Wedding Etiquette: Groom's Family's Responsibilities

My son has just become engaged to a girl with a wealthy family. I am not wealthy and am also divorced from his dad. What are my obligations, as I know they will be putting on a huge wedding. I love my son dearly, but don't know what I can do!

By Karen from Port Clinton, OH

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March 4, 20110 found this helpful

When I got married (over 15 years ago), the only thing I told my mother-in-law she was responsible for was the rehearsal dinner. My husband's parents are also divorced, and I don't recall his dad helping with the dinner. She decided to have an informal meal at her home for the wedding party plus a few relatives who came from across the country.

But my wedding was relatively small. Our reception site had a very strict occupancy limit, so we invited only 100 people to the wedding. When I hear that his fiancee is from a wealthy family, I want to assume that the wedding will be big and expensive (but I know that this is not necessarily true). If it is a very big wedding party, it might be more difficult to have an informal dinner at home.

The rehearsal dinner doesn't have to be a huge, expensive affair. Try to find out as early as possible how many people will be in the wedding party (and consider that their spouses will also be there), so you can plan. If you have to do it at a restaurant, hopefully you'll have enough time to research and make arrangements that will work with your budget.

Try to relax and enjoy the occassion. Best of luck -- both with the rehearsal dinner and your son's marriage. I hope both are very happy!

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March 4, 20110 found this helpful

I have seen where a lot of rehearsal dinners now are picnic type ones, where you grill burgers and hot dogs, and then have salads, chips, etc. Some people even make them a pot luck deal, especially if the people attending are local.

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March 4, 20110 found this helpful

I don't have an "etiquette fail safe" answer, but generally speaking, the groom's family is usually only responsible for the rehearsal dinner (wedding party and dates, only) and maybe the tux rental cost for the groomsmen and ushers.

However, if you can't afford this, you can't afford it and I don't think you should go in great debt to do so. Will your son's father be helping at all? Do you know your future daughter-in-law's parents well enough to talk to them about the potential financial impact of your contributions? Is the young couple (as adults, I'm assuming) chipping in monetarily to help pay for their preferences?

I would just figure out what you can contribute, have a heart to heart with the couple and see what might work for all of you. Just keep reminding yourself (and others if necessary) that the wedding is just a day and the marriage is a lifetime: Invest accordingly! :) Good luck and best wishes for all.

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March 5, 20110 found this helpful

Your son, surely, knows your financial status! You do what you can & he should pitch in! Most of the people in my family pay for their own wedding, 'cause most of us are not in a position to go "all out"! We do as much as we can for the bride & groom, but they pitch in! My husband & I paid for our own! I think the etiquette books need to be thrown out the window!! After all, this is the 21st century & also, most people are having financial difficulty at present!

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