15 Women Share Who Paid For What At Their Weddings

15 Women Share Who Paid For What At Their WeddingsFrom the Pinterest-inspired dream venue to that rustic tablescape (what's a table without bundles of lavender bound with twine?) to a DJ who plays just the right amount of your playlist while still appeasing the parents with enough oldies — weddings can be expensive AF. According to The Knot's 2018 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding in the U.S. last year cost $ 33,931 — and that's excluding honeymoon expenses. So who exactly is footing these bills? First, we asked six millennial women how much their weddings cost, and now we're getting into the nitty-gritty. Ahead, we asked 15 more millennial women: Who paid for what at your wedding, and how did you feel about the payment breakdown? Name: Becca Age: 27 Location: Minneapolis, MN How much is your wedding going to cost? ~$ 28,000 What was the payment breakdown? "My fiancé and I are contributing about equally in savings each month, and have since about two months before we were officially engaged. My mom is putting $ 100 per paycheck towards the wedding, which will come to about $ 3,500. My fiancé sends me $ 350 per paycheck to put toward our catering deposit (on a new credit card so we could get $ 350 in sign-up rewards right away to pay toward the bill), and I put at least $ 500/month toward payments, lately $ 700-$ 800. We had a similar system when paying off our photography deposit. After this is paid off, we have a joint savings account for wedding-related stuff that we will continue to contribute to monthly, and plan to put all birthday and Christmas money towards wedding savings as well. According to our WeddingWire budget breakdown, we will be coming in right around $ 28,000, and we've already put ~$ 10,000 towards the wedding, so we can comfortably save up the remaining $ 14,500. So far our venue is right around $ 2,000, photographer is around $ 5,000, florist is $ 2,000, and catering and bar are $ 12,000 for 110 guests, and that's all before cake, the groom's outfit, wedding party gifts, alterations, and additional decor and entertainment. How do you feel about it? "Great! My fiancé has a bit more spending money than I do after bills, so proportionately he puts a little bit more toward the wedding each month. I've planned to at least be able to put $ 500 towards the wedding monthly, and have continually tried to cut back expenses as much as I can in order to contribute more. Neither of us come from lavish families, and so my mom contributing a few thousand is incredibly helpful and appreciated, and we do expect to get a small amount from his family for the holidays that we can put towards the wedding. My mom was going to buy the dress as her contribution, but I bought mine online in a sample sale a month before we were officially engaged for $ 700, so she chose to contribute directly toward our wedding savings instead. Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "The couple! I think it's fair that we're contributing as equally as we can, proportionate to our expendable income. Though I will have more guests attending than he will, we look at our guests as all ours to pay for and not one person or side's responsibility. I think it's wonderful that many people have families who are able to contribute, but I no longer think it is their responsibility. As we are both established in our careers and can afford to host our guests, we are happy to pay to have the wedding we dream of. I bought my home at 23, I've been working steadily in my career since graduating college, and I've always been fiercely independent. Our wedding details and budget have been very important to us, and working through it all together equally has been a truly lovely experience."Name: Campbell Age: 37 Location: California How much did your wedding cost? $ 34,000 What was the payment breakdown? "Because my husband and I were older when we got hitched (me, 34; him, 35), we felt strongly about not asking our parents for any help throwing the celebration of our choosing. Both sets of parents of course helped out in their own ways – my parents paid for my dress and alterations, special decorations, and offered a ton of support in other ways, and his covered the rehearsal dinner. He moved in (down to LA from Sacramento) shortly after we were engaged, so our finances were already combined and everything came out of our joint account. We used an especially large tax refund and cash savings to cover most everything and took out a low interest credit card for little unexpected stuff we knew would come up." How did you feel about it? "I get a tinge of jealously when I hear about friends’ parents/families paying for their extravagant weddings. Neither of our families are particularly wealthy, but they both have given us excellent life foundations (higher education, fantastic childhoods, pretty much everything we could want). Would I rather have a great foundation or a fancy free party? Hands down the former. We also felt a strong sense of responsibility to pay for our own choices when it came to the wedding; and all our decisions were no strings attached, since we were footing our own bill." