Contributing to Your Child's Wedding

My step son and his new wife are expecting. They had a courthouse type wedding and plan to have a "real" wedding as she puts it. She will not take his last name nor wear her wedding ring until they do the big church wedding. My husband and I are very low income due to his health.

What are we expected to pay for at this wedding? We are so excited about our coming grandson and are picking up little things for him and I am trying to come up with the money to crochet an afghan. I want something from me even though I am a step-grandma. They are both 25 and doing well. What am I to do?


By Hairyjoe from Port Clinton, OH

April 20, 20090 found this helpful

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but they are as married now as they ever will be. A flashy wedding won't change a thing and you are not obliged to pay for it. They are legally married already. Your step son's wife sounds like a childish bridezilla. Contribute your good wishes but make it clear you are in no position to foot the bill for their fantasy party.

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April 20, 20090 found this helpful

Personally if I was young already married and expecting a child. My worries would be about taking care of the child. I wouldn't help pay for a wedding that is so pointless. Save your limited funds to spoil your new grandbaby.

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April 24, 20090 found this helpful

If they have a home and have already set up housekeeping they pretty much on their own, you are not required to contribute. It is their thing. Also, previous posts are correct, they are as married now as they are ever going to be! They know you are on a tight budget and should not expect you to contribute in anyway for something they want to have. Have they asked you to help out?

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April 24, 20090 found this helpful

I wish you well. Don't be upset about what you should or shouldn't do for her big wedding. Smile, offer to do what you can that isn't financial and keep your focus on the baby. Has she said that she expects you to contribute financially? This is their or her party and she is the one to direct it. Don't even acknowledge any hint that you might pay for some of it. Just go on doing what you feel comfortable about. Good luck. Love the baby, you will I know.

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April 25, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with Coxy and OliveOyl in that you are not responsible for paying for this wedding. For one thing, it's the bride's family that pays, not the groom's. But even then, they are only responsible for the FIRST wedding. NOT repeating their vows. That is their responsibility, not the parents'.

I don't agree that she's being a "bridezilla" tho. I got married at a justice of the peace, and would have really liked to have been able to do a nice wedding when our finances were more able. I'm hoping to do it on your 25th anniversary! But there's not a thing wrong with her wanting a nice wedding. I don't agree with her not taking his name or wearing the ring till then, tho. Especially with her being pregnant.

I'd buy or make (if you're into crafts) a nice gift and that's about all you should be responsible for. I crochet and have made many of the wedding gifts and all of the baby gifts I've given. So let them worry about the finances, and you just have a good time!

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April 25, 20090 found this helpful

It's the bride's family that pays for the wedding, not the grooms, and neither set of parents is responsible for a vow renewal. Sounds like she's just a little immature, idealistic, and disappointed about their lack of planning. I wouldn't start worrying just yet. Once the baby comes, she'll have so much to do that planning a wedding won't be high on her priority list. After watching their friends fret about wedding troubles, my son and his wife have decided that they are so glad that they eloped and started their marriage without all that debt.

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April 25, 20090 found this helpful

First, congratulations on your coming grandchild!

Second, name-changing & ring wearing are option only, especially today in our society. Means very little. It's all symbolic.

Third, which brings us to the wedding or vow-renewal itself. If this is important to them despite having a legal marriage already, that's great. But it should be the ceremony at focus, not the party/ reception afterwards. And, of course, it's the party that incurs the highest expenses on that day.

Fourth, a 25-yr-old couple with secure finances are responsible, not the families. They decided on the courthouse to begin with, & now they want a wedding. The costs should be theirs.

And lastly, by all means contribute something personal to this wedding if you wish. But, if possible, keep it simple, non-costly, & all your own. For instance, you could grow flowers to be incorporated into some part of the day. Or buy discount (day after) flowers from a produce-stand, & weave them into a headpiece. Or offer to stencil some name-cards for the tables. Be creative but frugal. Weave yourself into the day, unobtrusively but meaningfully. Their love for you ought to appreciate this beyond some sort of "present".

As a wedding officiant who's created & performed lots of customized ceremonies, these are my experienced responses. Hope they help.


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April 25, 20090 found this helpful

I agree with what others have said, that since this is a renewal, no one is responsible for the financial part but the couple. I don't want to bash the wife, but I feel that is childish that she isn't wearing her ring or changing her name until then. How does your poor son feel about that? Not a great way to start their marriage with that 'or else' demand hanging over his head. I'm curious if she was a spoiled, only child perhaps?

It is a wonderful idea for you to make something for them...or to help out with making decorations. That is much more personal and thoughtful than buying something. Especially since they are already married and set up in their home. I have made decorations for several weddings. If you want help with anything like that, feel free to email me.... dellajo55 AT

I wish all the best for you and them. Don't let it stress you out. Be blessed with that new grandbaby! There's no way to describe the overwhelming love you are going to have for it!

