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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?

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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.

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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!!

Had her mother used the child support for her upbringing and expenses, then you would still be having to do your part now for the wedding anyway. Since it sounds like most things are covered, maybe a nice gesture in this case is to offer to buy her wedding dress. She will remember that you bought that wedding dress for her everytime she looks at her album for years to come. If she already has her dress, maybe a nice honeymoon trip? I don't know what your budget is like, as long as whatever you do has a lot of meaning to her, then you have done your part.

why dont you help with the honey moon instead?


First, you aren't obligated or responsible to pay for anything. It's nice that you want to help, but we don't live in a dowry-type society where certain people are responsible for certain payments. She will always be family and I'm sure you will help whenever you can, but technically, she is an adult and on her own (so to speak). Next, the $380 per month you paid for all those years isn't necessarily paying for the wedding. That money could have gone toward anything - education, a car, mission trips around the world... If your stepdaughter wasn't getting married right now, what would happen to the money that went into an account? Was it ever designated as "wedding" money? The wedding may be cheaper than all the money in the account, too, then what would the rest of it go for. The point is, the money was intended to help her however she needed it. It's great that parents / stepparents want to help, but no one is obligated to do anything. I'm sure your stepdaughter will be happy to have whatever you can give her and will understand if that's nothing more than a homemade potholder and your love & prayers. As my grandmother puts it, she will be just as married with a cheap wedding as she would be with a big fancy one. Talk with her up front and ask her if she'd rather have help with the wedding or help down the road. Does she need money or does she need someone to help her run errands and organize? There are lots of ways to help without breaking the bank.

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.

the money you paid for child support is in no way related to her wedding. the fact that her mother saved all of that money for her is amazing, but if it had all been spent, who would pay for the wedding. if her mother wants to pay for the wedding that is also great. if i were you, i think that i would throw her an amazing shower and pay for that, or offer to pay for a rehearsal dinner or something like that. then you will feel that you made the effort to show you are willing to contribute.

If shes using the child support money,,,She isnt paying for anything! Id let her know that,,,,the daughter should be able to keep her out of the child support money if she is 18.
The mom is just trying to look good! As for your husband paying for anything....It isnt a responsibility....its a gift.He should do what makes him happy with helping his daughter. Sorry to sound ugly to you but the child support was not Your responsobility,,,,but his.

From D. in NC,
Do for your step-daughter as you would your daughter. I have three married daughters, and I was so happy my oldest daughter's future mother-in-law "always wanted to cater her only child's wedding reception". Money was tight and I was more than willing to accomadate and so was my daughter.
The issue is not so much obligations and duties, but love. Support your "daughter" any way you can. Enforcing "I've done this", "she's done that",sends a message to your daugher you may one day regret. Just let that go. It will all work out if you do the right thing. Support that step-daughter with all you have and don't have. It will surly come back to you.You may begin to feel a much deeper connection.

Hi G.,
I married a man with grown children 18 years ago and when his daughter got married it was ripe with weird emotions and behaviors. We made it through and now we enjoy a happy closeness. You will need to be VERY adult about everything and check all emotion and zip your mouth at all costs. I would consult with your husband and decide TOGETHER about how much money you would like to give her. Then I would go to her and tell her that you are wanting to help her with her wedding and wish her all the happiness in the world. Is there anything you can do to make her special day a better one, and since the financial end of it seems to be covered here is a gift to start your life together from Dad and I. If there is no money at all in the budget then tell her up front and also mention that you have no way of knowing any unspoken wishes, so please let me know if there was something you do want that I don't know about. This may surprise you. She may want to borrow something from you that you weren't expecting, or she may want to word the invitation in a way that may offend you. My stepdaughter wanted me to be in the wedding and yet asked her dad to leave a space between him and the end of the pew for a place to set a rose to signify her deceased mother's presence. It was a bit awkward for me that day, but she was happy and I just had to get over a few things. Just get it out in the open up front before it is too late.
Best Wishes!

Hey, I'm a mother of three 7,8, and 12. Oh yeah and stepmother to 2 more girls, ages 26 and 22. I was potty training the flower girl and planning the oldest one's wedding at te same time. If mom wants to pay, let her. We had to pay for our wedding and it was a financial burden. Just be there for her in other ways. She will remember the support more than she will remember who paid for what. For me, the girls were mine too, its was a package deal. I went into it with eyes wide open. Just a little question for you-people use to see me with a 3.5 year old, 14 month old and newborn and tell me not worry it gets easier, I use to laugh and say who are you kidding? I have 2 teenage girls at home, and yes they lived full time at home with us. Good Luck and Congradulations to the bride!

