Should your parents pay for your wedding? Why one bride says NO THANK YOU


Guest post by Elle
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Let's talk about spending money on weddings. The tradition of having the bride's family pay for the wedding is rooted in some truly distasteful notions. Basically, back in the day (which isn't the too distant past, actually) women weren’t allowed to live on their own, work outside the home, or own property.

An unmarried daughter was essentially considered a serious financial burden, especially on families living at or near the subsistence level. To remove this burden, her family would essentially pay a man to marry her, to off-load the burden. As a bonus, they were also offering the man his own private maid whom he could beget to produce children, and who would cook and clean for him while he was out there making money and doing all the things women weren't allowed to.

So, should your parents pay for your wedding?

Historically, parents paying for a wedding has ugly cultural baggage. For this reason, I am against the idea of anyone's parents being obliged or asked to pay for their children's wedding.

Now, some people have obscene amounts of money and throwing lavish weddings just goes hand in hand with their wealthy lifestyle. I mean, why else have all that money if you arent going to spend it on such things?

But in cases where the parents aren't wealthy, I don't think they should feel obligated to shell out even a penny to finance the wedding.

In fact, I don't even think the bride and groom should be wasting tens of thousands of dollars on one day of party and celebration. I am always amazed at how much money, right at the beginning of their lives together, couples will spend on weddings. Many couples start their marriage out by going into debt for a one-day event!

Imagine all that could be done with the $10,000 or $20,000 or even $50,000 that some people spend on their weddings. That money could be a down payment for a house, or could buy you a trip around the globe, or furniture for your new home.

Why blow that money on a wedding?

I don't think YOU should pay for your wedding either!

The reason we are even having this discussion is that the cost – and with it expectations of – weddings have gone up so much. Wedding costs have becoming a major expense that people need to "deal with" now.

Remember, back in the day the money was paid not so much for the festivities — but as a cash sum to the groom. Do you really want to tap into the spirit of that tradition? Should your parents pay for the wedding, given the cultural history of that tradition?

Granted, now the money goes towards festivities. Essentially a party.

I'd encourage my fellow brides to think about it, though: is a party really worth tens of thousands of dollars? Is it worth the burden your parents who are likely retirement age? Is it worth putting yourselves in debt at the beginning of your lives, when such a big chunk of money could come in very handy when you are building your lives together?

Big weddings are a waste of money and no matter how many Hollywood romance movies you have seen and how much that has sucked you in.

Think about whether you really want to go down that route and burden yourself and your loved ones with such large expenses. As for me, I'm going for a micro-wedding in my backyard, and saving my money for our new life together.

 

  1. I agree. In Portugal the tradition became the parents of the groom and bride paying for the wedding. My husband and I didn't do it that way, though we did borrow from my parents because they didn't want us to take a loan ("had" to get married in 6 months, didn't have much time to save up money).

    We spent 7000€ total, for 100 guests. If I had bought a wedding dress in a traditional bridal shop, that would've been the price of the gown alone.

    We spoke to friends whose parents had paid for the wedding and the reason given was almost always because the parents wanted to invite ALL THE FAMILY and the bride and groom wouldn't if they had to pay themselves. My husband and I cringed at the "I'm paying so I decide who gets invited thing", to us it was important that the people who were there for our wedding be relevant in our every day lives, not an obligation.

    • Forgot to say, it has also become traditional that the guests' wedding gifts be money instead of things, especially if the couple was already living together before getting married, which is most frequently the case. Most guests cover the price of the meal (and some more, some less) so in the end our wedding ended up costing 2000€. When it's the parents of the couple that pay for the wedding, the money goes to the couple, not the parents, which is a bit uncomfortable for me, personally…

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