Papa Don’t Preach…?

I always envied those who didn’t have to pay, in part or in full, for their own weddings. Since I wanted to elope in the first place, thoughts of ‘better uses’ often came to mind when I sent out wedding payments. So when MOH-Ho got engaged and her parents offered her basically a blank check to pay for her wedding, the first thing out of my mouth was something like “HolySeabiscuit! You best not take that shiz for granted!”

Last week over dinner, MOH-Ho told me about a bunch of wedding ideas that have been scratched off her list, ideas that she felt confident about just the week before. Turns out, her parents were less than thrilled about them. It surprised me because her parents are the most understanding and supportive parents I have ever met. But of course, if there is anything I’ve learned from planning my own, it is that weddings bring strong opinions out of da woodworks.

The objections were prefaced with, “You can do what you want, but…” And while we know they absolutely meant it, MOH-Ho conceded to everything her parents disagreed with so far.

From the officiant selection to the whimsical theme incorporated in the ceremony, none met the criteria of a traditional wedding, like how they believe something as sacred and significant as a wedding should be. “I gotta pick my battles,” said MOH-Ho, “it’s their money and I definitely want them to have their say in this!” Fortunately, MOH-Ho and her parents have a wonderful relationship, and while compromises will have to be made, I’m sure everyone will be happy with the wedding in the end.

I used to think that if someone wanted to pay for our wedding, they could do whatever they wanted. But I now realize that it’s not that easy. Had our parents contributed to our wedding, I’m not sure I could have easily let go of my own vision for their approval. They, too, were less than thrilled about all my ideas until they saw it all put together, and agreed afterward that it turned out to be wonderful and very us. I’d also hesitate in spending, especially splurging on unnecessary items, if it was someone else’s money (MOH-Ho is feeling the same).

Perhaps it is me who has been taking our ability to afford this freedom for granted. I guess the tea is always greener in the other cup, eh?

Is anyone sponsoring or chipping in for your wedding? How much are ‘says’ worth? Does the percentage in financial contribution correlate to the amount of influence in decisions making?


Mrs. Green Tea

Wedding Date:
August 2008
Something Blue for the Bride
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  1. Member
    ms. circus peanut 57 posts, Worker bee @ 1:47 pm

    my parents are paying for our reception….my SO and myself are paying for everything else: flowers, decorations, photog, dj, ect….the only thing my parents have put their “says” into are the invite list and the menu…i menu part doesn’t bother me as much as the invite part does…i wanted a smaller wedding and now the list is over 200…slightly, but still….and you can’t say no because they are paying for the extra people!!!

  2. Member
    jkoala 231 posts, Helper bee @ 1:48 pm

    My parents are contributing a lare portion of my wedding budget. Of course they will have a say in the wedding, but they would have even if they weren’t contributing because I value their opinions. If I come across an interesting wedding idea, I run it past my mom. If she didn’t “get it” or think it was a good idea, I’d definitely take that into consideration. But I don’t know that I would or wouldn’t do something just because they asked if my heart wasn’t into it. My mom is still trying to convince me that a good photographer isn’t worth it, but it’s very important to me so I will be paying for it.

  3. Member
    AmyM83 250 posts, Helper bee @ 1:48 pm

    I had a very similar revelation last weekend. My close friend and bridesmaid is getting married a month before me and her parents are footing the bill. While she is having a small wedding and there is not a limitless budget, her mom is very involved in the planning, from picking the bridesmaid dresses to planning the bachelorette party. At one point, I thought, “wow! I wish my mom was so involved in the wedding-planning!” After thinking it over, though, I relaized that I am happier with how things are for my wedding. My parents are contributing very little, but it also means they have little say in what we do. Not that I don’t value my mom’s opinion, but I love that when I have an idea or decision, she almost always thinks it is great!

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    emjoy37, Guest @ 1:51 pm

    My parents paid for the whole thing, and it was a LOT. I didn’t realize they’d have such strong opinions though, and they definitely saw it like it was their party to host. It turned out great when all was said and done. But both me/now husband and my parents had very different assumptions at the begininng!

  5. bruschetta Member
    bruschetta 5565 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:52 pm

    My parents are helping with our “big ticket” items, but are graciously allowing Mr. MagPie and I to have the final say for each decision. I’m so lucky they realize this wedding is a celebration of Mr. MagPie and my love — event if they’re helping to foot the bill!

