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How to have the wedding budget talk

The perfect dress. An array of floral arrangements. The most stunning wedding cake. All of these things are items you’ve likely thought or dreamt about for your big day. What you probably haven’t dreamt about is the price tag associated with each of those items, or the other not-so-sexy wedding costs like event insurance. So before you get caught up in choosing Pinterest-worthy details or booking that pricey photography package, take a moment to remember that everything comes at a cost. To plan a wedding without going overboard and overspending, you must first determine what your budget actually is. For most couples, that means having some challenging discussions with those closest to them, such as your partner and your families.

Talking about money can feel uncomfortable and taboo, but ironing out the financial details is a crucial step in your wedding planning process. If you want to navigate these conversations about cash with class and courtesy, check out these steps and advice for surviving the dreaded wedding budget talk:

Discuss your finances with your fiancé first

Have a sit down with your partner and discuss how you’d like to pay for your wedding. Do the two of you plan to contribute to the wedding funds, and if so, how much? Will you pull from your savings or will you add to the honeypot incrementally over the course of your engagement? Will you need to ask your families for help, or will you be able to cover it all on your own? Ask yourselves these questions and determine how to proceed.

Next, involve the families

After you’ve had a chance to nail down your funding fundamentals with your fiancé, bring in your families to discuss further. Are either sets of parents willing and able to contribute to the wedding funds? If so, how much? Will it be paid in a lump sum or in installments? Will the parents be paying for a particular item or service versus just contributing a set amount? Ask all the questions and get really clear about what is being offered and when to expect it. Setting respectful expectations is very important when it comes to money.

Finally, combine the funds

After you’ve gotten clear on what both you and your partner are contributing, as well as any additions from your families, it’s time to combine these figures together to determine your wedding budget. Add the numbers up to tally your total. If sticking to a budget is important to you, you’ll need to do whatever it takes to stick to this amount you’ve set to avoid overspending or worse: taking on debt. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page and committed to adhering to the budget you’ve set.

Best practices for wedding budget talks

Keep it classy

When speaking with your parents or families, remember that anything they choose to offer is a gift. Your families are not obligated or required to contribute to your wedding day and you have no right to demand their help. Be sure to approach these conversations with class and courtesy.

Be realistic

If you know your folks aren’t rolling in dough, you may want to check your expectations. Some families just aren’t financially able to provide assistance when it comes to wedding expenses, and chances are you already know the likelihood upfront. Express that you’re happy to accept any amount of help towards the cost, rather than asking your folks to straight-up foot the entire bill.

Express gratitude

Remember, these are your closest and dearest loved ones! Be sure to express your gratitude for whatever they may offer you to put towards your wedding fund. Accept their additions with appreciation, and ensure they know how much it means to have their support, both emotionally and financially.

A little planning, along with realistic expectations, courtesy, and gratefulness, will ensure you and your spouse, and your families, start your marriage off on the right foot!