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "The couple? Maybe it’s just because it’s the route we chose, but I have zero regrets about not putting that financial burden on our parents!" Name: Lynsey Age: 27 Location: Indianapolis, IN How much did your wedding cost? $ 30,000 (excluding the honeymoon) What was the payment breakdown? "We ended up splitting it three ways. My parents wrote me a check that they felt was fair and said, you know, use it! My husband's parents covered the rehearsal dinner and then chipped in more. "We tried to be thrifty in what we spent money on. For instance, our save the dates were postcards (less expensive and used cheaper stamps). We didn't give guests a gift because we felt that the reception was a gift (hello, open bar). We also did a small cutting cake and bought Costco sheet cake for guests (so delicious — also $ 20 per cake and each cake feeds 60 people) which probably saved us a few hundred dollars. We stayed pretty simple/classic in our flowers — white roses — which also helped with costs. Oh! And we closed down the bar during dinner. It felt like we were being fun suckers, but it saved us nearly $ 1,000. "We also tried to be considerate of our wedding party. The groomsmen were in several weddings that year, and my bridesmaids were mostly still in college or grad school. We had the guys buy their suits because we got a "BOGO deal" — so each suit cost $ 250, a little more expensive than renting, but hey, you end up with a suit! My bachelorette party was within driving distance (Nashville) and we were able to stay at a friend's house, eliminating hotel costs. I had the bridesmaids get long dresses. The dresses were $ 200, which was a little expensive, but as a result, they didn't have to buy specific shoes or jewelry. I also covered part of their makeup as a gift and made getting their hair done optional." How did you feel about it? "It felt good. I especially appreciate that my parents weren't monitoring every line item for the wedding — they really let me plan the way I wanted it. I also appreciate that my now in-laws didn't buy into the tradition of the wife's parents paying for everything. They felt that was an unfair tradition. None of us knew what a wedding in Indianapolis would cost, and we had very different frames of reference. "Ultimately, it was tough to get it less expensive than it was because of our location and guest list. We both come from large families and have a lot of friends from various points in our lives. If we got married now, I'm sure our guest list would be 50 people shorter, but that's really not a ton of money saved." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I'm all for romantic traditions (i.e. father/daughter dances, speeches, poufy dresses), but I think if you have a particular vision/wish list, you should pay for it. If parents want to chip in, that's awesome! If details are a make or break for you and you can't afford it, then I guess you're having a longer engagement. At the end of the day, a wedding is about committing your life to another person, and everything else is just extra."Name: Lauren Age: 28 Location: Camp Hill, PA How much is your wedding going to cost? So far we're at a bit over $ 6,000 I think. What's the payment breakdown? "I am paying for nearly everything. I bought my dress from an upscale resale boutique — it's Zac Posen, new with tags, for $ 600. Alterations cost $ 295. Cupcakes and wedding cake are going to cost $ 450. Catered dinner and cocktail hour at an amazing downtown restaurant — we're using the roof for our ceremony — comes out to $ 4,500 without including alcohol. We are still finalizing the cost of decorations. Babysitters for the kids room at the reception are going to cost $ 150. I have a two-year-old, and it's important to me that her friends are there and that she feels included in the wedding." How do you feel about it? "I think we're doing really well. This is my second wedding, and my parents are very supportive. My first marriage ended on a heartbreaking note, and now I realize it's not about the day and how much you spend. It's who you're spending the rest of your life with. We wanted to be budget conscious while still having an amazing time. We are using credit cards with rewards programs to pay for the wedding expenses and then paying everything off right away. This is allowing us to earn some money and travel rewards back." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think in my case, I'm expected to pay because it's my second wedding. My fiancé covers nearly all the housing costs for our future home, which has been much more than what I've paid for the wedding."Name: Elyse Age: 31 Location: Santa Barbara, CA How much is your wedding going to cost? $ 20,000 What was the payment breakdown? "My parents paid for the venue, food, invitations, flowers, wedding photographer, and suite at the hotel where we're getting married, and my grandmother paid for my wedding dress ($ 1,100). My future in-laws offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner, so I'm trying to find a fairly budget-friendly option. My fiancé and I are going to pay for engagement photos and I'm going to pay for someone to do my hair on my wedding day." How do you feel about it? "I think the primary reason my parents and I fought about wedding planning was the fact that I refused to accept how expensive a wedding is these days. I envisioned a $ 5,000 event being tasteful, but there isn't even a venue for $ 5,000 here, much less the whole wedding. I hate how much my parents are spending on this, but I'm so grateful that they are giving me a nice wedding." