Written by Melissa Woods
For those who have never given this much thought and simply find themselves getting swept along with archaic wedding traditions, this is for you.... The expectation that the bride's family should foot the bill.... WTF? This is without doubt the number 1 wedding tradition that needs to STOP!
According the UK's no.1 bridal magazine 'Brides', the average cost of a wedding is £24,000. This is a mere sniff away from the UK's average annual salary of £26,500.
Without a doubt, seeing your daughter be happily married is a life long goal for any loving parent, but, in this economic climate, is it fair to continue the tradition that 'the bride's parents pay'?
I mean, what if they can't afford to?... What if they have lots of daughters?... What if they have more than one daughter getting married in close proximity?... What if they don't even like your partner? There are so many different variables that make this, a far from universal solution.
The concept comes from the ancient custom of paying a dowry whereby the bride's parents would pay the groom to become the new 'owner' and provider of their daughter, as women were unable to provide for themselves. Thankfully, gender roles have evolved massively since then so anyone who still wants to hold on to this practice needs to ask themselves, why? It's gross, surely?
I got married in 2012 with an 'initial' budget of £20,000 (this is when I stopped counting...) of which my parents generously paid half, a commitment they had also made to my sister 18 months previous. Did I expect it? Yep. Did my parents expect to have to do it? Yep. Would we have had as lavish a wedding without their help? Absolutely not. Would that have mattered? Absolutely not. I was that person getting swept along by archaic traditions.
We saved the rest ourselves along with a contribution from my husband's family.
I have lots of friends who didn't get any help towards their wedding and still had an awesome day. Whether it was a quiet elopement or more relaxed do for nearest and dearest. It really didn't matter, the sentiment was still the same.
There is, undoubtedly, a massive movement towards the 'un-wedding' these days, where modern couples are starting to realize that they can make the same commitment to one another without aimlessly honoring a bunch of outdated rules. This includes footing the bill themselves and finding creative and cost effective ways to celebrate.
Most parents will want to help as much as they can and only a fool would say 'no'. It's the unspoken expectation and assumption that needs to stop. Have a frank discussion with all involved before you set your budget... you're the one who has chosen to get married, why should your parents have to take on the financial burden? You should expect to pay for your own marriage ceremony with willing contributions from both families, at best.
If you still like the idea of the big, traditional wedding ceremony then why not research the origins of each tradition before deciding how meaningful they really are to you. Having done this myself (retrospective of my wedding) I can tell you, they range from ridiculous to downright sexist! You will end up saving yourself a fortune.
What do you think of this particular wedding tradition? Do you think it needs to stop or do expect your parents to pay for your ceremony? Feel free to comment below and share this post with anyone who you feel will benefit!