When it comes to wedding costs, those of us who are parents of the bride can only be thankful that dowries are no longer an acceptable mode of exchange. But what about paying for the wedding? Tradition has it that the bride's family is on the hook for it. But is that how millennials see it? Has there been a rethinking of who pays for what?
I bring this up because I recently saw a Survey Monkey poll run by a 20-something over at FiveThirtyEight. (He likes to run surveys about what he calls questions about how to be an adult). More than 1,000 single and married folks from millennials to 60+ answered the Survey Monkey questions, which asked about a variety of financial and etiquette wedding issues. Chief among them: who should pay for the shindig?
Before I read the results, I leaned on my own carefully acquired anecdotal evidence: It will vary with the age of the bridge and groom: the older they are (upwards of their mid-30s as opposed to in their 20s) the more likely the bride and groom will pay for or share the costs for the wedding they want. The survey answers were more varied than that.
According to the 20-something who analyzed the Monkey results:
Three responses rose to the top: 25 percent of respondents said the bride’s family, 26 percent said the couple, and 26 percent said that the groom’s family, the bride’s family, and the couple should split evenly. The remainder were split over various permutations of those three groups, with most saying either both families splitting it or the bride’s family and the couple splitting it. For what it’s worth, among the 18-to-29 cohort --you know, the ones often getting married — about half thought it should be some permutation of the parents’ problem to pay, with 35 percent saying the bride’s family should cover it.
Bottom line: The more things change the more they stay the same. There’s still a broad belief that the bride’s family should pay for the main event. To put some survey numbers on it:
Stripping out the permutations, 70 percent said the bride’s family should be at least somewhat on the hook for paying for the wedding, 60 percent said the couple should chip in, and 41 percent said the groom’s family should.
Here are the survey permutations for those interested in details--and to see how answers varied by age of respondent. And yes, my anecdotal evidence is within the margin of error.
|SHARE OF RESPONDENTS BY AGE|
|Three-way split (groom & bride’s families, couple)||26||19||31||30||24|
|The bride’s family||25||35||18||22||24|
|The groom’s family and the bride’s family||12||12||15||10||11|
|The bride’s family and the couple||7||10||6||5||9|
|The groom’s family||2||1||6||2||1|
|The groom’s family and the couple||0||0||2||0||0|