How to Ask for (and Get) the Wedding You Want

Need to ask your parents for money or your 'maids to spring for a pricey frock? Here, "ask expert" Laura Fredricks shows you how to get the answers you want to hear.

In wedding planning, as in life, there are uncomfortable topics you have to cover, so knowing the right way to ask (instead of argue) for things gives you a way to resolve any possible ripples before they become tidal waves. When the asking is out of the way, there’s more time for enjoying, celebrating and making memories. Isn’t that what your big day is supposed to about? Here, some ideas.

bridesmaidsHow to ask your guests to travel for a destination wedding:
Asking your friends to get on board with this can be difficult. Between time off from work (and the cost of travel and lodgings), a lot of friends and family might find it difficult and expensive to attend. It’s ideal to give your potential guests as much notice as possible. Read our destination wedding countdown calendar ►

You could start by saying, "We would love to have you help us celebrate and I know this will require extra time and money on your part. Do you think you could make a vacation around the wedding? I’m sure we can work with the hotel to get you extended nights at our wedding rates." 

How to ask for someone not to be in your bridal party:
It’s no secret that with two sets of families involved, assumptions will be made that might not necessarily mesh with your big-day plans — but what do you do when a friend assumes she’ll be part of the bigger festivities? Instead of hoping and praying your friend will understand, get in front of the conversation and say, "I would have loved to have a larger bridal party, but I hope you can support our decision to keep it small — I’m asking that this not jeopardize our friendship." How to choose your bridesmaids ►

Reinforce how important your friend is to you and ask her to participate in another special wedding activity, emphasizing how much that would mean to you. Not everyone will understand but by asking for their support, you can feel good that you recognized a friend’s feelings and want to remain close. 

How to ask parents to help pay for some of the wedding costs:
Asking parents for money on your special day is such a sensitive issue because no one wants to deter from the happiness of getting married by focusing on money. The best way to keep the “wedding bliss” while addressing the money realities is to lead with the things you are paying for and ask for the money to cover what’s left. See the traditional wedding budget breakdown ►

For example: "Mom/Dad, you know we couldn’t be happier at this time in our lives. We’re going to have the wedding of our dreams, but we’re feeling the financial pressure between the caterers, flowers, bridesmaids’ dresses and limousines. Would it be possible for you to pay for the rehearsal dinner? We kept the wedding party to our closest friends and family and we can work with the site on the menu so that it won’t cost a fortune." 

How to ask your parents/in-laws to cut the guest list:
The hardest part in planning any wedding is keeping everyone happy, and it seems as if that’s nearly impossible when creating the guest list. Everyone has their own definition of what makes up a "short guest list" and one approach may be to recognize your parents/in-laws’ excitement to share your wedding with everyone but explain to them that you’ve always envisioned your big day as something small and intimate. How to get your guest list under control ►

In that case you may ask, "It is wonderful that you want to invite so many friends to share in our special day but my dream has always been to keep it on the smaller side. I’m so happy we are planning this as a family — can we work together to keep the list a bit shorter? I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but I would rather have a smaller, more intimate ceremony." 

How to ask your bridesmaids to spend some hard-earned cash:
Many bridesmaids may not have extra cash to spend, particularly if they are a student, recently out of work, have debt or other family obligations. The best thing a bride can do is ask her bridesmaids to spend a little of their own money, while helping them look for ways to save at the same time. Get solutions for the biggest bridesmaid dilemmas ►

Try saying "I know all this adds up to a lot of money and the last thing I want to do is put my friends and family in financial hardship. We’re happy to help with your [select any of the following that fits into your budget] travel expenses, hair and makeup costs for the big day or the cost of your dress." 

Author, speaker and Expert on the Ask, Laura Fredricks has shared her expertise in The Wall Street Journal and other publications.

Photo Credit: Mango Studios