Should My Parents Pay for My Wedding?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I’m getting married in 2014 to my fiancé of five years. We have two children together, and I am pregnant with our third child. Even though we are not married, I have traveled with him since he has been in the Air Force and lived on the economy.

I want to have a large wedding and invite all of our family and friends to celebrate our love and the start of our new life together. My dilemma is that my parents have a problem with this. They don’t feel that I should have a wedding or that I am deserving of a wedding.

They believe I have “put the cart before the horse” and I should just tie the knot. This isn’t what I want to do. I have always wanted to have a wedding. I want my father to walk me down the aisle and give me away to my husband.

They are acting like I should be punished because I didn’t follow their beliefs and values. My mother started asking me about the purity ring that was given to me when I was 15. (That’s when you have a ceremony promising that you will stay a virgin until you are married.) I was 15, for goodness sake. You can’t make any promises when you are 15 years old.

My parents paid for my sister’s wedding, and she wasn’t virgin either. I guess she was able to look like one because she didn’t have children? How does that sound?

It sounds crazy to me. My parents said they refuse to pay for a wedding for me, and I don’t think it’s fair. I asked for them to just give me the same amount of money they paid for my sister’s wedding, which was about $10,000.

They refused and said they won’t give me a dime. I think this is so unfair and terrible for parents to treat their daughter this way. I’m 30 years old, but I’m still their daughter and treating me differently from my sister is not right.

I’m going to get married without their money, but as far as I’m concerned, the money belongs to me. It’s part of my inheritance. How can I convince them to pay for my wedding or give me the money so I can spend it as I wish?

Sincerely,
Jilted By My Parents

Dear Jilted,

I get letters like yours every year from young women whose parents are refusing to pay for a wedding for different reasons. Generally, their refusal is because the couple is living together or they have children.

Some parents are also saying, “I’m sorry, but we don’t have the money.” Because of the economy, the parents maybe be underwater on mortgages, suffered the loss of employment, loss of money in their business etc.

Whatever the reasons, I think you have to remember that it is your parents' money and not yours. Your parents worked for the money, not you.

Now, I’m not saying that you should be punished because you are living with your fiancé or because you had children before you were married. I’m definitely not saying that you don’t deserve a wedding because you’re not a virgin.

The issue for me is not about passing judgment in your situation. Honestly, I think it’s time for you and your fiancé (children included) to be creative in this situation to make this a happy occasion that you can be proud of. You can still have a wedding, but it doesn’t have to be a $10,000 lavish wedding. If you look online, there are several sites that show you how to have a very nice wedding for $1,000 or less!!

I also don’t think you should have ill feelings towards your parents. Remember, you are 30 years old and you chose to make these decisions. You cannot have a spirit of entitlement with their money. They don’t owe you anything.

I know they paid for your sister’s wedding, and in many ways it doesn’t seem fair. I think you will have to live with their decision and move forward. Keep having a positive relationship with your parents and other family members and move forward with your wedding ... at your expense. Send me pictures!

Sincerely,
Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki is a native of Dallas, is married to an active-duty Soldier and has three sons. She has a Master's of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as a therapist with military servicemembers and their families. She provides services for a wide array of concerns such as combat stress, PTSD, couples and marital problems, depression, grief and loss, stress and coping.

Ms. Vicki also writes an advice column "Dear Ms. Vicki" that appears in the Washington Times, the Fort Campbell Courier and the Heidelberg Herald Post. Ms. Vicki also hosts an internet radio show and blogs on her community site with the Washington Times. If you want to ask Ms. Vicki for advice about your military life, please email her at AskMsVicki@military-inc.com.

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