Paying for Kids Wedding-Parity?

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1210sda
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Re: I just went through this

Post by 1210sda »

rrosenkoetter wrote:
sscritic wrote:
snowbound wrote: Son 1 is far from getting married. If he does not marry by the time he is 30 he will get the same cash gift that his sisters received.
Are you tracking the average cost of a wedding so you can give him the equivalent "wedding adjusted" dollars? The Bridal Association of America keeps statistics, so all you have to do is write down the average cost in the years your daughters were married and then look up the average cost in the year he marries. A simple ratio should suffice to compute what he should get in "wedding dollars."

Code: Select all

     2005	 $26,450		 
June 2006	 $27,470	
July 2006	 $27,710	 
July 2007	 $28,850	
     2009	 $30,860	
http://www.bridalassociationofamerica.c ... tatistics/
Using those numbers is like asking a car salesman for an "average-priced" car...

It doesn't matter what stupid people pay for weddings... You can have a very nice wedding for much much cheaper than $30k
Agree with Homer.

Is a $100k wedding 3 1/3 times as memorable as a $30k.....or a 4 times a $25k etc etc
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kenyan
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Post by kenyan »

How much the OP wants to spend on a wedding is not really the item up for debate.

Honestly, growing up, I didn't think about these things too much. How far do you take this? My parents were generous enough to pay for our college tuition/room/board. Does that mean you need to spend the exact amount for each college education? Do I feel that I was shortchanged because I got some scholarships that my brothers did not, and they didn't have to spend as much on my education (don't know if that's really true)? No - I was just thankful that they let me get out of my undergraduate education without student loans to pay.

I don't have any sisters, so I can't say for sure, but I don't think I would've resented a sister having her wedding paid for out of my family UNLESS I had to pay a ton out of pocket and didn't receive any support for it from either family. If the son is to receive all of this money to spend as he chooses, then I would think that the daughter would be told about that upfront and given the option to have the wedding as she chose, free of parental restrictions.
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Leesbro63
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Re: I just went through this

Post by Leesbro63 »

snowbound wrote: In this day and age for one family to pick up the entire cost of a wedding is just nuts if you ask me.
What if your daughter marries a guy with a family who just expects/assumes that the bride's family will pay? While we have moved away from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, there's still enough June Cleaver around that it's not really appropriate for a bride's family to say "no" if they have the means.
FireProof
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Post by FireProof »

stives wrote:
FireProof wrote:Man, $100,000.

I remember I was choosing between a full scholarship at one school and and a half scholarship at a higher ranked school (a difference of about $78,000). I finally felt comfortable giving up the prestige for the money, when I heard about a family acquaintance having a $60,000 wedding. I'll admit that shook my faith a bit - if they were willing to blow that much money on a single day, should I give up the prestige and utility of that higher-ranked degree over the next 80 years for such a similar sum?

Ultimately, it didn't faze me, and I'm very glad about that decision, but these numbers still shock (and appall me).
What were the schools in question? I assume you're talking about undergrad, which would probably be overwritten in "prestige" if you went on to get a graduate degree.
Professional schools.
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HomerJ
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Re: I just went through this

Post by HomerJ »

Leesbro63 wrote:
snowbound wrote: In this day and age for one family to pick up the entire cost of a wedding is just nuts if you ask me.
What if your daughter marries a guy with a family who just expects/assumes that the bride's family will pay? While we have moved away from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, there's still enough June Cleaver around that it's not really appropriate for a bride's family to say "no" if they have the means.
It may not be appropriate to say "no", but that doesn't mean you have to say yes to an extravagent 300-quest wedding either.
jeh676
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Post by jeh676 »

I'm trying to figure out why it's not appropriate to say no. If the marriage isn't going to follow 100% historical roles, then why would the funding of the wedding follow 'old' rules?
sscritic
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Re: I just went through this

Post by sscritic »

rrosenkoetter wrote: Using those numbers is like asking a car salesman for an "average-priced" car...

It doesn't matter what stupid people pay for weddings... You can have a very nice wedding for much much cheaper than $30k
So how do you compute inflation if you don't compare prices over time? If you were only willing to give $500 to your daughter 10 years ago, how do you figure out how much to give your son this year? I would think looking at wedding prices would make more sense than looking at car prices.

