Parents paying for sister’s wedding but not mine?

by DIY wedding planner on April 12, 2012

Okay, before you say life isn’t fair, just read the details. My sister and I both got engaged around the same time. At that time my parents sat the two of us down together, and said that they were going to give us each X amount, and to add that to however much we had been planning to pay ourselves. They wanted to see that both of us had nice weddings. So I went about budgeting, using the number my parents had given me. FI and I have mortgage payments and he has school loans to pay off, so what we’re spending out of pocket isn’t all that much, but thanks to my parents contribution we will be able to afford a pretty nice wedding. We were especially thankful because my mom had given me a guest list that almost doubled our original list. I recently started looking at venues, and found one I loved, and have my budget pretty much squared away.

However, my mom called me up and started talking about my sister’s wedding. My sister apparently has expensive tastes, and is way over budget, and has already stated to put payments down on venues, caterers, etc. (She chose a venue that is over 1/2 of what my parents were contributing by the way). Any way, my mother told me that she and my father were going to have to give her the money they had planned to give me, but it was okay, because my FI’s family could afford to give us a nicer wedding than my sister anyway. Yes, my FI’s parents have money, but they have not offered us any money, and we are not going to ask for it.

When my mom told me this I didn’t throw a fit, I simply said ‘okay’ and pointed out that FI’s parents hadn’t mentioned contributing. My mom said that my sister was going to be so appreciative of this and that she can’t wait to go to both her daughters’ beautiful weddings. I did tell my mom that I would probably have to cut down on the guest list though, and she was immediately appauld, telling me I can’t do that, she’s already sent engagement announcements to all those people and told them they would be invited! (I had no idea she got engagement announcements…) At this point I just didn’t know what to do. Renting a venue large enough for all the guests and feeding all these guests, took up the majority of what FI and I were going to contribute, and I figure invites, thank yous, postage and RSVPs will probably eat up the rest of the budget. We had planned on using the money my parents were going to give us for attire, decorations, flowers, gifts, photographer, music, hair/make-up and our honeymoon.

When I told FI this we started to cut back, found a cheaper venue (that is also large and provides tables and chairs) and a buffet style caterer that can feed all the guests for less than what we’d orginally budgeted. I’ve found a lot of DIY projects, and figured I can use fake flowers, and instead of an expensive dress, I can rent one. Its not going to be the wedding I had invisioned, but I think I can make it work on the budget I have to work with, and keep all my mom’s guests invited too. I know I am going to have to sacrafice a lot (we’re not having a professional photographer and my iPod is going to be the DJ, plus no honeymoon right after the wedding) but it’ll all work out. The most important thing is that I am marrying my FI.

With that said, I’m starting to get fustrated (perhaps a little jealous) with my sister. She called me up asking my opinion on serving steak or lobster, or chicken and salmon, and then when started complaining about how much her flowers were going to cost. I got so upset that I told her she should consider herself lucky, and ended our coversation. I feel like I could have handled that a little better, it is just that I’ve been working hard to re-work the budget while she is complaining about not being able to have tulips and lillies in each and every centerpeice.

I already know life isn’t fair, but how would you handle this situation? I feel like I am handling it poorly, and I have a lot of anger and resentment building up. I am telling myself to be rational and that complaining about this money is making me a brat. But I don’t really think it is about the money… it is more the fact that I’m having to cut back and really watch my budget, but my sister (who now has even more money towards her wedding) is complaining about her budget. I think that really sent me over the edge, and in fact, I am about to just bring up the idea of eloping with FI. The important thing here is getting married, not the wedding. I guess it just is hard to hear someone complain when they are better off than you. Please, tell me what you would do. I feel I need to be talked down or something. Thanks.
Oh, I want to add, our original guest list was 50 people (including bridemaids and groomsmen).

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

CarbonDated April 12, 2012 at 5:05 am

You agreed to it. That was your first mistake. My suggestion is to have the wedding on your new budget and tell your mother that on your side, only immediate family is invited. Tell her that you are ashamed because she clearly favors a sister that chose to spend more than she was allotted. That is her cost. Now, you have to adjust your wedding plans and that means no guests from your side of the family. Make sure your mother knows how ashamed you are of how your parents have chosen to treat you like yesterday’s stew. I think you have the right to do that.

