Wedding Budget Q&As

Answers to who traditionally pays for what, who pays for whom, and other issues of wedding finances.

Q: What's the most tactful way to ask both sets of parents if they will help pay for the wedding?

A: Asking parents if they intend to help out with wedding costs should not be a scary thing. But for a lot of couples broaching the subject can be a bit uncomfortable, especially if their parents have not said a word about making any contributions. Naturally, you do not want to be in limbo wondering how much you will be able to spend on your wedding, so the sooner you do ask, the easier it will be to start your planning.

First, discuss with your fiancé the type of wedding you want to have — and be practical. Chances are a guest list of 500 for a wedding in Venice will not fit into your budget! Decide how much you both can afford to spend. Determine a rough estimate for your guest list, the time of year you would like to marry, the day of the week and where you might like to have your reception. All of these factors will determine the expense of the wedding. Next, ask your parents if they can meet for lunch or dinner—you will want the setting to be relaxed and casual - to discuss wedding plans. You and your fiancé may choose to do this together or you may want to talk with your own parents separately.

When you do get together with your mom and dad, let them know the type of wedding you envision, how much you think it will cost and what you and your fiancé can afford to spend. Ask your parents if they had planned to help out in any way. And make sure they understand that your intention is not to embarrass or pressure them, but to determine if you need to alter your plans to accommodate a smaller (or maybe even larger!) budget. How they respond depends upon their financial status and personal beliefs. They may not be able to contribute a great deal of money, but may offer to pick up the tab for some part of the wedding. Let them know that any amount offered is appreciated.

If neither set of parents can provide any financial assistance, you and your fiancé will probably need to rethink your original plans. But do not get discouraged: Most wedding pros will offer suggestions in order to work within your budget. And with a little ingenuity and creativity, many couples have had beautiful weddings for far less than they imagined.

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My question is: if renting a house for the brides family are we expected to pay for the grooms family? One 6 bedroom house will take care of our family, the grooms family would require another another 4 bedroom and then his attendants, or do they pay for their own????? Help! If I could get a response ASAP that would be awesome.