So who has to pay for the wedding?

Jul 29, 2019
Lovely venue for a civil ceremony

This used to be an easy question to answer. Traditionally, it was down to the bride’s parents to pay for the wedding. End of story. All to do with historic dowries, and the bride paying for the privilege of finding a husband. Whatever the reason, this tradition is still with us to this day.

However, the groom’s parents often accept that that is unfair. It’s undeniable: weddings cost a lot. Perhaps financial reasons will hamper the bride’s parents from putting on a fitting ceremony. Then, of course, the groom’s parents may simply want to pay their share of the ceremony. After all, it involves their son just as much as it involves the bride.

A relatively new element needs to be taken into consideration. That is the marital couple themselves wanting to pay for or, at least, contribute to, their wedding. A lot of people marry later these days. That often means that the couple have been able to save up and can now afford to be (at least) part of the financial equation.

One huge consideration about who pays for the wedding is control. After all, if somebody is forking out several thousand pounds on your behalf, you are likely to feel indebted to them. That means that they are in the driving seat. They can have the final say on the type of celebration that you will have. They can certainly have major input on thorny issues such as how many guests to invite – and who these might be.

The recipients have to show tolerance and patience. They may be lucky: their wishes may be taken into consideration and the sponsors may remember that the ceremony is actually for the couple, rather than for them. Then there can be parents, who virtually hold the couple to ransom – “if you don’t do exactly what we want, the money dries up!” In my experience, this really can happen, although it is not the rule.

In most cases, compromise wins the day. But it worth clarifying expectations (on both sides) before the process actually begins.

If a visit to parents from a civil celebrant could be useful, Michael would be happy to help out.