If you paid for 1/10 of the average wedding for your daughter in 2000, you need to find 1/10 of the average wedding in 2015 when your son gets married. That is, if your goal is to give them equal inflation adjusted amounts (which is the implied question to which I was responding).
Last edited by sscritic on Tue Aug 23, 2011 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
kirent
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Post by kirent »

FireProof wrote:
stives wrote:
FireProof wrote:Man, $100,000.

I remember I was choosing between a full scholarship at one school and and a half scholarship at a higher ranked school (a difference of about $78,000). I finally felt comfortable giving up the prestige for the money, when I heard about a family acquaintance having a $60,000 wedding. I'll admit that shook my faith a bit - if they were willing to blow that much money on a single day, should I give up the prestige and utility of that higher-ranked degree over the next 80 years for such a similar sum?

Ultimately, it didn't faze me, and I'm very glad about that decision, but these numbers still shock (and appall me).
What were the schools in question? I assume you're talking about undergrad, which would probably be overwritten in "prestige" if you went on to get a graduate degree.
Professional schools.
Which schools were you deciding between? Still great though, at least you got something; they never seem to offer any substantial scholarships. :(
Disclaimer: I am not a financial or legal expert and all information I provide is given for entertainment purposes only, at your own risk and with no guarantees of accuracy.
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Leesbro63
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Re: I just went through this

Post by Leesbro63 »

jenny345 wrote:
Leesbro63 wrote:
snowbound wrote: In this day and age for one family to pick up the entire cost of a wedding is just nuts if you ask me.
What if your daughter marries a guy with a family who just expects/assumes that the bride's family will pay? While we have moved away from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, there's still enough June Cleaver around that it's not really appropriate for a bride's family to say "no" if they have the means.
Tell them that your traditions favor dowries over big weddings and that you'll be giving them the equivalent of a 100K wedding which would be 50 goats and 30 deep freeze refrigerators instead. You could probably get by with less if your daughter isn't a virgin.

Seriously, some traditions just don't apply these days. Let the couple pay for their own wedding and give them a cash gift if can afford it and it sounds like you can.
OK so using this logic, shouldn't the parent give their daughter-bride's brother a similar gift when he gets married (or at some "drop dead" age...maybe 30)?
livelife
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Post by livelife »

sscritic wrote:
livelife wrote:Children should be treated equally.
If both your children went to public colleges in CA and the cost doubled in the time between when your first child started and your second, did you pay the same dollar amount for both, the same real dollar amount for both, or full expenses for both? You can't be equal in all three simultaneously (education costs having grown faster than inflation generally).

If the cost of a wedding goes up in a similar fashion between the first child and the second, the same conundrum occurs. You can't treat them equally under all definitions of equal. Thus, you are forced to treat them unequally under at least some definitions.

I don't think equal is possible. I know I wasn't equal. My wife and I had money set aside for my daughter's college expenses. My wife died, and my son collected social security benefits until he was 18. He had all the money he needed for college from SS. I didn't give him much of anything, while I had paid for my daughter. Was that unfair? I don't think so. They both got a college education without having to work. One was paid by me, the other by SS. I saw no need to enrich him unnecessarily by giving him the same cash that I gave my daughter, whether in nominal dollars, inflation adjusted dollars, or tuition adjusted dollars. What would have been unfair is to have given her nothing for her graduation and given him a $40,000 graduation present. Seriously, that's what you call equal? You can equalize the education spending or you can equalize the graduation gifts, but you can't equalize both.

Now change the facts to my son had his wedding paid by his in-laws, Sam and Sarah, while I paid for my daughter's. Should I give him a $40,000 wedding present that I didn't give my daughter when he had his wedding fully paid for by SS? To me, there is no difference between the tuition/graduation present and the wedding/wedding present questions. I choose to equalize the presents rather than the spending on the wedding/tuition.
I think you are being silly considering inflation as a factor in equal treatment of children. This is similar to the argument that one child is taller/larger than another and therefore receives more "food support." Food, clothing, insurance, etc. difference are not issues with regard to fair treatment. Simple common sense.

