Providing Money for Adult Children's Wedding.

Updated on March 14, 2019
C.R. asks from Cataract, WI
21 answers

My daughter and son in law have lived together for 14 years. They have children together. They have planned their wedding and have not asked us for any input or money. The parent's names, on both sides, are not on the invitations. Neither set of parents has been given the opportunity to include anyone on the guest list. The bills are starting to come in and lately we feel they are wanting us to provide money to the wedding expenses. We had intended to write a generous check as a wedding gift but now what do we do?

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So What Happened?

Thank you to everyone who responded to my question. Let me clarify something. When I said that the parent's names are not on the invitations I was meaning that "this is their party." Also, the wedding is very small, although I have offered to pay so some relatives could come that would not have been invited. They have budgeted well but, as in everything, there have been some unexpected expenses. Next, I have a wonderful relationship with my daughter. I guess the mom was coming out in me. As parents we always want things to go smoothly for our children so my question was more of my attempt at a step back to gain perspective rather than to jump in and try to help. Lastly, to those who seemed, to me, a bit "harsh, critical or aggressive" just WOW! Again thank you.

More Answers


answers from Boston on

I think it's refreshing that 2 adults with a family and 14 years of history are doing this on their own. I think you should congratulate yourselves on raising an independent daughter who waited until the time was right to get married, and who did not impose any of this on you.

It would be inappropriate for parents' names to be on the invitations if it's not your party. I do think it's unusual that they have not asked you for the names of close friends or relatives who might like to witness this, but then again, they've been together a long time so maybe they think either it would look like a gift-grab or it would be an expense for them to include your friends. Maybe they ARE inviting some of those people and they just haven't told you, because they want to do it themselves and they know how to get hold of people who are important to them.

I think a lot depends on how you know the bills are coming in. Are they moaning and wringing their hands, wondering how to pay off these expenses while still making the mortgage and paying for kids' shoes? Or are you just overhearing her tell him, "Hey, the caterer wants a deposit by Friday"? The first means they overspent or they are hinting; the second means they aren't hiding from you.

I'm not sure what your relationship is with her re financial matters, and whether you can talk openly or it's an area of conflict where you have perhaps disapproved of her decisions in the past. If you're open, you can just ask. But it doesn't sound like that. So, if you have argued about this in the past or if you think she's been extravagant and now is expecting a bailout, be careful getting into that. If you don't want to be asked to cover a deficit of unknown proportions, you might decide on a specific amount and ask if she'd like a check for X now, a wedding gift (I don't know if they have a registry or if you have a family heirloom to hand down), or if she'd like it put into a college fund for the kids. What I would not do is leave it open ended - if you have $1000 in mind but think she might ask for $10,000 if you say just "I'd like to help since it's so expensive," you could get in over your head and wind up with hard feelings.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Stick with your original plans. If they mention that bills are starting to come in, just say something general like "Yes, weddings are expensive." Then change the subject. If they straight up ask if you are contributing, say no. Then you can tell them that you planned to give them some money as a wedding gift, and you can give it to them early if they want (if you are ok with this). But make it clear that there won't be any additional gift on the wedding day if you give them the early gift now. And your gift is what it is, not negotiable.

By the way, I think this is a perfectly acceptable way to handle it both on their part and on yours. As full-fledged adults with kids, they should plan, host, and take responsibility for their own wedding - exactly as they are doing. As the parent of an established adult, you don't need to offer to pay for anything and having a set amount that you plan to give as a gift is perfect - exactly as you are doing. So yay to everyone involved for being mature adults! But, it might make things a little less stressful for them to plan if they have some idea that a generous check (with a specific set amount) is coming their way on the wedding day.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I think it would be great for you and your husband to take the couple out to lunch or something and let them know what you are willing to do. Maybe have a check ready for them and say that you are so excited for them and want to give them a little something to help with the expenses.

I think it's really important for you to think of this as a gift for them and not expect them to ask for your input or to allow you to add to the guest list. Similarly, I don't think it's appropriate for them to expect you to pay for anything and to see this as a gift.

This isn't about having your name on the invitation or anything. This is about you wanting to give them a little help in paying for their day.

11 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

If they haven't asked you for money, why are you thinking they want money? They have organized their wedding in a way that says they are doing this for themselves. I suggest offering them money could seem to them that you don't trust their ability to manage their wedding. I suggest it may imply that you are treating them as children and expect that giving money will give you an opportunity to be more involved in their wedding plans. It may feel intrusive.

Successful relationships are based on honesty and openness. I expect my family and friends to tell me what they want/need. I resent people who second guess my plans without talking directly to me. Your daughter is an adult with children and is in a 14 year relationship. She is mature and not asking for money.

Instead of offering money, I suggest you ask her how you can help? Whether or not you gift her with a check early is your decision only. A gift is just that; a gift for them to use as they decide. By offering with intent to help with expenses it's no longer a gift. Asking if they need help with money can be seen as being overly involved and implies that they are unable to manage their own lives. I say this without knowing your relationship with your daughter. To me, your hesitancy to offer, sounds like you're aware of possibility that your offering might complicate the situation.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I can't imagine they would expect you to pay for their wedding expenses - unless that's the kind of relationship you have. Do you cover their bills currently?

I would simply offer them your intended gift early, if you feel it would help out.


Read your SWH. I still don't follow why you can't just ask us if she needs the funds ahead of time.

Also, not sure how the names, guest list, uninvited relatives .. plays into this.

