Wedding 101

How to Talk to Your Parents About Your Wedding Budget

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These days, more and more couples are financing their own weddings; with the average age of marriage on the rise, today's couples often have more cash at their disposal than those who married 20 years ago. However, there are still plenty of couples who need parental support to pay for their big day. But asking for that kind of financial backing can be a sensitive subject, so here's some advice on how to make the big money talk as painless as possible.

1. Talk to your partner about the type of wedding you’d like to have before you do anything else. 

Sit down with your spouse-to-be and have a frank talk about the type of wedding you want to have, whether it’s a small backyard affair, a beautiful barn wedding or a black-tie fete. Details like when and where you’d like to marry and roughly how many guests you want to invite, will help you estimate your wedding costs. With those details in mind, start researching how much you may need to spend to make those dreams come true.

2. Decide how much the two of you can afford to contribute. 

Before you ask your parents for financial support, it’s important to determine how much you and your partner can realistically bring to the table. Do you have savings or will you be able to put away a certain amount of money each month during your engagement? Whatever the case, you’ll want to have a solid understanding of what you two alone can afford before you blindly ask your parents for help. They may actually be willing to chip in a little more if they know you’re willing to spend some of your own money, too.

3. Don’t commit to anything until you know your EXACT budget. 

Don’t sign on ANY dotted lines until you’ve completely finalized your budget. Don’t assume you know how much your parents can contribute and don’t just assume you’ll figure it out later. That could turn out to be a very costly mistake…the last thing you want is to have put down a deposit on a venue you ultimately can’t afford. Be patient and once all money matters are set in stone, get your planning on!

4. Ask your parents to sit down and discuss the wedding budget. 

Whatever you do, do NOT surprise your parents with a chat about the budget. Give them a heads-up so they can look through their personal finances and get on the same page. You want them to be able to prepare for the conversation rather than having a knee-jerk N-O reaction. Keep in mind that whether your parents are divorced, still married, or re-married, you’ll want to talk to all parties before accepting any financial contributions or making any major decisions.

5. Have the talk.

Once you’ve set a date to chat, it’s time to get down to business. Let your parents know what your ideal wedding looks like and then present the facts: the average costs in your preferred location, any backup options available, and the amount you’re able to contribute. Then, if they haven’t brought it up already, ask them if they’d be able to contribute anything to your budget. Make sure it’s clear that you’re not demanding a contribution, just inquiring. When you get their final number, be grateful for any support!

6. Be sure you understand your parents’ expectations before accepting their contributions. 

If your parents offer to financially back your wedding in any way, discuss how involved they want to be in the planning process before accepting any money. Some parents may want to plan the whole thing if they’re paying for the whole thing, while others may be happy to just foot the bill whenever the time comes to pay for goods and services. Just make sure you’re on the same page from the beginning and that you’re comfortable with any of your parents’ demands.

7. Keep in mind that bigger isn’t always better. 

If after talking about the details with your parents you agree on a number that’s not quite as large as you originally thought it would be, you might feel disappointed at first. But while it’s hard to let go of your dream wedding day details, having a small budget actually has some big benefits. It will force you to get creative and focus on what really matters! 
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