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think bride's parents should pay, but I also think that the groom's parents should pay too — it's a half and half split for attendees, after all!"Name: Emily Age: 29 Location: Phoenix, AZ How much did your wedding cost? About $ 165,000 for marriage prep and church-related costs, ceremony, and reception (including fireworks!) What was the payment breakdown? "My parents paid for basically everything. I paid for a few little 'extras,' like my bridesmaids' gifts, but I lost my job a month after getting engaged, so I didn’t have an income for about half of the time I was wedding planning. I would have liked to contribute more, but it just wasn’t in the cards, and my parents were very generous. My husband paid for my engagement ring, our engagement trip to Canada, his tuxedo and groomsman-related items, and his portion of the bachelor party. My husband's mom paid for and hosted our rehearsal dinner for 75 guests. My husband's dad gave us $ 5,000 toward our honeymoon. Everything else my parents paid for." How did you feel about it? "It was just always understood that my parents would be paying, but I still often felt guilty about how much everything cost. But my parents, my husband, and I all agreed very early on that we wanted a big, fun wedding, and that’s just expensive! I am incredibly grateful that they were able to give us such a wonderful day and really a wonderful 10-month engagement full of showers, wedding-dress fittings, a bachelorette party, etc. Since I wasn’t working, I would have had to forgo a lot of that stuff in the moment, and they made it possible for me to just enjoy it and not worry about the cost." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I am incredibly lucky that my parents were willing and able to foot the bill for our entire wedding and beyond (engagement photos, etc.). If they hadn’t been able to, our wedding probably would have looked a lot different, and probably would have been postponed. My husband and I are aggressively paying back his six-figure student debt, so a lavish 200+ person wedding would not have been in the cards. I don’t think it is anyone’s responsibility, and I also don’t think that you should go into debt for it. If you can’t afford a big party, don’t have one. It’s the marriage that is important, not the wedding. (I know, I know, easy for me to say, I got both.)"Name: Mollie Age: 29 Location: Saint Paul, MN How much did your wedding cost? $ 42,000 What was the payment breakdown? "My now-husband and I already had combined finances. My mom paid for most of my dress and the fee for the church rental. My dad paid the catering bill for his side of the family (nine people at $ 121 a person). My husband and I picked up extra work shifts and paid for everything else. We put roughly $ 5,000 on credit cards and just busted our butts to pay the rest." How did you feel about the payment breakdown for your wedding? "I feel like if we did it again, I would have had a smaller wedding at a less trendy place. But I feel fine with the breakdown." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think the bride and groom should always pay. If you're responsible enough to get married, you should be responsible enough to budget and pay for it. I’m a grown woman, and I don’t need my family to financially support me."Name: Krishna Age: 29 Location: Philadelphia, PA How much did your wedding cost? About $ 5,000 What was the payment breakdown? "My lengha (Indian bridal dress) cost about $ 900, and my husband's sherwani was $ 200 (ugh, hand embroidery/sexism). We bought beer and wine to our BYO venue that cost us about $ 300 for 35 people. We also purchased a cake from a local baker for about $ 150. Our ceremony venue was free, given that it was at a public courthouse. I spent about $ 50 on a blowout, $ 50 on a mani/pedi (which my aunts covered), and about $ 200 on mehndi for myself and my aunts and girl cousins. I also catered pizza and salad for the mehndi artists for about $ 75. I did my own makeup with my best friend/MOH's help. We spent about $ 3,000 on the reception venue — a local Italian restaurant. My grandmother paid for $ 500 of my dress, and I used gift cards from my sweet and generous coworkers for the alcohol. My husband's family ended up stealthily footing the bill for the reception/dinner, which was entirely unexpected and way too kind. In sum, this wasn't all out-of-pocket from my husband and me alone (though we intended it to be when we were planning)." How did you feel about it? "Phenomenally. My husband and I were getting really nervous about the mounting costs of the wedding, because we initially felt pressured to host a three- to five-day Indian/Pakistani (Desi) wedding in keeping with tradition and our families' wishes. I discussed the matter with my family members, and they urged me to do whatever I felt comfortable with. My husband and I discussed the matter a couple of times before deciding on an 'elopement' in the courthouse. It was intimate, affordable, and relatively stress-free." