As a pastor of a young church I have the privilege of officiating weddings throughout the year. This past weekend I officiated two and got me thinking (as all weddings do) about my four daughters getting married. Now before you get all mushy and gushy thinking this is gonna be a sweet blog, I want to disappoint you from the outset. What was going through my mind was, “Who pays for the wedding?”
I know in American culture the father of the bride pays. The problem I have with that is twofold…first, I will be a father of four brides. Second, I am Korean American. So can I default on my Korean-ness if it benefits me? I asked an American couple at our church who is getting ready to marry off their daughter about all this. They told me it is still true in American culture that the father pays unless the future in-laws step in and say, “Let’s go dutch.”
I talked with my Korean friends asking what the culture of the motherland holds. I got mixed reviews. Some say the father of the bride pays. Some say it is 50-50. I am very confused. Seriously? I gotta pay for four weddings? I am not sure how this will be possible. What is worse…what if the girl my son marries comes from a family that believes in 50-50. That means I have to pay for 5 weddings.
I know that I am sounding so cheap but I really think about this stuff. I gotta pay for college. Once #3 goes to college we will have 3 kids in college at the same time for three straight years. We will be paying for college for a total of 16 years.
I have come to realize I have a few options…
Option 1: Make them pay for everything (college and wedding). I like this option however there is something that makes this very difficult. My parents paid for my undergrad and grad school education. My in-laws paid for my wife. They both paid for our wedding. Just on principle I feel it is wrong to benefit from generous parents and then leave our kids out to dry.
Option 2: We pay for both (college and wedding). This is not an option. Not trying to be cheap. It would be impossible unless our financial situation drastically changed, like we won the lottery.
Option 3: We agree to pay for one or the other. Make the kids choose. The only problem is that if they are smart they will all take college instead of the wedding since it costs more. I guess the incentive would be to get a scholarship for college and get me to pay for the wedding. Another hole in this option is…what about my son. If he gets married to a girl whose parents will pay for the wedding and he gets a scholarship for college am I still under obligation?
Any thoughts? What’s a parent supposed to do?