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Adult daughter's coming marriage...who's expense?
Old 09-19-2011, 01:38 PM   #1
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Adult daughter's coming marriage...who's expense?

My 22-year old Daughter is a U.S. Marine, stationed in Virginia. She joined up three years ago, served 18 months in Japan, and now resides off-base near Fort Lee. She is also a single mother with the most wonderful little girl, Sophia (that would be my granddaughter)! She is planning to marry a Marine Sargent now serving in Iraq. She met him while in Japan, and he is not the father of Sophia.

I am not planning to pick up the tab for the wedding she is beginning to plan. I could understand providing a wedding celebration for a young women leaving her family home for marriage. But this girl has done a lot of living, crossed the globe, joined the military and started her own family.

She is very good at living up to her responsibilities, and I think her wedding is just that, her and her guy's resposibility.

What do you think? Am I pinching pennies (lots of them with her plans), or am I looking at this realistically?
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
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It's entirely up to you, but I think you'd better make sure she knows how you feel about it sooner rather than later.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:57 PM   #3
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If you can afford it, why not give them a nice lump sum as a wedding gift and let them do as they choose? You wrote you would have paid for a wedding when she was younger, and your gift to your daughter should be no less generous just because she is older or more experienced.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:58 PM   #4
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Congrats to the couple and many thanks for their service.
Have you been able to discern what her expectations are for your participation, financial or otherwise? Is the wedding going to be in your hometown? Is her mother a part of the family?
I think you could offer them a wedding gift of some cash, to do with what they wish.

I was married at that age, but I was "young" and just out of my parents' house, so it was a different sort of question altogether. My parents paid for the wedding, which was modest by most standards.
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Old 09-19-2011, 01:58 PM   #5
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When my daughter got married at 28 I did not pay for the whole wedding but I did pay for a big chunk of it plus her dress . It was something I wanted and could afford to do . Just do what you are comfortable with !
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:01 PM   #6
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I agree with the people who say it is up to you...

But to me it is my responsibility to pay for my daughters FIRST wedding... no matter what age she has attained...


Now, my sister and her daughter came to an agreement.... sis had put money aside for daughter's wedding, but she did not have anybody yet... but wanted to travel... so she convinced sis to let her have the money and took a long trip to Australia with the agreement that she will pick up the wedding costs...

Now that daughter has been living with the same guy for a few years, we will see how it works out...
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:07 PM   #7
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If you can afford it, why not give them a nice lump sum as a wedding gift and let them do as they choose? You wrote you would have paid for a wedding when she was younger, and your gift to your daughter should be no less generous just because she is older or more experienced.
+1

If we had children we would have set an expectation that you have $xx,xxx ($10k to $15k) for either a wedding, very nice honeymoon or to do with as you please (boy or girl).

I am aghast at the money poured into weddings...they've become a spectacle IMHO...my ring is bigger than yours, my dress was designer so there, I had the best wedding planner...blah, blah.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:11 PM   #8
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She is an adult and a parent. Time to quit expecting her parents to fund her life.

I say give her a cash wedding gift and if she chooses, she can put it toward the wedding.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:12 PM   #9
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We paid for our daughter's wedding when she was 23 and in grad school. It was fabulous and she and I got a bunch of last minute deals because I convinced her and her fiance to move the wedding up 1 year (don't ask, too long to tell), hahahahaha. At the time I told my 25 year old son that we would give him the same amount we spent on the wedding if he wanted to buy a truck or car or would pay the same for his wedding if and when he ever got married. He got married 5 years later and we paid for about 1/2 of his wedding costs. He and his fiance paid for the rest, she got nothing from her family.

For us it was worth it. YMMV. My parents gave me, their only daughter, $500 for my wedding back in the day and then threatened to take it back when they found out we planned to spend the money on a photographer. Major hard feelings on both sides ensued for many, many years.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:51 PM   #10
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THe day after our engagement in '94 my future FIL took aside his DD and said "I'll give you $4000 to elope." We opted not to, but understood that to be a ballpark amount he'd be willing to pay for the wedding.

We had a very nice $4k wedding.

My parents gave us $500 to help with the honeymoon. We had a pleasant, lowkey honeymoon in a nearby city, and deposited the leftover $50 in the bank.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:02 PM   #11
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I'll echo the comments of others. If you want to contribute, tell them you will be giving them $x,000 or whatever the number is, and you can allocate that to wedding, honeymoon, home down payment, whatever. That way you will not feel like they are wasting your money if they spend $3000 on a photographer or $2000 for a helicopter ride from the wedding location to the airport for the honeymoon (for example).

I have 2 daughters and plan to do just this. Maybe $5k (adjusted for inflation) gift for each.

