Do's and Don'ts For Paying For Your Child's Wedding


Posted on: 09 August 2017 by John Bell

Seeing your child get married is perhaps the last milestone of parenthood, and a happy occasion for any mother or father. But inevitably the question of finances will present itself, and often parents feel obliged to contribute. In this post we look at a few simple do's and don'ts for paying for your child's wedding.

A child getting engaged to be married is (usually) one of the happiest moments of a parent's life, and marks a major milestone of parenthood. But as the plans begin to take shape, the issue of financing the wedding will inevitably crop up, and many parents feel an obligation to contribute, or even pay for the whole wedding. 

But should you be expected to contribute? Does tradition, particularly that of the bride's parents paying for the wedding, really still hold true? Should you expect anything in return for making a financial commitment? In this post we look at some simple tips for helping you navigate the finances around a child's wedding.

Don't feel obligated to follow tradition

Many people will insist that it's tradition for a bride's parents to pay for the whole wedding, but really this doesn't apply to the modern way of life. Nowadays it's far more common for both sets of parents to contribute, and for the happy couple of pay for most of the wedding themselves. According to a recent study by The Knot, the most common split is 45% paid for by the bride's parents, 42% by the bride and groom and 12% by the parents of the groom. But even this seems one-sided, as it's far more common for both sets of parents to put in an equal amount in my opinion. 

Just remember there are many different ways to split the budget, and it should come down to individual circumstances and what is right for any group of people. Tradition shouldn't really come into it. 

Do help out if you're able to

It really shouldn't matter which side of the couple you're on, if you're able to help out - even a little bit - then you should make the offer to contribute. Whether that's something small like buying the bridesmaid's dresses or helping with food, or something as big as renting the hall from Downton Abbey as a venue (yes, it's available as a wedding location). 

The survey from The Knot found that only 13% of couples pay for their whole wedding on their own, with the vast majority of them getting help from family. So if you can make a contribution comfortably, then it makes sense to at least make the offer. 

Don't feel obligated to contribute more than you can afford

Often parents feel like they have to make a sizeable contribution to a wedding, and do so even if they can't really afford it. You shouldn't be spreading yourself thin or getting yourself into debt in order to pay for a wedding, and honestly most children would understand this. Never take a loan or max out a credit card, and under no circumstances raid your pension or retirement fund in order to pay for a wedding. Instead, be open and honest with your kids and let them know what you can comfortably afford - communication is key here, and your children would much rather you were secure and not stressing out about how to pay for their wedding. 

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John Bell

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