At What Age Do Parents Not Pay for a Wedding?

Story Amour
Written by Story Amour · Posted in Advice » Money & Budget Last Updated June 8, 2023 · minute read

With a wedding costing around $30,000, some parents end up paying for certain aspects of this event. While modern couples tend to break the wedding traditions, the issue of parents paying for the wedding is one tradition that is sticking. So, at what age do parents not pay for wedding? Here is what you need to know.

grooms parents laughing during a wedding ceremony

At what age do parents not pay for a wedding?

Do parents still pay for their daughter’s wedding?

Yes. It’s a tradition that parents (from the daughter’s side) pay most of the bills. But again, that is entirely up to them. Even if the couple has lived together for many years, that doesn’t mean that parents should meet the cost. No rule obligates the parents to pay.

Couples who still live with their parents may not feel happy receiving such a high amount. Therefore, the parents can contribute voluntarily.

While it is tradition that the parents pay for the daughter’s wedding, some people are trying to stay away from this tradition. This is not mandatory if the couple is in good financial health.

If both of you are covering a bigger portion of the expenses, it makes sense to ask for help from the parents.

If the parents from the groom’s side are better off financially, it’s okay to receive their assistance. Once you have an idea of what each side is willing to contribute, you’ll know how to plan accordingly. It may sound unrealistic for families with many responsibilities to contribute more – but there’s always some wiggle room to save for a wedding.

If a financial contribution from either side of the parent is set, make sure there are no strings attached. Similarly, if one side agrees to pay more, ensure there are no surprises down the road. You may want to avoid any offer that could bring tension to the wedding preparation.

The other critical part is starting the dialogue early. Don’t be afraid to ask the parents outright. You can pose a question like – would you like to be part of my wedding planning? Be mindful of their financial well-being and be polite. It can be a long-term conversation, so you may want to start early to avoid surprises.

Traditionally, who pays for what at a wedding?

A wedding is a festive occasion, but it also comes with its fair share of stressors. Add the expense of traveling, finding a dress and suit for everyone, buying the ring, and setting up tables and chairs. And if you’re the bride’s family? Forget about it! There are flowers to buy, cakes to order, dresses to make-it goes on and on.

As already mentioned, traditionally the bride’s family pays for most of the wedding expenses. But in today’s modern world, things are allowed to be a little different. The lines are a bit more blurred regarding who pays for what. Rather than following the old-fashioned rules, many couples are now opting to go Dutch-splitting the costs evenly between the bride and groom’s families.

Other couples are choosing to pay for their wedding. This is especially common among older couples who have been living together for a while before getting married. They often have the financial stability to cover all the costs independently.

Then there are those couples who choose to have a unique wedding with a theme or destination that requires a higher budget. In this case, it’s often the bride and groom who will pay for most, if not all, of the wedding expenses.

So, what does this all mean for you? It really depends on your personal situation. However, if you are interested in knowing the tradition behind who pays for what, here is a helpful guide:

The Bride’s Family

  • The bride’s dress, veil, and accessories
  • Engagement party
  • The bride’s transportation to and from the ceremony and reception
  • The rehearsal dinner
  • Pre-wedding activities including the bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • The ceremony flowers and decorations
  • The reception flowers and decorations
  • The wedding cake
  • Wedding program, invitation, and thank you cards
  • The music and entertainment
  • The photographer and videographer
  • The wedding planner (if used)
  • The bride’s wedding gift to the groom

The Groom’s Family

  • The marriage license
  • The officiant’s fee
  • Honeymoon
  • DJ, band, or other wedding music
  • Liquor for the reception
  • The groom’s wedding gift to the bride
  • The boutonnieres, bride’s bouquet, and corsages for the wedding party
  • The groomsmen’s transportation to and from the ceremony and reception
  • Post-wedding breakfast

The Bride

  • The Groom’s wedding ring
  • Her hair and makeup
  • Gifts for her bridesmaids and groom
  • Her lingerie

The Groom

  • The groom’s suit or tuxedo
  • The bride’s engagement and wedding ring
  • Gifts for his groomsmen and bride
  • The bachelor party

At what age do parents stop paying?

Well, there’s no clear-cut rule on the specific age that parents should stop paying for their children’s weddings. If the couple no longer lives with the parents, they can’t just assume it’s the parents’ responsibility. A younger couple may need help with the wedding expenses. Since a wedding involves many details, the brides and grooms side can split the costs.

Typically both the bride and groom’s parents can agree on how to share the expenses. Recent research suggests that two-thirds of wedding costs are met by the parents.

Age is also a factor here. The older the couple, the less likely the parents will pay for their wedding. This is the same case if they decide to say their vows later in life.

Of course, some couples don’t like to put a strain on their parents if they can meet the expenses.

How much do parents pay?

On average, parents pay between 35-40% of the wedding costs. If you follow tradition, the bride’s family is expected to meet the bigger portion of the wedding expenses.

But since money is like a gift to your wedding, you should be thankful for what the parents offer. Both the bride and groom should be careful not to tell the families which side contribute more. Do you get the picture? Sometimes, wedding preparations can bring social pressure so you don’t want to say something that will sting the family.

Experts in the wedding industry recommend that couples should request assistance as early as possible. If you have some financial discipline, you can still pay a bigger portion of your wedding. Right off the bat, you’ll know what to expect from those who wish to contribute.

Tips for a stress-free discussion with parents about wedding plans and expenses:

Start the dialogue early

The sooner you start talking to your parents about your wedding plans, the better. You will have plenty of time to discuss the details and figure out what everyone is comfortable with. With a clear understanding of everyone’s expectations, you can avoid any potential problems down the road.

Be specific

When discussing the wedding details with your parents, it is important to be as specific as possible. This includes things like the budget, the guest list, the location, and the date. You can avoid any misunderstandings or disagreements by being clear about your plans from the start.

Don’t compare to others

One of the quickest ways to start a fight with your parents is to compare your wedding plans to those of your friends or relatives. Everyone has different budgets and expectations, so it is important to tailor your plans accordingly. Instead of comparing, focus on what is important to you and what will make your wedding day special.


If there is any confusion about who is responsible for what, clarify the situation with your parents. It is better to ask a million questions upfront than to make assumptions and end up causing unnecessary stress later on.

Be understanding

Remember that your parents are likely just as invested in your wedding as you are. They want everything to be perfect, so try to be understanding of their concerns and suggestions. If you can work together as a team, you will be able to plan a wedding that you both will love.

The bottom line is that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to who pays for what at a wedding. Talk to your families and come up with a plan that works best for everyone involved. When it comes down to it, the most important thing is that you can enjoy your big day and it ends up being everything that you dreamed it would be.


Traditionally, parents pay for children’s weddings. Although the bride’s side will cater for most expenses, this is not mandatory. Again, there’s no set age at which parents should stop paying for their children’s weddings. In our opinion, parents should chip in what they feel comfortable, no matter the age. They don’t have to go out of their way to make the wedding a reality. But given the resources associated with wedding planning, they should have the plan to chip in something to make the wedding a success.