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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Sarah
    • By MSE Sarah 26th Oct 17, 5:14 PM
    • 105Posts
    • 56Thanks
    MSE Sarah
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we pay for our daughter's wedding?
    • #1
    • 26th Oct 17, 5:14 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should we pay for our daughter's wedding? 26th Oct 17 at 5:14 PM
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Our daughter has announced she's getting married next year and we're really worried about the cost. It seems that everyone is looking at us as the bride's parents to pay for a spectacular do, with the responsibility on us rather than the groom's parents or the happy couple. We have limited income and don't want to be embarrassed or forced into debt to meet everyone's expectations. Is their attitude old-fashioned or should we accept it and pay up?

    Unfortunately the MSE team can't always answer money moral dilemma questions as contributions are often emailed in or suggested in person. They are intended to be enjoyed as a point of debate and discussed at face value.

    If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply!

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    Last edited by MSE Luke; 30-10-2017 at 11:11 AM.
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Page 4
    • kate5930
    • By kate5930 3rd Nov 17, 4:53 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    kate5930
    My parents had already contributed to the deposit of our house so any wedding would be on us.
    They did contribute to the catering, cake and flowers but this was a bonus and not expected.
    No, you should not be expected to pay, you should give what you can afford. It is easy to want when it is not you putting your hand in your pocket.
    We had a fabulous day, church with bells, choir, organ and soloist. Local town hall for the reception, local caterers. 120 in the day and 200 on the night. We provided the wine for the table.
    Friends helped with the tables and decorations - car boot, charity shops and ebay.
    Including rings, outfits and contributions, the total was just under £7500.00
    Everyone said what a fantastic day it was, I for one would not change a thing.
    • avogadro
    • By avogadro 3rd Nov 17, 4:59 PM
    • 3,687 Posts
    • 6,424 Thanks
    avogadro
    This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...

    Our daughter has announced she's getting married next year and we're really worried about the cost. It seems that everyone is looking at us as the bride's parents to pay for a spectacular do, with the responsibility on us rather than the groom's parents or the happy couple. We have limited income and don't want to be embarrassed or forced into debt to meet everyone's expectations. Is their attitude old-fashioned or should we accept it and pay up?
    Originally posted by MSE Sarah
    I don't think I would dream of asking my parents to cough up for a lavish wedding.
    • Fireflyaway
    • By Fireflyaway 3rd Nov 17, 6:37 PM
    • 1,355 Posts
    • 1,372 Thanks
    Fireflyaway
    I'm traditional and plan to pay for my daughters wedding just as my parents paid for mine. I'm hoping she will be considerate and make sensible choices, treating our money as she would her own. I guess problems could arise if she wants something lavish and you disagree on it. Could always give whatever you can afford then she will have to work out what she can do with that amount and top up herself if she wants.
    • Silverbird
    • By Silverbird 4th Nov 17, 10:40 AM
    • 760 Posts
    • 1,205 Thanks
    Silverbird
    Absolutely not! Don't pay a penny. It's up to people if they want to get married and you can do so at a low price. If they want an extravagant affair then they can fund it. I never expected my parents (or in-laws) to pay a penny. I couldn't have accepted it if they did.
    Thrilled to be DEBT-FREE as of 26.03.10
    Hubby DEBT-FREE as of 27.03.15

    Debt at LBM (June '07): £8189.19
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 5th Nov 17, 8:37 AM
    • 3,273 Posts
    • 6,883 Thanks
    jackyann
    A 3 way limitless split? Recipe for disaster.

    I have a friend whose son is marrying a girl from a family that can afford (and intend to) make their daughter a very lavish wedding. They are happy to foot the bill. All good until the friend has been given a limited number of invites and can't afford to pay for more.
    Originally posted by silvercar
    Well, it wasn't supposed to be 'limitless' but pressure piled on, and yes, it was a recipe for a lot of disaster!

    And I have to say that your friend's new in-laws sound quite mean. I have known a few old-fashioned, well off families who have paid for their daughter's wedding. They would have regarded that behaviour as deeply rude.
    Of course, your friend would not expect to invite a large number of extended family members and overwhelm the family who are paying (though I have known that as well!) but it seems that your friend is in an uncomfortable position, and any thoughtful person would not wish to be part of that.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 5th Nov 17, 9:45 AM
    • 36,195 Posts
    • 152,961 Thanks
    silvercar
    Well, it wasn't supposed to be 'limitless' but pressure piled on, and yes, it was a recipe for a lot of disaster!