From my own perspective, being a 31 year old and surrounded by others in their late 20's and early 30's getting married, it seems like most weddings are driven not by the bride, but by the parents of the bride and groom. Not sure of the psychology behind this (weddinggeddon, desire to appear wealthy to others and your inlaws to be, having the wedding the parents always dreamed about as a little girl, etc). So you may want to make your expectations clear to your daughter that you don't really care if she has anything more substantial than a 20 minute ceremony at the Justice of the Peace with a cozy dinner at a nice restaurant afterward with immediate family and closest friend(s). Assuming you don't really care about her wedding.

On the other hand, if you want to invite 100 of your closest friends/former classmates/childhood friends to your daughter's wedding and have it be a high end affair, fair would be chipping in at least enough to cover all the costs associated with your invitees.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:33 PM   #12
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Can you afford it?
Did your parents or wife's parents make a wedding for you?
Would you expect your daughter to make a wedding for your granddaughter?

I plan to make a wedding for my single daughter who is almost 29 when the day comes. I know that she can afford to pay for it herself, but it is just one of those things in life that I plan to do.

Giving something that you can afford would help her get off to an nice start in life.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:35 PM   #13
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My wedding in 1968 was nominally $5, which my father offered the judge in the Columbus, Ohio courthouse chambers, but which the judge refunded saying he'd prefer our votes. There were only 6 people there. I didn't realize until reading this thread that the old tradition of huge weddings costing thousands still hung on.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:43 PM   #14
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Of course the choice is up to you.

My grown, self-supporting daughter decided to marry a couple of years ago when she was 31.

When she became engaged I wrote her a check for $10K, and told her that she could either use it for her wedding or for something else big, like the down payment on a house or car. She used it to help pay for her dream wedding, and of course she made all the decisions in planning it.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:53 PM   #15
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IMHO. My 25 year old daughter got married and I told her $20,000 was her wedding present. She could elope and use it all toward a house or what ever they wanted, she could spend $40,000 but would need to add the other $20,000 her self. She had a very nice wedding for about $7,000, did a $4,000 Honeymoon and saved the rest. I believe if you can afford it, you owe your daughter her first wedding at any age. Not the second or third, but yes for the first. The fact that your daughter is serving her country when she could be doing a whole lot worse things makes it even more important that you do what you can to support her. Yes she has a daughter from a prior boy friend and she again chose to raise that daughter when she could have made other choices and she gave you a very special young person in your life. If you are broke and can't afford it, or have other financial issues, maybe not. Your call, but I would want to do it to some degree that my finances allowed.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:13 PM   #16
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If you can afford it, I would inquire about the wedding plans, tell her you would like to help, and cut her a check to help defray expenses (or do whatever she wants with it....furniture, car, honeymoon, etc.)
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:21 PM   #17
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Of course the choice is up to you.

My grown, self-supporting daughter decided to marry a couple of years ago when she was 31.

When she became engaged I wrote her a check for $10K, and told her that she could either use it for her wedding or for something else big, like the down payment on a house or car. She used it to help pay for her dream wedding, and of course she made all the decisions in planning it.
+ 1

I vote for the contribute what you can approach.

Still, I don't quite understand the whole wedding thing. Why is that so many people of very modest means feel the need to have these elaborate/expensive weddings. That money could be used in much better ways - In my opinion.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:48 PM   #18
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............Still, I don't quite understand the whole wedding thing. Why is that so many people of very modest means feel the need to have these elaborate/expensive weddings. That money could be used in much better ways - In my opinion.
+1 IMHO, expensive weddings are a pointless, waste of money.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:48 PM   #19
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This is very close to home; our eldest daughter's wedding is in 5 weeks. She's 27 and has been self-supporting since she graduated from college 5 years ago. Fiance is 32. They are both great young people and we are thrilled about the wedding and having a new son join the family.

We are also LBYM-ers, are helping two younger daughters through college, and I retired this year. So underwriting an entire wedding was not really going to happen. We are contributing a nice sum, which will probably be about half of the total expense, including a week's honeymoon on Maui.

We spent a lot of time with DD/Fiance discussing and planning. The wedding will be in the city where they live (100 miles from us) and will be mostly their friends and family. This isn't a social event for us; we aren't inviting our friends unless they were a big part of her life. We all talked priorities -- good food, a comfortable venue, sharing the celebration with important people, photography.

What we found was that weddings are expensive even when you are doing it yourself. It's expensive to feed 100 people a nice dinner. They were given a beautiful location for the ceremony and reception by some older friends at no cost, but we do have to rent chairs, tables, lights, etc.

Got to get back to the sewing machine -- I'm making bridesmaids' skirts.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:53 PM   #20
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My two cents would be that you should fund as much of a wedding as you would have funded if she was "leaving her family home for marriage." Why penalize her for waiting until she is independent and sure of her choice instead of marrying some high school guy at 18? As to how much to spend, that is your call.
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