So you’re engaged! Congrats!
I’m sure, if you’re anything like me, you already have about a thousand things flying through your brain at a million miles a minute. And that’s great! Weddings are meant to be a time of celebration and joy!! But I can tell you one topic that might not be the most fun to think about: budget. Oh, you mean my wedding is going to cost me money? Oh yeah. These days, the average wedding ranges from $25,000 to $30,000, and it continues to climb. I encourage every bride and groom to keep your paws off the checkbook until you have a budget set in stone. In the past, the budget was pretty specific on what was assigned to whom. For example, the bride’s family paid for the church (or wherever the ceremony is held), the reception, the bouquets for the bridesmaids, the bride’s dress, the invitations, the photography/videography, the wedding planner/coordinator, I mean the list goes on. And of course the groom and his family had their own check off list. Nowadays, wedding costs don’t fall in these categories. So here is the question, “How do you bring up the wedding budget to your family?” You can’t just walk into your parent’s kitchen one day or sit down for dinner and say, “Hey mom and dad, can I have about $20,000?” Wouldn’t it be nice though if you could? It can definitely be an awkward or uncomfortable topic to bring up.
So here are some tips to navigate you through the trenches:
- Don’t bring it up at all. Anything your family or friends are willing to help with is a gift, and an expensive one at that. More likely than not, anyone who wants to help out with the funds will come to you if they are willing and able to help out. You also don’t want to bring it up and seem presumptuous or spoiled. The only downside is that if don’t come to you right away, you could be left guessing for quite awhile.
- If that doesn’t work for you, and you want to start planning as soon as you can, bring up the topic lighty. One way you can bring it up is by saying something along the lines of “We were trying to narrow down some venues we would like to visit, but we are trying to figure out our budget before we do so.” Bam. It let’s your family know that money is definitely going to be a factor in planning your wedding. At that point, they might jump in and offer a contribution.
- Timing is everything. For any couple that wants to bring up the topic of money to their family/parents, make sure you are in a calm, interruption-free environment. It’s a big topic, and you want everyone to feel relaxed and at ease.
- Be prepared to give whoever is willing to contribute a general idea of what your wedding might cost. No offense to the older generations, but weddings come with a much bigger price tag than they did in the mid-1900s. You can learn a lot through just doing some research online and getting a general idea of what your budget could be. If you want to be super thorough, bring a copy of a break down for the budget. That might also be nice for the family members or friends that want to contribute to something specific.
- Be careful and aware of the fact that whoever wants to contribute might also want a say in the planning itself. Be prepared for your parents to have a say about your guest list or your food choice. If/after they have agreed to give you “x” amount of dollars, gently ask them how much say they want in your wedding.
- Always be grateful! Like I mentioned earlier, any help you get is a gift, so prepare to be content with whatever you get. It’s like when your Uncle Joe gives you the ugliest scarf you have ever seen for Christmas, but you say thank you and pretend it’s super soft.
Bottom line is you know your parents, family, and friends better than anyone so you know how comfortable/easy it will be to start the money conversation. But follow these clear communication tips and you will be on your way to planning your fabulous day!