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January 08, 2010

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We had a $3000 wedding that was split evenly between my parents, his parents, and ourselves. It was amazing and didn't leave anybody in debt.

The idea of giving up my cell phone or cable makes me cringe. I'll admit it, I'm an addict. They are also addictions that I'm not willing to kick. :-)

That's the Times not the WSJ :)

I guess what I would find interesting (and acknowledging that the people NYT writes for/about are not the average person) is that parents are still contributing those large sums. In my social circle that's outdated and pretty much all of the weddings I attend, whether small or elaborate, are paid for by the couple themselves with no expectation of parental help. Of course some of those people have received cash gifts from their folks but not on the order of magnitude of a wedding budget!

Parents still pay for weddings? I have friends who went home from college, and upon moving back in with their parents were told they were expected to pay back all of the money their parents paid to their tuition [I don't find this unreasonable, as long as it is pre-discussed. Popping this on your kids post-graduation, especially when they tried to have the conversation with you about how college money would work multiple times is very uncool]. My mom actually did this but hasn't pushed the issue, and unless she does I full intend to ignore her. Before I went off to college, and multiple times while at University, I tried to get her to sit down and talk about money and she would not.

I have friends who went home after graduation and were expected to pay rent to live in their otherwise empty bedrooms. I don't know anybody whose parents have volunteered to contribute to their weddings.

Sorry, random rant is random.

@Katharine
My parents had me sign personal loan agreements at 5% APR for the amounts I had to borrow from them for college (long story, but I had no other options...I borrowed a total of $8000), and repayment was scheduled to start a month after I graduated. I resented them, worked 2-3 part-time jobs to cover as much as I could, graduated, was about to make the first payment, and then they forgave the whole loan as a graduation present...talk about confused emotions!

These are the same parents that let me borrow their Chevy Cavalier for the last year of college and started charging me rent for it right after I graduated...not payments towards buying the car, actual rent! I paid two months while I started my first "real" job, bought a Chevy Aveo, and gave them the Cavalier back the next weekend in 2005. Last year (2009), they gave this car to my little sister. GAVE. No payments, no rent, just "here you go". WTF?!

But to be on the fair side, my mom admits she made some mistakes (my step-dad leaves everything up to her). My parents also paid $1000 towards my wedding and bought all the appliances for our home ($2200). Both times it was unnecessary but very much appreciated. It just boggles my mind that she didn't know why I was angry at them all the time in college.

And no, it wasn't about the money. It was the fact they played games with my head. I don't think any child "deserves" help financially, but just be clear on what is what!

Anyway, there's a little ranting to add to Katharine's...

guinness416 --

Thanks. I corrected it.

I don't think it's unreasonable to ask a grown adult child to pay rent to their parents if the are living with them and working. Nor ask them to pay back money that they borrowed, granted it is clear from the start it's a loan and not a gift. My parents were always clear on what was what. My parents helped me buy my first car when I was in college and helped me with my first few months of rent when I graduated and started working full time. But I knew from the beginning both were loans and not gifts.

My parents did pay for about 1/2 of our wedding. I was the last one to get married and got a set amount (I will admit I got more than my siblings, but I also go married 11 years after my sister (the oldest and first to get married), so they factored in inflation.) My hubby and I could have taken the money and run, but we always dreamed of a big wedding with all our family and friends. His parents also contributed by paying for the rehearsal/groom's dinner.

I'd take cash over a bigger wedding ANY day. I don't expect my parents to contribute, but my mom has said that she wants to give me something when I get married. She is a big fan of cash, so if she gives me anything that's what I'll get. It's up to me if I want to spend it on a nicer reception. I think mom would be pleased if I saved it for a down payment instead. ;)

Oh yes, I'd charge my kids rent if they expected to live at home after college, even if they didn't have a job (as an inducement to get one).

Aren't you supposed to be an adult at that age? Why is that so awful? I work, why shouldn't they?

This is a no brainer. I'd rather have $100,000 cash and a quiet wedding for $2,000-$3,000 of course!

The wife and I accepted the money (a whopping $500) from our parents rather than have it spend it on a wedding (we even sold off the wedding dress). We elected to use the money to start our life together. My wife's mother wasn't very happy about this, but we simply went down to the court house, said our vows before the judge, and 19 years later, we continue on very strong ... and in a very secure financial position at that.

Over the years, only once or twice did I regret not giving my wife a bigger, more elaborate wedding; when I share this with her, she always dismisses it (our big after wedding party was at Wienerschnitzel). She says she is very happy with our choices.

Heck, we are turning 40, and we are about to retire to our sailboat and sail around the world. Not bad, eh Mother-In-Law?

When my husband and I got married three years ago (at 21 and 20), he was actually the one that wanted some sort of celebration/gathering for family and friends. I would have been okay just going down to the courthouse. I ended up planning the whole thing by myself and was fully prepared to pay for everything out of my savings. My mother and father gave me money separately to put towards the wedding and his parents paid for the rehearsal dinner (which was very much to their more upscale tastes). All in all, it was a nice fairly simple Sunday morning wedding that I would have been glad to pay for without help from our parents.

As a Pastor I have done lots of weddings and money has always been an issue but as of late people getting married are looking for ways to save even more money by inviting less people and bringing the food themselves or having their friends cook it and bring it.

Sailboat Fam - Come on, I'm sure even with a cheap $5k wedding you would still have that sailboat today!

We had 200+ guests at our wedding and broke even with everything except the honeymoon. Saved a bit by going to Mex instead of HI and made it to HI last year when the market it made it much affordable.... I don't think we would have gotten any "wedding" gifts if we didn't have the wedding.

My wife and I paid for our own school, our cars, no help on the house and we should have it paid off in a year with very frugal spending habits. All while going on fairly exclusive vacations every other year.

I think the issue of whether parents should pay for weddings is related to the fact that people are marrying later in life.

A 22 year old who has just graduated from university might not be expected to pay for a wedding.

A 32 year old who has been working for ten years would probably be expected to pay.

It's a family tradition on my side of the family to offer the price it would be to go to Vegas instead of having a big wedding. No bride has ever taken it, but I regret not taking it after having the big wedding.

We eloped on a vacation to a place that's special to us. Many people still sent us gifts and cash. We've been able to buy some big ticket things for our home with the money our parents sent. I don't regret it at all.

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