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

posted 12 years ago in Money
Post # 92
2689 posts
Sugar bee

Thank you for saying “Tradition for who?” I was wondering the same thing….

Post # 93
467 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

I wouldnt be having a wedding if it weren’t for help from both sides of the families who offered so we could have a small wedding in the first place. We are so lucky to have such thoughtful parents. I was surprised to be getting so much help. With my Fiance being in the military it is tricky to even plan for certain events in advance and with me being in university money was definitely an issue. It’s not the money I am thankful for, it is the thought and time that both our families have invested in us.

Everyone just remember these posts are peoples opinions and that none of these people know anyone’s exact circumstances or family dynamics and will be forgotten by the end of the day. Enjoy your weddings! I think it is awesome that everyone’s wedding is so different and the family involvement and cultural and/or traditional differences are what makes each wedding experience special to that person.

Post # 94
608 posts
Busy bee

I agreee with Shelbs!  Everyone grew up in a different household.  Our traditions are different.  Some of us who have families wanting to host events know that if our parents could not afford a big wedding… we would just have a small one…  If you family is able to give you what you want, why should that be an issue for another couple.  I don’t believe in going into debt over a huge wedding… if it’s something I can’t afford I’m not going to waste my time being jealous of others.  I’m going to enjoy the celebration and feel blessed to be invited to a lovely wedding!

Post # 95
3625 posts
Sugar bee

In my experience, the expectation comes from many areas. Since this is a wedding site, the responses are from people/brides in the midst of planning. Many parents might have very different reasons for how and why they feel like they do. I’ve seen internet wars over this very issue for several years now, and always find what people have to say quite interesting.

Since I obviously can’t speak for ALL parents, but have had many conversations about it over the years, it seems to me that people are all over the place with what happens regarding weddings of their children. There are those who feel that their job ends when their kids turn 18….beyond that,they’re on their own. There are some who say that they’ll give a choice…pay for college OR a wedding,but not both. There are some who have started saving for such things since their kids were born, and use it accordingly. There are some who give a set amount and beyond that figure the couple will pay the rest (or make it work). There are some who will pay for certain things (invitations,flowers,gown) and that’s it. Then there are those who have taken out loans to pay for large weddings as well. In my case,my parents offered us a small wedding or the money they would have spent, and we opted for the wedding.

With our own kids, we decided that the older they were when they got married, the more they’d have to pay for themselves. We paid for college and all related expenses and bought them both cars ( several), so how long do we continue to pay once they’ve gotten good jobs and established themselves in their careers? Years ago, many parents paid for weddings to help their children get a good start in married life, but if they are working and paying for other things they enjoy doing, why can’t they set aside money for their own weddings too? Both of mine have done that, and we’ve paid just about an equal amount towards each of their weddings as our gift to them. If they expected it from us, it would have been different, but they were each surprised at what we decided to do for them, with no strings attached. Anything they wanted above and beyond our gift was paid for by them.

People always talk about weddings and usually have very strong opinions about who pays for what. No way is ‘right’, so they do what works best for them at the time.

One thing that really irritates me,tho, are the parents who seem relieved that they have the sons and not the daughters,as in ‘at least we’ll be getting off cheap’! It is BOTH of our kids getting married, so why are you expecting that the bride’s family is the one footing the bill? For one wedding the groom’s father/SM did the Rehearsal Dinner and nothing else, his Mom/SF did nothing at all. For the other daughter’s wedding, the groom’s family is paying for invitations,photographer,wedding night hotel, and splitting the bar bill. Their wedding gift is contributing to their house down payment too. As I said, when the time comes, things can change, depending on the people involved.

Post # 96
1308 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I was in the same boat as MightySapphire. My parents are extremely frugal, as they  both come from frugal families and are self employed. They know that they’re savings is everything. They did not pay for any of my education, nor for any living expenses once I turned 18. They literally said on my 18th birthday, “you need to start looking for car and health insurance because we’re not paying for it anymore.” I completely expected this because they hold being financially independent pretty high up.

So, of course I did not expect them to pay for any of my wedding. They would have had a freakin’ heart attack if they had seen most of the bills coming in from it.

My husband, on the other hand, was raised by much more wealthy parents, who pretty much pay for whatever for as long as you need it. Luckily, though, he is the type of person who hated having his parents pay for anything, and really prided himself on working hard to buy what he wanted. We both expected nothing from his parents, but they insisted on at least contributing a little. His mother would have been really hurt if we had flat out refused. I think they ended up contributing about 1/3 of the cost or so. 

I don’t think it is weird at all, though for people who’s families can afford to throw a wedding for their kids, to do so. I have lots of friends who have had huge weddings in which their parents paid for everything. It didn’t make me jealous or snarky, just happy for them. And that’s pretty much how I feel about the girls in the hive who’s parents are paying…just excited for them.

Post # 97
785 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union

My parents set the expectation themselves. They always said they’d pay for it, within a pre-determined budget.

It’s not really a family tradition because my mom’s parents didn’t pay for their wedding. My mom always resented that, which is why I think she likes helping with the wedding.


Post # 98
57 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

I feel like the expectation of parents to pay for the entire wedding is definitely a “tradition” that’s becoming less and less common. We didn’t expect any sort of financial contribution from our parents towards the wedding. Due to some fortunate circumstances, I stopped relying on my parents for money when I was probably 18 years old, so it didn’t even occur to me that they’d pay anything for our wedding. We had money saved up and had planned on paying for everything ourselves but both of our parents very kindly offered up whatever they could afford. Since we had already set a small budget for the wedding it just happened that the money from our parents covered all of our planned expenses.