If you allow your mom to maintain her guest list, you will find that she will pull similar crap in the future – if you have an emergency, kids, whatever. Your creepy sister is going to suck up all the opportunities because your parents give her whatever her little nasty and selfih heart desires. Just wait until the divorce.


Ash April 12, 2012 at 5:17 am

I think you are acting mature and you are being very reasonable. The fact that your sister is complaining about her budget to you is making your sister sound like a ungrateful brat to say the least. The fact that you are handling this situation with such class makes me tip my hat at you. Next time she complains tell her to stop and say you should be lucky cause you took my money away from my wedding. hang in there and it’s your wedding so do whatever you want to do. If you want to elope then do if you want your dream wedding then have one if you only want 50 people then have only 50 people. Honestly your wedding sounds better then your sisters. hope I helped take care


Tiffany April 12, 2012 at 5:39 am

Cut the wedding guest list! Let you mother explain that you had to because of your smaller budget. She will look bad, not you. Why put other people’s feelings ahead of yours when they so clearly are being ugly to you? Please get the dress you want and keep the original 50 people on your guest list. You deserve a special day and a honeymoon. Even a weekend honeymoon, if that is all you can afford right now. Do NOT feel bad, and do not back down. This is your special day and you can be proud that you made a lovely wedding on a budget that you could afford. Reasonable people will applaud that and certainly will think that is a good start to your new life. Congrats!

PS You have been a wonderful person to your sister and mother. If they say anything more, just remind them that you are working with the budget that you have and you are sure happy to have the wedding you wanted in the first place.


firefly_fliesby April 12, 2012 at 5:39 am

You’re handling this really well. You’re keeping things in perspective, scaling back, being accommodating, and you’re definitely being the mature one in all of this. That said, be a little more selfish. You shouldn’t be the only person impacted by the budget change. Go back to your original guest list of fifty people and don’t maintain your mom’s guest list. You’re the one paying for this wedding now, you should have a little more control! If you want to scrap the whole wedding and just elope, do it. Your wedding and, more importantly, your marriage isn’t about your mom, your sister, or all the guests your parents wish could be there. It’s about you and your fiance. Do what you want, not what’s best for everyone else. If ever there were a time to think of yourselves, this would be it!


An education is always a good idea April 12, 2012 at 6:05 am

Honestly if I were you I would call up my parents and complain. It is ridiculous that they sat down with both of you and told each of you to be budget wisely because you would both receive a small portion of money. Yet then your sister decides to ignore them and spend spend spend and then your parents just think “oh well” and give her all the money and reward her for being irresponsible!

Honestly I would tell my parents that either they put their foot down and show you the same equal treatment and stick to their original plan of giving you both equal money OR they won’t be invited to YOUR wedding. If they aren’t going to pay a dime for your wedding then I wouldn’t invite them! How dare your sister be so irresponsible and then your parents show favoritism and give her all the money and reward her for NOT respecting them and not listening to what they told both of you…to budget!
I wouldn’t invite your sister OR your parents to your wedding.

My thoughts I understand are a bit over the top. But that is how I would feel if I were you. She is clearly their favorite child and they have shown you they don’t give a crap about you. Either they should pay equal amounts for BOTH weddings or not give any money to either of you! Parents SHOULD be fair to their kids because by not being fair they are showing favoritism and showing you that you don’t matter. That your sister is more important to them.

You need to confront your mother AND father together, alone, without anyone else around. Tell them you are sickened that they are rewarding her for bad behavior (not budgeting well and ignoring what they told both of you). If anything they should have withdrawn all their money from her wedding and given it all to you for being a respectful daughter who did listen to them and stayed on a strict low budget! I would also tell off your greedy sister. These are not people I would want to invite to my wedding if I were you…a greedy, rude sister who only cares about herself and HER wedding and 2 parents who favor her and reward her for her irresponsibility.

Good luck to you but I feel sorry for you that your parents clearly care more about the other daughter.


