There are plenty of traditional rules about weddings, including who does what or pays for services and goods.
At one time, parents of the groom expected to purchase the bride’s engagement and wedding rings, fees and licenses, any flowers worn or carried, gifts for the groomsmen and ushers, the liquor and music at the reception, and honeymoon. They also hosted the rehearsal dinner.
The bride’s parents paid for everything else, including the engagement notices and party, site rental, the wedding planning service, reception, cakes, photography and videography, the groom’s ring, wedding invitations, the bridal dress and traveling outfit and even the guest book.
Contemporary times have upturned many of these rules, sometimes leaving confusion and hard feelings in the absence of any concrete plan. Brides and grooms today often foot many of the expenses themselves, especially if they have been living away from their parents.
For your wedding, worry less about the rules and more about respect. You may find our checklist of questions a helpful guide for holding the kinds of conversations you need for making your wedding one to always remember – for the right reasons.
The Checklist of Questions for Parents of the Bride and Groom
The first two questions on the checklist are the most critical, but it’s important to have an honest discussion about each item on the list to clarify expectations and the likelihood of fulfilling them.
- What do the bride and groom want?
- How possible is it to make the bride and groom’s wishes for their wedding to come true?
- What you can do to help with planning or paying for parts (or all) of the wedding expenses?
- How can you stop yourself from attaching strings to any wedding gifts, including the expenses you pay?
- What tasks can you help with? Think about addressing invitations, temporarily storing wedding gifts as they arrive, helping with information for out of town guests, etc.
- What would the bride and groom like you to do before, during and after the ceremony and at the reception?
- What family traditions can be incorporated into the celebration?
- Will you need to prepare a toast or dance at the wedding?
- What heirloom gift could you give to the couple? Often, something sentimental is far more cherished than a new gift.
- Ask yourself numbers 1 and 2 frequently throughout this process.
A wedding ceremony and the reception that follows is a celebration of a new union. Surrounded by wedding gifts, best wishes, and the people they love the most, the newly married couple are beginning a new life together.
Finding ways to contribute meaningfully to their children’s wedding without overpowering it may be the best wedding gift parents can give.