Pretend you are well off and your daughter is about to get married. Would you splurge on an expensive wedding just because you can afford it?
I am asking this question because I was reading a letter that was written to Kiplinger’s the other day. The letter was written by a ‘rich’ couple, whose daughter just got engaged and was expecting an extravagant wedding. The parents were not too thrilled because they were frugal at heart, and didn’t see the point in spending a huge amount of money for a wedding. It was nothing personal, it was just that the daughter and her fiancee were somewhat expecting them to go against their core values by wanting a big, fancy wedding, and the parents were really struggling with how to handle the situation. The parents preferred to give a gift that would go towards the couple’s future, or even donate to charity, in lieu of using the money for an expensive wedding.
So what was Kiplinger’s response? Well, their answer was to instead offer a sizable wedding present (cash) instead, in which the couple could do whatever they want with. (Including using it to pay for the wedding and honeymoon. Not sure how this advice is helpful since the end result is the same- the parent’s money may still be used to pay for an expensive wedding.)
I don’t know why, but this just hit me the wrong way. Why does this daughter deserve anything sizable from the parents at all? She is graduated from college and starting her own life. Why does she expect anything from her parents? More importantly, why do the people at Kiplinger’s think the parents should provide money to the daughter too? I can totally picture this bride wanting a $5000 dress and the finest of everything. Maybe I am not being fair, but I guess I have never been comfortable with people that feel they are entitled to things. The parents are ‘rich’ for a reason; they worked hard and saved their money.
What do you think? Should the parents just pony up the cash and tell their daughter to buy what she wants? Is it possible that the parents never taught their daughter the value of a dollar while growing up, and now they are reaping what they sowed? Or, has the tradition of the bride’s parents absorbing most the wedding costs caused this expectation? (By the way, I think this age-old tradition needs to be re-evaluated. People don’t get married at 18 anymore- most are much older and are established in their career before getting married now.)