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Liz
Savvy October 2021

Who pays?

Liz, on April 11, 2020 at 1:41 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 1 68
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My FH and I have been having the discussion about how we will pay for our wedding. We want to keep it simple and fairly cheap. I am a teacher and he is a support manager at Walmart. We don’t make a ton of money. His mom made a comment to him that it’s traditionally the brides father who pays. A bit of background on both our family’s, they are not rich by any means. Both middle class family that get by. I was a little off out with her comment. I for one didn’t really want to do the whole wedding thing. I lost my mom a few years back and thinking of planning a wedding without her breaks my heart. So I am all for a quick trip to Vegas and be done with it. He wants a big wedding and reception. He is all about going 50/50 from both of us but his mom is not. Has anyone else had this issue? Any ideas on how I can possibly handle this tactfully?

68 Comments

  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    That’s ridiculous. In this day & age, it’s the couple who pays. If there’s a financial gift from either side, that’s a bonus, but not expected.


    His mom has no say. But you & your fiancé need to discuss because I could see you resenting contributing for a bigger wedding than you want. You need to both agree on the budget. And commit to sharing the planning/stress.
    Congrats & welcome here! We’re here to help (or listen). 👋
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  • Liz
    Savvy October 2021
    Liz ·
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    Thank you so much! I figured that is how it was but wasn’t sure. We compromised on doing big ceremony and a bigger reception. To me that is the true celebration of a wedding to be with everyone. I’m hoping his mom won’t be an issue.
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  • Brie
    Savvy July 2021
    Brie ·
    • Flag

    That is such an ancient tradition. I mean, it's nice if someone can afford it, but if not, there should never be any judgment. I'm so sorry she's making it awkward for you. We're paying for everything. It's 2020...we're not counting livestock anymore. You stay strong, girl! Don't let her bully you. This is YOUR wedding, and your FH should understand your family situation enough to have your back.

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  • Liz
    Savvy October 2021
    Liz ·
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    He has so far which I am super thankful for! I just am hoping his mother will get on bored. So if you happen to have any money saving tips please let me know. Smiley smile Also thank you for the support!

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  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn Online ·
    • Flag
    It’s not his mom’a wedding, so she doesn’t get to have an opinion. It’s entirely the couple’s responsibility to fund their own wedding.
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  • Liz
    Savvy October 2021
    Liz ·
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    Thank you for that Caytlyn. That was my thought as well!

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  • Brie
    Savvy July 2021
    Brie ·
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    Our wedding ended up being double what I had imagined, but it's because of where we are and who we chose as vendors. Budgeting was really tough, so I may not be the best for advice. But I DID read a lot of tips on budgeting on Pinterest! Smiley smile Here's what I remember:

    -Maybe make cupcakes instead of a professional cake

    -Get married at a park or at a home instead of a venue

    -Don't have too many people in your wedding party...their gifts, hair, makeup, rehearsal dinner, etc. add up. (Hair and makeup for 5 bridesmaids and myself will be $2k). And that's another thing! See if anyone you know is really good at doing hair and makeup!

    -Don't go nuts on a bouquet. Wild flowers are free Smiley winking They also look pretty as centerpieces.

    -Have a buffet

    -Ask around or use social media to ask and see if anyone knows a good photographer who takes nice photos, but may not be a professional who charges $4k.

    Just some things off the top of my head! When we made it legal (we did the paperwork early for multiple reasons), we went to Safeway and bought champagne and flowers, and we got married in the snow in front of our house with 5 witnesses. It was one of the best days of my life and I would have been just fine with that being it! Simple and inexpensive can be beautiful and fun! You can have a magical day without spending too much money!

    I would explore Pinterest. I found lots of advice since I'm planning everything alone, and I did see some budgeting posts along the way!

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  • Liz
    Savvy October 2021
    Liz ·
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    Pinterest is currently my best friend. I do like the idea of doing something for my bridesmaids. Luckily I have a family member who does hair and make-up I was planning to ask her to help if she could. I like the idea of a cheaper photographer and cupcakes!

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  • Courtney
    Super September 2019
    Courtney ·
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    I think it’s a bit rude of his mom speculating on how you both will pay for YOUR wedding. If she’s not offering to help then I would not discuss finances with her. There’s plenty of ways to keep budget down and have a celebration with family and friends. I’d look into alternative venues (like community halls), places that will let you have outside catering and provide your own drinks, looking up photographers still building their portfolio so they’re cheaper etc. The biggest thing will probably be keeping the guest list manageable because per person costs like food, drink, cake add up quick. It’s your wedding so you two will decide how to budget and plan, not his mom Smiley smile
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  • Liz
    Savvy October 2021
    Liz ·
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    Thank you for the all the amazing advice! I am hoping she will come around and if she doesn’t then we will make do. Smiley smile
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  • Rebelle Fleur
    VIP January 2021
    Rebelle Fleur ·
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    You have to establish now early on that this is your wedding and not your FMIL’s. You also have to establish that this is your relationship and any decision making will be between the people that are actually in the relationship. Of course others can give advice but that’s it. I’m fortunate that my dad paid for one of my dresses, and my mother is paying for my dj, florist and photographer/videographer. My FMIL/FFIL gave us 1k to put towards our budget (As their daughter is getting married two months before we are and helped pay for her dress and one vendor) and we are paying for everything else. All those contributions were a delightful bonus but I really went into it planning that we would pay for most of it ourselves. Have the wedding that you can compromise on and can afford. Don’t let too many hands get involved and stress you out and cause an unnecessary rift between you and your FH. If you find that when you speak to someone about the wedding and they have negative things to say or try to tell you how your wedding should be just make a mental note not to talk to them about anything wedding related and if they keep prying/pushing just say me and FH will decide that or “planning is going well” and steer the conversation in another direction. Your wedding will be beautiful and you guys will be fine. Just practice protecting your peace.
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  • Amanda
    VIP December 2020
    Amanda ·
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    We as a couple have paid for the majority of our wedding. Our families have both helped with numerous things and it's been extremely helpful to us however, neither side is paying 50% by any means. My FH and I both have good jobs and we kept things realistic to a budget we could afford. If y'all want a big wedding you are going to have to pitch in and help. Sit down together and see if you can come up with a middle of the road wedding plan and then discuss budget. I would then bring this plan to our parents and see where they could help if they would like to/are able to do so.

