SHOULD PARENTS BE EXPECTED TO FOOT THE BILL?
The days of a dowry are long gone, but are the ’rents expected to still clear out their pockets?
YES (…SORT OF), says writer Phoebe Burgess
“Yes, my parents did host, organise and coordinate my entire wedding recently (save the ceremony cost and booze, which is ‘traditionally’ groom territory). When you’re in your twenties embarking on married life, saying ‘no thanks’ to such a generous kickstart wasn’t a realistic option.
But the word ‘expect’ is what this fresh-off-the-aisle bride takes issue with. We never actually expected their generosity, nor did we bank on it. In my family of three girls it’s simply the way it is done, and my husband and I respect the value and joy my parents placed on that moment.
The romance of tradition dictates that yes, the bride’s mum and dad pay for it all.
But not all families share the same values, and it’s not always that the bride’s family has a spare pile of cash buried under the garage. So, while I was lucky and thankful for my parents chipping in, I want to mention there shouldn’t be guilt or any shame about not footing the entire bill.
A pie chart of financial responsibility or a contribution list from both sides is often the way to go. And it’s not about how much people pay for – it’s relative to what they can offer.
Plus, focus more on what the day is really about: love and family. It’s true – the best things on the day were free!”
NO, says Sally Obermeder, co-author of The Good Life
“Whether you’re planning a DIY backyard affair or a Kardashian-style production, your wedding is probably the most expensive event you’ll ever hold. Let me just say it now – parents shouldn’t be expected to pay for that.
I’m not just saying this because I’m a mum to fouryear-old Annabelle who’s already telling me when she grows up she wants a Disneythemed princess-style wedding for ‘hundreds of people’ (gulp).
Although I love the idea of keeping some traditions alive, when it comes to marriage, we need to keep up with the times (are you listening, Annabelle?).
In our parents’ generation, people got married young – they were leaving home for the first time, or had barely found a job (read: zero cash). But all that’s changed. Most people are getting married later in life once they’ve gotten jobs, lived out of home or even travelled the world.
While you have every right to get married and have the wedding of your dreams, no one owes you that. It’s one thing to let your family chip in, but you shouldn’t expect them to fork out for 400 guests and a designer gown.
Mum and Dad aren’t always going to be around to pick up the bill. And if you want that seven-tiered cake… it’s time to start saving!”