Penny-Pinching: Who Pays for What?

Q: My son is planning a wedding and I have the question as to who pays what. My son is 28 and lives in another state. This is the first marriage for both. What are we, the parents of the groom, responsible for in regards to expenses of the wedding?

A: Traditionally, the groom’s parents and/or the groom pay for: brides engagement and wedding rings, groom’s present to his bride, if he wishes to give her one, gifts for the groom’s attendants, boutonniere for the groom’s attendants, the bride’s bouquet in areas where local custom requires it, the bride’s going away corsage, corsages for immediate members of both families unless the bride has included them in her florist order, the minister’s or rabbi’s fee or donation, transportation and lodging expenses for the minister or rabbi if from another town and if invited to officiate by the groom’s family the marriage license, transportation for the groom and best man to the ceremony, expenses of the honeymoon, all costs of the rehearsal dinner, if one is held bachelor dinner, if he wishes to give one accommodations for the groom’s attendants, if required transportation and lodging expenses for groom’s parents.

It should be noted that these are traditional expenses, not written in granite. Any number of arrangements can be made, and often the bride and groom cover a great deal of their own wedding expenses these days.

Same Standard: Do I give a gift to my recently married gay nephew?

Q: My nephew, who is gay, just got married in Massachusetts. do I send a card or a gift or both? How do I acknowledge the event?’

A: You acknowledge it just as you would any other wedding of a close friend or relative – with a celebratory card and gift, if you are close. This lets your nephew know you love him and honor his choices and are glad he is your nephew. Even if his life style makes you uncomfortable, you treat him as an important person in your life.

Maiden in the Middle: What happens to my name when I get married?

Q: What percentage of women turn their maiden name into their middle name? My mother-in-law insists that that is the way its done and I don’t know anyone who has done that. Who is more right?

A: A bride who wishes to take her husband’s last name may retain her given middle name or, more commonly, use her own surname as a middle name.  However, we don’t know of any exact percentage as to how many women use their maiden name as their middle name when marrying.  Essentially, it’s the bride’s choice.

On the Clock: Appropriate Lateness for Wedding Gifts

Q: How long after a wedding, are you allowed to send the gift? I always heard six months, but nobody in my office has heard such a thing. Can you please clarify.

A: In the past it was said that a wedding gift may be given up to a year after the wedding takes place. It seems to be a carryover rule, but naturally it is important to give a gift before the wedding, or as soon after as possible. Otherwise, you have an entire year of having the bride and groom remember you as one of the few who didn’t give a gift, and a year of feeling guilty every time you see them, or even avoiding them out of guilt!

Generous Gifting: How Much to Spend on Wedding Gifts?

Q: Is there an ‘appropriate standard’ for how much money you should plan on giving as a wedding gift? Years ago, $100 seemed like a generous gift, however, this amount might be considered ‘low’ by today’s standards.

A: You would give what you can afford, that is reasonable, that is roughly the equivalent of what you would spend on a gift, were you buying a gift instead.  A gift of $100 is still generous today.