Unequal treatment is when one child receives unequal levels of support. There are many traditions in different cultures, but IMO none are valid excuses for unequal treatment. To me, this is one of those "spirit of the law" things. I have always felt that rationalization of unequal treatments has been at the heart of prejudice.

When (if) my sons marry, we will split any wedding costs. If one son has a larger wedding, than he will receive less when we are gone. Simple logic.

I think the more difficult situations are where one has a child with severe mental health issues, spending issues or has a spouse with self-destructive traits. Being a good parent can be very difficult at these times. Equal treatment in these cases requires great wisdom.
Harold
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Post by Harold »

Would it help if you told the boys that though you weren't buying them a $100K wedding, you were waiving the contemporary wedding admission fee for them?

(That is, they didn't have to supply a gift to cover the cost of the wedding and festivities.)
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

livelife wrote: I think you are being silly considering inflation as a factor in equal treatment of children.
I may be silly, but I notice you didn't answer the question. Let me make it simple for you.

Child one goes to state university. The cost is $10,000 a year. You give child one $40,000 which pays for 4 years.

Child two goes to the same state university five years later. The cost is $15,000 a year.

Do you give child two:
a) $40,000, the same dollar amount.
b) $60,000, the same four years of education.

You can make the dollars equal or the four years of education equal, but you can't do both. This is a real question for many families, especially in CA with the incredible increase in college costs in the last five years.
Here are some rough figures for UCLA tuition (taken from two sources)

Code: Select all

2001	 	$3,550 
2002       $3,900 
2003	 	$5,000 
2004	 	$5,800 
2005	 	$6,300 
2006	 	$6,300 
2007	 	$6,571
2011a     $12,686 
2011b     $13,910
Revised July 19, 2011. Includes July tuition updates.	
From $3,550 to $13,910 in 10 years; from $6,571 to $13,910 in four.

The costs have doubled in four years. Do you find that silly? Inflation is not fictional. Parents have to deal with it. So what is "fair"?
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Re: I just went through this

Post by scubadiver »

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rylemdr
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Post by rylemdr »

I think an easy way to look at the culture thing of having to pay for your children's weddings and even college is this..

If you put your child through college and/or pay for their weddings(like in most Asian countries), you should expect them to take care of you when you are old(again, like in most Asian countries). If you've noticed, you will never see any elderly Asians in nursing homes unless those with special cases.

If you don't(like in most western countries), expect to be in a nursing home with no one to take care of you later on(again, like in most western countries).

Basically, the more you give your child, the more you can expect back in return.

Your choice.
Rodc
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Post by Rodc »

Cody wrote:What about the "parodical sibling" possibly?

One has a great job, and a great life there in. One has had tough luck, a tough life and required much more financial and emotional help along the way. And continues to need that help.

Do you take away from the one who needs financial help to give to the one who does not need the help?

Cody
Those sort of answers are addressing a DIFFERENT interesting question seems to me. Maybe more interesting than that one the OP posed and deeper.

Being fair about weddings for daughters vs sons is almost trivial compared to deeper questions about how to be "fair" taking into account all the many ways in which children and circumstances differ.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
livelife
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Post by livelife »

sscritic wrote:
livelife wrote: I think you are being silly considering inflation as a factor in equal treatment of children.
I may be silly, but I notice you didn't answer the question. Let me make it simple for you.

Child one goes to state university. The cost is $10,000 a year. You give child one $40,000 which pays for 4 years.

Child two goes to the same state university five years later. The cost is $15,000 a year.

Do you give child two:
a) $40,000, the same dollar amount.
b) $60,000, the same four years of education.

You can make the dollars equal or the four years of education equal, but you can't do both. This is a real question for many families, especially in CA with the incredible increase in college costs in the last five years.
Here are some rough figures for UCLA tuition (taken from two sources)

Code: Select all

2001	 	$3,550 
2002       $3,900 
2003	 	$5,000 
2004	 	$5,800 
2005	 	$6,300 
2006	 	$6,300 
2007	 	$6,571
2011a     $12,686 
2011b     $13,910
Revised July 19, 2011. Includes July tuition updates.	
From $3,550 to $13,910 in 10 years; from $6,571 to $13,910 in four.

