DEAR PRESTON: WHAT’S THE POINT OF SPENDING A LOT OF MONEY ON A WEDDING?
May 10, 2011
I’m a wedding planner in California, and I love your blog. This is such a great idea! A few months ago, a prospective client, a father whose daughter is getting married, said something to me. But, I didn’t have a proper response. He said, “For the price of this wedding, I could make a down payment on a house for my daughter. And I have half a mind to do just that.” What should I have said to him? Why are wedding worth the money? I mean other than allowing all of us wedding planners to earn a living… Thank you! – Margaret Leeds
Thank you for your question. I’ve heard this compliant from clients as well. That father was right; he does have a choice. After all, it’s his money. I remember a very humorous client who was also paying for his daughter’s wedding. He said to me, “Why should I spend all this money when she might be divorced in a couple of years?” In this case, father really did know best: his daughter got a divorce six months later!*
Weddings can be very emotional, especially for the father of the bride. (We’ve all seen that movie, right?!) He loves his daughter, and he wants to give her a dream wedding. At the same time, he needs to be able to spend what he can actually afford to and feels comfortable spending. You can’t put a price tag on a family memory. Then again, no family memory should you leave in debt! Often, I’ll work with the bride and her mother until it’s time to discuss money. That’s when Dad comes in, and it’s no wonder he sometimes gets flustered. He is handed a bill but has no understanding of what he’s actually being charged for and why things cost what they do.
I have great sympathy for the father of the bride. Remember, in many cultures, weddings aren’t just the marriage of two people but an important opportunity to demonstrate your wealth and success. In some countries, families save their entire lives for this one day. We need to handle the fathers of the bride with great care. They should be involved in the wedding planning process right from the beginning — not just when it’s time to pay. Determine what they’re comfortable spending and never tempt them with services you know they can’t afford. (I’m sorry to say that I’ve been guilty of this on more than one occasion.)
What do you think of my answer to Margaret’s question? What would you have said?
*I don’t know about you, but I always get upset when I find out that a couple whose wedding I’ve done is getting divorced. Call me a romantic but it gets me every time!
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