Fitting a Child's Wedding into the Financial Plan

Who pays these days? That’s the question posed by familyeducation.com, referring to a child’s wedding costs. 

Tradition once dictated, family education goes on to explain, the bride’s family would cover:

  • venue
  • music
  • rentals
  • dress and accessories
  • bridesmaids’ luncheon
  • flowers
  • photography
  • food
  • cake
  • liquor
  • entertainment

The groom’s family traditionally pays for:

  • rehearsal dinner
  • travel and accommodations for the groom’s family
  • honeymoon

Fortunately, family education adds,“times have changed. Rather than burden one family with practically the entire cost of a wedding, it is common practice these days for both families – and sometimes the bride and groom – to share expenses.”

Modern-day sharing options include:

  • Bride and groom pay for the entire wedding
  • Expenses are divided among the couple and both families
  • Each family covers costs in proportion to the number of guests it invites
  • The two families split costs evenly

Tradition notwithstanding, as financial planners, we at Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors lean towards a common sense approach. We heartily approve of family education's caution to parents: “Don’t offer to pay for something you can’t afford.”

“When your child gets engaged, it is, one expects, a happy time for all,” remarks Marianna Lin in the Huffington Post. But, she observes, as the wedding planning gets underway, the question of finances inevitably presents itself.  Lin has some insightful tips to offer, based on the concept that “There are many ways to split a wedding budget – and every family should do what’s right for them”:

  • The best kind of financial gift is one that has no strings sttached and is just given to the bride and groom to spend however they want to have the day they want. 
  • Don't regard your contribution as a way to buy influence over what happens at the wedding.

At WEFA we know comprehensive financial planning is a highly individualized and personal affair. Choosing the extent and the way to finance a child’s wedding is just one more step in an ongoing process of decision-making and part of prioritizing the funding of life’s goals. 

Content was prepared by a freelance journalist on behalf of Worley Erhart-Graves Financial Advisors