????????? ???? April 12, 2012 at 6:27 am

I agree with “An education”. If it were me, I would call my parents on their ridiculous behaviour and they wouldn’t be invited. My parents would NEVER treat any of their children like that – just because they’re your parents doesn’t mean you can’t demand they treat with respect and kindness. This is an insult and it shows blatant favourtism.


Perse April 12, 2012 at 6:34 am

I commend you for taking the high road and now struggling to be the bigger person. It’s not fair and this situation just plain sucks.

If it were me, I would have taken the budget I had to work with and had the wedding I wanted. This would have meant getting professional photography and a honeymoon and goodbye to all of mom’s guests.

But, you chose to sacrifice your own wedding unselfishly so you can’t exactly play the role of martyr now. Perhaps it would do you good to distance yourself from your sister while you plan your weddings.


jct_pp April 12, 2012 at 7:26 am

they should have reined in your sister from the beginning and its never ok to offer money then take it back. itd be different if they offered money then realised they couldnt manage it financially – but to give it to her instead is quite frankly monstrous behaviour.. theyve been very very unfair to you. syaing that, youve handled yourself with dignity and grace (far more so than i would have managed!!) and you are not in any way shape or form being a brat

your sister is being a brat. you have every right to feel resentful. and that fact your mother is still refusing to cut down her guest list – well its time to stand up for yourself. she had no business telling people they were invited before the invites went out and its entirely YOUR decision if these people are invited or not!

in my honest opinion- i say to hell with the lot of them, elope. use your budget for a beautiful wedding and honeymoon in one, maybe in mexico (i know some fabulous places that cater for just the couple as im living in mexico now and i can give you so so much info if you send me a message via YA).

i am betting that your mother sees your sister as “the difficult one” and you “the lovely one who goes along with anything”


JL April 12, 2012 at 7:38 am

Oh my god this is so out of order! I think you are handling this situation very well, better than I would be doing, and I don’t blame for saying that you feel the anger and resentment building up. You’re right, it’s not about the money at all, but about how they are treating you and the lack of respect for your feelings. There’s so many things wrong with this – them assuming you should get more money from his parents, them offering you this money then changing their minds after you’ve started planning, them pandering to your sister’s expensive tastes as though she is a five year old with no concept of prices, and most of all, ther thing that made me really mad was them having the nerve to send out your engagement invites!! Who does that?! This is your wedding and even if they were contributing they have no right to take over to that degree.

I think this is time for some serious conversations – you need to sit them down and make them realise how offensive and unfair their behaviour has been to you. It’s not childish or jealous to say that you want to be treated with the same respect they show to your sister! I have parents who donb’t listen to a word I say if they disagree, so you really need to stick with it and force them to see it from your point of view. Maybe there won’t be any actual changes to things like the money, but what’s more important is a good apology and an acknowledging that they’ve hurt you, and a promise to consider you as a human, not just ‘the other daughter’.

Above all, remember that this is your day, and if eloping will make you happy then do it and don’t even give a second thought to anyone else. But don’t miss out on your dream wedding because they’ve made it a headache. Put them in their place and let the bridezilla out a little!


The Original GarnetGlitter April 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

I wouldn’t have kowtowed to your mother when she did ‘backsies’ on her promise….I would still cut back on the guest list, not on the wedding frills to have a small but quality wedding and if Mom doesn’t like it, she can cough up the dough she promised.

In fact, if eloping means you will have a nicer wedding/honeymoon and you won’t regret it, I would advise you to do exactly that and if Mom complains you tell her that you get what you pay for.

btw your mother is very, very wrong in her blatant favoritism….and to assume your in laws will pay is presumptuous on her part.


Wedding DJ - Greg Hodges April 12, 2012 at 8:59 am

I agree, your situation isn’t fair. I have 3 kids. My wife & I give great thought to everything we do to be sure it is perceived as fair. Have you considered speaking with an etiquette expert? In the Boston Area, I recommend Jodi Smith of Mannersmith. She has a fantastic website and answers questions daily. Although I am not from your area, feel free to contact me with any music questions. I’ll attach my website below.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: