38 answers

Step Daughter Getting Married

My step daughter is getting married in September. She will graduate in June, turn 19 in August and get married in September. I am really glad that she has decided to get married instead of just live with the guy. Her mom has told her that she will pay for the wedding. My husband and I have been together since she was about 7 and we paid $380 a month until she moved in with us about a year ago. Her mom married a wealthy man so the child support she got went into an account for my step daughter so that is why she is agreeing to pay for it. My question is this...with her mom paying for the wedding with the money that we gave her for child support, do we still have a responsibility to pay for anything? I want to support her and do whatever we can to help her out but we paid the child support all those years and have not received anything since she has stayed with us so I feel like we have paid our part. I would just like to hear some opinions especially if anyone has ever been in a situation like this. I am planning on giving her a shower but I am not sure what else "our" responsibities are!!

Please understand...her mom volunteered to pay for all of the wedding. She is getting the dress, having the wedding catered, and getting the flowers and everything that is needed. My step daughter and her fiance are getting married at the fire dept where he volunteers so there is no rental fees or anything. My husband and I are on a tight budget and I am not saying that we have paid all that we are going to or that we are going to stop being parents to her but her mom has the money and again has volunteered to pay! So I was looking for suggeations as to other options that we could do. After they get married they already have a place to stay "rent free" for a while so they can save and build their dream house. My oldest child is only 9 so I am not familiar with the other responsibilities of wedding so that is where my request to you all comes in.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi Gerri,
I just went through a very similar situation. My step-daughter got married this past November. Her mom as well as her now new husbands parents paid for quite a bit of the wedding. My husband and I have three kids together and live out of state now. We helped out wherever we could paying for the flowers, DJ and limo - my father is a pastor and performed the ceremony and my mom played the organ. We then gave them as generous a wedding gift as we could. We did not pay near as much as the other sets of parents for what ended up being quite an expensive wedding, but we were pleased to help where we could. My recommendation would be to offer to help where you can and try not to over extend. It seems they don't want to do too an elaborate wedding, so there should not be too much, but you should offer some. If nothing else, give them a nice gift to help them start off. Good luck and try and enjoy this time - it all goes by fast.

I think the child support money is completely separate from a wedding. That said, it doesn't sound as though she is in need of anything. Communication is everything! Just speak with her, let her know that you are here and if there is anything she needs to make this a perfect wedding to let you know and you'll see what you can do to help. She shouldn't feel like child support = wedding. Sounds like she is well grounded and will be understanding if you can't contribute a lot financially. Just because the mother is remarried to someone who has money, it is not his obligation to take it all on. But if he is willing (and sounds like he is) than it is wonderful.

More Answers

I didn't read your responses, but I'd just say instead of monetary investments, offer any 'services' that you're able to (running errands, helping fix food, decorating, etc). Don't let her feel as if you think you've 'paid your dues' by paying child support. Also let them know that you'll 'always be there for them'.

Usually the groom's parents pay for the rehearsal dinner and the bride's parents pay for the wedding, if able. Since you and your husband is the bride's family,you could give them a wedding gift that could go toward their honeymoon. Or, you can pay for their lodging while on their honeymoon. If you can afford it, you could give them $1k toward it, or even $500. The only thing about your reasoning is that the child support you paid was for the support of the child. If the mom chose to save it and not use it, that is her choice. It is actually a nice gesture that she did not use it and is able to do this for her daughter. This is completely another issue and has nothing to do with what you do for the daughter's wedding. For example, even if the mom had NOT saved the money, you would still have given that money and still give a wedding gift or help with the wedding as you are able. It has nothing to do with the daugther and her wedding. It is just where the mom is taking the money from. In my situation, my mom paid for some as she could afford (parents divorced) and my dad just gave me a certain amount of money to do with it as I chose. I used it for what my mom did not cover and if she had covered it all, I would have used it toward our honeymoon. The best advice is that you should tell your step daughter that you would like to help and have $ X amount to give, "what would she like you to pay for with that money?"
....ie: photographer, flowers, cake, etc Hope this helps! I know it is hard b/c she is not your own and you have paid so much over the years but consider if it were your own daughter and her situation was similar. Look at it this way, as of now, she is 18 and you no longer have to pay almost $400 a month! You could give her $1k and still be good in two months! Hope this helps!

W. M. M'boro, TN

Protocols are very flexible in this day and age. My daughter got married in Dec. We paid for all[even traditional groom family stuff] because we could and the grooms family could not.

