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Don't Be a Brat! How to Discuss Wedding Money and Budgets

Clear Communication Makes the Wedding Money Talk Easier

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There are many different ways to ask your parents to help pay for the wedding, but some rules stay true no matter how you have the wedding money talk. Here's how to stay sane and grounded when talking about this hard subject:
  • Agree with your fiancé about how to approach your families. You don't have to treat each parent the same, or even talk to them together, but you should be a team that agrees on tactics and prepares for less-than-ideal outcomes. Here are 8 ways to have the wedding money talk.


  • Know what you want If your dream is to have a small and intimate wedding, you'll be asking for a very different amount of money than if you wanted a grand affair. Together, you should complete the Newly Engaged Vision Questionnaire. That will help you get a clearer idea of what you want before you bring in other people to the conversations.


  • Lose the expectations In the end it's their money and they get to decide how to use it. Don't let money come between you. That doesn't mean that their answer decides everything, just that you should try to tame feelings of anger or disappointment before they happen.


  • Be honest, but not manipulative It's okay to say something like, "As we're envisioning it, we think the wedding will cost $25,000." Or "I'm concerned that a $5000 budget is an unrealistic expectation. Maybe we can work together to find other ways to pay for it." It's not okay to say, "But if you don't give us $25,000, our wedding will be terrible and everything will be ruined!"


  • Don't act like a spoiled brat This should go without saying, but it can be good to remind yourself to breathe deep and behave like an adult. Money conversations can bring out the worst in all of us, especially when our hopes and dreams are on the line.


  • Know how much your wedding will cost You don't need to have your entire wedding budget settled, but it can be extremely useful to have a general idea of how much things cost in your area. Otherwise, you probably will have to go back to ask for more money. Who wants to have this conversation more than once?

    Start by reading Getting started with your wedding budget. You can use the state-by-state estimator from Real Simple, though know that prices might be very different in the big cities as compared to small rural communities. If you want the best vendors, designer names, or popular venues, know that those prices will go up. Cost of Wedding also has estimates searchable by zipcode.

    Blogs are another way to get a realistic idea of local costs. You may be able to search "$10,000 budget So many couples have blogged about their wedding, you might be able to successfully search for "wedding", your estimate of how much you'll have to spend, and your hometown to find examples of couples who spent about that much.


  • Give them time to discuss Don't put pressure on them to answer right away. They need time to discuss with each other privately, and come to an agreement. Even single parents need time to look at their bank accounts, and consider your request.


  • Understand that asking for money means giving up control It's a realistic fact that the person with the purse strings is the person with power. If you want a very specific kind of event, it might not be better to ask for any help at all. If your parent wants to foot most of the bill, talk to them about your vision and make sure it gels with theirs.
No matter which approach you take to having the money talk with your parents, the most important thing is that your relationship is strengthened and not damaged. Make sure you stay a wedding goddess, rather than becoming a bridezilla.

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