    And I have to say that your friend's new in-laws sound quite mean. I have known a few old-fashioned, well off families who have paid for their daughter's wedding. They would have regarded that behaviour as deeply rude.
    Of course, your friend would not expect to invite a large number of extended family members and overwhelm the family who are paying (though I have known that as well!) but it seems that your friend is in an uncomfortable position, and any thoughtful person would not wish to be part of that.
    Originally posted by jackyann
    I can see it both ways.

    1. Well off families have budgets too. If they want a princess wedding for their daughter, it's their choice. They probably think they are behaving very nicely in paying for the other side to have a reasonable number guests.

    2. The groom's parents won't be able to have all the guests they would have liked had the wedding been a simpler affair.

    I'm sure that on the day everyone will behave very nicely and no-one will feel left out. It's just one side will have many more guests than the other.
    • JanC
    • By JanC 6th Nov 17, 7:04 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    JanC
    We contributed £10k each to both our daughters weddings and the in laws paid for the honeymoons. It's something we saved for from when they were born, this and their uni fees. We were not well off but just wanted to give them the best on their big day.

    Although when we got married back in the 60s, a lot of our friends just had a quick register office ceremony and a take away from the local fish and chip shop afterwards, You 'cut your cloth according to your means', a lot of people want everything these days and get into a lot of debt doing it.
    • andydownes123
    • By andydownes123 6th Nov 17, 10:45 AM
    • 120 Posts
    • 200 Thanks
    andydownes123
    I think it's quite old fashioned these days to expect the bride's parents to pay for everything unless they are happy and able to do so.

    Have a chat with your daughter and explain that you are only prepared and able to pay £x.

    Do you have other children? - bear in mind you may be expected to be fair to them if they ever get married.
    Originally posted by sulphate
    Yeah I agree. I think both sets of parents usually give the same, with perhaps happy couple chipping in one-third too
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 6th Nov 17, 12:48 PM
    • 36,195 Posts
    • 152,961 Thanks
    silvercar
    I think it's quite old fashioned these days to expect the bride's parents to pay for everything unless they are happy and able to do so.
    That is the problem. There are a whole generation of parents who had their parents' contribute the cost of their wedding and are now looking on that as old fashioned. At the same time as some are thinking they would pay for their children's wedding precisely because they had their own wedding paid for.

    So the tradition depends on family norms, hence some have the expectation and some don't.

    When someone with one tradition meets someone for whom that tradition has died out you end up with different expectations.

    Land on MSE where the age diversity is relatively large and you get all opinions.

    Add the complexity that a lot of people now don't believe that marriage is essential and the overall view veers towards it being an optional unnecessary expense.
    • af273
    • By af273 6th Nov 17, 12:58 PM
    • 24 Posts
    • 48 Thanks
    af273
    Does it have to be one way or another?

    My parents paid for what they could, the rest my husband and me paid for, the in-laws chipped in with paying for the photographer.

    I know my parents aren't well off and didn't expect much. In-laws raised an eyebrow a bit that it wasn't ALL payed for like their daughters, none of their business though.
    • Red-Squirrel
    • By Red-Squirrel 6th Nov 17, 1:37 PM
    • 2,004 Posts
    • 5,520 Thanks
    Red-Squirrel
    I'm traditional and plan to pay for my daughters wedding just as my parents paid for mine. I'm hoping she will be considerate and make sensible choices, treating our money as she would her own. I guess problems could arise if she wants something lavish and you disagree on it.
    Originally posted by Fireflyaway
    What if your daughter and her fiance want to be extravagant? Would you stand back and let them pay for it themselves?
    • chelseablue
    • By chelseablue 6th Nov 17, 1:52 PM
    • 2,296 Posts
    • 2,822 Thanks
    chelseablue
    We are getting married next year.

    Our families told us to cost it out and let them know how much it would cost approximately

    We worked it out to be around £12,000

    My Dad said they would contribute £4,000, my mother in law also offered £4,000 and the remaining £4,000 is from us.

    We have gone a bit over budget but that is for us to fund
    Mortgage starting balance 26.02.16 £231,294
    Mortgage after Year 1 £225,078
    • crmism
    • By crmism 6th Nov 17, 5:59 PM
    • 82 Posts
    • 49 Thanks
    crmism
    Daughter's wedding
    Traditionally, it's the bride's parents who foot the bill, but you certainly don't need to go overboard to make the big day a success. Too many youngsters have expectations way beyond their means, and those of their parents, so put your foot down when it comes to the expenses.

    Rather than cut flowers in the church and the reception venue, my wife and I bought artificial flowers, which looked so real, are considerably cheaper and can be used again and again later on or distributed around the family after the wedding is over. We shopped around for caterers, and negotiated a deal. The venue itself doesn't have to be anything exotic - a village hall is just as good as a castle when it comes to celebrations.

