Second Wedding – Who Pays for What?

September 26, 2011

in Planning, Wedding Budget

Second Wedding Rings Picture
Wedding Rings – Second Wedding Post

Most of the etiquette rules we have for weddings were originally intended for first weddings and come to us from a time when people generally did get married for life – whether they ended up being miserable in their marriages or not! These days, though, second weddings are more and more common, and there’s no reason that a new couple shouldn’t enjoy a beautiful wedding just because it isn’t the first time around for one or both parties involved!

The biggest problem with second weddings, though, can be deciding who pays for what. Tradition dictates that with a first wedding, the bride’s family pays for the wedding, and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. With a second wedding, though, the couple getting married is likely to be older and better established, and they may not want or be able to rely on their families for help with the expenses surrounding another wedding.

So, if you’re getting married the second time around, what do you do? The truth is that it really depends on your situation. The following tips will help you hash out who pays for what well ahead of time, as you’re setting up your wedding budget.

Ask for second wedding help, but don’t assume

The only way to find out if your family is willing and able to help finance your second wedding is to ask. Don’t assume that your family just won’t pitch in and not ask about the possibility, but don’t assume that they will cover all the expenses, either. Go to your parents – and, if appropriate, even your grandparents – and ask if they are able or willing to pitch in towards your wedding expenses.

In many families, parents will want to pay for a few specific things, such as flowers, food, or the venue. In others, your families may want to write you a check for a certain amount toward your overall wedding budget. Of course, just as with a first wedding, the family isn’t absolutely obligated to pay for anything, so if your families don’t want
to pitch in, that’s okay, too.

Check out your own wedding budget

If your family isn’t able or willing to pay for the bulk of your second wedding expenses, then check out your own budget and see how much you can afford to spend on your own. The first rule of thumb is never to go into lots of debt to have a wedding! With a little bit of creativity, you can cut back your wedding budget to a reasonable amount so that you can pay for your own dream wedding without taking on a ton of debt. Here are a few ways to bulk up your wedding budget or cut back on wedding spending so you can pay for most of your own wedding:

  • Consider using DIY decorations and invitations, which can be much, much more affordable.
  • Price out different venues, and don’t ask for wedding pricing for reception venues. Many places, such as hotels, will automatically mark up the price if you’re having a wedding reception rather than a regular party!
  • Cut down on the guest list and invite only those who are a major part of your lives.
  • Extend your engagement and set up a savings plan so you can save up more money before your big day.
  • Shop for wedding items – such as your wedding dress, decorations, invitations, etc. – when they’re on sale, which is normally at the end of the traditional “wedding season” in the summer.
  • Get married in the winter, on a Sunday, or on a weekday to save money on services and venues.

These easy tips can help you fit a wedding into your own budget, even if it’s fairly limited. While the average amount of money spent on a wedding is in the tens of thousands of dollars, by being reasonable and making good choices, you can have a great wedding for under $10,000!

A second wedding as a gift

One of the best ways to trim your wedding expenses is to ask talented friends and family members to donate their services to your wedding as a gift. If you know someone who is a fantastic baker, ask that this person give you a wedding cake rather than a traditional wedding present. You can get lots of pieces of your wedding together in this
manner – from photography to catering to invitations! Generally, people want you to have the day of your dreams and will be willing to help with that, even if it means giving you a less than traditional gift.

Deciding who pays for a second wedding is always tricky in this modern era, but by first asking your family, then looking at your own budget, and then asking for wedding items as gifts, you can have the second wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank!

Daniela Baker blogs with CreditDonkey.  As someone who’s been married for nearly ten years, she hopes this post will help make your second wedding, a beautiful memorable wedding.  She says, while you don’t want to go into a lot of debt for a wedding, having a credit card set aside for wedding expenses can make sense. One of her favorite wedding tip is to consider a credit card with airline mile deals that you could use for your honeymoon. All the wedding related expenses can help earn you a free flight.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Wholsale Flowers December 26, 2011 at 8:59 am

I like the 2nd merrage as gift..
Nice post..
Wholsale Flowers recently posted..Welcome to Flowers4Vases Wholesale FlowersMy Profile


Heidi January 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm

It’s a great way to save money if you have talented family members 🙂


I Do, Take Two January 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Lots of good information on saving money on the budget here, but it’s never polite to ask for anyone to help pay for or provide services for your wedding. Please let friends and family offer. It’s also worth noting that even for first weddings it is no longer the responsibility of the parents to pay. Most couples are already living on their own and financially responsible for their own lives. Again, parents and friends should offer to help. Asking out them in an uncomfortable position if they have to say no. there are ways of letting people know you need help without actually asking – let them offer. Otherwise, plan a wedding the couple can afford to host on their own using some of the tips above.


Heidi January 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm

I think it would depend on your family dynamic. Personally, I would much rather somebody ask then have them constantly drop “hints” that they want me to. And, in some cases family may not realize you would appreciate the help. I did the photography for two weddings (for free) and I was asked both times. I would not offer because it would put them in an odd situation. But, if your family is the type that never discusses finances then it is probably better to wait and see they bring it up. That said, you shouldn’t expect anybody to help!


I Do, Take Two January 25, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Good points, however, wouldn’t the bride be putting you in an awkward position if she asked and you felt uncomfortable saying no? Plus, if you’re invited to a wedding as a guest, you shouldn’t also have to work. And, if the couple doesn’t like the photos, or any other service performed, that could be hard on the relationship.
it’s probably just best for the couple to host a wedding they can afford on their own means. If someone offers a financial contribution, great.


Heidi January 29, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I wouldn’t have a problem saying no if I didn’t want to or couldn’t do it. If I thought they were too picky or expecting a lot then that would definitely be a “no” – I wouldn’t want any strain on a relationship. They can pay somebody for that. I still would not offer though – they would have to ask. That is just me though so I think the key is knowing how your (and your fiance’s) family feels about financial communication. I definitely believe that it is best for the couple to host a wedding they can afford on their own means.


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