(Closed) Why do people expect their parent(s) to contribute to their wedding?

posted 11 years ago in Money
Post # 62
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

It’s cultural tradition for the bride’s parents.  I didn’t expect my parents to contribute, but looking back, I don’t know why I thought that!  As soon as we told them about the engagement, my mom assumed she was paying for it, and in the end it’s going to be about 50/50.  One thing for me is sort of the opposite of “you pay, you get the say” – my mom was always going to get a major say and would be shocked and upset if she didn’t, she’s inviting more people than anyone else, and she compares my wedding to her friends’ childrens’ weddings, not my friends’.  So if she were not to contribute money, that would be weird given her high level of involvement.  For me it’s not a matter of independence – I’ve been living on my own for quite a few years – but a wedding is primarily a family event not a personal private event.  That’s why I’m always confused when people say “it’s my day” or “I don’t care what anyone else wants” – that’s not the way it works in my family!  I get to set the details but there are a fair number of expectations.  If it were really about me, we would probably do a teeny ceremony and then go out to dinner.  I read recently about how weddings can be seen as a contract not between two people but between a couple and their community, and that really rings true for me, esp given that we’ve been living together 3+ years now.  So this will be a great opportunity for family reunions and for our families to meet each other!

Post # 63
26 posts
  • Wedding: August 2010

we intended to pay for the whole thing ourselves – quiet 20 person intimate ceremony and reception (not because we could only afford that, but because that’s what we wanted).  our parents freaked out that we wanted to keep it small and each insisted we make the wedding bigger (50 people and even that was a fight) – they offered to give us all the money for the wedding as long as they could invite xyz, we accepted on the terms that they would have absoltely no say in the rest of the planning process.  We still feel weird about this, and a little upset that all these relatives we don’t like or never see are coming, yet we only got to invite 8 friends, but we’re dealing with it.  The money we saved originally for the wedding is now going to a fabulous european honeymoon!

Post # 64
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

Does any one else have the situation where if they let their parents pay for the wedding they would have an EXTREMELY budget wedding? haha Fiance and I are already planning a budget wedding but if my parents alone were paying for our wedding, that budget would be cut in 1/3 because that’s what they could afford. That’s pretty much why Fiance and I are paying for our wedding and if both our sets of parents offer any little contribution it is gratefully accepted :)!

Post # 65
257 posts
Helper bee

I think if you’re old enough to get married you should pay for it yourself. It’s not a parent’s responsiblity. I think it’s rude to the parents when a person in there late 20’s early 30s accepts the gift from their parents. Doesn’t have a clue what it cost and says, my mother paid for it..  yes, it still happens. 

Post # 66
875 posts
Busy bee

@ tytbody, I think it’s terribly rude to assume that someone is being rude to her parents allowing them to contribute to a wedding celebration,  no matter if you are 20 or 65.  I think most of our responses have been that in our individual families that this is a cultural or family norm.  We aren’t being greedy… but just accepting the financial blessings of our own families.  My guess is that if you asked the individual bride(whose family is hosting their wedding celebration), you would find that their family has dreamed of this day for years and is excited about the celebration.  I liked the comment about how strange it is to read “It’s MY day!” as if the bride is the only one that matters.  I tend to view weddings as family days… which reunite larger family groups.  I’m an only child.  My wedding is one of a very few family events in which my mom’s side of the family, my dad’s side of the family, and our family friends will all be invited to be there together.  I consider them my entire family, but they are very rarely together in one place… the last celebration was my high school graduation… (which was more than 10 years ago) and the time before that was my own parents’ wedding.  They have also gathered for family funerals of my grandparents… but we don’t look forward to that kind of gathering, and they aren’t really gathered together completely… one side is always taking precidence over the other… so when they are identified as the “bride’s side” it will be a once in a lifetime event…  I look forward to getting to know all the branches of my groom’s side of the family.  This once in a lifetime event will be the beginning of other once in a lifetime celebrations both happy and sad that this community of people will be joined as family.   So don’t think that a bride accepting the blessing of her family, financially or otherwise is rude.  My family would consider it rude of me to rebuke their gift!  I’m not saying that it’s okay to assume that your parents are going to pay for every little thing… or to ask that your family go into debt to pay for your dream.  Nor am I saying that you should ask for the most expensive thing… or be unwilling to pay for something, but rather you need to do what makes sense for you and your family. 