    However, times seem to have changed of late. When my son got married, my wife and I offered to cover the cost of the reception as we knew his prospective father-in-law was in straightened circumstances. I see no reason why your daughter's future in-laws can't help out.

    Above all, what's so important is that the day is memorable for all the right reasons. And that doesn't mean spending a fortune on food, drinks, flowers or a suitable venue for wedding and reception. Good Luck!
    • jackyann
    • By jackyann 6th Nov 17, 8:20 PM
    • 3,273 Posts
    • 6,883 Thanks
    jackyann
    Silvercar has hit the nail on the head about expectations. But even 'traditionally' it was really the well-to-do who funded their daughters' weddings.
    I know that my grandparents (born at the turn of 19/20C) funded their own weddings as there was no money from their parents. They wore their 'Sunday best' and had a nice tea afterwards, with a barrel of beer. The wedding cake was the main extravagance, and I still have my paternal grandmother's recipe.
    Each succeeding generation added to the spend - my mother and I both made our own wedding dresses and thought ourselves very fine.
    • HouseMouse
    • By HouseMouse 7th Nov 17, 1:58 PM
    • 22 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    HouseMouse
    I suppose I'd be thought of as mean but these days I think far too many weddings are about the trappings and not about the real meaning of the commitment that the bride and groom are making to each other.

    More years ago than I care to remember, I told my parents I was thinking of getting married. I was living on my own, and this was my second marriage. My father made it clear he wasn't prepared to contribute financially despite being fairly well-off. I had a very quiet wedding the first time round, so it's not as though he ever really had to splash out. I didn't see why I should have to pay for a big family get-together when I hardly ever saw most of my relatives (we're not a particularly close family). My feelings were if HE wanted a big do in a posh venue (to show off to his friends and rellies) then HE could pay for it.

    SO, in the end we had a very quiet ceremony, with just 2 friends & a meal in a local restaurant afterwards. Didn't even bother to tell my father, who found out via one of his friends some weeks later. (Might to relevant to add that at this point my father didn't really like my new husband, although over the years, as he got to know him, they did become quite good friends)

    The only thing I regret is that I didn't buy a better frock & have a few photos taken.

    We have just celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.
    • Peccary
    • By Peccary 9th Nov 17, 6:50 AM
    • 191 Posts
    • 197 Thanks
    Peccary
    Among my friends, it's fairly common for the bride's parents to buy her dress. My parents didn't offer any help and I didn't ask as they weren't well off then. Their circumstances have changed since and they helped us out with our house deposit and have started saving for our daughter, more useful I think!

    We were lucky in that husband's dad offered the same amount given to his sister, we topped that up a bit.
    Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
    Mark Twain
    • cats2012
    • By cats2012 9th Nov 17, 9:26 AM
    • 1,175 Posts
    • 1,279 Thanks
    cats2012
    I got married 5 years ago and my sister is getting married in the Spring. Our parents kindly gave us each a contribution, but it was in no way expected. Vast majority of the cost was met by us.

    In my case, we had a pretty small wedding as we'd just bought a house. My sister is going more spectacular as she and her fiancee are very comfortable, but that's her choice and she's paying for it - got the same amount from mum and dad.
    Officially Mrs B as of March 2013
    TTC since Apr 2015, baby B born March 2017
    • JayD
    • By JayD 11th Nov 17, 6:07 PM
    • 488 Posts
    • 302 Thanks
    JayD
    As has been suggested here already, it would seem best to give your daughter what you can afford and tell her it is your wedding present to her and her fiance and you would be more than happy for them to use it towards their wedding costs. You could also propose that she and her fiance approach his parents and ask them to do the same, if the are planning an expensive wedding.
    • squirrelchops
    • By squirrelchops 20th Nov 17, 7:29 AM
    • 1,798 Posts
    • 2,873 Thanks
    squirrelchops
    Having been to 2 weddings that I know both cost around 30k I know how much you spend does not mean it will be a better day than a wedding with a lower budget.

    Both of these weddings were pretty bog standard set up, nothing exceptional that stood out and actually as a guest they were both pretty boring.

    On the other hand we went to a wedding in a forest, reception was afternoon tea and the groom played in his own band - fantastic fun and a lot less money was spent on that!!!
    • The Ang
    • By The Ang 29th Nov 17, 12:12 AM
    • 19 Posts
    • 114 Thanks
    The Ang
    My husband and I were very lucky that my parents could afford to pay for some of our wedding ceremony. We didn't have many colleagues or guests. My parents had most of the number of the guest.

    Thinking about the percentage of the guests on which side can be a way to count the wedding money payment share.
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