Skip Nav
Disneyland's New Maxpass Is Designed to Save You Time — but It'll Cost You
9 Life Lessons Most People Wish They'd Learned Earlier
4 Uses For Lemons You've Never Thought of Before

Who Should Pay For a Wedding? 2008-04-04 09:33:13

Should the Bride's Family Be Responsible For the Wedding Bill?

Some wedding traditions are still in place more for the sake of tradition than the actual meaning — like the bride wearing virtuous white, for example. Another, more conflicting one is the bride's family paying for the wedding while the groom's family pays for the less elaborate rehearsal dinner. The responsibility of the wedding bill has fallen on the bride's family for everyone I know who has recently gotten married or is currently engaged — and believe me, it's a big number of brides.

While it's obvious to me that this is still the norm for most first marriages, I'm wondering if you think the tradition is a fair one.

To see all of our wedding coverage, check out


Join The Conversation
sgdish sgdish 9 years
Those traditional ideas were based on the bride and groom being much younger back many years ago. Currently, with people getting married much older and many after living together, lots of brides and grooms even make as much or more money than their parents, so they should be paying for their own wedding. Basically, it should be a conversation between the bride and groom and their respective parents to make sure no one assumes anything! I can say one don't need to spend $30,000 to feel married!
italianblonde italianblonde 9 years
I do love traditions, but this is not that important. These days, everyone I know either splits the bill or pays for it themselves with minimal help from their parents. Of course noone wants to pay, but I think these are the better options rather than depending on just the bride's family to cover all the expenses.
numbersgirl numbersgirl 9 years
My first wedding my mother paid for, but because she wanted to. I would've opted for Vegas. There are a million other things I can think of spending that money on. Especially for one day that goes by so fast you have no time to really enjoy it. The second time around I paid for it because I didn't want to hear anyone's opinion. It was my husband's first and he is younger and dreamed of a big wedding - but since he didn't save for it (it was planned for a year) I paid for it and did what I wanted - but again, Vegas would've worked. My best friend and her husband got married a year before and paid 80k for their wedding at a beautiful hotel and while I was proud to be MOH - I still thought of the many things that the money could've been spent on other than food and scenery. It's the accountant in me I guess.
MrsJigglesworth MrsJigglesworth 9 years
My parents insisted on paying for our wedding. It is something they had always planned for. My in-laws did not offer a cent for any part of it.
OliveBlack OliveBlack 9 years
Bride and groom should pay themselves, end of. It's absolutely ridiculous that anyone would expect their parents to finance a wedding. If you want to go all out, make sure you can fund it yourself. I agree with snowbunny- if you don't have the money, don't have the big wedding. It's a glorified party after all. You can still get married without the huge ceremony.
lightheaded lightheaded 9 years
I think it depends on a lot... I would be okay paying for some, with my parents contributing a bit, but I also think the grooms family should contribute a bit too. A group effort!
emalove emalove 9 years
I think the circumstances for a wedding budget and who pays for it is different for every couple. For my wedding last summer, we did go the traditional route. My parents paid for the wedding, my husband's mother paid for our rehearsal dinner and gave us some money for our honeymoon. But my best friend is getting married this summer and her parents can't afford to pay for the wedding. So her fiance's family is footing a large part of the bill. The rest is being paid for by my best friend and her fiance. So I think it varies and depends on a lot of circumstances. Tradition doesn't work for everyone!
i agree with hotstuff. i maily paid for mine, but my parents helped out A LOT because they wanted too. my in-laws didnt help at all and folks were trash talkin.... weddings have a lot of politiks
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
I paid about 2000 of my wedding and my grandparents paid for the rest! :) lucky.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
carhonrsinapril, If they are not going to help with any of the expenses at all then don't let them pressure you into doing something you don't want to. Decide the kind of wedding you want (sit down dinner, reception, etc) and figure out a 'price per person' and tell your family that if they want the extended family they can chip in the amount per person for each person they want to invite that is extra.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
this is tricky. i wish my family would pay for at least part of my wedding, but it's expected that my fiance and i will finance it on our own, so fair enough. the problem with this is that my family put nothing towards my college education, which has left me in a sizeable amount of debt (let's just say it's the equivalent of a VERY nice wedding). this would be fine if it were acceptable for us to host a small wedding, but there's a lot of pressure to host my huge extended family, which will be a great expense.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
I think it should be a combination of everyone. If the parents can't pay that shouldn't be a problem. Anyone who is willing to pay (and can afford it) should do so. My husband and I had a really small wedding and my parents paid for the few expenses we did have. I'm talking $500 total. I bought my dress (though my Mom wanted to)and everyone paid for a little bit. It worked out nice. We had it at my Uncle's house and my husbands parents came from out of state so had the expense of driving and getting a hotel. It pretty much evened out for everyone involved.
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
