How much say do parents get if they're paying for only part of the wedding?

posted 6 months ago in Family
Post # 2
2892 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Make a “rule” and stick to it. For example, we had a max guest count. After we added up friends and family, we had to make cuts to both. We ended up cutting second cousins (kids and adults) from each side to get to our numbers. We then gave the parents each a specific amount of guests they could invite. So if they wanted to invite some of the cut family they could, or they could invite their friends. Regardless -they only got X amount. 

Post # 3
1606 posts
Bumble bee

IMO its always easier to plan out the money ahead of time. “Wow that’s so generous! What would you like to put it towards? Venue, flowers, food?” that way they pay for 1 part, they get say in 1 part.

If you’ve already agreed to invite extra people, is that not enough for them? Can you look at the total list and say “okay we don’t want to go over 150. You’re already inviting 75 people – is there anyone you’d like to change out? When was the last time you talked to Aunt Mildred? Do you think Fishing Buddy Jim would like to come instead?”

So you aren’t giving them free reign, but letting them be flexible with their list?

Post # 4
949 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

Take them at their word that the negotiating is done and that this is your wedding and you get to choose. It is your wedding and you can make your own choices. Guilt is a choice. Don’t let them make you feel guilty. 

Post # 5
3446 posts
Sugar bee

PPs have addressed other issues. If your parents are typically financially irresponsible do not count on their money until you actually have it in hand. I have seen so many posts from Bees whose parents didn’t come through in the end–don’t put yourself in that position, especially if there exists any disagreement. 

Post # 6
1766 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

loveyourground :  i think you need to sit down with your parents and express to them how you’re feeling. tell them that you appreciate their gift tremendously, but are feeling guilt about it because it seems as though when they say X, comes across as passive-agressive. tell them you don’t want them to feel taken advantage of, but it’s also important that you have the wedding that you want. ask them how they view the gift, and what they would like from it, and go from there in terms of setting boundaries. they don’t get to have say in everything, but perhaps they can have X number of guest invites.

honestly, i don’t really understand how you got into this situation. you said they “begrudgingly” gave it to you with no strings attached. so it’s not shocking they’re upset – clearly the sum of money they offered you was not intended and NSA, but you said “thanks for the money, you’re not getting any input. so while i disagree with strings gifts, i totally understand why your parents are acting as they are. you need to have a frank conversation with them and come to an understanding.

Post # 9
1 posts
  • Wedding: October 2018

I think we’re twins! Engaged at the same time, parents wanting to contribute which amounts to 1/3rd, guilt trips from here to Timbuktu, fights about the guest list, etc. This may get long but I’ve broken it into four parts.

Background: I’m 26 in the northeast and come from a tight knit family. I’m much closer with my dad but close to my mom as well; however my mom uses guilt and shame to manipulate and it’s only been in recent years I’ve established boundaries and mostly stuck to them. Despite that I have a fairly healthy relationship with her. I am the first to be engaged of my generation in our entire family and there is a LOT of opinions. Basically, my parents/family (who influence my parents behind the scenes) want the big church wedding with a Cinderella dress and literally everyone and their grandmother invited (I’m talking 250+) crammed into whatever hall will fit that many people – this will be $$$ no matter what. However, my fiance and I want a more intimate (75 max) wedding at a more unique wedding venue and are willing to pay the equivalent of the big blowout in a hall to have a memorable day with only the people we care about in front of us.

Issues: My parents are contributing approximately 1/3 of the wedding costs with fiance/me paying the other 2/3. My parents would look at venues with us and say they “loved” the venue and then rip it apart once we got home (down to “I hate those farm tables! That would be so awkward for your guests!”). They brought us to their ideal venue which had 2-3 weddings a day and took it very personally when we weren’t IMMEDIATELY floored by “how beautiful” it was. They actually got angry with us. They keep saying we “are using them as an ATM” when fiance/me have told them that we are happy to pay for the whole thing ourselves but want them to be involved as they have communicated it means a lot to them that they are. Then I get “I never thought my daughter would break my heart like this.” It’s been really tough – a lot of tears have been shed. The other issue was communication – they wouldn’t directly say the number of people they wanted to invite, what location they wanted (we live across the northeast), the list goes on. That being said, both parents but esp. mom expect fiance/me to know exactly what they want and oblige because that “is the right to do,” despite the fact that fiance/me are paying for 2/3 of the wedding. My mom also tells all of her friends I’m bring a bridezilla and most of them roll their eyes at her (she is a known drama queen lol).

