Whose responsibility is to to pay for wedding flowers?

I am a MOG that was married recently. A month after my son’s wedding I was told that a portion of the floral bill was mine. This confused me as I knew I did not use this particular florist for the flowers for the rehearsal dinner. I also have never used this florist as it is one of the highest priced florist in our area. All flowers and the pricing were approved by the bride and her mother. When the mother went to pay the bill the florist apparently told her that it is customary for the groom’s parents to pay for certain flowers. She then gave them my address and had that bill sent to me. They billed me for the brides bouquet, flowers for the groom and groomsmen as well as the flowers for the mothers for a total of almost $500.00. If I had been consulted in advance and had agreed to this that would have been fine. But, should I be responsible for a bill that no one consulted with me as to what my budget might be? It seems tacky to pick everything out and then send someone a bill for something they knew nothing about.

Nancy Tucker

This is true, it is traditional for the groom to pay for the bride’s bouquet, boutonniers for his attendants and corsages for the immediately family on both sides. However, you should have been informed of this, prior to the wedding instead of sending a bill after the fact. This situation has been mishandled by the bride’s family and you should discuss it with them and hopefully resolve it. It is always smart to involved both sides of the family in the budget planning.


Thank you for your reponse. I stressed several times during the planning stages of the wedding that I definitely had a budget and needed to stick with it. However, the brides family made it clear that “budgets were meant to be broken” and that they did not have one – their daughter would have what she wanted. I have refused to pay the bill and have told my son that it is my understanding that the flowers were to be paid by the groom and his family. Since I paid for a $3000.00 wedding rehearsal I felt like he could pay for the flowers. He and his wife both have very good jobs and can more than afford it. I have been told by him that I am being petty and childish and to just pay the bill. Should I back down and pay for something that someone esle picked out and approved the pricing on without consulting me?

Donna, Wedding Queen, President; Top Wedding Sites,

$3,000.00 for a wedding rehearsal dinner? OUCH. That seems excessive to me, even if held here in Manhattan.

You shouldn’t have to pay for anything you didn’t agree to and/or cannot afford to pay for. Modern couples, being older and better off then when they used to marry at age 18, are now stepping up and hosting their own weddings. Please speak to your son and let him know that you simply cannot afford to pay this bill. In fact, you aren’t obligated to pay for these flowers, nor were you obligated to pay for a rehearsal dinner. If they wanted a lavish dinner, or anything more than what you offered, they should have hosted it themselves. Same goes for the parents of the bride. If they wanted to treat their daughter to a “no holds barred” affair, that was their choice, not yours.

However, I’d let things with your son cool off a bit, then have a quiet discussion with him alone. I’d be hard pressed to find a son who couldn’t understand a parent’s hardship. But, then again, we’re seeing so many entitled young people these days… It may not be too late to teach your son and his wife a little lesson about entitlement. Hopefully it’s not too late for our economy!

Good luck.


Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, the rehearsal dinner was very excessive and was very out of control. I was trying very hard not to rock the boat and was often made to feel as though I was being cheap. I definitely have the ability to pay this bill. However, I feel that enough is enough. Both of them are very oblivious to money issues and etiquette. Thanks for your help.[:)]

Yvonne Kelly, MSW, RSW, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor and Coach,

From a relationship point of view, I will weigh in on this. I also want to point out that I don’t think it was the place of the floral shop to point out that it was your responsibility to pay for this even if they were asked as it sounded like the bride’s mother was prepared to pay for this in the first place and then was given the idea that she shouldn’t and she responded to that.

Anyway, the past is the past, and what remains is a potentially sensitive issues that beyond the money could get in the way of maintaining some relationships in the future. I’m a realist and I love compromise because I think it reflects the reality of the way people and the world works. I’m also for sending messages and being straight about where you’re coming from but not being so stuck in a position (even when you are right and I believe you are right here) that stands to have irreparable consequeneces for your relationships.

So here’s my advice. This is an unfortunate circumstance but not the end of the world. We want a decision that allows you to be honest about how you feel about it and let’s people know where you stand on things for the future, and also ones that protects your relationship at least with your son and daughter in law. Remember no one is going to change anyone’s views or positions on money here, your kids will have to learn that on their own, but you definitely have the right to assert what’s important to you in a way that doesn’t create more dissesion.