How close are you to your step-daughter? How well do you get along with her mother? This is the day that mothers dream about for their daughters. If she can afford to pay for everything and is willing to do so, let her. This also implies that she is in charge of everything, since she is paying. Do you have any idea what part you are going to be playing in the ceremony. Is her father going to walk her down the aisle? is your step-daughter including you in any of the planning? I think it would be a nice gesture to offer to pay for something. I would figure out how much you can afford and offer to pay for something that fits your budget. You could also offer to give them cash to help pay for their honeymoon - the money would be going to the couple and not the mother. This is a very delicate situation. The day of the wedding everyone will be nervous and people can be ugly. Adding lots of guests to witness your interaction with everyone doesn't help, either. I guess the big question is are you going to be treated like parents of the bride at the wedding or just another guest? I do think it is important to "play nice" for the sake of your step-daughter. Good luck!

Let the mother pay for it. Talk to your step-daughter about the situation and ask if there is something else you can do. Maybe errands to run before or after the wedding. There is always something that needs done. The mother is probably very excited. It is great that she was able to put that money back. The shower is actually the bridesmaids responsibility. Although today's traditions don't usually keep to the strict code of who does what. It could be worse!!
I also have a step-daughter that my husband paid $380 a month for. She still stayed part time with us and we also bought her clothes. We did Ok financially, but we also had 2 younger children to take care of. However, when she got married, her mother didn't really think she should marry the guy and refused to pay for any of it. He wasn't a bad guy, just not the guy for her (they are now divorced 8 years later). My husband and I paid for everything but the photographer. The mother had a friend that was taking the pictures.
Well, the mother showed up at the wedding in the new Cadillac that she leased a few days before. When it was time for the pictures to be taken, my husband and I were not "allowed" to have out picture taken because we didn't pay for it. I was very upset and threatened (privately to my husband) to go to the reception and tell 'that side' of the family they couldn't eat because "mother" didn't pay for it. But, no, I didn't do that. I just grinned and bit my tongue. And listend to the guests compliment the mother on what a wonderful job she did. My step-daughter apologized a few days later for the way her mother behaved.
But it was Ok, the mother's husband got drunk, behaved very badly, and embarassed her.

Well, I think first and foremost, giving your step-daughter a beautiful wedding is not a "responsibility" it's a gift. I think you need to change your way of viewing this. Child support is to "support" the child during the first 18 years, not to put in savings to pay for a wedding. The fact that her mother did this is great since she had the money to raise her right but that is not where your "responsibility" ends. A parent is a parent for life, not till they turn 18 and get married.

If she is not asking for help I don't see what the problem is. If she comes and askes for help with something then I think you should do what you can. I don't think that any parent should go into debt for their childs wedding. But I do think that you should do what you CAN if she askes her Father. I would hope that her mother has told her that the funds are coming from her child support and if she is mature enough to get married than she is mature enough to understand that it was "your" money that is helping pay.

If she's using the old child support money, then I look at that as the both of you paying for the wedding. Either way, it doesn't really matter as long as her wedding is paid for. I think you should do whatever your heart leads you to do. I'm sure her mother will buy her a nice gift in addition to paying for the wedding, most parents do. So, maybe you guys could ask them what things they need? My parents paid for most of my wedding, and they bought us a washer and dryer as a wedding gift (and took over my car payments, but that's excessive). My in-laws paid for the rehearsal dinner and a few little things, and as their gift to us they paid for our honeymoon, which I will always be so very grateful for. It sounds like everyone has a good relationship, so I'd just discuss it with your step-daughter. I'm sure she'll understand your position, and she might just have the perfect solution.

I am in a kinda of similar situation, we have a 17 year step daughter, her father and I have been married since she was 7. Her high school graduation is 2009 and I am not sure what they expect us to pay for. I have split prom with her before to find out the dress she choose look like some out of Hugh Heifer's playmate closet so I stopped. Her mom is remarried and they are financially okay. We are not too strapped but we also have a 9 year old that we pay for and his future. Regarding your situation if you are on a friendly term w/ her mom have a wedding party brunch at your house or outside under some party tents, you can make the food and make it casual, or if you wanted to spend a certain dollar amount just give it to them either for their honeymoon or future furniture purchase.