Post # 67
257 posts
Helper bee

some people just expect it and I don’t know where that comes from but if it’s a culture thing, I know I’m not in that culture… Enjoy your family gifts but remember it is your wedding..

Post # 68
948 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

@tybody- I don’t understand how accepting an offered gift is rude?  I was always taught that if someone offers you a gift, you accept graciously, say thank you, and send a thank you note.  The rude thing would be to decline the offered gift.

We did our wedding on a very tight budget, the whole time we were setting it up we looked for the best deal possible.  I knew every second what things were costing everyone.  There were no bridezilla moments, we did not use a florist, we had a young affordable photographer, it was a simple and fun wedding on a budget. 

Post # 69
722 posts
Busy bee

I would have greatly disappointed my parents if I had not accepted their offer to throw a huge wedding. It is something they have been waiting for and dreaming about for a very long time (37 years to be exact) I know what everything costs as I am planning most of it. Planning the reception with them has been a lot of fun and definitely brought us closer together.

Post # 70
711 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Hmmm. This is an interesting post and comments. I did not “expect” my parents to pay but “hoped” they would contribute. I asked each (my mom, my dad and step mom, and FH’s mom) how they would like to be a part of the wedding planning – my mom had set aside a CD for me with a certain amount of money in it, and FH’s mom offerred to match that. My dad made no move to assist and I did not ask more directly, which upset both FH and my mom. My remark to them was “Have you ever MET my father?” lol. We’re also contributing ourselves a substantial amount – and this is for I pretty low budget wedding.

What amuses me is that I am receiving more money for my wedding than I did for college or grad school! I paid for those years in school on my own! I think part of the reason my mom can give me money now is bc she had time to put a little money aside in a CD. But it is kind of funny to me!

I do disagree with the thinly veiled comments of some that if you pay for your wedding on your own, that is somehow more “noble” or “honorable” than letting your parents contribute. Every family is different. Likewise, having a low-budget DIY wedding is not “more noble” than having a big, blowout ballroom bash!

Post # 71
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

It seems like most people are in two boats here: either you think it’s tradition or you think it’s an unfair expectation.

I think we have to be careful with the phrase “tradition” here–whose tradition? Which culture, which society, which family?

In my family and my fiance’s family, we were taught very early that we were going to need to work for the things we wanted in life. Both of our parents helped out with college, but they did not pay our ways. We both took out loans and we both worked.Thus, I never anticipated that my parents would pay for my wedding. They have helped out where they can and they’re doing a lot of labor for the wedding. They’ve also helped me this last year as I’ve had huge unanticipated medical costs. I’m much more thankful that they helped with my medical bills than my wedding!

For those of you who anticipated that your family would pay and would pay for something really nice–that’s wonderful. That’s great that your families set up college and wedding funds for you. But clearly your families could afford to do so. I think that people that expect their families to pay are people that have families that can afford to pay for it, and those that don’t expect this generally know that it’s not possible.

Neither is better or worse. It’s not wrong to expect your parents to pay for your wedding if they’ve been telling you they will all your life. We all have to take what we are given and accept it. But please be careful with the word tradition–it is a very subjective term.

Post # 72
1509 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@tytbody – Let me guess – you are paying for your own wedding because your parents and FI’s parents couldn’t afford to help out?  You come across as so extremely judgemental about people whose parent’s do help out that it actually sounds more like jealousy.

It’s one thing to say that you would prefer to pay for your own wedding, but it’s entirely another to cast that belief onto everyone else in the entire world getting married.  Frankly, the fact that it is TRADITION that the bride’s family pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, means that if we were going to put the monetary contributions of weddings into one bucket as you have done, it would have been the complete opposite of what you said where NO ONE who is an adult should have their parents pay for their own wedding.