  6. Member
    Sunchick19 2827 posts, Sugar bee @ 1:52 pm

    I was ridiculously fortunate – not only did my parents generously offer to throw the wedding, but they didn’t ever once play the “we’re paying, we decide” card. We took all major decisions to them first, but they generally offered opinions and input rather than trying to make the decision for us. Its pretty much how my parents raised me which was helping me make decisions vs. imposing, but how luckly was I to have them follow this while paying for our wedding!! I think I need to go thank them again……

  7. Member
    Mrs. DG 8491 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 1:55 pm

    His family is contributing to the wedding. They have been super-laid back about ideas, but whenever they suggest something, I try to incorporate their suggestion 110% out of appreciation!

    We’re a lucky couple!

  8. Member
    HumarockBride 1542 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:55 pm

    My parents are paying for our wedding, and though they haven’t pulled that card yet, we definitely have to involve them with every decision we make, which is a little frustrating at times. But at the end of the day whatever we want “wins” and though we might have to push a little more then we would want to, it’ll be worth it when it all comes together on the big day.

  9. Member
    ali925 112 posts, Blushing bee @ 1:57 pm

    i completely know what you mean. despite both of our families paying for nothing, there’s still a part of us that wants their approval on our plans. i think it’s great that you feel the way you do.

  10. Member
    shibaby 202 posts, Helper bee @ 2:01 pm

    Part of the reason we don’t know if/how we can get married is because our families won’t/can’t (varies) help us out. We have a home and don’t have enough extra $$$ to do it on our own. We researched the costs for just the basic wedding, and it seems like we won’t be able to. :(

  11. Guest Icon Guest
    Meghan, Guest @ 2:03 pm

    I’ve been extremely lucky in this regards. Both our parents and my maternal grandparents have essentially paid for the wedding, not including the hooneymoon or venue rental fees. Their money has come with no strings attached and they’ve all been very “hands-off” on the whole thing. I count myself very fortunate in this and know that if things had worked out any other way, wether the funds came with strings or not at all, we would have gotten eloped. I couldn’t deal with the added stress of making my vision match with the expectations of others.

  12. Member
    chinchiller 2 posts, Wannabee @ 2:03 pm

    I have been very fortunate as well. My parents are essentially paying for the whole thing. They haven’t thrown out the “we’re paying, we decide” card either and I don’t think they will. So far I’ve been able to do pretty much everything I’ve wanted without even a raised eyebrow. I think it helps that I run everything by them and don’t just purchase something and then tell them the bill. On the few things I thought were too extravagant ($80 cake topper from Etsy), they absolutely insisted that I get it and, in fact, kept fussing at me when I kept putting it off.

    However, I’m sure things wouldn’t be running this smoothly if, say, I wanted to have a wedding like the author of “Offbeat Bride” had. I think my parents would faint if I used even half of the ideas she had…

  13. Member
    thriftsiren 176 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:10 pm

    My parents are paying for the majority of all wedding expenses, but they have been incredibly about the whole thing. My dad knows how thrifty I am and is incredibly impressed that I am pulling together the whole thing with an $8,000 budget. I thought for sure they would have something to say about my wanting a casual, no-frills vegetarian reception but instead of worrying would people would think they let us know they were impressed that I wanted something so economical! I guess I just didn’t fall very far from the tree!

  14. Guest Icon Guest
    LC, Guest @ 2:17 pm

    I am in the same boat. Parents are basically paying for everything. While I would have asked for their opinion on a lot of things if they weren’t fitting the bill, I now feel it’s more like needed approval. There have been a few issues so far. They’ve won some, FI and I have won some. So far we are underbudget, so hopefully they will see my skills and accept more decisions.

  15. Member
    LzzNYC 882 posts, Busy bee @ 2:27 pm

    My parents are contributing a large portion but they don’t say its for the wedding they say its a gift to start our life together :-) they are really laid back or maybe they don’t understand what an american wedding is like 😛 so neither of my family members or his have been butting in. the only thing my parents do care about is that people know the meaning behind marriage and the importance aka we had to do it in a church and they care which minster we use (but that would have been the case even if they didn’t give me a cent!) :)

  16. Member
    MightySapphire 7632 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 2:34 pm

    I am SO thankful that we are paying for our own wedding! My mother’s ideas are not at all like my own! And her reactions to our plans are always “Mm hm…”

    I think that if someone is paying they have a 50/50 say in what is done with their money. On the one hand, yes it is your party. On the other hand, it is their money. So technically they are hosting. So technically it’s their party.

