Post # 1
I’m going to try to describe a very complicated situation as concisely as I can…
My parents have always worked very hard, but unfortunate circumstances have caused them to struggle financially my whole life. Consequently, I’ve grown up very money-conscious and frugal – I paid my way through college and have been financially independent since I was 18. Now that I’m 25 and getting married, mom and dad REALLY want to pay for the wedding. I am not in a position to afford it myself, and I think it means a lot to them to “make up” for previous financial mistakes they’ve made and give me a nice wedding. We extended our engagement from 6 to 18 months to give them time to save, and they’ve been setting aside money each month to afford this.
On the flip side, my fiance’s parents have done very well for themselves, and have not struggled financially like my family has. They have a beautiful log cabin on an amazing piece of property on a mountain outside my hometown, and my Fiance and I have always dreamed of holding our reception in their backyard. They are eager and able to help pay for the wedding, and my parents welcome the help.
Now, I’m incredibly grateful to have two sets of loving parents so eager to chip in and give my Fiance and I a beautiful wedding. However, the differing financial situations is getting very sticky. While my parent’s goal is to DIY like crazy and cut corners everywhere possible in order to keep it under a very defined budget. My in-laws, on the other hand, while they aren’t trying to do anything lavish, want to make the wedding really nice – they are business owners in town and since its at their home, its important to them to project a certain image and NOT cut corners and look “tacky.” I understand both sides, but don’t know how to balance those differing expectations. I’m used to ALWAYS thinking about how to do things as affordably as possible, while my Fiance is used to basically being able to get whatever you want (within reason.) The in-laws are well meaning, but they offer to upgrade the things my parents have to cut back on (we thought we’d save on alcohol by cutting out the champagne toast, so they offered to spring for the champagne…things like that) I’m worried that this will be humiliating to my parents, and that soon it’ll turn into the in-laws paying for the bulk of the wedding, with my parents just chipping in here and there.
Does anybody else have to deal with marrying into a family that handles finances very differently than your own, or that have different expectations about what your wedding will be like? How did you deal with it?
Post # 3
Can you ask your in-laws what is most important to them, and then have them pay for those things as a gift? I think doing it that way (“hey mom and dad, my in-laws have generously offered to pay for the alcohol and a band”) rather than have them be paying to upgrade all the things your parents are buying, might be more sensitive.
Also, if it’s in their backyard, maybe they can put their effort into making the space as nice as possible, since that’s clearly in their domain.
Then, your fiance needs to talk to them about letting some of the rest of it go.
Post # 4
Hm, I am not in this situation but it sounds to me like all three parties need to have a pow-wow! When not invite everyone over for a Sunday lunch and make it clear that you’d like to sort out everyone’s “role” for the wedding. Be prepared to give your parents more inexpensive roles–perhaps, the invitations, the cake, and some DIY porjects that you and Fiance are excited to incorporate. If the wedding will be on FI’s parent’s property, I do think they should be able to have some say in the bigger decisions (eg: catering, bar, dance floor?, etc). But give your parents things to contribute and make them sound just as significant to you and Fiance. Have you mentioned this to FIML? Tell her how you feel and ask her to please be understnading and tread carefully around these topics with your parents. Don’t worry—it’ll work out just fine! Sounds like you both have lovely parents.
Post # 5
i agree, it would be nice for everyone to talk about this. maybe your parents could say what they could afford to pitch in… and if your fi’s family wants things to be more expensive than that, since they have the money they could help out.
when my brother and sil got married, her family didn’t have ANY money that they were able to contribute, not even for the rd. my parents wanted them to have a nice wedding, so they paid for it all. it’s not the traditional way to do things, but oh well.
Post # 6
I agree that putting your Future In-Laws in charge of certain aspects would be better than having them try to upgrade everything. Also it would allow your parents to not have to psread their money across everything, rather focus on what they want to contribute.
My only concern (not knowing your Future In-Laws at all so not knowing if this is applicable to them) is that your Future In-Laws would still not be content with the quality of the aspects your parents are in charge of and would still want to upgrade.
Hope everything turns out well! In sticky situations when it’s getting stressful try to remind yourself how blessed you are that everybody wants to be so involved in making your wedding perfect!
Post # 7
Yeah, we’ve tried just splitting things up, but my in-laws want to upgrade the aspects that my parents are in charge of. Thanks for the support and ideas, everyone…I’m sure it will all work out, but its just so hard to balance everyone’s desires – I don’t even know what I want for my own wedding anymore!
Post # 8
Ok well first of all – figure out what you want for your own wedding! Don’t let the tricky financial dynamics between parents distract you and your Fiance from coming up with a vision you both love. Work from THERE with both sets of parents.
Money is so tricky and such a touchy subject. At the very least you can be happy that everyone is supportive and wants to pitch in as much as they can. I can understand how your parents might feel bad if your Future In-Laws are “upgrading” on stuff they are responsible for, at the same time I see where your Future In-Laws are coming from given that it is their home.
Good luck and don’t lose sight of what you and your Fiance want. I’m sure, given how involved both sides want to be, they’ll want to make sure you’re both happy.
