Friday, June 14, 2013

When they Pay, They get a Say - What to Expect when you're Expecting a Wedding

Wedding planning is in full swing although I'm back-pedding from any and all responsibilities until I know what I can and cannot handle with the little one on the way.

Kimmi & and her fiance are frantically searching for a reasonably priced venue that will still allow them to have the ceremony and reception they want. This of course is closely tied to the discussion of money. I had the pleasure of being privy to conversations that I'd have much rather have been sitting alone in the car for because well, let's just say it was uncomfortable. 
(Disclaimer - this post is not directed at my friends, this is an in-general post, things about paying for a wedding that ruffle my fur whether it is them, or someone I barely know)

I am standing on a giant soap box here - and I don't doubt that there will be more than a few that read this post and totally disagree, but it's my opinion and I'm putting it out there!
Who pays for What????

When planning a wedding we're all generally accustomed (or become quickly acquainted with...) the traditional cost breakdowns of a wedding.  Though in recent years those rules have quickly become less of a hard-and-fast type rule and more of a custom from times of yore. 

What many brides do not realize but are rudely awakened to is - when you make the decision to get married you are setting off on the road for a very costly day in the future. This of course does not apply if you're running down to the JP's office (a path I highly recommend to avoid all issues and problems addressed in this post!)

When John & I got married, we paid for the whole shindig ourselves! 
Every. Last. Red. Cent.
We did not go into debt to do so - and while we're on that note - let me just go ahead and express how ridiculous it is to go into debt when you are just starting out. Would you start a race a quarter-mile behind everyone else? That's stupid you say?!? Well so are monthly payments for a day of "bliss" that is just as important if you spent $100 or $10,000. 

I realize that there are families out there more than willing to pay for their children to get married - and more power to them! What goads me is the expectation for family to pay for your nuptials.
When you enter into marriage you are saying that you are leaving your family and beginning your own.
Ephesians 5:31 - 
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 
In our society, this is a decision that you two are making on your own. Your parents didn't decide it for you - so I fail to see how it is their "responsibility" to pay for your decision. 

In the event that a family member is willing and capable of assisting financially in the wedding - what you must realize is that with their money comes their opinions, advice and in certain circumstances - demands. 
Their financial contribution is a gift. When you give a birthday present, you go out and shop for the gift, and what you give is what they get. In budgeting for a wedding, this is particularly more prevalent when you are breaking down the cost by expense. For example, your mother is going to pay for the wedding venue - I find it perfectly reasonable that she get a say in what venue is selected. 

It isn't a fun fact of life, but if there is something that you - yourself cannot afford and there isn't someone lining up to give it to you; then well, I'm sorry. You don't get it. Just because you're getting married does not entitle you to your every whim. Budget, cut costs, make sacrifices somewhere else. A real-world, adult life is about making concessions and prioritizing. If you aren't prepared to do that, then chances are, you shouldn't be getting married!

What it really comes down to is recognizing that while this is your special day - this is also your parents special day, and your fiance's special day and his parents. Everyone has looked forward to this day for a long time and acting like an entitled brat isn't going to particularly sit well with anyone.

If you don't want opinions on whether or not your wedding dress is too low cut, or if a particular feature of your reception is trashy - the best way to nix those comments are to PAY FOR IT YOURSELF! 
I do realize that sometimes parents take it a little far.  Heaven knows I have heard brides in tears because their mother refuses to pay for the wedding she has offered to pay for because she chose green rather than teal for her wedding colors. This is certainly where I say - pull the "it's my day" card. In my opinion, the "Pay & Say" rule really applies to the big picture items in a wedding. 

A Walk down Memory Lane:
John and I paid for our wedding and all associated parties and costs out of necessity, but looking back I am so glad we did!  While it was stressful at times deciding which items were necessities and what we could live without, we also didn't have to worry about the nagging and pulling from every direction that many brides face today.  In many ways we look at our wedding day as a gift to our family and friends. We were able to host an event that brought people together in a celebration of love and commitment. A mini-family reunion of sorts. 

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