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think it depends on the people and their families to make that decision. Ideally, it's a group effort. In Desi weddings, for example, there are typically several events, and different sides of the family host depending on which event it is. Ultimately, if the cost is shared across two people and their families, it's less of a burden on any one person. It takes a village."Name: Nicole Age: 29 Location: Los Angeles, CA How much is your wedding going to cost? We are still finalizing the wedding, but it's looking like it's going to cost around $ 15,000 What's the payment breakdown? "My partner's parents were kind and gave us $ 10,000 toward the wedding. My parents are not in the same financial situation and offered to give money, but we ultimately turned it down. Any additional costs will likely be paid by my partner as he has more savings, but I will help where I can." How do you feel about it? "I feel guilty about not contributing more, but in the long run, we will be sharing an income and I make more money than he does. It's our money now, not his versus mine." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "It should be a shared decision and responsibility — if it's all going into the same pot after you're married, it doesn't really matter who spends the most."Name: Emily Age: 24 Location: Phoenix, AZ How much is your wedding going to cost? Hopefully under $ 10,000 What's the payment breakdown? "We are paying for pretty much everything. My mom and grandma bought my dress, and my fiancé's mom is paying for the bar, which is amazing because none of them are wealthy. My dad and his wife say they are going to pay for the venue, but they didn't give us a budget to work with and now can't seem to remember offering to pay for it. We saw this happening, though, and picked a place we could afford on our own. They have flaked on paying for things they've promised in the past, so we didn't want to get in over our heads if they did, which it looks like they will. We also refuse to go into debt for this day, so everything we have paid for has been in cash." How do you feel about it? "I feel okay about it. I wish my dad would have followed through with helping, but I didn't ever really think that was going to happen." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I feel like we are responsible for paying. We want a nice wedding and don't want anyone holding the fact that they paid over our heads to get what they want. So other than the few very generous things our moms are doing, we are covering everything. If my dad does come through paying for something, then great, and if not, we are planning on fully paying for everything."Name: Karen Age: 27 Location: Los Angeles, CA How much did your wedding cost? ~$ 15,000 What was the payment breakdown? "My parents paid around $ 10,000. This covered the venue and decor. We had our wedding in a backyard and put up a huge tent. The tent alone was around $ 5,000. (We had just under 230 guests.) The rest of my parents' budget went into table and chair rentals, flowers, fancy cups that I insisted on having, table covers, table runners, etc. My husband and I paid around $ 5,000. We covered the photographer, which ended up being only $ 2,100 after a very generous friend discount. My dress was only $ 1,000, purchased off a bride on Tradesy who didn't end up wearing her dress. (The dress was originally $ 3,000.) Food for our wedding was only around $ 2,500, due to the fact that we served tacos! I absolutely hate traditional wedding food, so my husband and I decided on tacos, and everyone loved it! My husband's tux was around $ 100 (through a friend discount). Our honeymoon was paid for by my in-laws. My sister-in-law paid for our invites, and my husband's aunt, who owns a bakery, made our wedding cake as a gift to us." How did you feel about it? "I felt it was fair, considering I wanted to elope, but my parents insisted on me having a bigger celebration. Both my parents and my in-laws were very generous." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think the couple is responsible for paying for the type of wedding that they want. If a couple has a small budget, then their wedding should be planned according to that budget. My husband and I didn't expect our families to help pay for things, but we accepted every offer that came our way."Name: Ashley Age: 34 Location: Chicago, IL How much did your wedding cost? $ 120,000 (includes honeymoon) What was the payment breakdown? "My mom contributed approximately $ 22,000, and my husband's family contributed approximately $ 27,000. The rest was paid for by my husband and me. The money was kind of pooled into a general fund, and we paid for things as they came up. The only traditional things where our parents paid directly were my wedding dress (my mom paid) and the rehearsal dinner (my husband's parents paid). Otherwise, we just asked our parents for money as the bills started coming in." How did you feel about it? "I thought it was extremely generous of my husband's family to contribute as much as they did, even though it may not be customary for the groom's family to pay. We definitely spent a little too much on the wedding, but it was an amazing day, and we're very lucky our parents were so generous." