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Sister's wedding.. who pays what?

  • 10-05-2012 4:15pm
    Registered Users Posts: 27 ✭✭✭ notaplumber

    Hi all,

    My sister's wedding in occurring in the next few weeks and I've a bit of a dilemma!!

    Our father died 20+ years ago, and since I'm the only son, and eldest in the family, I feel that I should take his place when it comes to paying for the wedding.

    Is it still normal for the "Father of the bride" to pay for the wedding, or are "those days" gone?

    Anyhow, my other sister got married 3 years ago, had a small wedding with no more than 40 guests in total and i paid for the lot... cost about euro4000 for everything.. Car hire/ musician/ reception/ band etc.

    However, my other sister is planning on having 200 guests, a more expensive car etc etc.

    Now, she has said that she has being saving hard for the past 2 years, but I wouldn't think that she would have managed to have saved that much in these poorer financial times.

    Either way, do you think I should be putting my hand in my pocket and pay the full costs which would involve me getting a credit union loan, or should I pay about the same as I paid for the other sister's wedding... e4000?

    Having chatted informally with my sister about the upcoming nuptials and the associated costs, I reckon it's costing e25,000.

    I personally think that considering the times we are in, a cheaper plan should be drawn up, but my sister is adamant that it's "Her day", and anyhow, it's all planned at this stage.

    Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

    The wedding itself is in 3 weeks so I believe everything is booked by now, my dilemma, is how much of the total cost I should pay for...(as the "Big brother").


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,427 ✭✭✭✭ Sleepy

    Fair play to you, you really stepped up to a mark you were under no obligation to step up to there. Most couples pay for their own weddings in this day and age and, while it's not unusual to have some financial assistance from parents (ranging from a few hundred quid to covering the meal), I can only think of one where the father of the bride paid for the whole thing.

    There's no way you could be expected to cover the cost of a 25k wedding (or even a 4k one imho) for your sister and tbh I think it's incredibly generous of you that you did. After doing it for one, however, I think there'll probably be an expectation that you'd give your second sister an equal gift as the first so in your position I'd be giving her a bank draft for the 4k in a card (though, tbh, in your shoes unless I'd inherited everything on the expectation I'd be taking care of my sisters when the first was getting married I wouldn't have paid for everything either)

    Even €500 is typically regarded as a very generous gift from a sibling, €4k is breath-takingly so.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,653 ✭✭✭ I am pie

    Yeah, fair play. Tell the sister getting married now that you're going to give her the same that the sister received previously. Give her the 4 grand, which btw is more than generous.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,324 ✭✭✭✭ Cathmandooo

    Definitely no requirement to be paying, not at all.

    It was her decision to have a big wedding, if she says she has saved for it then let her at it.

    An extremely generous gesture would be to give the same amount as you gave the other sister. But again not necessary.

    Personally I'd never accept that sort of money from my brother.

  • Registered Users Posts: 72 ✭✭✭ Inishowen lady

    Wow your a great brother :)
    Think it would be fairest to give the same as you gave your other sister.

  • Registered Users Posts: 68,333 ✭✭✭✭ seamus

    Yep, fair play to you as others have said. You've been under no obligation to put forward that level of finance.

    These days it's not the "done thing" for the father of the bride to pay for the wedding. Many of the more traditional men may still insist on paying for it, or call it their "wedding gift", but it is definitely not something that anyone would require of the bride's father.

    As others have said, a gift of the same €4k would be an extraordinarily generous one, and would avoid any implications of favouritism (if such a thing would be an issue). If you don't like the idea of a straight-up gift, you could offer to pay for the honeymoon.

    But you shouldn't feel obliged as the "man of the house" to contribute such huge figures.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 27 ✭✭✭ notaplumber

    Thanks to all who answered so quickly.

    The idea of contributing the same amount e4000 to this sister had been floating around in my mind........ and I think that's exactly what I'll do.

    I was at no time ever going to pay less towards one sister's wedding than the other's but I agree e25,000 is a lot nowadays. (Always was I suppose).

    I agree that she is choosing to have a large wedding and as a result she should pay, or at least her and her fiance.... along with the contribution from me, the "Big brother".