    Thus the reason I am SO glad we are paying for our own wedding!!!!

  17. Member
    vinehillbride 37 posts, Newbee @ 2:35 pm

    My parents are paying almost half of the expenses – basically part of the venue fee and the catering. I definitely think that if I had allowed to them to pay for more, they would’ve had more say. They don’t really do the whole “we’re paying for it so it’s our party” but they do the “Well, it’s up to you guys, but….” which drive me nuts sometimes. There was also an issue with the venue search and my fiance and I really loving a place but they were not so happy with it so we had to compromise. For the most part, though, they’ve been great and supportive.

  18. Guest Icon Guest
    jennred782, Guest @ 2:41 pm

    Both sets of parents are paying, since fi’s list is a lot larger than mine. So that means that his parents are taking a big say in things and pretty much have decided on the caterer and videographer (which we didn’t want) on their own without our input. Yeah sucks but since it is their money. Thankfully my parents have been really good and accepting of my ideas.

  19. Member
    IdahoSummer 190 posts, Blushing bee @ 2:43 pm

    I feel so lucky. My parents are contributing about half, and have been totally supportive, and enthusiastic, about anything I’ve come up with. They were ahead of their time with the alternative wedding concept though. My mom made her cotton, hand embroidered dress. My dad wore an untucked button up shirt and slacks. They got married in the early 70’s on a hilltop in a friend’s backyard. If anything, I think they would be less supportive if my wedding was going to be more traditional.

  20. Member
    LatteLove 5567 posts, Bee Keeper @ 2:49 pm

    my parents are paying a good portion but it was definitely not a blank check! It was a set amount, “do with what you will”. It’s nice because I have very litle pressure to do things a certain way, and I don’t feel like i have to cut costs because I’m getting the same amount whether I contribute twice as much as my parents, or just use what they give me.

    we’ve adjusted our wedding based on what additional money we can contribute.

    My parents have been soo flexible and supportive…the only challenge so far has been finding an MOB dress we both like!

  21. Member
    lovelerae 241 posts, Helper bee @ 3:25 pm

    One of my BM’s mother took her wedding as making it the wedding she never had. From the decorations to even changing the vows the day before the ceremony to what her mother wanted it was out of her control.

    I feel fortunate that my family is contributing and giving me the power too.

  22. Member
    Serendipity 10356 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 3:27 pm

    No one pitched in for our wedding at all and I’m glad it was that way. Some people felt like they had the right to try to tell us how to do some things and even who to invite. But, we simply told them it’s OUR day and WE are paying for it, so sorry but we are doing as we please.

  23. Member
    West Coast Bride 708 posts, Busy bee @ 4:05 pm

    We are 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 between us, my parents, and his parents. My parents gave a cheque for a fixed dollar amount and left us to do as we please, and West Coast Groom’s parents picked a specific cost they wanted to cover (catering) and gave us a ballpark figure (for which we are showing our appreciation by staying well within). Luckily no one in our family has a sense of entitlement behind giving their gift. Regardless of their level of involvement in the wedding, no one has contributed with “strings attached”.

  24. Member
    peachypear 343 posts, Helper bee @ 4:30 pm

    Excellent point. My brother’s wedding was paid in full by his ILs, who are truly caring and wonderful people. …but there were definitely issues because it meant they were very involved. My favorite “issue” is that my B & SIL spent hours at a card shop to pick out their invitation. They showed it to her parents – no go. Her parents picked out a new invitation! Still drives my SIL nuts (after nearly 10 years of marriage) that her invites didn’t match anything else in the wedding. LOL. It’s funny from a distance.