^ sorry, "spent," not "spend"
stefsprl stefsprl 9 years
My husband and I paid for almost everything mom gave me $500 for a dress (some of which I used to pay bills because I was so broke -- my dress including alterations was $300) and my father-in-law paid for rehearsal dinner (not fancy, just a good Italian restaurant for about 12-14 people). We spend about $2500, and $2000 was our own money. We didn't want to accept money from people because we didn't want to have to listen to what they said about what we "should" do. It was our wedding, not theirs. If you don't have a lot of money to spend, but want to get married, then go get a marriage license for $30 and find a justice of the peace to marry you. You're just as married as the people who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a big party. I'm not knocking people who want the party -- I was begging my hubby to elope, but he knew his parents would kill us! -- but if you can't afford the party, maybe you shouldn't be having it. Just my own opinion.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 9 years
I'm so fortunate that my American husband understands my culture. I came from a country where women are wooed to become "steady dates" and before being engaged, the man has to formally go to the parents' house to "ask for the hand of their daughter in marriage" so he can have the blessings and most of all, the man (or groom) is always obligated to pay all the wedding expenses--ALL the wedding expenses. And I still believe that because I grew up with that culture.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I think this is so 1950, I think it's something to be discussed between the couple and their families.
Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 9 years
I absolutely agree with everyone who says the bride and groom should pay. It's their day and their celebration. We got engaged on my 28th birthday and I'll be 32 getting married. I so did not want to wait that long, but in the meantime we've bought and renovated a house, so there just wasn't a penny to spare. Now we're finally in a position to pay for the type of wedding we want (nothing too lavish or OTT, but we're getting married in Portugal so we want it to be nice enough that people will be glad they made the effort to travel from Ireland) so we're finally getting married. My parents have already told me that our gift will be money, so that'll cover about a third of the cost and it has taken a lot of the pressure off to know that, but I would never have gone to them asking them to contribute, and certainly not asking them to pay for the whole thing!
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
When my boyfriend and I first became engaged, his family kept on openly asserting that MY family should pay for the wedding. His family had paid for his sister's wedding, after all. It really annoyed me, because I think that the financial responsibility should be mine and my fiance's. My parents don't just have the money lying around to foot the bill for an entire wedding, nor would I expect them to. They are retirement age and the last thing I want them to do is worry about even more money flying out the window. I don't exactly have the money for a big wedding myself, but that's fine... I didn't want a big one to begin with. Plus, this way, being the sole financier of my event... NOBODY else gets a say about MY wedding (besides my fiance, of course.)
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
Renee....if people don't have $20k lying around, wouldn't it kind of make sense not to spend $20k on a one-day party? Just sayin'
hotstuff hotstuff 9 years
I think the couple getting married should pay. If parents decide to give money as a gift then fine, but parents would be fools to burden themselves with a loan to pay for their children's wedding. Also you should never assume that parents or in laws "have money". There are people who make millions a year and have so much debt that they really don't have a penny in the bank so never assume anyone's financial situation.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
haha love it lickety split! We'll probably split between us, his dad, his mom, and my parents. I think his dad would pay all of it right now if we'd just get married :) lol ... his dad and his mom are both so ready for us to get married. My parents want us to wait a while longer -- which we will ... :( lol
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
here's an idea. the bride and groom pay for the wedding. at the end of 5 years the parents of the couple pay them 25% of the cost of the wedding. another 25% at 10, 15 and 20 years of marriage.
julieulie julieulie 9 years
"If you are old enough to get married then you are old enough to pay for it." I think all the statements about how the responsible thing to do is for the bride and groom to pay for it are a bit blind-sighted. It's great for people who can wait until they are 30 and have savings and can have that wedding themselves. But for some of us, we wouldn't be able to afford a wedding for quite some time. It's going to take us years and years to pay off our giant medical school debt, and I'm not interested in having dated for 20 years (we've been together since I was 19) before we can afford to get married -- it's not practical, and I don't want to have a child out of wedlock, and we will be lucky to pay off our debt by the time we hit 40. Sure, we could elope and have no ceremony, but I know neither of our parents would ever forgive us for not having a big traditional Jewish wedding with all our family and friends present, so while it's nice in theory to say you shouldn't get married until you pay for it, I'm not willing to sacrifice my relationship with my parents OR having children just to have a wedding, and I think it's absurd to expect someone to do just that.
Which Secrets Are OK to Keep From Your Spouse?
Are Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell Married?
Princess Charlene and Prince Albert Wedding Facts
Isabel Roth's Wedding Dress
From Our Partners
Latest Afforable DIY & Organization
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds