Should parents still be paying for their daughters' weddings?

Should parents still pay for their daughters’ weddings? Mothers claim the concept is ‘old-fashioned’ but others insist it’s ‘stingy’ not to fork out and that it’s ‘just what parents do’

  • Mother-of-the-bride has sparked a debate  on British parenting forum Mumsnet
  • Said she’s ‘done her bit’ by privately educating her children growing up
  • But is concerned that a gesture such as buying the dress won’t be enough 
  • Commenters argued that it’s outdated, but some claim parents should still pay 

A mother-of-the-bride has sparked a debate about whether it’s outdated for parents to pay for weddings, after questioning whether she should be expected to fork out for her daughter’s big day. 

Taking to the British parenting forum Mumsnet, the woman explained that her daughter who is in her 30s is marrying her boyfriend of 10 years, who she’s lived with for some time. 

She explained that she and her husband were able to afford private education for their childre, but there’s less money coming in now they’re both retired.  

‘Am I being unreasonable to think that by now we’ve done our bit and our daughter should pay for her own wedding?’ she asked. 

The majority of commenters claimed that the idea of parents paying for a wedding is outdated and that the most she should do is make a contribution, if she can afford it. 

However, others claimed that it’s  

A mother has taken to the British parenting forum for advice on whether it’s still expected for parents to pay for weddings, explaining that she feels she’s ‘already done her bit’ for her daughter (stock image) 

Outlining the situation, the woman wrote: ‘Our daughter recently got engaged to her long term boyfriend of 12 years. They’re both in their 30s, working, and have been living together for quite a few years. 

‘My husband and I are both retired so no more money is coming in. We do still go on holidays, but don’t have anything like as much money as we used to have.’

In a follow-up post, she clarified that her daughter has not asked her to pay, but has been commenting on the cost of wedding, making her worry that she’s being ‘stingy’. 

She added that she will probably pay for ‘something’ such as the dress, but is worried ‘this gesture would be seen as insufficient’. 

A mother-of-the-bride has asked if it’s unreasonable not to pay for her daughter’s wedding because she’s worried that a gesture such as buying the dress won’t be considered enough 

‘No you’re not being unreasonable at all,’ one wrote. ‘I got married a few years ago and wouldn’t ever have expected my family to put money towards it, I chose to get married so I should pay. Don’t see how she can view it any differently.

‘My dad did pay for my dress as a token but I would never have expected it and we made sure we saved and budgeted appropriately.’

A fellow mother was one of many who claimed the concept of parents paying is an outdated one.

Commenters sided with the mother and said there should be no expectation for parents to fund the big day and that it’s the couple’s choice if they want to spend money on a wedding

‘I don’t plan on paying for weddings, I think it feels quite old fashioned to do that,’ she said. 

‘I would offer to give a donation, but the couple choose how big/small they want their celebration to be, so should pay for that themselves.’

Some insisted that the parents should make some contribution, such as paying for their daughter’s dress. 

Others pointed out that given her daughter was privately educated and had a comfortable upbringing with similar friends, it may have created an expectation. 

‘Why wouldn’t you contribute if you can?’ one wrote. ‘It would be unusual not to, so in the context of having paid for so many things, perhaps surprising.’ 

A bride-to-be said that she too was privately educated and in her friendship group, nearly everyone’s parents paid for their wedding or a significant portion of it.

‘That might be where the expectation, if there is one, is coming from,’ she explained.

Another agreed, saying: If you’ve sent your kids through private school, a lot of their peers will have parents paying for some/all of the wedding. 

”Just be aware you are choosing not to do so. I’d always want to help my kids, My choice to have them/have more than one.’ 

Meanwhile, another branded the mother ‘a bit mean and stingy’, saying she’s surely got some money coming in from pensions.  

And one rubbished the notion that it’s outdated for parents to pay, saying it’s ‘tradition’ for the father to fund his daughter’s wedding. 

‘Does he not want that for his daughter?’ she asked. 

Another agreed, saying: Since when did this tradition die out then? My friends at the moment in their 60s whose daughters have married recently contributed a lot to their weddings. They wanted to and felt that’s what parents do.’

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