We have been approached by several of our brides’ parents asking how to set a budget — and how to tell their daughter or son that they don’t have enough money.
First, it is going to be hard to overnight change a lifetime of habits you have set for your children. If you have always paid for everything they have ever wanted, it is going to be a touchy subject now that you are wishing or needing to set perimeters for them.
As parents, you need to first discuss your finances among yourselves. You know what income you are bringing in, what debts you currently have and any hardships you may have now or can see in the future. From there, you must decide if you can afford to give your daughter or son $1,000, $5,000 or $10,000 toward his or her wedding. Never go out and refinance your home or dip into your retirement accounts to pay for a wedding. Weddings are luxury and should be saved for.
You need to sit the couple down and discuss both of your goals: what you want for your daughter’s wedding, and what, as a couple, their goals are. Explain to them that you are going to give them a certain amount of money toward their wedding and that is all.
You have to remember that these “children” are adults now, and they should act like it if they want to get married and not just play some fantasy game. Explain to them that they can use the money however they see fit. The couple should do some reach first before they just go out and start buying stuff for the wedding. If you have given the bride, let’s say $10,000, and she goes outs and spends $2,500 on a wedding gown, then she only has $7,500 left to purchase a venue, flowers, catering, invitations, centerpieces, gifts for their wedding party, decorations, a honeymoon, transportation, alcohol, a rehearsal dinner, tuxes, favors for the guests, a DJ or band, linens — I’m sure I missed some items.
I’m sure the groom’s family will help pick up some of the cost, but again this should be discussed right up front as family who’s paying for what.
If the family needs help with a budget, I would recommend hiring a wedding planner. I know you are thinking that’s just another cost, but wedding planners can help you with your budget and, in many cases, actually save you money.
Weddings can be a stressful time for all involved, and setting up a clear budget with no surprises will make for a happy family.
2333 Ellis Ranch Lane Loveland, Colorado 80538