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Guy Balks After Broke Parents Claim It’s His ‘Duty’ To Bankroll Younger Sister’s Lavish Wedding

bride and groom seated at lavish table
fotostorm/Getty Images

The wedding business in the United States was an over $70 billion industry in 2023. This was down from a 2016 high of $87 billion.

The average American couple spent $35,000 on their nuptials in 2023, up $5,000 from 2022.

That money went to wedding specific clothes and jewelry, photography/videography, venue(s), catering, cake, officiants, planners, flowers, decor, favors, travel, accommodations and miscellaneous other wedding needs.

Some people spend more than they should.

A brother who thinks his parents’ wedding plans for his sister should stay within their means turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.

Thomas72890 asked:

“AITA for refusing to pay for my younger sister’s wedding despite my parents insistence?”

The original poster (OP) explained:

“This is a bit long, but I need to get this off my chest. I’m a 32-year-old man, and I have a younger sister, who we will call Emily, who is 24.”

“My parents have always spoiled her, and it’s only gotten worse as we’ve gotten older. I don’t mind helping family, but this situation has gone too far. Here’s the story.”

“I started working right out of college, saved diligently, and now I own a small but successful business.”

“My parents, on the other hand, haven’t been great with money. They’ve always lived beyond their means, and as a result, they never really had savings to fall back on.”

“Emily, being the youngest, was pampered throughout her childhood and teenage years. She got everything she wanted—new car at 16, fully funded college tuition which she dropped out of, and frequent shopping sprees. I, on the other hand, worked part-time jobs and took out student loans to get through school.”

“Fast forward to now: Emily is getting married to her boyfriend of two years. They announced the engagement a few months ago, and my parents were over the moon.”

“They immediately started planning a lavish wedding, far beyond what they can afford. Naturally, they turned to me for financial support.”

At first, it was small things: ‘Can you help with the engagement party?’ and ‘Could you chip in for the dress?’. I agreed, thinking it wouldn’t be much. But then they started asking for more: ‘We need help with the venue deposit’ and ‘The catering is going to cost a lot, can you cover it?’.”

“I sat down with them and explained that while I’m doing well financially, I’m not made of money, and I have my own expenses and future to think about. They brushed it off, saying it’s my duty to help family, especially my sister.”

“They even suggested I take out a loan if necessary.”

“The last straw was when they asked me to pay for the honeymoon. I put my foot down and told them I’m done funding the wedding.”

“My parents were furious. They accused me of being selfish and ungrateful, saying that family should come first.”

“Emily, of course, sided with them and is now barely speaking to me. She’s posting passive-aggressive stuff on social media about ‘selfish people’ and ‘not being able to rely on family’.”

“My parents are now telling everyone in our extended family that I’m refusing to help my sister in her time of need, and I’m getting a lot of backlash. Some relatives have called to scold me, while others are staying out of it.”

“I’m starting to feel guilty, but at the same time, I think it’s unfair to expect me to bankroll such an extravagant event.”

“So am I the a**hole for this?”

The OP summed up their situation.

“Family Expectations: My family believes it’s my duty to support them financially, especially since I am in a better financial position.”

“Emotional Impact: My refusal and threat to not attend the wedding caused significant emotional distress to my parents and sister, leading to a rift in the family.”

“Public Perception: By not contributing and threatening not to attend, I might appear selfish and unsupportive to other family members and friends, further straining relationships.”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors unanimously declared the OP was not the a**hole (NTA).

“So very NTA. They’re using you like an ATM.”

“Yes, ‘family comes first’ BUT you are part of that family and they most definitely are not putting you first. You have been extremely generous and they are taking advantage of you.”

“I wouldn’t give a single cent more (ever) and if others come at you for it, maybe have the numbers ready of what you’ve given them up to this point.” ~ IamIrene

“As well as asking them how much they are contributing since family comes first. Also mention that you are willing to let the bride know that they are willing to take out the loan for her.” ~ MontanAngel

“Exactly. Usually saying something like ‘I will be sure to let her know to come to you, as you are adamant that family members should fund her wedding’ shut them up pretty quickly! NTA.” ~ Lisard13

“NTA. If it’s possible to get refunds for some of the things you’ve already put deposits on I would do so. You’re the bride’s brother not a cash machine.”