Resolution: I let my parents know (kindly) that I wasn’t speaking wedding details for two weeks as it was stressing me out and I had a lot going on at work (all true!). They were initially irritated and my mom said I was “being controlling and difficult” but then they called me after the fact and said they understood. My fiance and I went HARD researching venues and costs. There was NOTHING in our price range. There was one venue we saw early on that we eliminated due to costs but it hit everything: smack in the middle of my parents, his parents and us, rural/unique, lodging on site, max 150 capacity (compromise), catering on site (idk why my parents are SUPER against bringing a caterer in) parking, etc. etc.) We all loved it immediately. We increased our budget and cut the budget for florals (the venue is stunning), cut videography (Boo :() and some other things to make it feasible. Ultimately everyone is happy.

Where we’re at now: There is still a little bit of resentment on our part as this process was significantly more emotional than it needed to be. I work in Special Events and tried EVERY single tactic I advise clients to use with difficult stakeholders. My parents (read: mother) are still pushing their agenda on every detail – invite wording, seating arrangements, event flow, favors, colors, etc. That being said, from this moment on we are deciding what we want and finalizing the details BEFORE we tell them with one exception – the band (my parents are wild about selecting the band). We expect push back, anger and guilt/shaming but finally have the resolve to stand our ground ESPECIALLY since there money is going to the reception, not the other details.


TL.DR: ultimately you need to decide what hill to die on, what you will compromise on and what you will just let go of. For me, if I am resolute in everything I had dreamed of I ran the risk of doing permanent damage to the relationship with my mom and I do not want to do that. 

Post # 10
177 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

How much simpler and less hysterical to have the wedding you can afford and pay for it yourselves.

Post # 11
42 posts
  • Wedding: June 2017

loveyourground :  If I were me, I’d do the wedding as I had planned and reject the money in some kind way, saying something like, “Mom, Dad, we’re just so lucky that you raised us so well, supported us through college (or getting on your feet at work, whatever it is) that we’re now succeeding enough to afford our dream wedding all by ourselves.” Then say they ought to save that money to help you with your downpayment on your dream house or help you with the financial demands of raising kids someday (if you plan to raise kids.)

I think meeting their demands for the guest list, etc, will probably end up costing you more than the 1/3 they’re offering to contribute. Inviting a bunch of people you hardly know is, in a way, your parents showing off (yes, I know that’s traditional.) All those neighbors and old friends will think your parents are great for throwing you this elaborate wedding, and they won’t know you’re paying for 2/3 of it anyway. Sometimes weddings can become more about keeping up with the Joneses for parents than accepted a new member of the family and celebrating their children’s love for one another.

I hope that’s not too harsh. I’m sure your parents love you and want the best for you. I also have fiscally irresponsible parents and wouldn’t count on them for the money is this kind of scenario. You might end up putting yourself in debt paying for the wedding they want, only to have their money fail to come through when you need it. 

Post # 12
42 posts
  • Wedding: June 2017

Also, I’m getting sick of societal expectations about how big a wedding should be. My fiance and I are erring on the side of caution when it comes to finances, trying to set up a good life together. I’ve heard people say a decent wedding costs about $20,000 or more. Some of these people are paying a years’ salary for their wedding day!

We’ve worked hard throughout our twenties and we’re putting that much down on buying our first home instead. An extravagant wedding is a heavy burden for young people starting out their life together. I think it’s pretty silly.

Post # 13
958 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2017 - Vineyard on Long Island

pick a venue you like with a hard, reasonable cap for people, and stick to that as your excuse to say no.  Oh, wow, sorry mum, but our venue has a hard cap at 150 people.  With the guests list we’ve drafted, that leaves x spots for you to invite friends and x spots for FI’s mom to invite a few friends.  Any more than that, and we won’t be able to fit in a dance floor!

Post # 14
3916 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

loveyourground :  Listen, if your parents want this bag, lavish wedding for you, they can pay for it. Otherwise, they need to respect your budget and let it go. It’s already ridiculous that you are sized out of locations you would have liked to get marry in just for the sake of adding extra people you don’t even know to the guest list. Personally, I would have taken the money and thanked them for paying for [flowers, open bar, venue, etc.] and then let that be that. If they know exactly where their money went, they won’t have this vague sense of ownership to the entire thing. 

My parents gave DH and I a good chunk of change for our wedding, but had they started to throw their weight around and call the shots, we would have returned it. Happily. 

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