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Etiquette

Broken engagement - do we return $ to our parents?

My ex and I dated for 6 years and were engaged for 10 months (our wedding was ~4 months away) when we decided to call off our engagement and end our relationship. 

All of our parents had given us money to spend as we saw fit (wedding, honeymoon, bills, whatever). Here's the breakdown:
His mom/stepdad: $5000
His dad/stepmom: $3000
My mom/dad: $2500

I'd gotten my wedding dress, and he'd gotten his outfit (both non-returnable). We'd put deposits down on the venue, caterer and photographer (some of which we aren't able to get back). All in all, we're out about $1200.

So my question is, are we supposed to return the money our parents gave us? I asked my mom and she said I could keep what she gave me but that I probably need to give the rest of the money back to my ex / his parents. 

My thoughts are, our parents gave us this money to start this new life together, and now we're not doing that... at least not together.

Part 2 of my question is if we do keep it, do we just split it 50/50 even though his parents contributed more than mine did? 

What do you guys think? Thank you!

Re: Broken engagement - do we return $ to our parents?

  • In Response to Broken engagement - do we return $ to our parents?:
    [QUOTE]My ex and I dated for 6 years and were engaged for 10 months (our wedding was ~4 months away) when we decided to call off our engagement and end our relationship.  All of our parents had given us money to spend as we saw fit (wedding, honeymoon, bills, whatever). Here's the breakdown: His mom/stepdad: $5000 His dad/stepmom: $3000 My mom/dad: $2500 I'd gotten my wedding dress, and he'd gotten his outfit (both non-returnable). We'd put deposits down on the venue, caterer and photographer (some of which we aren't able to get back). All in all, we're out about $1200. So my question is, are we supposed to return the money our parents gave us? I asked my mom and she said I could keep what she gave me but that I probably need to give the rest of the money back to my ex / his parents.  My thoughts are, our parents gave us this money to start this new life together, and now we're not doing that... at least not together. Part 2 of my question is if we do keep it, do we just split it 50/50 even though his parents contributed more than mine did?  What do you guys think? Thank you!
    Posted by amandabuzard[/QUOTE]

    Of course you return it.

    I guess I need clarification. They gave you a total of $10,500 in cash, and you've only spent $1,200 of that? So give them back the $9,300 you haven't spent and pay back the $1,200 you have spent. I say you split what you've already spent 50/50.

  • I really do feel for you, I just want to give you a big hug! :( is the problem reconcilable? If I were you, I would feel somewhat guilty keeping his parents money, but I guess it depends on how close you are to them. If you do keep it, splitting it 50/50 sounds reasonable.
  • You give the money back. 
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  • I agree.  Give it back.  Come to an agreement with them on the $1200 you cannot get back from vendors.

  • I'm sorry, that is an unfortunate situation, but why would you get to keep the money his parents gave you as a couple? Surely in their mind it was meant for their son and his future wife, rather than for you two as individuals...if that makes sense. You need to give the money back!
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  • give it back ....in full. 

    you and he each should come up with $600 to cover what you lost in deposits.


  • I'm sorry about your broken engagement.

    Ditto the others in that you should give the money back. You can attempt to sell the dress/clothes online (oncewed.com) or on craigslist to recoup some of the money you spent there, though you'll probably only get about 1/2 of it back.

    If your mom is insistant that you keep the money she gave you, you can just pay back the $1200 from that, as well. But I'd offer to return it. Not just, "Um, so, do you really want the money?" But, "Hey mom, here's a check for the wedding money." If she really refuses, fine.
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  • Blue_BirdBlue_Bird Bawlmer member
    Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments First Answer
    I'm so sorry to hear about your engagement.

    You should definitely give the money back.  You can come up with the $1200 at a later date, but yes, give it back.  You should each split the costs.
  • I'm so sorry you're going through this.

    I agree that you should return the money.  If for some reason, the parents insist they don't want it back, I honestly think he should keep the money from his parents.  You're no longer marrying their son, so I'm not sure why you'd keep their money, KWIM?

    I hope that didn't sound too harsh.  I hope you have good support to help you through this difficult time!
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  • Give it back.   Come up with a way to pay back the deposits together and you should pay back the cost of your dress yourself.
  • RebeccaB88RebeccaB88 Figment of Your Imagination member
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Yes, you return it.  Or at least honestly, sincerely try. My mom would probably not take it back, but I would really try.  Both of you.  If you can't pay it back all at once, work out a payment plan with them until it's all taken care of.