“You don’t say whether you’re close with your sister. Is she aware of the amount of support you have given so far?”

“Or does she think mom and dad shelled out tens of thousands and you’re balking at some individual item that’s relatively short money? In any event your success does not oblige you to bankroll their idiocy.” ~ Thedudeabides470

“NTA , I’m petty and since she’s started the social media trial I’d also reply on social media that ‘you’re sorry that she’s going through so much stress and you’re happy that the cash you’ve given is helping her realise her dream’.”

“Actually the end game is what sort of relationship you hope for going forward with how much you are prepared to air dirty laundry in public. I do believe you should not go into debt to finance the wedding, that is on your parents, sister, the fiancé and his family.”

“Do not let guilt lead you into debt.” ~ gelfbo

“Tell me. How much have they helped you? Did they pay for your college?”

“‘Some relatives have called to scold me’.”

“Unless they offer to pay, they are not entitled to an opinon.”

“NTA. But your entire family sucks.” ~ Reddit

“‘Help’ is stepping in during devastating circumstances, not underwriting a wedding! NTA.” ~ Purple_Kiwi5476

“Yeah, ‘time of need’, oh please. She wants a fancy princess wedding, she doesn’t NEED one.” ~ Longjumping_Hat_2672

“NTA. This isn’t a ‘time of need’. This is an extravagant wedding that your parents are planning without the funds to back it.”

“Your sister can get married with fewer bells and whistles and without your financial contribution.” ~ Regular_Boot_3540

“NTA. You need to eat. You need a roof over your head. You don’t need an expensive wedding and honeymoon.”

“You can apply and pay for a marriage license and get married by a justice of the peace if you want to get married.” ~ Peony-Pony

“NTA. I am sorry you are dealing with this. It is so hard when your own family manipulates and gaslights you, but that is what is happening.”

“Hold your boundary and hold strong. They are treating you as a source and your relationship as transactional; your feelings are valid.”

“Have you read about the Golden Child/Scapegoat dynamic? This is giving that. I know that dynamic firsthand as a scapegoat, and it is awful. Hang in there.” ~ TheEmpressIsIn

“NTA. Your parents want you to make up for their complete inability to handle money.

“Suggesting you take out a loan for your sister’s wedding is beyond absurd. Your sister is talking sh*t about you on social media…again, this is insane.”

“These sorts of things are what teenagers do. Do not pay for this wedding.” ~ Dry_Topic_7333

“I would be out. I would cancel everything. Get refunds let them take care of everything.”

“This is ridiculous. You are not their ATM, yet they are treating you that way.”

“I have no problem if someone wants a lavish wedding if they can pay for it. NTA.” ~ Kirbywitch

“I would get on Excel and have a run down of what you contributed to the wedding with receipts and post it in the family and extended family group chat.”

“Tell them, ‘contrary to what you have been told, this is what I have spent on my sister’s wedding already. My parents are treating me like a bank and now I have run dry. Anyone who has anything to say about my lack of contribution is free to help them fund an event they clearly cannot afford’.”

“‘You are also welcome to start saving for my sister’s next wedding as well since I will not be contributing to that one. Mom, Dad, and sister, I hope the money was worth your relationship with me.”

“Stop saying yes, stop replying. Tell them that your contributions have left you in debt. Once they think the well is dry, they will leave you alone. NTA.”

“Or forget public perception; they never helped you, lived beyond their means, and anyone who thinks that you are selfish and unsupportive can go bye-bye. Those relationships are transactional.” ~ Whorible_wife69

“Easy NTA—You have no obligation to help pay for the wedding. They could willingly expect a nice gift from you, but anything else is at your discretion. They seem particularly ungrateful.” ~ guardlamamama

A lavish wedding might be OP’s sister’s dream, but she’ll get what she can pay for in the real world.

Written by Amelia Mavis Christnot

Amelia Christnot is an Oglala Lakota, Kanien'kehá:ka Haudenosaunee and Metís Navy brat who settled in the wilds of Northern Maine. A member of the Indigenous Journalists Association, she considers herself another proud Maineiac.