No one is doubting your love for your daughter - you sound like a very loving mom wanting to be involved and help out. I just can't follow your question. Are you concerned that the wedding won't be all it can be (due to expenses?). It sounds like you have a concern but are having trouble getting it across.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

It's great they are organizing it and paying for it themselves. After all, they are adults with children and their own incomes. My advice is offer them a check if you want to as a wedding gift. With NO strings attached. If you don't want to then don't do it. Besides that don't ask to invite people unless they ask if you want to.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

You "feel" they are wanting you to provide money? How so?
Honestly just leave it alone and let them figure it out. If they want to ask you for financial help let them do it, and you can decide whether you want to or not.
And I wouldn't tie any offer to help based on my name on the invite or adding people to the list. That just sounds petty.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Why do you feel they are wanting you to provide money to the wedding expenses?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If you were planning on giving them a generous check for a wedding gift I'd probably give them the card and check now so they can use it as they see fit and then stop worrying about the expenses. They'll figure it out.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Toledo on

I just read your SWH, and I think you are coming from a beautiful, loving place. It sounds like you have a wonderful relationship with your daughter, and you are really just trying to figure out how you can best show your support and help her celebrate.

It sounds like she and her fiance have things under control, for the most part, and you can choose how you want to give them their gift. You can give it to them now or at the wedding, but either way, as long as you tell them you love them and are thrilled to celebrate with them, I'm sure they will know that you are simply giving them a gift and wishing them all the best.

I know if my parents did that for me, I would be a crying mess, but I would once again be reminded of how amazing they are and how much I love them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm not sure where the confusion comes in. they haven't asked you for money. you already planned to give them money. what makes you feel that they are wanting you to do what you already planned to do, and why does that create a dilemma?

i've found that if one wants to know how other people are feeling about something, a courteous and direct conversation is the best way to find out.

with both our kids we told them straight up how much money we could contribute to their weddings, and that this money would be their wedding present. then they could plan for how much of this gift they wanted to put toward wedding expenses, and how much to have for life goals after the wedding. we didn't offer to take on any of the expenses directly except for the rehearsal dinners.

btw, i hope all weddings take place between 'adult children.'


4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Welcome to MamaPedia!

There is absolutely nothing "harsh, critical or aggressive" below!

Many of the moms here have been involved in weddings of their own "adult children".

If the responses seem like they were written by people who don't know you personally, don't know how much money you have in your bank account, don't have intimate knowledge of your family relationships...well, that's because it is very unlikely that anyone here knows all of that about you!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I love Diane B’s answer. I couldn’t offer a better one.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

have they asked you for money? If not? then you don't do anything. If she (your daughter) is venting to you? So be it. Ask her, "honey are you venting or are you shyly asking for money?" don't assume anything.

If you had planned on writing them a check, then do so. As a gift at the wedding and keep it discreet.

When you say your names aren't on the invitations, do you mean that it doesn't state

CR and CM are pleased to announce the marriage of their daughter or you were NOT invited to the wedding?? Our wedding invitations stated S. and John....

if you're NOT on the invitation, I don't have a problem with that if you're not paying for it. If you're not invited? Well then I'd have a tad bit of a problem with that.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

The bills are starting to come in.
How do you know about this?
Are they telling you about it?
If they are - then that is a rather backhanded invitation for you to step in and rescue them from their wedding bills.
They are adults - parents even - and they haven't yet figured out how to live within their means?
If that's the case then this will be an important lesson for them.

Weddings can be expensive - but they don't have to be.
They could have done a justice of the peace wedding or even eloped - and they could have a small reception after the fact.
They are an established family - what could they possibly need for wedding gifts?
The traditional gifts for setting up a household don't really apply to them.
Maybe a romantic pair of crystal candle sticks - I still wouldn't spend a lot of money on that.
Instead they chose to whip out their wallet/credit cards and rack up some bills.

If you had a set amount in mind to give as a gift then stick with that amount.
Do not go into debt for this or give them any amount that would mean making a hardship for yourself.
Their bills are their problem and they will deal with them.
Any time they mention their bills - change the subject or cut the call short.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If you were going to give a generous check as a wedding gift, I would go ahead and give it to them now. Its their party so they get to invite whom they want. I think this is a little tricky because they have lived together for a long period of time. Follow their lead and enjoy the day!! Congratulations to your daughter and her intended.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Sounds like they want something small. And would like to show their independence by paying for everything. I would just come out and ask if you think they need financial help. Or wait till they ask you. I am sure since they have been together for so long they feel like it's their responsibility.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I am confused I guess, I don't understand why parents' names would be on a wedding invitation. My parents' names nor his parents' names were ever on ours, when we got married. We paid for our own wedding, but my mom offered to buy my dress and accessories, which was a nice gesture, and I didn't expect anything more, because honestly, I was going to buy all that myself. I was unemployed at the time, so it was very much appreciated. She also paid for a limo and videographer, which I thought was over the top, but hey, her money, her choice. If I ever remarry at any point, again, I won't expect her to do anything/buy anything for me... Why are you thinking they want you to pay for the wedding and what exactly is the issue? If you planned to give a generous check, what has changed that? Why not still give that check and let them manage their own wedding and expenses? Don't most parents give their kids some sort of wedding gift, either money, or something from their wedding registry? And why would they need to invite any of your friends or guests, when it is THEIR wedding, meaning, they invite THEIR friends and family, not YOUR friends? Like I said, I am very confused by all of this.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Wait you mean your kid is not asking for money and youre mad about it? Why would your name be on the invitation? Why would you invite people its not your wedding?? Sorry but you need to butt out



answers from Chicago on

Show them this letter. If you didn't have any input/guest privileges why should you pay for a party they are giving? How would you react if one of your close friends planned a party,invited you and then asked you to pay for the food or liquor for their party?



answers from New York on

Several friends and family gave us gifts in advance of the wedding. Feel free to do the same.

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