    My first inclination is that you pay back money your parents gave, and he pays back what his parents gave, but you've got a decent discrepancy there.   I would try to figure up what of that money was spent on him, on you, and on you both (like mutual bills).  Divide up who pays what that way. Like, if they gave him money for payments on his car or medical bills for him, then he's responsible for paying them back (or not, as they want).  Split the $1200 on deposits equally.  If it was something for you both, like a vacation, split it in half. 

    If he bought you a ring, give it back to him.
  • Give him the money from his parents to give back to them. Return the money for your dress and split the deposits with him. Try to give your parents back their money, but if they refuse it then I would personally keep it in savings. 
  • I am very sorry for your broken engagement and I also do not want to sound harsh, but my question is WHY is this even a question?  Of course it should all be returned.
  • Amanda, I just called off my wedding too so I know how you feel. I would work it out with them. My parents were honestly so relieved that they told me not to worry about it and keep the money I made selling the dress (I'm going to give them that money anyway). However, your parents may not feel that way and might want to work on a payment plan or something to get their money back. 
  • I agree with PP that you should absolutely give this money back to those that gave it to you.  They may insist you keep it or they may request that you set up a payment plan to repay them for what you already spent.  Either way, this is definitely a conversation that you need to have.
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  • Even IF, IF both parents say to keep the money (IF and on IF they absolutely insist), then you should keep the 2500 from your mother and he should keep the 8,000 from his, minus the 600 each of you would split from your deposit losses. I see no reason why you would split the money- it's not like a divorce where you are entitled to a portion. 
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  • j-harveyj-harvey member
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Comments
    edited October 2013
  • In Response to Re: Broken engagement - do we return $ to our parents?:
    [QUOTE]Even IF, IF both parents say to keep the money (IF and on IF they absolutely insist), then you should keep the 2500 from your mother and he should keep the 8,000 from his, minus the 600 each of you would split from your deposit losses. I see no reason why you would split the money- it's not like a divorce where you are entitled to a portion. 
    Posted by smartlypretty[/QUOTE]
    I agree with this.

    I'm so sorry for your engagement being over, but this isn't like a divorce settlement here. If it feels weird to keep the money it's because it is weird. I'm not sure on what planet his parents would be okay with you keeping their money, even a portion of it.
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  • I'm so sorry about your broken engagement.  I've been there.   My parents had spent a LOT of money on deposits and things, and lot of it was non-refundable.  They really didn't care about the money they lost, and were more concerned about me.  However, this wasn't money they had given us to spend as we pleased -- they were actually the ones hosting the wedding and had paid for everything directly, so they handled getting refunds, and refused to even talk to me about paying them back (they wouldn't hear of it).  

    I agree that you should try to return all of the money that was given to you.  Your parents and his might not accept it back, but I think you should do your best to return it all, and see if you can come up with a payment plan for any money you can't get back right away.
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  • I am so sorry for your broken engagement and I wish you to best!

    This may just be me, since I watch a lot of Judge Judy and other court shows, but you guys need to split the money the way it was received and make an agreement that the ex FI will pay his parents back the additional $600 and you to your parents and get it all in writing. All too often people are suing and I'd rather do the right thing now then deal with all that grief later. 
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  • depending on who broke off the engagement, the other set of parents should be paid back first, IMO.

    meaning, if you broke off the engagement, then your first obligation should be to get your ex-FI's family their money back, then focus on getting your parents their money back.

    i assume you would want to cut ties as soon as possible if this is truly over, so it will be much easier to pay your own family back over the long term than his family.

    im sure this was a hard decision for you, but be grateful you came to the conclusion that it wasnt meant to be before you got married or worse, brought a child into the mix.  good luck!
  • kaos16kaos16 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Love Its 1000 Comments First Answer
    In Response to Re: Broken engagement - do we return $ to our parents?:
    [QUOTE]  If he bought you a ring, give it back to him.
    Posted by RebeccaB88[/QUOTE]

    In most situations yes.  However, if the ring was given in lieu of a gift, for instance Birthday or Christmas, technically you don't have to give it back.

    Giving it back still would be the right thing to do in my opinion, but legally it's a loophole.
  • Doesn't look like she is coming back.  I have to say this question really rubbed me wrong.  Why would she think she might be entitled to half of what his parents gave them for the wedding?
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