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  • Marisa
    VIP May 2021
    Marisa Online ·
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    We like you are paying for our wedding ourselves. My parents simply do not have the money as I know they struggled financially recently and my FH doesn’t want to put the burden on his parents as his mother has been dealing with some major medical and health issues these past 2 years. We want it to be enjoyable for everyone and for each person to be as much apart of it as we are.
    I’m so sorry you and your FMIL don’t see eye-to-eye on this. If it gets to you, which it sounds like it is, have a talk with FH and see if he can have a conversation and explain his and your feelings with her. Hopefully that’ll soften her up about the subject.
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  • Allie
    Devoted November 2021
    Allie ·
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    In my situation, my FH’s parents had put money aside for him and all of his sisters for their weddings, so right when we got engaged, they offered it to us. My parents are divorced, my dad has been out of a job for about a year and my mom is not exactly swimming in money. We decided that we’d work our budget around what we could afford with the money that was offered already. My dad keeps saying that he wants to help and will help when he can, but I’ve been trying to not put pressure on him because he’s been trying to find a job nonstop and is having no luck. So that tradition is definitely outdated. It’s your wedding to celebrate with you and your FH and you guys should do what you want to do, but nobody should be expected to pay for it except for you and him. So sorry for the pressure being put on you 🙁 but it sounds like you are standing your ground!
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  • H
    Super June 2019
    Hanna ·
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    The 'tradition' of the bride's family paying for the wedding is sexist and outdated. These days, couples usually pay for their own weddings, unless family members offer to pay. Our parents did pay for our wedding and the two families split everything evenly 50% right down the middle, but we definitely didn't expect them to--they offered and we were lucky and grateful. Your FMIL's comment was rude and out of line!

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  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    Liz, for saving for the wedding, my hubby & I agreed to what we could each put into a joint checking account every month up until our wedding day. My mom gifted us cash, so that plus our monthly savings became our initial budget.


    (You & your fiancé don’t have to put in a 50/50 dollar amount. Just something fair. Like if one of you makes way more than if you each put in 20% of your paycheck that might be fair. Or if one of you has school debt that person could contribute less. Just discuss so each of you is happy.)
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  • Pirate & 60s Bride
    Champion March 2017
    Pirate & 60s Bride ·
    • Flag
    Money-saving tips: if you’re agreeing to a bigger wedding, a brunch wedding will be less than dinner (and not require a DJ/dancing, and you *could* skip alcohol at a brunch wedding even thought champagne is nice).


    Or, if you both really want an evening dinner wedding & dancing vibe, you could do a weekday night (Thur or early Sun), to save money.
    • Reply
  • Courtney
    Expert July 2020
    Courtney ·
    • Flag
    In this day , typically the couple pays for the wedding. Anything a parent gives can be used as a donation. You can also find budget friendly things for your wedding! Like for example, we aren't going to a major florist, flowers will run about $2,000 if not more if we did that. To us , that wasn't important for just one day so we are going to a local grocery store. Check with your local grocery store for flowers and chose cheaper flowers such as baby's breath for bridesmaids maybe. You can also reuse those for centerpieces. For bridal party , you don't HAVE to pay for their hair and make up if you aren't requiring them to have a certain style or if you want to pay , use someone you know. For food , you can do a buffet and do cheaper meats such as chicken. Fish or steak will run you more. Or if you do a morning wedding, do brunch. There's many ways you can cut costs to your wedding. It's just something you and your fiance will have to agree on. Try not to let your MIL influence you to do something you don't want , but also don't make it a big deal to her because she's just going off tradition. I hope this helps!
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  • Courtney
    Expert July 2020
    Courtney ·
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    Great idea!
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  • Kari
    VIP May 2020
    Kari ·
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    I agree with what others have said. The tradition of a bride's father paying for the wedding is so outdated. It is the responsibility of the couple to pay for the event - if parents or family on either side offer to contribute that is completely voluntary. You should also be really careful about divulging information about who is paying for what - sometimes parents can turn it into a competition and that rarely ends in happy vibes for everyone involved.

    Now if parents on either side want something specific that is outside what the couple desires or can afford, I think it is appropriate for those parents to cover the cost of whatever the extra is. For example, if you want a smaller wedding with only immediate family and your parents want all of your aunts and uncles and cousins there as well and you're okay with that but it isn't super important to you, then its okay to ask those parents to pay for the cost of the extra guests.

    Prioritize what is important to you (as a couple) and develop a budget that you can afford that allows you to have what is most important. A lot of the ways in which wedding costs add up can be really insignificant - stuff like paper products, elaborate signage, etc can significantly add to the overall cost but have little impact on the experience of you or your guests. If what you want seems outside what you can afford, look at ways where you can budget and save money and consider extending your engagement to allow yourself more time to put money aside for your event.

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