(Closed) My Daughter Doesn't Think I Can Afford a Wedding and Reception for Her

posted 5 years ago in Money
Post # 4
379 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 1969

@mmhefner:  You are so sweet. I love DIY weddings and you seem like you are very capable of putting one of those together for her. I think it’s great that you want to be involved! As far as food goes, you could maybe do just finger foods, or maybe a brunch so it’s not as much food, or even have family help out with making food? I have a roommate whose mom and mom in law are making all the food except the meat (pulled pork). It can be done! 

And I love yours pins. The candy poppers especially are so cute and the tissue paper pomanders!

Post # 7
1902 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

Is it possible that she just doesn’t want a wedding? I don’t know how many times we said to our parents and the in-laws “We just want it to be simple. We don’t want us or you guys (our parents) spending a ridiculous amount of money on a single day.” The in-laws usually interpreted that to mean “We don’t think you can afford for us to have a wedding, so we’re not going to have one.”

It was really horrible when people started pressuring us to have a wedding – we started out just using the money as an excuse, so they insisted on paying, when all we really wanted was to get married without all the fuss that goes with a wedding. So unless you know that your daughter has seriously been wanting a proper wedding, don’t assume that she does and she wants someone to sweep in and pay for it all.

I would honestly just sit down with her and say “I know you feel that I can’t contribute too much to your wedding, but I want you to trust that I’m clever enough to handle my own money. I’ve gone through the numbers and I can afford to give you $X amount. You can either put that towards a wedding and, if you need any extra help (either financially, or just helping with DIY stuff), please let me know. If you still don’t want a big wedding, put that money towards a holiday/house deposit/new car and consider it your wedding present from me.”

Post # 9
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@mmhefner:  well if her fi wants to invite a lot of people then its his responsibility to find the money to do so

Is a bakcyard wedding an optiin? So u could use the decorations and maybe make the food? Could be like an afternoon tea thing? No alcohol, finger sandwiches and a homemade cake or two?

Venues often are expensive so its going to be hard to find a low budget one. Maybe an alternative woukd be a nice dinner after the JOP.

Post # 10
501 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@mmhefner:  Please don’t take this as being discouraging, but….your daughter may be right.  My parents offered to pay for our wedding, even throwing out a dollar figure, and while we were honored and grateful, we told them we’d only accept half the amount they wanted to contribute.  First and foremost, we’re just not big wedding people; and the amount of $ in question would have been stretched really thin if we were holding an event for 100 or more people.  But the bigger reason was that we were concerned about taking savings from my parents when my little brother  and sister are quite likely to need it in the future (he has health/addiction issues and she’s still in high school so will need college funds).  I think our parents were initially a little disappointed that we didn’t want to throw a big party, but once we convinced them that intimate & family-only was what we really and truly wanted, it seems like they understood, and they’ve been very supportive.  Your daughter sounds like she’s keeping her family’s best interests at heart – and that’s a GREAT thing!  Wedding costs can spiral out of control so quickly, it’s almost impossible to have a true ‘budget’ wedding, especially if you can’t start with a fixed pool of money from which to determine priorities.  Please consider your daughter’s position a gift to you and your family – and if the FI’s family wants a big celebration, THEY can pay for it!

Post # 11
524 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Do you have to provide a big meal?  Maybe offer to throw her a small afternoon wedding with desserts and punch afterward.  I bet you could throw together some pies and cookies and maybe even a cake.  Get a few bottles of champagne to put into some punch.  It could be very simple and elegant and it won’t matter if her fiance’s huge family shows up and eats all the food.  🙂

Post # 12
705 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

You could do a pasta or taco bar? Or finger foods! They are both pretty cheap, and can be super delicious! Also, Food trucks are pretty reasonable if you are looking for a physical caterer.

Post # 13
2191 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I dont want to sound mean but…..given your financial burden (other daughter +kids) it sounds like your daughter might be correct. Before you talk again I would make a few calls to understand what type of budget is necessary for a wedding in your area.


also i think the advice of actually talking to daughter is really good….she may just want to do her own thing and is using cost as a reason.


that being said there are many alternate and casual wedding options including bsckyards, parks etc. usually picnic/bbq options are going to be inexoensive as is earlier events (less food and no booze to pay for)

good luck and congrats!

Post # 14
3885 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

You should be proud of yourself for raising a daughter who has a healthy relationship with money and knows that a big fancy wedding isn’t a must-have; instead of stamping her feet and pushing you to go into debt, she’s placing your own financial needs above her. She sounds like a fine young lady with a good head on her shoulders and a lot of respect for you.  Listen to her!!!!  If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, perhaps it’s better to offer to take her and a very small group of friends and family for a nice dinner after the civil ceremony, or invite people to your home for a cookout.  When there’s no budget, there’s no budget, and even with all the DIY you can handle, you’re still looking at at least a couple thousand dollars  for a venue and a caterer (please don’t try to self-cater or do a pot luck; these things rarely turn out well and just end up stressing everyone out). 

If her future husband wants a big elaborate wedding then he should be contributing financially.  The days of the bride’s parents paying for the whole nine yards are coming to an end (in some social circles, those days are long gone) and it’s simply not fair of him to expect you to go beyond your means. 

I think if you can’t set a concrete amount in the next few months then the budget simply isn’t there, and perhaps you could start a savings account for a festive anniversary celebration somewhere down the road. Weddings are expensive, even with a lot of DIY, and if the money isn’t there, it simply isn’t there.

Post # 15
3697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I really applaud you for trying to “do right” by your daughter, but listen to her!  If she doesn’t want a big wedding, don’t stretch yourself thin trying to do it for her. 

Sit down and have a talk with her and her fiance.  Find out what would suit them both and see if it’s doable for you.  Maybe they can get married at the JOP (for her) and have a little party in your backyard with all his family (for him).  You can do decorations and finger foods pretty cheap, or just dessert.  If he wants booze maybe his family can contribute, since you won’t need a rehearsal and alcohol is somewhat traditionally the groom’s family’s cost to bear. 

I paid for our wedding and I’m eternally grateful to my parents for what they did help with.  If I knew they couldn’t afford to help I couldn’t have taken a dime from them, expecially at the cost of my other sister and her children.  If you do agree to plan something, make sure you agree that you’ll set aside just a certain $$ amount or % of each check (or maybe just start doing that now) for the wedding and no other expenses will go unpaid.

Post # 16
123 posts
Blushing bee

I know, as parents, we want to do so much for our childrens…. things that we’re often unable to do because of finances.

If your daughter positively does not want a wedding but your future son in law does, then I think it’s up to him to contribute financially.

I think a backyard wedding is a wonderful idea.  The decorations could be simple, the food rustic…. such as fried chicken, mac & cheese, salads, and cupcakes instead of an expensive multi tiered cake.

Or… you can do what my parents did for my sister several years ago.  She and her fiance got married at the courthouse and we went to a nice restaurant afterwards and had a small brunch reception in a private room.  It was a small group of family and friends, but we had flowers on the table, a small cake, a bouquet, corsages and bouts.  It still felt very wedding like… but it was also very affordable.



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