    Thanks again.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,423 ✭✭✭ tinkerbell

    OP, I know some people have said that's generous to even consider paying for your sister's €25k wedding but I think that's actually crazy and you should not be considering it at all. I think it would be very very VERY EXTREMELY generous of you if you were to give her €4k, you are a sibling, not a parent.

  • Registered Users Posts: 16 ✭✭✭ zara flower

    i think at the very most you should match what you gave the other sister though i would in no way feel compelled to do so. start saving for your own future or a rainy day( your own rainy day) . if i thought that the sister that planned the massive wedding hoping that you would cough up the cash i would give her nothing as i would feel very manipulated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,281 ✭✭✭ Gatica

    yeah, agree... Just hope this is not a manipulative ploy.
    You're extremely generous paying towards a wedding. Few parents nowadays pay for their kids' weddings, and most get to invite a ton of their own friends if they do. So if your sisters decided who got to go as well as get the cash for it, that's almost unheard of these days.
    You may have taken the role of caregiver or guardian when your father died (btw, is your mother still living? and if so, what does she think of all of this?), and this is already far more than enough. You've taken care of them for >20 years, by the sounds of it!
    Sure, if you paid 4000 for one, it would be fair and not show favouritism if you gave same amount to the other. However, if your financial situation has changed since, I'd have a chat with your sis and let her know that while you had the money back then, you don't right now and maybe you could offer to "postpone" your gift for when times are better.
    Maybe she really has been saving and won't count for a large amount from you, "just" the generous gift you gave previously. You won't know unless you talk to her. It is not only her or "your" responsibility (btw, it's not yours anyway), it's the groom's too - if he wants to go ahead with his bride's idea of a lovely wedding "about her", then he should, and probably is planning on, contributing and saving up himself too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,194 saa

    Those days are gone as daughters work now and they aren't moving straight out of home I respect what you've taken on but you can never be a parent or step in as one I learnt that the hard way you can only be a sibling and step in if something is needed, it doesnt sound like there is a need to give 4k here it won't even come close to covering it and will be a lot to be expected from a sibling, people know things are harder now so she should understand why you can't do it again.

    Its nice that you paid for your sisters wedding but your other sister has decided to spend 25 k on a wedding and when planning that I hope she was not budgeting your donation so she will be fine but a token contribution of what you can afford is more than generous, because if you can plan a 25 k wedding you must not be struggling or you're mad these days.

    things have changed in the last three years for the worst and will be getting worse for a while so getting a loan for this would be too much to ask.

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  • Posts: 0 ✭✭✭✭ [Deleted User]

    Have you talked directly to her about it?
    I imagine things have been paid for by now.
    Maybe she doesn't expect anything at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,559 Daisy M

    I am a parent my children are young so any weddings area long way off, but when they do happen all 3 of them son and daughters will be getting the same monetary gift. I cant ever see us having 25k or anything like it to pay for one wedding let alone 3 and even if we had I couldnt bear to waste money this way I would much prefer to help them out when they took their first step on the property ladder.
    The majority of people I know paid for their own weddings.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 639 Shivers26

    The days of parents paying for weddings are long gone. If you were to give your sister €4k that would extremely generous of you. My father and my husbands father gave us €500 for my wedding present and we were thrilled to get it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 943 SNAKEDOC

    there are six in our family and i'm the last to get married this November. our parents are long passed and were not alive for any wedding that said we are all very close but under no circumstances was my older brother expected to pay any money for any wedding. wedding costs is on the shoulders of the bride and grome and its up to the family to give a nice wedding gift maybe collectively. You were mad in the head to pay for the first wedding let alone be thinking of doing the same again. Cover your own costs and buy the couple a gift that is as much as is expected from anyone. I would not expect any more from my family and i doubt i'm alone on that

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 2,388 monkeypants

    but my sister is adamant that it's "Her day", and anyhow, it's all planned at this stage.
    Well if it's all planned, then she obviously has the money and doesn't need yours.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,212 Susie_Q

    I'm wondering why your sister accepted so much money from you when she got married. There's no way I'd let my brother give me so much, it's completely unnecessary and over the top. If a person is adult and mature enough to get married, then equally they should be adult and mature enough to save up money and pay for it themselves.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,316 ✭✭✭ JustAThought

    How many sisters do you have?