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "There's no right answer to this. I think that it's based on the family situation. If everyone is able to contribute, then I don't see why traditional norms should prevent that. My in-laws were happy to contribute because it was their guests just as much as it was ours. I think age plays a role as well. We were in our 30s when we got married and were established in our careers making good money, so we spent quite a bit of money ourselves. Our parents insisted on helping, and we greatly appreciate that, but we could have paid for it on our own."Name: Kaylie Age: 22 Location: Buffalo, NY How much is your wedding going to cost? $ 35,000 What's the payment breakdown? My fiancé and I split deposits for: \- Venue: $ 4,500, $ 500 deposit \- Catering (appetizers, meal, five-hour open bar, and table/chair/tent rentals): $ 17,000, $ 750 deposit \- Photographer for engagement shoot and wedding: $ 2,750, $ 750 deposit \- DJ/ceremony music/photo booth: $ 2,100, $ 500 deposit \- Videographer: $ 2,500, $ 500 deposit \- Transportation for guests: $ 2,000, $ 500 deposit Budgeted items being paid for by us both (we're not getting married until next year): \- Flowers ($ 1,000) \- Cake ($ 1,000) \- Favors ($ 300) \- Decor ($ 3,000) \- Rehearsal dinner ($ 2,000) \- Save the dates ($ 200) \- Invites ($ 400) \- Rings ($ 1,500) Costs for me: \- Dress ($ 3,000) \- Hair & makeup ($ 150) \- Bridesmaids' gifts ($ 300, eight bridesmaids/MOH) \- Parents' gifts ($ 200) Costs for my fiancé: \- Suit ($ 250) \- Groomsmen's gifts ($ 500 — will admit he went over budget on these) My parents were kind enough to give us $ 25,000 toward wedding expenses. The remainder will be paid for by me and my fiancé. Overall our budget is $ 40,000. Our estimated guest count is over 200 people. How do you feel about it? "I would have liked to keep the costs down a bit, but unfortunately that is hard to do without lowering the guest count. I did not want to make any sacrifices in terms of open bar, photographer, or guest list. I am DIY-ing almost all of my decorations, not only to save money but also because I think it is fun. I hope to make some of my costs back by re-selling "wedding items" after the wedding on Facebook Marketplace, and I also plan to buy a lot of items resale. My dad is making centerpieces for me (rustic table lanterns). The most important thing to me is that my wedding is fun, memorable, and unique." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "Personally, I think the couple is responsible for paying. My parents were generous to offer up a large sum of the costs, because they have guests who I normally wouldn't invite who they want there. (I really don't mind — they are nice people, I just don't see them as often or know them very well.) I'm happy to add some additional people to the guest list in return for the financial help. If I was paying for the wedding myself, I would have reduced the guest list some and taken out a loan if necessary. Our engagement is a little bit longer than average to allow us more time to save money."Name: Mary Age: 29 Location: Greensboro, NC How much is your wedding going to cost? $ 40,000 What's the payment breakdown? "We had $ 30,000 from my family (inherited specifically for a wedding — the joys of being the only grandchild!), which was an amazing start, and we've put that toward the big purchases: venue, food, and booze. My fiancé has some savings and is willing to help pay, so he's been put in charge of buying my dress and his suit, and I'm paying for most other little things. As of right now, his family hasn't offered to help, but we also haven't asked. (He's one of four boys, and I don't feel comfortable expecting his family to pay for anything.)" How do you feel about it? "I'm fairly happy with it. I know I'm extremely lucky to have a family that has that kind of money and is willing to spend it on me. I'm definitely feeling some guilt for spending this much on a wedding, but it helps that my fiancé and I are also putting some money down for things that we really want." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think whoever in the wedding has the highest expectations is responsible for paying! If the two people getting married just want to have a city hall wedding, and the parents (or grandparents or friends!) of either of them want a big bash, then those people should be the ones offering to pay. And of course, vice versa. Also, while I love a great party, I don't think anyone should go into debt for a wedding."Name: Caitlin Age: 27 Location: San Jose, CA How much did your wedding cost? $ 40,000 What was the payment breakdown? "My husband and I paid for $ 15,000, my in-laws footed the bill for a mere $ 5,000, and my parents paid the rest of the wedding tab." How did you feel about it? "It was a bit unequal. My parents were forced to pick up quite a bit of unexpected payments, but it all came together to be a happy occasion. My in-laws ended up throwing us an unexpected rehearsal dinner party, so it smoothed a bit of the tension." Who do you think is responsible for paying, and why? "I think we as the bride and groom should be responsible for the bulk of the wedding payment, but we’re so lucky that our parents ended up covering many of the wedding costs to give us the winery wedding of our dreams."Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Real Women Share How They're Paying For CollegeHere's How Much It Really Costs To Be A Bridesmaid10 Women On How Much They Save To Attend Weddings

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