  25. Member
    preppydoc 42 posts, Newbee @ 4:38 pm

    my parents are paying for the entire thing and already there are several issues… my fh and i wanted under 100 people, but my parents list is over 150 alone… i am still waiting for my fh’s list and i am quite nervous, but since my parents are paying i know that my mum will make her opinions known…

    what mama doc wants mama doc gets…

  26. Member
    saranic0le 11 posts, Newbee @ 5:52 pm

    At the beginning I had a lot of head butting from my MIL they are contributing $2k for us to do whatever with (including the Rehearsal). However, my MIL had been very pushy and wanted everything my mother got (ie. a reception in my FH’s hometown) which was insane. But, things have been figured out and she has moved on (I hope). There are things I am unwilling to sacrifice and having two receptions is not something I want at all…too much.

  27. frenchbulldog Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 6:58 pm

    My parents (father) have generously offered to pay for our wedding. My mother hasn’t necessarily used the I’m paying for card yet, but she does say it’s your wedding in a way that says I disapprove of this but you can do what you want. There are maybe a couple things I’ve folded on, but the things I feel strongly about I’ve stuck to and I’m sure she’ll like it once she see’s it all come together :)

  28. Member
    kenziegirl 339 posts, Helper bee @ 6:58 pm

    Both of us are blessed with parents who gave us a set amount and and told us to do what we want. Sure, his mother has made it know that we must have aunts and uncles and cousins, but that’s okay with us. Both sides of parents seem okay with our non-traditional wedding format.

  29. Member
    D.Marie 2575 posts, Sugar bee @ 8:04 pm

    My mom is paying for the dress…but that doesnt excuse her from making plans to go to Vegas when we already had that day planned for dress shopping! I def dont think I could be in your MOH-Ho’s shoes. If someone didnt like my plans then I wouldnt take their money!

  30. Member
    NixLapi 558 posts, Busy bee @ 9:42 pm

    Great article! My mom is financially contributing significantly to our wedding, while future parents-in-law are letting us live rent-free for 6 months… all are very much “do whatever you want!” and while my mom has had a few moments playing devil’s advocate it’s pretty much all about what I {we} want. I couldn’t be luckier with such great support!

  31. Member
    honeymyheart 764 posts, Busy bee @ 9:48 pm

    i have seen the benefit of the fact that we are paying for everything. we have received some opinions, but no one has been very pushy :)

  32. tulip Member
    tulip 662 posts, Busy bee @ 12:07 am

    My SIL is getting married in May, and her parents are paying for AND planning every detail. Which more or less guarantees that the event won’t reflect the couple’s taste or personality in any way, shape, or form. But it’s long-distance for SIL, and I think her decision process was one part parental respect and one part “it’s soooo much easier this way.”

    In thinking about SIL’s situation, I think I decided the key is to either give up all control (psychologically as well as practically) or keep all control — it’s when the couple and parents play tug-of-war over details that things get rough!

  33. Member
    Jellybean77 78 posts, Worker bee @ 2:15 am

    dude, my parents aren’t contributing at all and they have gotten their way with the big layout of our wedding day. even though my mom says “you’re paying for it so you do what you want”…truth is, I don’t..


  34. Member
    VanGal 26 posts, Newbee @ 3:58 pm

    We were fortunate enough and very proud to have (a) paid for our own wedding and the rehearsal dinner too; and (b) planned everything on our own. Our parents were awesome to have left us alone with the planning…actually, I think they enjoyed taking a back seat and soaking in the day as “guests”.

  35. Member
    TechGirl 268 posts, Helper bee @ 7:49 pm

    Both our families have been helping us with the wedding and we are really lucky because they haven’t been forcing anything on us, or making us feel guilty for not picking what they want. That said, we are paying for most of the wedding and are happy to do so.

  36. Guest Icon Guest
    brie alyson, Guest @ 2:14 am

    i’m paying for the entire wedding but both sets of parents have opinions and judgements about everything. also the guest list is 97% their guests. i have to take their comments into account and bite my tongue as the guest list grows and my bank balance shrinks. it’s so frustrating!!!

  37. Member
    AnnieAAA 5351 posts, Bee Keeper @ 5:36 pm

    My parents gave us 2K (20% of our wedding budget) to do as we wished towards the wedding, my mom listens to my ideas and lets me make the decisions. FI family initally gave us 1K to go towards food and then insisted we choose the genre of food they wanted, it was not a 50/50 decision and we said “thank you so much for your gift, but its not necissary” FIs parents are more picky then my own about the decisions for our weddings, so we feel its best to leave them out by not accepting any money. Paying for our own wedding really has been the best thing for us!

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