Should your parents pay for your wedding? | The Tylt
In the past, it was standard for a bride's parents to pay for her wedding and reception. Plenty of couples plan to keep to this tradition and have one set of parents pay for the wedding while the other cover the rehearsal dinner. But as couples get married later in life, some have greater financial stability at the outset, enabling many to foot the bill for their wedding themselves. Are parents still on the hook to pay for weddings?
Should your parents pay for your wedding?
Traditionally, the bride’s family covers the lion’s share of wedding expenses, paying for everything from the ceremony and reception to all other incidentals going into the big day. The groom’s family, on the other hand, is on the hook for the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. According to The Knot’s 2018 Real Weddings Survey, the average cost for a wedding comes close to $34,000. The Knot's 2017 survey includes a breakdown of who pays for what:
Tradition rings true, with the bride’s parents contributing the most. On average, the bride’s parents contribute 45% (56% for high spenders) of the overall wedding budget; the bride and groom contribute 41% (28% for high spenders); and the groom’s parents contribute 13% (15% for high spenders); others account for the remaining 2%.
Some people feel that as long as parents can contribute to the wedding, they should.
Weddings are way more expensive than they used to be. Meg Keene, founder of the blog A Practical Wedding, tried to recreate her parents' 1974 wedding. Keene’s parents paid $2,095 for their wedding and reception, which should amount to just over $10,000 today when adjusting for inflation. However, Keene found that her parent’s wedding would actually cost over $47,000:
As sticker shock began to set in (one quote I got for “affordable invitations” would have been one-fifth of the proposed $10,000 budget) it became really clear that $10,000 wouldn’t buy me a wedding anything like my parents' bash.
Parents have their own expenses and should not have to take out a second mortgage or dip into their savings for the sake of their child’s wedding.
Given the high costs that can come along with getting married, familial support might be necessary to ensure a couple’s dream day is as memorable as it can be. According to the Knot, many newlyweds can't afford everything by themselves:
In 2018, 91% of couples contributed to their overall wedding budget, with 9% of those couples paying for their wedding entirely on their own.
Couples are also waiting to get married, which means they usually have more money on hand to contribute to their wedding. According to a report using United States Census data compiled by event planning and home decor website The Spruce, the median age for a bride and groom’s first marriage is 27 and 29, respectively.