Getting back to the original poster though, I think that it is one thing if you expect your parents to pay for a wedding because you grew up knowing that they would.  It’s something entirely different to be genuinely mad because they didn’t.  I mean, for those girls out there, was it really a surprise to you when your parents said they couldn’t pay??  Famiies know the financial situation of immediate family members. The economy has hurt a lot of people.  If a bride knows that her parents are suffering financially and while she thought they would be paying for her wedding, but now can’t, she is completely selfish to be upset about that.  Disappointed is one thing. But mad is something completely else.  I mean, how do you think her parents must feel knowing that they can’t provide for her and fulfill a promise they made to her?  They must feel terrible.  And if a bride comes screaming bloody murder about it, that only makes the situation that much worse. Those are the girls who feel “entitled.”

Post # 73
1066 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

SO agree with you Mrs Louboutin, I thought that was pretty rude.


I dont feel “accepting” a gift is rude at all!!  And besides, if our parents choose to pay for our wedding, we will pay for our kids wedding, and so on, so what goes around, comes around, it’s not being greedy!


I can’t stand how some bees get all snarky to brides whose parents are contributing to their wedding, jealousy maybe?

Post # 74
2186 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@sapphirebride – just food for thought – i have worked every day since i was legally able to (15) and i have saved for every thing i have ever wanted. even paid for college myself with loans and working my way thru college. my parents instilled in me that you work for what you want.

that being said, its still a tradition in our family and social circle that the bride’s parents pay for the wedding. its not that *i* “expected” them to do it, its just what you do. like not burping in public, wearing navy blue with black, and slurping your drink. my parents arent rich by any means, but like saving for retirement, its something that parents “do” for their daughters.

tradition comes from the word traditio which means ‘handing over’ and ‘passing on’ – and simply means its something that is taught from one generation to the next. doesnt mean its universal or cross cultural. so while you might not say its a tradition to YOU it still is a tradition if its something that a family practices.

nothing wrong with calling it “tradition” because thats just exactly what it is.

Post # 75
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

@spaganay: I didn’t say that it wasn’t a tradition for some families or that you shouldn’t call it that. But I don’t like people just saying “it’s traditional for the bride’s parents to pay for the wedding.” Where or with whom it is traditional needs to be stated. I’m talking about using the word tradition as a blanket statement, as if it were universally done. It’s not. It’s a tradition in some families and it’s not a tradition in others.

What I was trying to explain is that in my family, what is passed on to me, was the idea that there wasn’t going to be someone to pay my rent or throw me big parties, including a wedding. I agree, your family can still teach you values of paying your own way and decide to throw your wedding for you.

But: you still couldn’t expect it if your family couldn’t afford it.

Post # 76
5822 posts
Bee Keeper

I think it’s a bit of a low blow to call someone jealous just because they disagree with your parents paying for your wedding…the same as if that person called it bratty to accept that financial help.  Let’s try to avoid getting personal about it…

Anyway my POV is that a lot of “tradition” comes from socioeconomic influences rather than culture.  So your parents may be “expected” to pay for your wedding by everyone, especially if they are financially able to do so.  Conversely, if you grew up with little money, your parents are probably not expected (by anyone) to pay for your wedding.

My parents never paid for anything, I earned my first car, paid my own way through college, paid my own rent, etc.  So when it came to the wedding, of couse I wouldn’t expect them to offer to pay for it.  Further, I believe that the bride’s parents paying stems from the expectation of dowry, which I think is a demeaning principle in and of itself, and I wouldn’t have accepted anyway.  DH was also always financially independent, providing everything for himself.  He’s actually more financially stable than his parents, so he didn’t expect any help either.

So maybe some people expect financial support for the wedding if they have received financial support for other things?  Like if your parents bought you a car, then paid for college, and paid your rent, and things like that, maybe you expect them to pay for the wedding too?  Like why wouldn’t they?  They have already supported you for everything else, the wedding would be kind of like “topping off” their financial support?  I don’t see it as a negative thing, just how it is in some families.

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