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April 25, 20090 found this helpful

I concur with everyone with regard to the financial aspects. You are not expected to contribute anything to this wedding if you can not afford to do so. At 25, and well settled, they can pay for their own.

I suspect that your daughter in law is using the name/ring thing to persuade your step-son into the second ceremony. Perhaps an elaborate wedding is something she has always wanted. Most men do not want anything elaborate, and simply tolerate it because it means so much to the bride. Perhaps she really doesn't feel "married" without this ceremony and party. Perhaps she has religious reasons for wanting a church wedding. One of the purposeds of a big wedding, and it says this in the ceremony, is to declare before family and friends, your love. This certainly wouldn't have been done in a courthouse ceremony, so perhaps she doesn't feel truly married. Whatever her reasons, it doesn't necessarily imply she is immature or childish or selfish. Many young women want a lovely wedding; I did myself, and I am sure a lot of the previous posters who have been so critical have also had "real weddings". If there was no reception or anything of that nature, I can certainly see why your daughter-in-law feels the way she does.

There are always dozens of things that need to be done that require helping hands and no money. Offer to do some of that, if you can -- making decorations, helping with invitations, decorating the church and reception hall, and so on.

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

Regarding yarn to make an afghan, you might try advertising on your local Craigslist. Frequently people have a lot of leftover yarn that they would like to be rid of and perhaps might sell it at a reasonable price or even be willing to give it away.

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April 27, 20090 found this helpful

Thank you all for your wonderful advice. I am feeling better about it. I have started picking up some baby items and told my daughter in law and she was very excited about that. I guess I will just keep doing what I have been doing and let the fact that I can't afford much go. I am more excited about our grandbaby than anything else anyways! If anyone has a simple crochet afghan pattern that I can make. I am thinking something very loose and soft. So if you have an idea of what kind of yarn, that would be helpful also.

Thanks again!

Karen from Port Clinton

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April 30, 20090 found this helpful

For my daughter and son's showers (you can do this at any time). I made them a autograph book. I went to a scrapbooking store or craft store will work. I bought one 12x12 card stock in a wedding print (for the cover) and several plain 12 x12 sheets for the inside (depends on how many people will be participating). I had the sheets cut into fours. The day of the event, each person was asked to write a piece of advice to the couple or share some humor. Then I collected them, used them for a drawing, then took them to Kinkos or any office store, and bound them into a book. Total cost--around 10.00. It was a personal gift. My son-in-laws great grandma of 91 years passed away the following year but left them a very special memory in that book. You can also leave some blank pages in the book for those not able to attend, but can sign later

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May 26, 20090 found this helpful

I'm sure your step daughter in law is well aware of your husbands health and your financial situation and has no expectations financially from you. My inlaws were retired and on a fixed income when I married my sweetie 14 years ago. My parents paid for my dress, invitations and flowers but other than that, we paid for it ourselves, including the honeymoon.

Everyone knows that brides can get stressed, if it is appropriate, let the bride know you are willing to help in any way possible, from painting her toe nails (which can get difficult when you are preggers) to helping clean the house or just to talk. An inexpensive gift idea would be to find a nice pair of tea cups, insert a few tea bags in each and write her a note just letting her know "If you need me, just call me for tea". Even used, mismatched tea cups from the second hand store would be really unique. Knowing that she has your moral support will help you to build that relationship with her and ultimately, those good relations will be more important than any material gift you give in the long run. Just remember not to judge and only offer advice when it is asked for, and you will be the favourite step mom in law EVER! (and what am I doing here... LOL!)

The handmade afghan for the baby will be great, maybe you could test run one for the grown ups to cuddle under too!! My great grandmothers' legacy is that she made afghans for all her grand children and great grandchildren. For her 80th birthday, we all submitted pictures of us with the afghans she made us in an album. My cousin, who is a helicopter pilot, submitted a picture of him in his flight suit, climbing into a Tudor jet (CAF trainer) with his afghan flung over his shoulder (boy did he ever get bugged in camp that day!). My point with this little aside, other than illustrating how in touch my extended family is with each other, is that if your husband is in poor health, a photo of him with the afghan that is being given may make it a family keepsake for years to come.

You will love being a Grandma! I know my mom does! Best of luck!

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August 8, 20100 found this helpful

Who says a wedding has to be thousands of dollars.

We got married at a church and then came home to all our family and friends and ate the food we had prepared alll the week before. The house was decorated. We had a wedding cake that was not proffessionally made but it suilted us. It was delicious too. The guests who were there were the people who mattered to us and who we would be still seeing all the time. The whole thing was approx. $1,000 including champagne. It's so silly today's weddings costing $40,000. We HAD the money but would rather have a good down payment on a house. Was a wonderful day!! WiLL have memories forever.

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