The costs have doubled in four years. Do you find that silly? Inflation is not fictional. Parents have to deal with it. So what is "fair"?
I agree that inflation for large expenses can make it very difficult to treat children in a fair and equitable fashion. It is not uncommon for the mom and dad bank to be broke when it comes time to send the second or third child to college/university. Obviously a difficult and, I agree, unfair situation. However, what is being addressed here is a situation that is totally under the control of the parent. No job losses. No insane inflation.
jeh676
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Post by jeh676 »

SScritic, are you essentially getting at the difference between equality of outcomes vs equality of parental effort?

I mean, if son's wedding is being paid by daughter in law's family (because they want to), that's a valid reason to pay less for son's wedding. But to just say, 'oh not my responsibility' on the basis of gender (or even the converse), just doesn't make sense to me. Which is not what you seem to be saying, but it does seem to be a very common attitude.

Assuming there was some money earmarked to pay for weddings, and suddenly I don't need as much because son's was paid for, then I can see allocating the surplus among the kids/grandkids.

To me, the default should be equal contributions, with the full understanding that adjustments will have to be made as circumstances change. And in terms of inflation, etc., I'll make a good faith effort to equalize the outcomes, but I sure won't put extensive analysis into it.
Harold
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Post by Harold »

rylemdr wrote:I think an easy way to look at the culture thing of having to pay for your children's weddings and even college is this..

If you put your child through college and/or pay for their weddings(like in most Asian countries), you should expect them to take care of you when you are old(again, like in most Asian countries). If you've noticed, you will never see any elderly Asians in nursing homes unless those with special cases.

If you don't(like in most western countries), expect to be in a nursing home with no one to take care of you later on(again, like in most western countries).

Basically, the more you give your child, the more you can expect back in return.

Your choice.
Doubtful that it's a simple equation like that. There are plenty of stories about doting Western parents whose children had no use for them (other than as a font of money) until their funerals, when the kids immediately started clamoring for their share of the loot.

It's more about cultural upbringing. Among the kids you're describing, there seems to be a deeply formed sense of duty towards parents. And as good as that may sound, I know a person whose whole life was consumed by that sense of duty and never was fully able to realize life for herself. She's certainly not the only one. Probably no culture has achieved the perfect model.
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

jeh676 wrote:SScritic, are you essentially getting at the difference between equality of outcomes vs equality of parental effort?

I mean, if son's wedding is being paid by daughter in law's family (because they want to), that's a valid reason to pay less for son's wedding.
...
To me, the default should be equal contributions, with the full understanding that adjustments will have to be made as circumstances change.
That's the heart of it. My story about my son getting social security benefits that paid for his college when my daughter didn't (she was already 18 when her mother died) is true. They had different circumstances and I had no problem being "unfair" to them according to a strict comparison of my monetary contributions.
snowbound
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Re: I just went through this

Post by snowbound »

Leesbro63 wrote:
snowbound wrote: In this day and age for one family to pick up the entire cost of a wedding is just nuts if you ask me.
What if your daughter marries a guy with a family who just expects/assumes that the bride's family will pay? While we have moved away from LEAVE IT TO BEAVER, there's still enough June Cleaver around that it's not really appropriate for a bride's family to say "no" if they have the means.
The groom's family can expect or assume whatever they want. My gift was to my daughter and future son in law to do as they pleased. Saying that this is the amount you were going to get and nothing more was easy. Saying no to the groom's family would even be easier.
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Post by Sam I Am »

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Post by White Coat Investor »

Tell your kids what I tell mine-

1) Life isn't fair
2) You get what you get and you don't throw a fit

Start at about age 2 and repeat at least once a week until they get it

The other consideration is that a wedding isn't for the bride and groom. It's for their parents. IMHO it's YOUR party, not theirs. So spend what you want, invite who you want etc.

