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Do parents still pay for weddings?

The majority of wedding costs, such as invitations, flowers, photographers, transportation, and the ceremony and reception locations, are customarily paid for by the bride's parents.

Despite the lack of a hard and fast regulation stating that only the bride's family is allowed to break out the cash, the tradition nevertheless rings very true.

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One wedding custom that has stood the test of time, despite the fact that many young couples today breach it with abandon, is that of the parents footing the bill. Although many engaged couples make an effort to share the cost of their wedding, it appears that the bulk of the funding still comes from the families of both the bride and groom. Nearly two-thirds of the wedding budget—around $19,000—comes from the parents.

The survey interviewed 506 parents who just saw a wedding in their child's family. About 10% of parents said they had to use their retirement funds to help pay for a child's wedding. About a third of the parents polled admitted to spending more than they had intended on their child's wedding, and about 20% paid for the ceremony and reception with credit cards. Nonetheless, one-quarter of parents said they had put money aside in anticipation of their child's nuptials.

According to custom, the bride's family pays for most of the wedding, including the bride's dress, bridesmaids' gifts (though bridesmaids should still purchase their own attire), the wedding planner or coordinator, the invitations, the flowers, the wedding reception, the photography, the groom's wedding ring, the music, any meals before the wedding for the wedding party, and the transportation and lodging for the bride's family and bridesmaids. Need help planning your wedding? Check out our list of Wedding Event Planners here.

The bride's engagement ring and wedding ring(s), the groom's suit and accessories, the groomsmen's presents, the officiant's fee, the marriage licence, the rehearsal dinner, and the groom's family and groomsmen's travel and lodging are all customarily paid for by the groom's family.

If you think that newlyweds expect their parents to hand over cash without question, you'd be mistaken. More than a third of the parents polled took it upon themselves to start the conversation about paying for the wedding because their child was too shy to ask for aid.

Table of Contents

Who Pays for Weddings?

Traditional practise held that the bride's family would foot the bill for most of the wedding. While this was wonderful news for the groom's family, it may put a significant financial strain on the bride's family.

The bride's family often pays for the majority of the wedding, including the ceremony, reception, and any other associated costs. In contrast, the groom's side of the family is expected to pay for the wedding's rehearsal dinner and honeymoon. A recent poll found that the typical cost of a wedding was almost $35,000.

It is the opinion of some that parents should help pay for the wedding if they can. Parents shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage or use their savings to pay for their child's wedding when they have their own bills to pay.

It is possible that financial assistance from friends and family will be required to make a couple's wedding day a reality, given the large costs that might be associated with it. Since couples are waiting to tie the knot, they have more resources at their disposal, including a larger wedding budget.

Wedding Budget Planning:

Goal-Setting

Before making a contribution to the wedding fund, it's important to take stock of one's personal financial situation. It's possible that you'll need that extra money or savings in order to pay off debt or achieve some other high priority.

No couple wants to receive the gift of having to rely on their children for financial support when they reach retirement age due to excessive spending during the wedding. If that's the case, you shouldn't call it a gift; rather, treat it like a high-interest loan.

Save

Some 25% of parents reported saving money for their child's wedding. In excess of half of these families started setting aside money for their children's futures when they were in high school.

It may be unrealistic for families with other goals and expenses to begin saving so early, but with the typical engagement lasting over a year, you should be able to look over your finances and see if there is any wiggle room to put a little away each pay period.

It is your chance to save money for the wedding if that is a top priority for you. But if you're planning on making a pledge of funds that you don't currently have, you should aim for an amount that is fair and doable even if a sudden financial need happens. You should never put yourself or your child's financial stability at risk in order to fulfil a promise.

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Speak With Your Partner

Ensure that you and your future spouse are on the same page on any financial obligations related to the wedding. Emotions run high during weddings, and it is not uncommon for one partner to spend extravagantly.

Establish a Goal

Most wedding professionals recommend that engaged couples start asking for money for the wedding as soon as possible. Avoid putting it off any longer. Feel free to break the ice and start talking.

It's crucial that you have that talk about money right away. That way, your kid won't guess at what you'll give, or worse, make a purchase or sign a contract with a vendor based on that guesstimate. Specify the amount you'd like to donate and whether or not you have any special requests in exchange for that sum, such as hosting a table of your friends or receiving personalised wine bottles as party favours.

There's no better time to start a conversation about responsible spending than during a family wedding. If the young couples budget carefully, they may be able to save enough money to put towards a down payment on a house or to pay off some of their college loans.

Specify

You should be very specific about what you would like your parents to cover after you have a good sense of what has to be paid for based on contracts you have signed with your venue(s) and vendors, which should fall in accordance with your pre-established wedding budget. Put them in charge of something specific like the rehearsal dinner, the flowers, the reception venue, the wedding vendors, etc.

