‘My partner’s parents earn more than mine – can I ask them to pay for our wedding?’
Dear Moral Money,
My fiancée and I recently announced our engagement and don’t want to let it go too long before the wedding. She has already started planning and has established a very rough budget.
Having just bought our first house, we have nothing planned for the ceremony. I told her I would be very happy to get married at a registry office, but she wants a traditional wedding and thinks we’ll probably end up spending around £15,000.
Both of our sets of parents have indicated that they will help us with the costs of the big day.
She comes from a wealthy family and her parents have a lot of savings. My parents, on the other hand, have very little. Although I know they would like to help, I would feel bad asking them to pay so much.
Since it’s my fiancée who wants the fancy ceremony, can I ask her parents to pay for it? It doesn’t seem fair to ask my parents to pay half when it wasn’t my idea to spend so much.
GH, via email
Congratulations on your engagement and on the purchase of your first home. You are at a stage in life where big events follow one another quickly, often with a high price tag.
Many would say that choosing not to shell out tens of thousands of dollars for a wedding is a prudent decision. On the other hand, few would blame your bride-to-be for wanting to make the big day extra special.
You are right to hesitate to ask your parents for money if they cannot afford it. They may feel compelled to pay, which makes them financially vulnerable.
Beware, however, of creating family divisions early on. While traditionally the bride’s family often paid for the wedding, this practice is less common these days. Your fiancée, not to mention your future in-laws, may find it unfair if you ask them to pay for the whole thing.
Even if they agree, it could potentially cause drama as the day itself approaches. If they’re funding the whole wedding, your bride’s parents might think they should have a say in how the money is spent.
You could ask your parents to pay a smaller portion and ask your fiancée’s family to pay the rest.
Another solution would be to cover part of the bill yourself. This would save you from asking your parents, while avoiding a breakup with your future in-laws.
If you can’t afford it in advance, some major banks offer specialized wedding loans that you can usually repay over a period of up to eight years.
NatWest, for example, offers wedding loans of up to £19,950 at 3.5pc APR, repayable over up to eight years, while Barclays offers loans of up to £15,000 at 7.9pc APR, repayable over a maximum of five years.
Consider this option with caution, however, as too much debt at this stage could cause problems later on, especially if you plan to have children in the near future.
A good way to go might be to talk to your fiancée and work out a compromise. You might decide to go for a smaller, parent-funded wedding that won’t break the bank while making the day special.
Alternatively, you can delay the wedding for about a year, save some money, and pay for it yourself, perhaps with both parents contributing as much as they can afford.