I'll be honest, I couldn't have cared less about many of the details of our wedding. My wife cared a bit more than me, but her mother was totally into it.
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sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

Sam I Am wrote: I face a similar problem as one daughter has two children, one has one child, and another probably won't have children. Ah, well, it is a good problem to have.
Babysit for the two with children and wash dishes and do laundry for the other? Just make sure the hours are equal. :)

But what about the daughter with two children? Does one hour with her two take the same effort as 1 1/2 hours with the only child? But what if the two are really easy to handle and the only child is a terror on two little legs?

Just realize that fair is a nebulous concept.
sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

EmergDoc wrote: You get what you get and you don't throw a fit
The version I learned from my grandchildren who got it from their nursery school
You get what you get, and you don't get upset.
Rhyming helps little minds get the message.
jeh676
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Post by jeh676 »

sscritic wrote:
EmergDoc wrote: You get what you get and you don't throw a fit
The version I learned from my grandchildren who got it from their nursery school
You get what you get, and you don't get upset.
Rhyming helps little minds get the message.
Ah, but the first one rhymes better with certain accents.

That, and I don't mind them getting upset as long as they don't actually throw the fit.
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Post by Sam I Am »

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sscritic
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Post by sscritic »

Sam I Am wrote: My thoughts were really more to leaving them inheritances. One set of parents is better off that the other, so I was considering skipping the affluent couple and going directly to the grandchildren.
We are in similar circumstances. Both children are doing well, but one has 3 kids and the other only 1. I have thought about generation skipping, since if I die around 85, my kids will be 55 and my grandkids 25 and in their prime house-buying years. So do I give each grandchild the same amount? Or is that giving 3 times as much to one family as the other? We keep coming back to "fair" as something that can't really be legislated.

My current thinking is something along the lines of taking 1/2 and splitting it in two between the two children and taking the other 1/2 and splitting it equally between all the grandchildren. That is unbalanced between families, but not so much as splitting it all equally between the grandchildren.

The solution is for the family with only one child to have two more. I am working on that as well. :)
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Post by WatchinU »

I like the approach of allocating the same amount to each child and telling them they can use it for the wedding or down payment on a house. It is up to them to plan the wedding and stay on budget. Its also up to the them to prioritize those expenditures with other important items such as a house.
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Post by dandan14 »

I was 31 when I got married (and my wife was 27) -- we had a frugal wedding and didn't receive (or expect) any money from parents.

That being said, my parents have always given my brother and I equal amounts. Whether it was applied toward grad school, furniture, house, etc. -- didn't really matter.

Of course, the logical follow-up question to the OP's question occurs when a child starts having children of their own.

If you have one son/daughter who has children of their own, and one who has chosen to not go that route -- do you give equally to both sides?

In legal terms, I suppose I'm asking if you give per capita (per person) or per stirpes (per branch of the family tree).
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Leesbro63
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Post by Leesbro63 »

sscritic wrote:My current thinking is something along the lines of taking 1/2 and splitting it in two between the two children and taking the other 1/2 and splitting it equally between all the grandchildren. That is unbalanced between families, but not so much as splitting it all equally between the grandchildren.
I like that! It still tilts toward the filmily with more grandkids, but also recognizes the two adult children equally
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Post by Sam I Am »

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Post by Curlyq »

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Post by MrMiyagi »

I'm reading this thread and wondering if it's the same people replying to this, that replied to a more recent thread about wedding gifts, and people balked at he idea of giving 100 bucks to a brother-in-law as a gift? :shock:
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Leesbro63
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Post by Leesbro63 »

EmergDoc wrote: The other consideration is that a wedding isn't for the bride and groom. It's for their parents. IMHO it's YOUR party, not theirs. So spend what you want, invite who you want etc.
I thought about this and at first agreed with an "ah ha...he's right!". But as I thought more, I now disagree. Particularly in this day and age when kids often wait until they are older and college educated to get married. It's NOT about the parents (so much) and IS about THEM. But what IS true here is that THIS IS WHAT HAS CHANGED from the Leave it to Beaver days, where it WAS more about the parents.

For this reason, my original question (I am the OP) seems all the more relevant. Maybe adultish kids should be given equal amounts upon marriage (or at age 30, whichever comes first), and the wedding is on them to plan and pay for (out of whatever portion of the gift they choose.)
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