If both sets of parents are giving approximately the same amount, or if one set of parents is dead set on paying for something, you can feel free to break with convention and divide the costs anyway you see fit.

Don’t Compare Things

Thank your parents and extended family for any and all gifts they have given you. It's best not to make comparisons about who's donating more or less, and to tread lightly when discussing the other side's contributions with your own families.

Parents feel a lot of pressure and social expectation at weddings, so it can be difficult to be honest about the financial capabilities of your intended spouse's family. To make them feel more at ease, don't bring it up and instead keep the conversation focused on the number they feel most at ease with.

Make Your Expectations Clear

Will there be conditions tied to either set of parents' financial support? When one family offers to foot the bill for the majority of the wedding expenses, should that group be given more say in the selection of wedding-related details, such as the guest list, the wedding and reception sites, and the wedding menu? Make sure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities from the get-go to alleviate any potential stress during wedding planning caused by misunderstandings.

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Yet many engaged couples continue to divide up their wedding funds in different ways. Guests can feel more comfortable chipping in to the wedding festivities because modern brides and grooms typically tie the knot at a later stage in life, when they have already established careers and are more comfortable managing their own funds.

On average, couples who asked their parents to help with wedding expenditures paid 41% of the total. Ten percent of married couples paid for everything themselves, while nine percent spent nothing at all.

Do you intend to divide the wedding expenses amongst yourselves? Kick off the process of managing your wedding costs by generating a customised budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Bride's Parents and/or Family Members. The bride's family pays for the wedding venue and vendors, and most products and services related to the day. Stationery – save-the-dates, invitations, ceremony programs, escort cards, etc.

Put succinctly, tradition states that the father of the bride is responsible for paying for the wedding. Tradition also states that the groom's family hosts the rehearsal dinner.

The groom's family is responsible for paying for whatever item the groomsmen get. The groom's family is also technically responsible for paying for the groomsmen's lodging, whether it's a hotel or Airbnb. This is another cost that has been passed on to the groomsmen in more modern weddings.

Tradition has it that each person pays for the other person's ring. So in a traditional wedding, the groom or his family would pay for the bride's ring, and the bride or her family would pay for the groom's ring.

In these more traditional settings, it is usually the groom or the groom's parents who pay for the honeymoon. The bride's family usually handles the wedding costs, and the groom or his family would handle the honeymoon.

Conclusion

Traditionally, the bride's family foots the bill for the wedding's major expenses such the invitations, flowers, photographer, transportation, and venue. A survey found that 10% of parents stated they had to dip into their retirement savings to help pay for a child's wedding. Only around one-quarter of parents said they had put money aside for their kid's wedding. To pay for a wedding, parents shouldn't have to take out a second mortgage or spend their assets when they have other responsibilities.

Many experts in the wedding industry advise newly engaged couples to start requesting wedding gifts as early as feasible. Weddings are an emotionally charged time, and it's not uncommon for one partner to go all out. Young couples may be able to save for a down payment on a home or tuition if they adhere to a strict budget. Many newly engaged couples still choose to split the wedding budget in unconventional ways. It's not necessary to stick to the traditional 50/50 split if both sets of parents are contributing roughly the same amount. Ensure that right off the bat, everyone knows what is expected of them.

Content Summary

  • The bride's parents usually pay for invitations, flowers, photographers, transportation, and the ceremony and reception places.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the wedding budget—around $19,000—comes from the parents.
  • The survey interviewed 506 parents who just saw a wedding in their child's family.
  • About 10% of parents said they had to use their retirement funds to help pay for a child's wedding.
  • About a third of the parents polled admitted to spending more than they had intended on their child's wedding, and about 20% paid for the ceremony and reception with credit cards.
  • It is your chance to save money for the wedding if that is a top priority for you.
  • Ensure that you and your future spouse are on the same page on any financial obligations related to the wedding.
  • Most wedding professionals recommend that engaged couples start asking for money for the wedding as soon as possible.
  • It's crucial that you have that talk about money right away.
  • There's no better time to start a conversation about responsible spending than during a family wedding.
  • You should be explicit about what you want your parents to fund after signing contracts with your venue and vendors, which should fall within your pre-established wedding budget.
  • Thank your parents and extended family for any and all gifts they have given you.
  • When one family offers to foot the bill for the majority of the wedding expenses, should that group be given more say in the selection of wedding-related details, such as the guest list, the wedding and reception sites, and the wedding menu?
  • Yet many engaged couples continue to divide up their wedding funds in different ways.
  • Do you intend to divide the wedding expenses amongst yourselves?
  • Kick off the process of managing your wedding costs by generating a customised budget.
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