel etc.
As far as what we want, I knew years ago it wouldn’t be much of a consideration. Even as what I consider to be an “older bride”, I have a Momzilla. Thankfully I have a wonderful Maid/Matron of Honor who helps me stay calm, but we’ve always known it would turn into my mom’s wedding.
Post # 14
Honestly.. what the brides side and grooms side pays for “traditionally” varies a ton.. not only be region but by what families remember.
FI’s mom at one point said that the bride’s side should be paying for everything except the rehearsal dinner.
I’ve heard people say the grooms side pays for the wedding cake and alcohol and rehearsal.
I’ve heard the grooms side pays for the bridal gown.
I’ve heard the grooms side pays for the brides wedding band.
I’ve now heard from you that the grooms side is expected to pay for the bridal bouquet.
Point is: expecting them to pay X amount because its “tradition” isn’t a great way to go about this, since they might not believe the same thing as you.
Post # 15
You and your parents need to reset your expectations. No one is required to contribute, and anyone who does contribute doesn’t get to force their own budget and demands on others. If your parents want to kick in $10k or whatever, great for them, but if that doesn’t cover the fancy venue they want, then too bad so sad, no one is on the hook to make up the difference. Your fi’s parents are clearly not idiots– they raised a fine son, so apparently they are not toally clueless– they are capable of offering financial support if that is their intent. If they don’t offer, don’t press.
If you are worried about your mother becoming a Momzilla and hijacking your wedding, the simple solution is to decline your parents’ money.