Sunday, July 15, 2012

Financing and Planning Weddings

Full question: What part of your children's weddings did you pay for and/or plan vs. your kids? Why?

Answers:

Samantha (and Thomas)
In our family, everybody (guys and girls) got $5,000 for whatever they chose to spend it on.  We found this to be a reasonable amount that could cover most of the usual items, but left them with a little pressure to cut costs, in order to have some left over for household items as they set up a home together.  If they wanted to spend more (which none of our kids chose to do) they could use their own money.

As far as the planning, we let them decide how much we should be involved—or not.  One of our daughters didn’t want to worry about any of it; another had very specific ideas.   It takes repeating over and over, “Here are my thoughts, but whatever you think, I’m good with.”  And you have to mean it!

With our sons, at first I felt left out, not knowing what the plans were, etc.  Then a wise friend said, tongue in cheek, “Don’t you know?  Mothers of the groom are just supposed to wear beige and keep your mouth shut.”  I found that to be good advice.   It allowed our new daughter-in-laws to set the tone on how much we should—or should not—be involved.  

The truth is, for both our sons and our daughters, we really didn’t care about any of the wedding details.  We told them what we could afford and then let them make the decisions.  They chose to marry in the temple, and all the rest is just fluff, as far as we’re concerned.


Marsha (and Richard)
We paid for our children’s weddings.  We set a budget that we worked within, for the most part.  That helped us prioritize our purchases.  We prepared as much as was reasonable ourselves. Friends and family were also a great help, which kept expenses down, but we tried our best to make sure that the reception was nicely done and appropriately honored the occasion without being extravagant. 

The wedding itself had relatively no expense to it.  We realized we should focus more on the ceremony itself than on the party afterwards.  That’s hard to do when so much planning goes into the party.  The wedding and the reception which followed worked together to produce a very memorable occasion.

One of our favorite parts of the wedding celebration was the wedding lunch or dinner.  It was a time of sharing thoughts and memories by the parents and siblings on both sides. Music was included and the whole atmosphere was fun and tender.  It was a great way to bond the two families and share with close friends. We relied on others to handle the food so we could focus on the event.

Usually the child being married was away at school during the planning.  We coordinated with them on colors, what to serve, invitations, cake, flowers and the general feel of the wedding, but most of the actual details were up to me.  Again, I got advice and help from friends, for which I will be eternally grateful! Thankfully, our children trusted our judgment and were grateful for the finished product. The wedding reception was a gift from us to them.

Mary and Robert
We have three boys and one girl so there were open houses and shared expense for all weddings but one.  We paid for all necessary expenses.  Our children were each students when they married and we considered it fortunate that they were able to have their own apartments and support their spouse.  So we didn't ask them to participate in the expenses for the weddings and open houses.

Abigail (and Martin)
We have been blessed to have been very successful financially.  However, we have never just given our kids anything and everything they have asked for.  When they were young, we started a savings account for them.  We put in money and at least 50% of anything they earned went into that account as well.  It was for college, missions and weddings.  They knew that was what they had to work with, and they had been taught to be frugal as they were growing up.  They knew anything that was left was still theirs that they could use for a down payment on a home or anything else they needed.  Technically, we had put far more into their account than they had and some were more aware of that than others, but they were still careful about how it was spent. I did buy things like dresses for the grandkids for the younger children.  We also supervised what the money was spent on and made observations as to whether or not an expenditure was necessary.  I’m sure some of our kids felt like there was more control over the situation than they would have liked, but in the end, I believe everyone ended up fine about how things turned out.

Jane (and Samuel)
Three of our four daughters chose to have their wedding receptions in our yard.  Those receptions are a precious memory.  As I recall, we paid for their receptions, I sewed their dresses, we bought the food and decorated the yard and house.  There may have been some incidentals....like the live band we had at the first garden reception that the daughter chipped in for.  I think that the groom's parents paid for wedding breakfasts and probably helped pay for the flowers.  Our oldest daughter was married when we were doing well and  I am certain we paid for the place, the catered food, the flowers, and I sewed the dresses for all of them.(It was a hectic summer).  The groom again paid for a Rehearsal dinner and possibly some of the flowers.  When the boys got married we paid for tuxes and a breakfast or dinner before one and after the other wedding.  These events were lovely and fun and our kids were great about being reasonable in what they wanted.  The weddings are all good memories.  The one goof was not writing invitations for one of the boys' wedding.  The list of all of the groom's dad's relatives didn't arrive by email and we wondered why none of those relatives came to the reception until we saw them at a reunion later and learned that none had been invited!  We were sad that they didn't have a chance to meet our darling daughter in law and her family and enjoy the beautiful reception.

Karen and Lance
We paid for our girls (3) with help on other things the groom's parents were "supposed to pay" in that era. We don't know if that still holds or not. The other things were the Wedding "Breakfast" or "rehearsal dinner" and the Bridal Bouquet. The son's weddings were the opposite. We didn't have a lot of expense for the girls as they do now days. We had nuts, mints, cake and punch and had the reception at the church with a $50 cleanup fee. When we had the Open House for the boys, we had chips and dip (as it was Christmas time for two of them and we didn't want to have sweets). For the other three boys we had Banana bread, or Applesauce cake, some nuts and mints and banana crush punch, homemade. When one of our daughter's daughter got married, she paid the whole thing from her savings, with the help of her husband.

Brianne and Spencer
We paid for each of the girls weddings and for our son's open house.  They knew there was a budget and we needed to be smart and creative to make them wonderful -

Our kids were really considerate.  They each choose what was most important to them where we didn't scrimp - but we were careful in other areas.  Mom did most of the work - two of them were in our back yard. The last one was in a reception center.

Next week's question: How much was the TV on in your home? Sometimes I feel like it hinders family bonding in the evenings, but I also understand the need to unwind and decompress from a busy day. Did you set any rules or limits on TV in the evenings? My children are 10, 8, 5, and 3. I do think the hardest one to convince on less TV is my husband though ;) [reader submitted]

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