On the otherhand, I have two friends who are also planning weddings- one of whom definitely expected/knew her parents would foot the entire bill, and the other of whom was like me and unexpectedly received money from her parents for the wedding.

Post # 99
623 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2010

While there are “family traditions”, like my mom always bought us matching Xmas PJs to wear on Christmas Eve, I think most people in this threat are referring to a more general definition of “tradition” like people put up trees for Christmas.  In that sense, the “tradition” of parents paying for a wedding was based on the fact that brides were significantly younger than the average age now, didn’t have established careers (if any career at all), and were in pretty much every sense completely dependant on their parents.  That’s not typically the case anymore, so I admit I DO find it a little odd that people have an expectation that stems from a situation that is no longer relevant.  I can understand parents footing the bill for a 20 yr old bride, but I personally at 29 yrs old, having been established in my career for years, would feel silly having my parents pay for my wedding.  I realize other’s do not agree, so please note my use of “I” statements.  I personally don’t allow my parents to pay for ANYTHING when they come to visit (much to my father’s annoyance!).  As an adult, I’m happy to be in a situation where I can begin to reverse roles and in a small way “take care of them” for a change.  I guess to me it’s a circle of life sort of thing=)

Post # 100
345 posts
Helper bee

i never had to ask my parents to pay for a thing, eve sence we were young they always told us they would pay for our weddings. So when i got engaged my dad told me to get a list of what everything would cost so he new and we would go from there. So i never had to ask my parents for money because they offered to pay for everything which is awesome of them!!!!

Post # 101
1 posts
  • Wedding: August 2011

I have been a long time lurker and now poster bc of this thread.  I agree with the posters who have said that some of you sound extremely snarky about parents paying for a wedding.  Some even seem to be implying that if your parents are paying for your wedding- they must pay for everything and that you are not financially independent.

My parents are paying for our wedding.  Like others, they wanted to invite many friends/family and have a big, formal affair.  They had always made it clear that they wanted to pay for it.  FI’s parents are paying for the rehearsal dinner.  That however does not mean that we are dependent on them or were taught to be dependent.  My Fiance and I are both in our early 30s, we are both lawyers and more than capable of paying for a wedding, but extremely appreciative of the gift we have been given.  They certainly do not pay for our cars, house, etc. 

I would advise that in the same way I am sure you do not want to judged, you do not judge others, especially when it comes to something like a wedding- everyone has their own ideas, own budgets, etc.  It is far more rude to make assumptions than to accept a gift.  I have loved doing the planning with my mom.  It has given us a lot of time together we wouldn’t have had and the wedding is truly going to be something much more than just Fiance and I.

Post # 102
1830 posts
Buzzing bee

We did not expect our parents to pay.  In fact, I had enough savings and knew how much I was willing to spend and figured they’d give a large wedding gift that would help out.

Instead it was both our parents who expected to pay, we hadn’t discussed it before.  His and my parents ended up splitting it.  His mom actually was insistent that we pay for nothing, I kept trying to pay for things behind her back but she is a meticulous planner and saw when things appeared unaccounted for. 

Both our families could afford it and we kept it ‘reasonable’ for a wedding, since I started planning on my 10K budget and it cost about 15K the moms actually chose more expensive stuff at times than I thought was necessary.  But it was a party for the families and the joining of families so it was a lot about them too. 

Both my parents are educators and they have four kids.  We lived on one teachers salary and they put the other teachers salary (well part time since my mom stayed home and worked part time) in the bank.  That allowed all four of us to go to public universities, get a used car, and apparently there’s enough left over for weddings and their earlier than expected retirement.  We were expected to find a job at 16 to help contribute to the household as well.  I’m definately thankful that they thought that debt free start to adult life was that important for their kids and my hub and I have a savings started for future kids.   

Post # 103
1114 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

If it were up to ME we would have a small garden wedding that we could afford ourselves. BUT my PARENTS want us to have a big wedding…and since they want to invite a lot of THEIR family and friends…as it is tradition in Brazil (we are brazilian) that the parents get to invite who they want also…they have to foot the bill. So yes…Im letting them pay for the wedding…contributing where I can…and everyone is happy.

Everyone’s situation is different…I did “expect” them to help pay if they were going to invite a lot of people I wouldnt particularly invite.

Post # 105
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2010

Aside from tradition, which plays a huge part of it, I also think it’s because weddings are expensive (as we all know), and in general, the parents are better off than the bride and groom financially.  I don’t think any parent wants to see their daughter start a family in debt, or with huge financial struggles. 

I know more than one person who is engaged, the parents can’t help them get married, but weddings are important to them, so years later, they still haven’t gotten married because they just can’t afford the wedding (they feel like you get one chance, and they don’t want to just go to court and forgo the celebration with their friends and family, so they’re waiting until they can afford).

I’m lucky that my parents insisted on paying for the whole thing, and refuse any contributions from us.  I’m having a much bigger wedding than I could ever imagine because of it.  But my parents are much better off than we are, want us to start our life together with savings (which we have), and also feel that it’s their obligation — my brother got married last year, and his wife parents paid for everything, and my parents were not responsible for a cent, so now they feel it’s their turn.

Post # 106
3 posts
  • Wedding: January 2010

It’s great when parents can help, but if they can’t (rather than won’t) I wouldn’t be upset.  We got help from both sides on our wedding day and couldn’t have done certain things without them.  We didn’t have the most lavish of days, but we loved it and everyone had a great time.  Better still, none of us ended up owing a penny of debt because of it!  🙂


Sophie x

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