Do you believe that the concept of the brides family paying all or the bulk of the wedding bill to be "bribing" the groom to marry? Is this a "sickening" tradition? Did your parents pay for your wedding? Did you expect them to? If they offered to, would you have accepted or declined their offer?Weddings (and the institution of marriage) have almost always been wrapped in tradition, so much so that people often become upset when a couple wants to deviate from those usual wedding customs. The fact though is that many people would probably be appalled if they knew the roots of some of these traditions. Even if they are aware where these traditions come from, maybe they choose to forget it come wedding time. However, as an offbeat bride, I think it is especally important to muse on old wedding customs. At least when you tell people why you've made these decisions, you can explain the historical significance.
For example, the responsibility of a bride's parents to pay for a wedding. I've never been especially fond of this tradition, because I think in some circumstances all it does is foster an attitude of entitlement in those brides who would condemn their parents for choosing not to finance their extravagant tastes. That, or parents end up killing themselves (figuratively!) trying to earn the money for their child's wedding out of a sense of obligation, whether it's practical or not.
In the end, why?…
Because hundreds of years ago, women were considered chattel and the bride's family used to have to pay off the groom's family in the form of a dowry to take their daughters off their hands. After dowries went out of style, there was still the trousseau (the bride's dress and accouterments for the wedding, in addition to stuff like cake, etc.), usually hand prepared by the bride's family. Now that we have wedding vendors to make cakes and dresses for us, the trousseau has also gone out of style for the most part, and instead the bride's family just ponies up the cash.
I don't know about you, but the idea of my parents bribing someone to marry me makes me feel kind of sick. The idea of them bankrupting themselves for one day is also kind of disheartening. I'd say it's wonderful we've moved past those times, but obviously we haven't if the expectation still stands that a couple's parents are responsible for paying for their wedding, especially the parents of the bride.
We no longer live in the times where marriage was essentially a way to ensure that women were taken care of. Love wasn't always a factor (and still isn't, in some cultures). Teenage brides weren't uncommon, because people just didn't live as long. Girls who were practically still children themselves got married and started having children right away, because culture and religion dictated it be so. The dowry and trousseau were a necessity of those times, because they ensured that a groom would have the things he needed to support his new wife and their children to come. This is no longer the case, for the most part, as most couples who get married had acquired quite a lot of crap of their own-they don't need the "starter kits" that couples used to need.
It's one thing to accept offers of financial help from family. It's another thing entirely to guilt them into it or solicit donations, or expect them to go over their own budget to satisfy your desires for the opulent.
My general feeling is that if you want to get married, you ought to be adult enough to do so without expecting your family to foot the bill. I'm not saying that it's abhorrent to allow your family to pay for your wedding — if they really want to do it, let them. What I am saying though is not all brides should expect their parents to foot the bill for your champagne tastes when you really ought to be working on a beer budget. If your dad works sixty hours a week just to pay their bills and you expect him to buy your wedding dress, maybe you need to shop at David's Bridal instead of Kleinfeld's.
It's one thing to accept offers of financial help from family. It's another thing entirely to guilt them into it or solicit donations, or expect them to go over their own budget to satisfy your desires for the opulent. If you want that crazy chocolate fondue fountain, start saving your pennies!
You aren't entitled to a fancy, extravagant wedding. You may be entitled to get married, but no one owes you a TLC fancy schmancy wedding if you can't afford to do it without exploiting your loved ones. Yeah, it's nice if your family wants to help, but it's not exactly reasonable to expect them to pay for your life choice (read: getting married).
If cost is such an issue, get thee to a courthouse and a justice of the peace, friend. Otherwise, learn to budget what you can actually afford. Sometimes, that might mean selecting an in season flower instead of the exotic orange blossoms you wanted, or getting married on a Friday night instead of a Saturday afternoon. This kind of sacrifice is really an important lesson, one that will serve you well as you enter into married life.
In the end though, if you're marrying your true love, it won't matter if you spent $1,000 or $100,000 on your wedding because either way, you're committing to the person you cherish the most and that is priceless.
If you have a daughter, would you hope or plan to pay for the entirety or part of her wedding? What about if you have a son?
DH and I paid for our own wedding with help from both our parents. I don't think it should only be up to the brides family to pay.
For any child of mine (male or female), I will help however I can.
Married my golfer 10/2009
Mr. Monkey 09/2010
Mr. Buggy 09/2012
I agree with Alison. We eloped. Honestly, if the bride's family has the desire and means to pay, fine. But I think the tradition is a bit antiquated. Of course, I also think it's a bit silly for those who get married (or remarried) later in life and have two separate households full of things to register because they want a whole new set of even nicer things. Seems rather wasteful, but to each their own. We all choose the traditions we wish to value or break...or just create our own new ones.
