Etiquette Q&A: "We Already Live Together; Should Our Parents Still Pay for the Wedding?"

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Q. "Does it affect the parents’ financial obligation if a couple has lived together prior to the wedding?"

A. Whether or not a couple has lived together before they marry has absolutely nothing to do with who pays for the wedding. And there is no rule stating that parents are obligated to pay. Yes, traditionally the bride’s parents were expected to pick up most of the tab while the groom’s parents usually just covered the cost of the rehearsal dinner. But today, more couples pay for the majority of the wedding themselves (nearly 62 percent according to a recent Bridal Guide survey).

Any financial assistance they receive from their parents is a gift, and how much they receive depends on their parents’ financial situation. Some parents can afford to pay for the entire wedding while others may only be able to contribute a certain amount to cover the cost for flowers, catering, music or photography. If the groom’s parents are better off financially, they may even offer to pay for more than the bride’s.

It’s best to find out early on if parents are able to contribute to the wedding expenses and, if so, how much they are comfortable spending. You’ll then have a better idea of what your budget is and can plan accordingly.

Plus, check out The Tough Money Talks You Must Have Before Marriage.

—Diane Forden