Well where do I start, I do believe you giving her a shower is a good thing. If her mother is well off and wants to pay, good for her and let her have at it. At least her father did hid part and most don't do that. Make sure she has something new, barrowed, and something blue. And don't stress over the rest. I think they are off to a good start and if you have a good relationship with her, just be there for her if she needs ya'll. By the way I don't think the mom should use the child support money for the wedding I think she should give it to the couple for a down payment on a home. God Bless and Good Luck

I am not saying you should or should not pay for any of the wedding. However, I do think her mother has done a great thing by saving the money instead of wasting it. Had her mother not married a wealthy man, I am sure the child support money would have been used to care for the child. What she did with the money is neither her nor there your husband had a responsibility to help support the child he help to bring into the world and the same rule applies for the mother. Why she has not contributed to her child's rearing since she has been living with you may be an agreement with your husband. No you have not paid on the wedding because she is using the savings. Your thoughfulness in giving the shower is probably more than enough and having four parents that seem to love her on her wedding day I think means more to her than any dollar amount. If you feel you need to do something more I think helping them to start out in life with furniture or one or two month's rent or house note would be a better use of money.

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.

I think that young couple is lucky to have so many people that love them so much and also to be so well provided for.
I don't know what the correct "etiquette" in the situation may be, but I think that everything seems to be taken care of and you should just relax and enjoy. I think the shower is a great idea (or even a maiden party- girls night out or something). I also think that there will be plenty of times in your stepdaughters life when she (or they) will turn to you for help, financial or otherwise. My thought is to just to keep being there for her when she needs you. She'll ask you, I'm sure:)

I am assuming that the 2 kids are from your husband. Your husband had an obligation to take care of his daughter. He paid his child support which you keep emphasizing. Regardless of whether or not the birth mother married a wealthy man, it was not his responsibility to care for your husband's child. You are selfish! Since she is getting married and the mother is paying for the wedding, you all should still offer or give her something. Again, you are very selfish! If you were to divorce your husband, would you keep emphasizing the "child support" and would you want him to cut his ties with your kids? I think you are a very selfish B----!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You need to put yourself in the mother's place and then you would know the answer!!!!!!

I would suggest asking your stepdaughter what it the best thing to do. I'm not sure about etiquette in this instance, but in some cases, what the bride thinks or feels trumps "etiquette" anyway. You don't want her wedding to be a sore spot with her. First she ought to understand that this money that her mom is spending on her wedding is actually your husband's money. If her mom did actually save all of the child support money, then $380/mo for 10 years is over $45,000 plus interest. That sounds like it should be more than enough for a wedding. If I were your stepdaughter, I'd be ashamed of asking for more. In fact, I'd only spend a small portion of it and have a simple but beautiful wedding, and save the rest for the house.

I was in your step-daughters situation when I married, however, I was 28. My father has a wife with no children and had difficult time giving "her" money to me. My father paid child support and then put me through college with no loans. He lost his job several years later and had minimal money.

My mother and wealthy husband paid for my expensive (well, average!) wedding. My father had a talk with me, which was appreciated, about his finances. I stress that it was appreciated because the money that he did give was special to me. He sent me a check and then offered to help out with the planning or with whatever I needed.

I wanted him to feel less like a dollar amount, so I asked him to make the program for the wedding...and a few other things. He was elated.

So, long story short, he gave what he could, helped out non-monitarily (both he and his wife) and made sure everything was communicated to me. I suggest that either you or your husband talk with her and explain your situation, offer to give a little and offer to help because you love her and want to be a part of her big day.

My two cents worth.
First, the child support you mentioned. If your husband paid $380 a month for what I am estimating is 10 years, the mother received $45,600. If she saved all of that money, that would be one heck of a wedding, or a decent downpayment on a college education or house. However, I have a young friend who is a single mom, and that $380 would pay about half of her tiny apartment's rent (nothing for food or clothing) so as tough as it might have been for your budget, it was not an obscene amount for a father to pay for his child. At least your husband paid it, which is more than I can say for hers.
As far as child support goes, let it go. It was part of the divorce, which I'm guessing wasn't easy on child or parent.

The wedding. The mom wants to pay, let her pay. How fancy of a wedding is this going to be? If you feel that you should contribute, talk to her about it. Maybe you could pay for the photographer, or part of the flowers. If not, or if a conversation is not practical (i.e. you don't talk) figure out something REALLY nice for a gift that the couple could use. The groom's family is traditionally responsible for the rehearsal dinner and the bride's flowers and the honeymoon. Maybe this isn't traditional and they could use some help with that. The groom and bride could have some ideas there.