I do think it's archaic. I also think engagement rings are archaic for the same reason, it's not like wedding rings because with wedding rings, both people wear them. With engagement rings, the man pays and the woman wears it but he has nothing visible to show for being engaged. I never really understood it.
So yes, having the bride's family pay seems outdated to me.
But people should do whatever makes them happy for their weddings, not what makes ME happy!
Laurie, mom to:
Nathaniel ( 10 ) and Juliet ( 7 )
Baking Adventures In A Messy Kitchen (blog)
I don't think in today's day and age, at least here in the US, it means the bride's family is bribing the groom's. For the most part its just leftover tradition.
My parents paid for mine and my sister's wedding, they are very traditional but there was no bribing at all...DH and i already decided we wanted to get married and it was up to no one but us, so who paid for the wedding had no bearing on that decision.
I think the second bolded paragraph is a little dramatic. No one is bribing anybody these days, at least the majority of the time...so no reason to feel so sick about it. And while my parents DID pay for the weddings, they would have never chosen to go bankrupt over them!
But of course the whole thing is archaic and makes no sense and has no real place in this day...except for tradition for tradition's sake, which is so silly considering how much wedding's cost. I do not plan to foot the entire bill for any of my children's weddings and I'm not saying that just because I have four daughters!
Cecilia Marie 1/10/10
Photo By Anne Schmidt Photography
As an expectation, yes, I do think that's archaic. If the bride's family wants to do it, can afford it, and the couple is fine with it, then that's great. Go nuts.
About the engagement ring thing, Laurie - I just thought it was nice to finally have a bit of bling. I don't put a heck of a lot of thought behind the premise, admittedly. Maybe I should. I just think it looks purdy.
DH and I were both 35 when we got married, so well past the age of any kind of expectation that our parents would pay (not that we would've expected it 10 years prior, either). Our parents did give us fairly substantial monetary gifts after the wedding, which was a pleasant surprise, but DH and I paid for everything ourselves up front.
I must live in a very archaic place Most all brides families foot at least some if not all of the bill around here. (the grooms family traditionally pays for the rehersal dinner).
My parents set a budget for my sister and I. We had the option to use it all for the wedding, use some and keep the rest as cash, or use none of it and take the cash. They paid for my brothers rehersal dinner and I believe that they helped some with the wedding budget as well, though my SIL's family paid for the bulk of it.
I think that I would plan to do the same for my children as my parents did for us. If they want a much more lavish wedding than our budget allows, they pay the difference. If they want to elope, or throw a backyard bbq, they get a nice little nest egg towards their first down payment or honeymoon or whatever.
I also love engagement rings! I'm so not a jewelry girl in general, but I almost crashed my car about 50 times in the first month I was so busy staring at my hand in the sunlight
Kim, I totally agree with you that the author is being dramatic (and a little silly, IMO). My DH asked me to marry him long before who paid for the wedding was taken into consideration. The idea of any man accepting a wedding as a "bribe" is absurd. Most normal men hate wedding planning and all the drama etc. Hardly a great bribe.
Yeah, I think it's an archaic tradition. Not sure I'd go as far as saying the tradition is "sickening," although some of the "Bride-zilla" behaviors that I've seen are certainly sickening.
I don't think you should give any one of your children more money for a wedding or whatever else than you give the others, regardless of gender. My mom offered my sisters & I the same amount for our weddings. One sister came in under budget & used the rest for a honeymoon & setting up her new home; the other sister & her DH chipped in some more money & had a bigger wedding. I actually never *got* any of money my mom offered but that's because we got into an argument about control & I cancelled the wedding. My DH's parents paid for his sister's wedding, but when we got married, they offered us only the amount that his BIL had paid for the rehearsal dinner since that's what they considered to be "their part." We were both pretty offended by it, they spent $15K on her, and offered us $3K. Because of a gender difference.
David Letterman is retiring. Such great memories of watching him over the past thirty-two years!
DH's parents also paid for the rehearsal dinner...and i think they also paid for the open bar. So all in all, its not like they got away scott free...just don't see why it shouldn't be closer to 50/50 if both groups are capable of doing so. Ultimately there just is no point in making the brides side pay for most of it.
Oh and i can see how engagement rings are of the same line of thought but i too like engagement rings! But to me, at least a bride enjoys wearing a ring...and its a gift from the person they love. A lot of women like jewelry or enjoy wearing rings, so it can be a nice tradition to receive from someone who wants to marry you.
But i mean there is no enjoyment in having to fork over boatloads of money simply because you happen to have spawned a human with two x's, when there is another involved party that could easily help out more.