I would totally accept this arrangement without any uneasiness. [especially since you already did your part through the years]...

Focus instead on a meaningful gift [which does not necessarily mean extravagant] - and accept the blessing of zero pressure to come up with the funds...

Sounds like her Mom is very dedicated. Let her do it. :) However, you obviously want to do something special besides the shower, which is very commendable of you to offer to do. Make the shower wonderful and that is enough, but if you feel like you need/want to do more you could offer to do a rehearsal dinner or pre-wedding breakfast. Sounds like the situation is under control. If her Mom is using the child supprot to pay for the wedding then you have done your part financially. :) Enjoy the wedding and don't feel obligated to do more.

First, you are a very thoughtful stepmom to want to do what you can for your stepdaughter. There are no rules for your responsibilities for the wedding. Traditionally the bride's family pays for the wedding and in this case, the mother has offered. Your stepdaughter is very fortunate to also have a stepfather who has been willing to support her as well. You need to realize that the only reason your child support money is still there is because of her generous stepfather. If he had not provided for her all these years, the child support would be gone and your husband would be faced with the same situation everyone else is faced with...paying to raise a child and helping with the wedding. I would suggest that you and your husband talk to your stepdaughter's mom and make sure she is paying for everything since you are getting this information from the daughter. If her mother does not need any financial help with the wedding, it's a great time to be gracious and offer to help in other ways. You could help address invitations or make wedding favors. Maybe you and your husband could pay for a nice hotel suite for their wedding night. It would be a nice ending to what hopefully will be one of the best days in your family's life. Good luck.

Hi G.,
There seems to be no problem here. The shower you provide will be a lovely and generous contribution. If her bio-mom is paying, just accept graciously and move on. You'll enjoy the festivities even more as it seems her mother is financially willing and able to provide the wedding of "her" dreams for her daughter. As a mother of a daughter and a step mother to another daughter, I see both sides of this equation. I rented a huge historical house well equiped and roomy enough for my own daughter's baby shower. I paid for not only my own guests but the guests of her mother-in-law and step mother, there were over 130 guests. I wanted to do this for my own daughter. I'm thinking that's how your step daughter's mom feels. My step daughter's wedding was financed by her mom as well. We did however pay for her dress. This seems to be of no problem financially for your step daughter's mother, so again, attend and have a good time. Seems to me the only thing you have to concern yourself with is the wedding gift. Providing a shower for your step daughter and the gifts, wedding and shower gifts, will cost plenty and it sounds as if it will be appreciated by all. Good luck with everything.

Hi G.,

I think you and your husband have done enough for the soon to be bride...just be there for her...I'm sure some small expenses will come up...don't worry be happy...if she needs something she will ask...let the mom and rich hubby...use their money...why sweat it....use your extra money to buy you a nice dress to wear...to look better than the ex-wife...and enjoy the wedding...maybe you could offer to pay for pictures or something...I would not worry about how to give away my money...


How great that your step daughter's mother married a wealthy man and was able to and wanted to help care for your husband's daughter. As for $380 a month, that did not even come close for the amount her mother spent on her over the past 10 or so years. I am sure coming from a divorced family myself that your husband did offer other assistance over the years a few dollars here or a hundred there. Or at least I hope he did!! As for the mother paying for the wedding if she offered then that is WONDERFUL. I really hope that if she saved all or even half of that money that your step daughter is not using that ALL for the wedding. That is a little much having a 20,000-45,000 dollar wedding I don't care what the average is these days!!

As for your husbands part, I think you should ask if there is anything you can help with, setting up, tearing down, picking up stuff, etc....as for financial help...a meal for the wedding party the day of the wedding, helping pay for the honeymoon (who cares about tradition), or buying a nice wedding gift that is in your budget. As for the child suppoet, that is not an issue of whos money that is. That is NOT your contribution to the wedding. When that money left your husbands hand that became his ex wife's to do what she needed to to care for the child. It should not even be in the conversation.

This is all coming from a child of a divorsed family. If my mom offered (which she did pay a lot of my wedding) and she only got $100 a month for 15 years in child support. If my dad would have told me his child support was helping to pay for the wedding I would have been VERY VERY upset. CDhild support is totally different. The trusth in this is the MOTHER is paying for the wedding because SHE WANTS TOO!! So I think you all need to show much appritiation for this and not bring up the child support and just show your support to the mother and daughter offering to help if they need you!!

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