Post # 9
My family handles finances very differently than my DH’s family. My dad retired in his mid-40’s and his family is very frugal and money-savvy. It’s awkward sometimes because his famliy will make comments (my parents didn’t pay for the wedding but they spend oodles of money on other stuff) and don’t understand how/why my parents have the money they have. I think it’s uncomfortable for Darling Husband to be doted on for birthdays and holidays but he tries not to take it personally, realizes he can’t change them, and just goes with the flow. As long as I don’t act like that (which i don’t…..i have very different attitudes about money, haha), we’re all good.
His opinion is, “if they want to pay for it…by all means”. Especially if it’s stuff like champagne for the wedding. Now it’s different if their money comes with strings attached. When there are strings, we say no. But sometimes they just want to do nice things and can afford it and see it as a GOOD thing they’re doing. My parents don’t get why they can sometimes rub people the wrong way with money (trying to be over-generous for one) but sometimes it hurts peoples’ pride. Have you talked to your parents about how they’d feel if your FI’s parents chipped in more money? Honestly if they’re having the wedding in their home and they are business owners, it makes perfect sense to me that there are certain things they want to have to project a nice image. Any wedding i’ve been to where the parents are high up on the corporate food chain or have businesses in town, the wedding seems a little like that. Lots of business associates, cigars, that kind of stuff. It doesn’t sound to me like they’re necessarily trying to step on any toes, though. Then again it depends how they’re handling the situation. Do you think they’d be OK just giving you money and saying what it’s for? Instead of ‘upgrading’ all the stuff your prarents are paying for? I coudl see how that’s offensive
Post # 10
Wow… my situation was actually quite different, yet financially frustrating.
Like you, my family grew up with no money and I have been independent since age 18. I donated my own plasma to pay for groceries in college and my parents just never had any money to spare. FI’s parents on the other hand are VERY wealthy. Wonderful wonderful people… would have never known just how wealthy upon meeting them, but definitely in a whoooollee other bracket than my parents.
Anyhow, when wedding planning began, my parents offered a certain amount which was very generous, but not really enough for the wedding. Fiance went to his parents to ask for a little help (assuming they might want to help, especially since they have the means to do so) but they declined! They felt like as the grooms parents it was very untraditional to contribute and because they had paid for FI’s sisters weddings entirely out of pocket with no help, they didn’t think it was right to help with their sons.
Am I weird for thinking that’s kind of wrong? I’m over it now, but in the beginning it was a sensitive subject!
I just think regardless, money situations are ALWAYS awkward for all parties. Whether the family is paying or not paying… sigh.
Post # 11
We had a similar money split. My mom lives paycheck to paycheck since my dad died and husband’s parents are wealthy but are a lot more comfortable that her. They gave us a check to help with the wedding and paid for a few things too. We paid for most of the wedding, but their contributions helped. My mom felt really bad that she couldn’t do more, but she was able to be hands on with some things and just having her their meant the most to us. It was hard for her though. Nobody would ever say anything to make her uncomfortable about it, but she mentioned it to me a few times.
Post # 12
I think it’s great that you have both families willing to help out with the wedding.
But I can understand how it is difficult that both sides have a different outlook on the wedding, so to speak.
I think -in my opinion- the best way to deal with this is coming up with a budget for the wedding. A wedding that you and Fiance are comfortable with. And asking either side what they are comfortable contributing to the wedding.
I think perhaps it’s important to explain to your future in laws that DIY does not necessarily mean “cheap looking”. Show them examples of what some of the Bees on here have done! Some of these items look super professional!
Another way to explain to them perhaps (that might appeal to them more) is that DIY is not just about saving money. But also a way that you can personalize your wedding. The opportunity for YOU to create something for the wedding, is I believe, an experience like none other.
Maybe find ways to include your future in laws in DIY projects so they can see the richness of that experience. That way they can boast to their “rich” friends; hey I had a part in making that! Money can’t buy that! Cool, huh?
Best of luck!!
Post # 13
I think you just need to talk to your parents about how they feel about it. Are they feeling upstaged at every step of the way? Maybe they don’t mind the help? Maybe you could pick out a few things you and your mom want to DIY and let Future Mother-In-Law upgrade the rest?
Post # 14
I totally feel you. While my parents do very well financially, my fiance’s family is from the society South and my mom is really worried that the wedding won’t live up to their standards. They are also holding the rehearsal dinner at a very nice private club, a place I considered for the reception but was too expensive. I just wanted our rehearsal at a nice restaurant near our church or where we went on our first date. I fear that the rehearsal dinner will be very lavish!
It is a touchy subject. For example, my parents complained about FI’s family’s guest list and Fiance and his family offered to pay and my mom would not hear it. FI’s mom also offered me her very expensive lace veil and it hurt my mom’s feelings very much as I had always said I was going to wear her’s. Luckily neither matched my dress.
My fiance’s family is used to black tie affairs and my family is just happy if you show up. Most men wear dark suits but only one or two of my relatives own tuxes and my future mother in law thinks it is “tacky” if men wear suits rather than tuxes to an evening reception.
Good luck! I’d try to make sure that your parents don’t feel like your fiance’s family is overshadowing them. As my mom said, we are going to give you the best “day” we can afford. And to me, that means a lot. Sure my fiance’s family could afford a more lavish affair, but that isn’t “me” or my family and I’m proud of who I am and where I came from.