I would suggest explaining how this is a finacial cost that you didn’t anticipate, that comes on top of the financial commitment to the wedding that already went beyond your budget but that you were happy to go ahead with becauase at least you were part of those discussion and made your own decisions about it(albeit you were under pressure). This expense falls outside of that. And while you feel that it is not your obligation to pick up the full cost of this at this time, you would be willing to pay for half and your son pay for the other half, because what’s more important is building good faith in the relationship, not staying stuck on a monetary issue that could taint your relationshp with them.

Don’t necessarily expect them to understand because they probably need some time to learn about the real world, but it shouldn’t stop you from speaking your mind and making this offer/ gesture. Make sure they know that the most important thing is the relationships, and this feels like the best and most fair way of addressing and unforeseem financial expense. The way in which you do this is almost more important than what you actually propose. So for example, if you just pay it all but resent them for it, that goes a long way towards tainting the relationship. If you don’t pay anything and let this go on as an unresolved issue between all of you, the costs may be higher long-term than the cost of flowers. So in the spirit of compromise and good faith I think this proposed solution can send a positive message so you can get on with the real job of being a family and the work involved in that.

Best of Luck!!


Yvonne, thank you so much for your post. What I failed to say in my original post is that it was my intention to pay half. However, when I told my son that I did not feel that I should pay a bill that I was not expecting especially after hosting such an extravagant rehearsal dinner, he became very insulting. He actually asked me if I had any other bills that I didn’t want to pay and if so to just put them in his mail box and he would take care of it. He and his wife are both very spoiled individuals that have no concept of money. He spent $20,000.00 on her engagement ring and then she and her mother had the audacity to get upset that he could not provide for an extravagant honeymoon. He was 25 years old when they got married and only had the money to do that because of some annuities I had setup for him when his father died. The woman he married comes from a very wealthy family and I have made it clear from day one that I will not compete nor will I be made to feel inferior because of the difference in our financial abilities. The entire wedding was very upsetting for me and most of our family. Some of us felt very unwelcome at the reception due to the wedding being so large and there not being enough seating. There were only reserved seating for her family. Then to top it all off no one told us the plans as far as pictures with the grandparents. So when the ceremony was over our family went on to the reception site. As soon as they left I found out they were doing the pictures at the Church. Some how her entire family knew this but his did not. I had been at the Church for 3 hours prior to the ceremony but yet no one bothered to tell me anything. His grandparents were very hurt as was I. His statement to me concerning this huge oversite was that “Our family doesn’t have the best manners in the world and just didn’t realize they were suppose to stay.” I think her Mom was very inconsiderate to send the bill even if the florist did suggest it. She had approached the wedding with the sky is the limit attitude- not me. She is a grown woman and should be able to see where all this is leading. I really don’t know how any of this can be repaired, short of taking the verbal abuse from my son or just paying the bill. Which if he had not been so verbally abusive, I would have gladly paid half.

Yvonne Kelly, MSW, RSW, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor and Coach,

I hate to say this, but it’s stories like this that make me wonder when we’re going to realize that the wedding is simply symbolic of love, relationships and families coming together – money should never be the central focus. When flowers and who pays for them are front and centre then something has gone very wrong. And that’s not a blaming statement just a global questioning about how we rate the importance of things and money vs people and relationships.

I think we have a combination of entitlement and lavish spending habits here, but more obvioulsy now, inconsiderate and unappreciative behavior, namely on your son’s part from what you’ve said. There seems to be a general disssonance between you and the entire other side of the family on money matters and that’s challenging enough but it doesn’t mean things have to be handled so abruptly and insensitively even when people disagree. Maybe your son is just frustrated but your description of his behavior towards you is fairly unsettling. If you’ve made your gesture to pay half and he still takes that and turns it into a belittling statement about you not wanting to pay for anything then I think you are within your rights to do whatever seems fitting. His non-acceptance of your offer has probably has less to do with whatever you are doing or have done, and more to do with his inability to understand that he can’t treat people this way. It’s a lesson he may learn in time but I wouldn’t hold my breath while waiting to find out if he will.

Being the bigger person and trying to maintain and nurture the relationship is always the higher and better road to take and I would still advocate for that. But you can do this and also give him the message that you do not appreciate, nor will you accept his harsh treatment of you, out of respect for yourself as his mother and as another human being.

Hopefully time will help all of you to go beyond this when the really important events in life require everyone to pull together as family. Best of Luck!