Tying the Knot After 30? Get Out Your Checkbook

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The days of the bride’s parents footing the bill for a lavish wedding are on their way out.

Nearly 25 percent of weddings are paid for by the bride and groom alone, Reuters said. If the couple is over age 30, that number increases to 30 percent, according to David Wood, president of the Association of Bridal Consultants.

Just 10 years ago, only about 15 percent of couples covered the costs of their wedding. And back in the ’70s, people married much younger and it was widely expected that the bride’s parents would pick up the cost.

Martha Stewart Weddings also makes note of the change:

Today, most people believe the couple should pay for their own wedding, especially if they have lived on their own for some time. Of course, parents often want to pitch in.

Reuters said there are a few factors to consider when deciding who will pay for the wedding:

  • Control. If you want to have total control over the day, it likely makes sense to pay for the wedding yourself.
  • Budget. It goes without saying that you are more likely to be able to pay for your wedding on your own if you keep the budget small.
  • Finances. Who can afford to pay for the wedding? If your parents are retired and living on a fixed income, it may make sense for you to pay for the big day on your own.
  • Multiple weddings. Chances are, if this is your second or third marriage, your parents probably won’t have much interest in paying for the wedding. Been there, done that.

My husband and I married in 2006. I was 27 and he was 28. We were both working full time (though I earned $10 an hour as a graphic designer, so I wasn’t contributing much). But between a mortgage payment, student loans and all of our other expenses, footing the bill ourselves for a wedding would have been a stretch.

Nor was it expected by our parents, who very graciously split the cost of our wedding right down the middle. I cut costs everywhere I could, so in the end we enjoyed our special day without breaking the bank.

My brother, 33, and my sister-in-law, 36, were married in 2013. They covered the cost of nearly the entire wedding by themselves, with a little assistance from both sets of parents.

Are you married? How did you pay for your wedding? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Comments & discussion

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  • John Hoffman

    Married 31 years ago when we were 26 years old. We paid about 75% and my parents (groom) paid the remainder (my wife is not from the US). We budgeted and economized to make it work (shopped outlets for bridesmaid dresses, bought and arranged the flowers ourselves, reception at local golf course) but we had a great time (live band and dancing, hosted beer/wine/champagne). Just didn’t go crazy on frivilous things. Hired photographer but had a friend videotape it (1983 remember).

  • Holly

    We just got married last year, I’m 30 a and my husband is 38. We paid for out wedding with a little help from family. His parents paid for the flowers and the rehearsal dinner and one of my brothers paid for our cupcakes. We managed to keep costs low by buying things on clearance, doing things ourselves, and not following the “norms” such as hiring a videographer or an open bar. We had an amazing time and still have family and friends talk about how great it was.

  • Judy

    We got married in late 2012. It was my first marriage at age 49, my husband’s 2nd at same age. It was a given that we would pay for the wedding ourselves, although family did pay for rehearsal dinner, wine for reception, and music for the ceremony. We kept the guest list as low as possible but made sure we had the things that were important to us. Having control is a great reason to pay for your own wedding – especially control of the guest list!