Post # 1
My fiancee and I are planning on paying for the wedding ourselves. That said, we are really hoping to be able to buy a house someday and want to break even in terms of wedding gifts. We are trying to finalize our budget and I’m a little confused on how all of this works.
My parents are divorced and re-married. My mom and I are very open about money. She told me before we got engaged that she would give us a $10,000 gift when we got married. After the engagement, she brought it up again, and said that she and my stepdad are planning on giving us 1/2 of the gift at the wedding and 1/2 of the gift a few months later. This was an easy conversation because we are close and she brough it up…I just had to nod my head a lot.
My dad and stepmom are a different story. They have more money, but are a little weird about talking about it. For my bother’s wedding, they didn’t actually give a gift – but would randomly pay for parts of the wedding, because they were planning together. My FW and I are very clear about wanting ownership over our wedding and really don’t want them to be a part of the planning at all. We would both prefer that my dad and stepmom determine a gift amount and give that, rather than the unexpected gifts along the way.
So…I need a little advce.
Has anyone asked their parents about what gift they plan on giving? How do you start this conversation? I don’t want to sound greedy!
Thanks for your help!
Post # 3
I don’t have much advice for you on this, because we’re paying for our own, but I think that even if they pay for certain things you can still maintain that you want complete control. If nothing else, you can ask for their input and then make the decisions.
Post # 4
Thanks – one of the issues with my brother & SIL is that they had no idea how to budget, because they never knew when the check-book would be brought out. Is that normal, or do families usually have a discussion about the budget?
Post # 5
Oh man, my parents do this. I picked out what I wanted and as SOON as i reached into my wallet, my mom would go “no no we got that”. It’s how they wanted to make sure I spent the LEAST anount possible, thinking I was more likely to spend LESS if it was my money versus theirs. It’s manipulative and I really dislike it. For instance, I had picked out a $400 wedding dress. If I had known they were going to pay for it, I’d have probably taken their money, added a few hundred of mine, and felt like I had more leeway to shop. Instead of picking up a dress at an off the rack sale. Same with our honeymoon. Which were the only 2 things they paid for. It was really annoying but since we paid for the whole wedding it was just like, “dammit it would’ve been nice to know!” so we could’ve looked at money more carefully.
Really, I think you should talk to them BEFORE wedding stuff goes down. Say, “I know XYZ is how you handled money with my brother and his wife and we were wondering how it was going to work for our wedding. We’d prefer to know up front what you’d like to pay for–if anything–so that we can budget AHEAD OF TIME (key words!) so we can keep an eye on the finances better”. Don’t get me wrong, money is always nice, but it’s not really easy to be blindsided by it, either. We had budgeted to pay for my dress and the honeymoon and then got gifted them and it sorta threw off our money for awhile. There were things we could’ve allocated that money to that would’ve made life easier in the beginning.
Post # 6
If your dad and stepmom have mentioned before that they will be contributing, then I think it would be okay to bring it up with them and ask if they still wish to do that, and if so, how they would like to contribute. The actual phrasing, I’m not too good at–I’m sure other bees will be able to chime in 🙂 But I would think that planning a wedding the way your brother did, with no idea of the real budget, would be difficult. It was kind of like that for me–my parents never came out and said, “This is how much we want to spend.’ I kind of just told them what the different venues cost, and figured out which ones were too expensive based on their reactions to that. It was pretty annoying, and I really wish they had just said, “we want to spend no more than x amount per person, so find a venue with that budget.
And just on the idea of having control over the wedding–I would say it depends on your parents. For instance, my parents are paying for the reception and are pretty involved in the decision making–my mom wants to add all these stations for the cocktail hour, etc. On the other hand, my FI’s parents are paying for the flowers, photography, and the band, and they just wrote a check out to him.
Post # 7
well – considering my personal financial relationship with my parents is pretty much like you and your mom (very open, “hey mom, I need money for XXX” and it’s in my account the next day…) I’m not sure I can truly help – however on that same hand my husband has NEVER received any type of financial help from his parents. ever. in fact last night he was talking to them and told his father, point blank, we are NOT paying for anything FOR them (as in we’re not paying for their hotel or anything and his cheap father will need to spring for it…lol) – and also told them we’re not expecting anything FROM them even though they’re technically supposed to pay for the rehearsal dinner (his father grumbled at this, “isn’t the bride’s family supposed to pay for everything?”)…
so – with all that being said, honestly I would sit down with them and maybe explain how you plan on working everything out, such as ejs suggested. since you’re honestly not sure on WHAT to expect – not knowing how your relationship really is with them – just maybe come out and be as adult and open/blatent about it? just ask them straight up “we would like to know what parts of the wedding you would be willing to help with”. and stick to that. Know what they’re helping with and then work around that as far as what you both are paying for yourselves.
Post # 8
- Wedding: May 2011 - Bartram's Garden
We’re going through something similar. The boy’s parents told us that they’d like to help us financially, but they haven’t told us how much they’re willing to give, and we feel uncomfortable asking them over the phone (we won’t see them in person again until July).
They asked us to send them our budget and we did, but they haven’t gotten back to us to tell us if “helping us financially” means paying for most of the wedding or giving us a thousand bucks.
Either way would be fine (it’ll probably be somewhere in between) and we’re not expecting or hoping that they’ll pay for most of it. I just wish we knew what they were planning to contribute so that we knew how much more we’ll be responsible for.
Post # 9
I hear you on this; so tricky.
I have a similar money relationship with my parents; we are VERY upfront. So, when I got engaged, my parents said “This is how much we are willing to contribute”. My FI’s family offered to pay for the rehearsal dinner (which is actually our wedding dinner, but that’s another story), but because we’re in a different city, we have to find the location. This is tricky, because while we know in round terms what they’d like to spend, it’s difficult to know if they are actually comfortable spending the FULL amount of the budget. I don’t mind too much, because my Fiance is the one talking to them…it’s hard to be…fussy when they are already being so generous.
I think that it’s definitely fair to ask your dad if he intends on helping you with the costs and I think that being blunt is probably best. Perhaps say something like “FI and I are in the middle of figuring out the budget for our wedding and we were wondering if you would be willing to help out at all”. It sounds like you would prefer a specific amount of cash (to be spent as you see fit) rather then “we’ll pay for your dress”, so I would say that at an appropriate opening. I think that the key to not seeming greedy is reinforcing that you’re extremely appreciative of any help they can give you and that you’re not expecting it (even though you are hoping).
Post # 10
I am in this very same boat, and actually asked a similar question over on the Knot and got ripped apart. I came here, and I think I’ll stick around awhile 🙂
This is a very awkward situation to be in. Because it would be SO much easier on us if the parents would just tell us. It’s extremely hard to plan anything without knowing. My dad wouldn’t tell me anything budget wise, so I just had to start booking stuff going with what I thought was reasonable.
I started the conversation like “you know we’re trying to start planning and our biggest concern now is trying to nail out a budget. We are not expecting anything, but just wanted to know if you wanted to contribute”.
Good luck! Also, we’re date twins!~
Post # 11
Thanks a lot, everyone…this advice is really helping.
I am seeing my mom & stepmom today…wish me luck 🙂