Whatever happens, keep the communications lines open between you and your husband, and you and your stepdaughter. Weddings are very stressful. If you need to step back, do it with grace.

hi, my name is R.. i don't want to sound mean but i was a mother that got child support and my husband paid child support. it was none of my ex's business what i did with the money just as it was the same for my husband. the mother cared for ,feed, cleaned schooled, etc. as did i. and housed. it takes money for everything. as for her saving the money, if she went out and bought a new wardrobe. she still care for your husband daughter and it sounds like see did it well. as for your part of the wedding. just ask "what can we do" simple as that. if you are told nothing just say we are hear. let us know. after all it is your step daughters day and you all love her and want her to have that special day. maybe you could help with a honeymoon. what ever happens i hope it is a beautiful day and everyone has a wonderful time. blessings to you all, R.

I don't think that you are obligated anymore, however you do have a moral obligation to help her out. It doesn't matter that she saved the child support to pay for the wedding. Her dad still had to pay it. It is the same as if he paid the child support and it was used for housing, cloths, food, books, ect. Now she has a wedding. Well if that money was spent on the housing and cloths, etc., there would still be the issue of how to pay for the wedding.
Now.... that is fine that her mom married a wealthy man. Whatever they want to do and can do is fine.
I wouldn't go into debt to help her out with the wedding. If she needs her dad to help with something, that should be an issue of whether you have the money or not. If you don't have the money, then you can't do anything and if that is the case I would set her down and explain to her a little about the finances and let her know that he will do anything needed to be done but this amount is all that he has that he can do. Don't feel like he has to compete with the mom or do someting if she does. You may have to do more in the volunteering your services to cut some cost if you don't pitch in money wise. But I bet the girl will understand and won't hold it against her dad.

my 1st thought that came to mind was "she's awfully young to be getting married." but that's not the issue. the wedding is not your resposibility. and her mother is not really offering to pay for the wedding since it's your $ shes been saving that she's planning on paying for it with. i think that saved child support $ would be better put to use as college $ or a down payment on their dream house. there are many ways to save on a wedding that can take the burden off you and her mom. but whatever...whatever you decide to do or not do for her wedding is your decision. but if you do want to help, just tell her, this is wat we can do for you and this is what he can afford to do it with. i love you and good luck in the future. paying for wedding plans is more of a gift of love than a responsibily anyway.

Hi G. - here is how I feel about your situation... My parents were divorced when I was around 16 years old. My dad payed child support for me until I was 18, I also have a younger sister that he paid for. When I got married (the first time) my parents slipt the costs and I didn't go all out. Granted, we had a nice wedding, but it was not at all something spectacular or over the top. It was under 5,000.00 at best, probably considerably less than that even. As I recall, my dad paid for the catering, which a friend did for less than $500 and I think he paid for my dress which was $300, I found it on clearance. They flowers, I think they split, again I think around $500. the inlaws paid for rehearsal dinner, which was at a Little Caesars - go figure... and our honeymoon was a gift from a client of the place where I worked at the time, so we came out really well, Like I said it doens't sound like much, but we really did have a nice wedding. I wish I could send you pictures so you could see for yourself. I feel that the money put aside for her should be given to them to help with rent of an apartment or a downpayment for a house. Understand that I'm by no means saying GIVE it to them to spend as they wish. It should be handled very carefully, even though I'm sure they think they are grown up and mature, we all know that 19 years olds still have a lot of growing up to do. Coming from the situation myself, I just think all costs should be split but the 2 sides of her family and also let the future in laws do what they should/can also - if I recall correctly, their responsibility is the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. I hope this all works out for you, don't let the situation casue heartache for the bride to be. It can be devastating to her - trust me, I've been there.

Best wishes!!

I am a wedding planner and event decorator all over the country. I face issue like this all the time.
It is very nice of the mother to step in and offer to pay for the wedding. Even if it might be the child support money that paid for this wedding you are still responsible to help in some respect. The fact that the mother was wise enough to put the money in a savings account plays no part in your non obligation to a special day for your husband's daughter.
Let me give you a few ideas that will not cost you much money, but will require your family to pitch in as a personal touch. Anyone can buy a gift, but a special touch, your time and love will show.
1) Find out where the honeymoon will be and go there the morning of the wedding and decorate the cabin or hotel room. Only let her husband in on the surprise so you can get the location and key. Cut flowers, silk rose petals on the bed, a gift basket with snacks and food for the morning after knowing they will probley want to sleep in. A bottle of non alcoholic champagne, balloons, a keep sake book with notes you have ask friends and family to write in weeks prior to the wedding. Possibley even pictures of the couple and family together. You will see how much fun you will have and memories for a lifetime.
2) Help prepare those items for the wedding. Stuff envelopes, helping set up the give-aways for the guest, create a program (with the brides blessing) for the ceremony and or reception, offer to help with the after-the-wedding chores (such as, taking back the tuxes, getting the wedding dress and gifts to their home, freezing the top of the wedding cake, dry out the brides bouque, and just help clean up to make sure everything is as it was before the wedding. You have no idea how much this will mean to your step daughter. This is what the wedding planner usually does. Sense there is no wedding planner, this will be a big help.
One last very important thing to remember...
Tell you husband to take just a couple of minutes right before he walks his daughter down the isle to say something to her that will last a lifetime. It will be the last time for the night that he will have her undivided attention. The rest of the guest will want their few minutes with her. It will go so fast.
Don't forget to have him thank his ex-wife for her generious support for this wedding. Possibley, a dance with her, a thank you in the toast, or even a nice card. This should be from him to her. A wedding can be a very touchy event. Nothing against you, but this is one of those times when you must take a back seat as a sign of respect to your step daughter. Remember, it is her day and should be respected as an event that is done her way and her way only. I have no doubt you only want her to have the best day ever....good luck and may God bless!

OK.. Stop. it really doesn't matter who her mother married, and how much money he has. It is really not your or your husbands business what she has done with "all that money" that he has paid. Maybe she has put that money away to help pay for college. It is her mother's money to do with as she sees fit. It is not your step daughters money until her mother gives it to her, if she chooses to do so.

I am sorry if i have ranted... My ex-husband used to try to tell my what I could and couldn't do with child support. i finally sat down for an entire month and wrote out every dime that I spent for food, rent, clothing.... for our son. When I sent him a bill for around $1100 for my son's part of the expenses, he stopped bitching about how I chose to spend the $300 a month. It really isn't the child's money, it is a reimbursement to the custodial parent. Think about it realistically.

Now for the wedding, The bride's parents are equally responsible for the expenses of the wedding unless there are budgeting issues and disparities between the incomes. In that case, volunteer only as much as you can afford, reserving enough $$$ for a wedding gift and shower expenses. Give the rest in cash to the MOTB and be satisfied that you and your hsuband have chosen to be a partof it all. This will stop any hurt feeling and bickering. Discuss it all with the Bride and then leave it alone.

No one actually "owes" any child a big, fancy wedding. It is traditional for the bride's parents to pay for a wedding, and traditionally, that wedding was planned by the parents with minimal input from the bride and none from the family of the groom except possible a guest list. The family planned a wedding that fit their finances, whether that was cake and punch or a six course meal and orchestra at the country club.
The bride was married from her parents' house, where she still lived, and moved to her husband's house.

These days, everyone thinks they need a huge affair (believe me, I was in the business for years) and the selfish ones think that their parents should mortgage the house to pay for it. More reasonable couples, especially couples who are established in jobs, usually pay part or all of the costs themselves. So the new rule is, if the parents are paying, the parents plan according to their ability to pay. If the couple is paying, they can have whatever they want and can finance.

As you're dealing with two sets of parents for the bride, generally the parent the child lives with plans and asks for a contribution from the other parent (often demanding money the other parent can't or won't pay.) But you don't have that problem, as her mother is willing to pay. In this case, her mother gets to do the planning. In order to keep family peace and be polite, she should tell you how many guests you are allowed to invite, ideally giving the groom's family half the spaces, and splitting the rest with you, though she may give you fewer if her family is larger, etc. If you need to invite more people than she says, you should offer to pay for dinner for the extra number you wish to invite. You should pay for your dress, your husband's tux, and whatever your children wear, even if they're in the wedding party. If you will travel to the wedding location, you should pay for your own hotel rooms and travel expenses. That's really all you need to do, but as a gesture of love and support for your daughter, you might offer to pay for a specific part of the wedding, such as the flowers (be careful, a rich mom might buy LOTS of flowers) or the champagne or the limo, if you're having one.

The thing that is NOT your responsibility is the shower. Traditionally, a shower is not given by an immediate family member, as that implies asking for gifts for your family. Showers are given by the bridesmaids, by a friend of the bride's or groom's mother, or possibly by an aunt. Showers are not properly given by mothers or sisters. However, many people now do it anyway, and if that's the custom among your friends, then giving her a shower is nice of you.

P.S. It would be nice if you wear whatever color the bride's mom asks you to wear and not fight with her about it.

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