(Closed) Parents won't give me a budget number

posted 4 years ago in Money
Post # 16
472 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

My parents wanted to do this, but eventually it became frustrating. I didn’t know what vendors to look at without a range, because the range of prices can be huge! (Like hey, mom, is a $2000 photographer okay or a $4,000 one?). Eventually my parents gave me a check which streamlined things. But I an lucky, because it truly was a no strings attached gift.

Post # 17
2807 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

peachbee23:  If they just did the same thing to your brother, why can’t he and his Fiance give you a ballpark number to start with. Obviously it wouldn’t be a guarantee, but it would give you someplace to start instead of over or under guessing.

Post # 18
975 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

peachbee23:  I was able to get my dad to finally give me a number once I told him we planned on paying something ourselves and have him our number. Which he didn’t want us spending as much so he told me what they could contribute. 

It’s a tough conversation but an important one! My brother also go married this year and because they didn’t budget for anything and get parents weren’t giving them a number mine gave home a firm number so that they could get what they wanted.

Post # 19
372 posts
Helper bee

For mine, I told them what fiance’s family was giving us and they decided to match it (plus a bit extra for the honeymoon) I knew what they had given my brother (who had a bigger wedding with more of their friends/family in it) and I didn’t want as much as I didn’t want to have all those people at mine so pretty happy with what we got.

Post # 20
264 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

My parents didn’t want to give me a number either.  I told them we were going to check out a venue and wanted to know how much they would like to contribute so we could figure out our whole budget that we had to work with.  We were paying the rest.  I said I wanted to know before we put down a deposit.   I told my dad a rough estimate of the venue, catering,  dj alcohol and photography would be.  I said the total we are looking at is x.  We would be happy with whatever you would like to contribute.   Think about it,  talk to Mom and call me back.

They said they would give half.  My dad wanted to pay the venue a portion later when additional payment was due, but I asked them if they could cut me a check at that time,  because I had already started making other deposits.   We didn’t have to talk money anymore after that.

We ended up spending more than we planned, but I had rounded up a little on the estimate to my parents.  Of course wedding stuff always ends up costing more.  After we met the photographer we decided to add more time, we needed a cake stand, welcome bags, the dj was more than I thought, the list goes on.   I didn’t ask my parents for additional money.  We just paid the rest.  I think it’s better to not keep going back to them to ask for more.

Post # 21
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

My parents are doing the same thing as well. They just keep telling me “remember we are willing to contribute” …what does that mean!? So I’ve set a budget that I know my fiance and I can afford and any extra money will be a bonus, to be used towards a honeymoon, or the rehearsal dinner.

Post # 22
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

My parents did this to me and it drove me crazy. Both sets of parents were paying for the wedding and no one would give me a number. They kept telling me that they would just ‘keep an eye’ on what I was spending. I Had a very good idea about what kind of wedding I wanted. Eventually I thought screw it… I’ll spend the amount that I am comfortable with. Both sets insistend on several extras I thought we could do without, cars, videographer which only increased the costs. It all worked out and everyone was happy. 

Post # 23
2857 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

This would drive me INSANE! I would tell my parents give me a # or I dont want any help at all!! Seriously, I would rather pay for my own courthouse wedding than having to run every little thing by my partents, your an adult now.

Post # 24
6301 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2014

peachbee23:  I actually don’t think this is a bad approach at first TBH. When we first got engaged, we figured we would spend maybe £5-6k, maybe £10k absolute max. Once we started looking, it became very clear that this would not get us very far, and would not pay for the wedding that my parents in particular wanted. Once we’d established this, and started getting quotes from venues we DID like and that DID provide what we wanted, only then could we really set a budget.

So, I can see where they’re coming from, and for now, I would simply get a few quotes for different venues, and roughly price things up. Then, get together with your parents to go over the details and prices. If at that point they still don’t give a concrete(ish) sum they are able/willing to contribute, I’d say you have two choices: either plan to pay for everything else yourselevs and use any contribution from them to ‘upgrade’ things/provide extras (tends to be the one most bees will say to go with), or, ask them outright, explaining that now that you are at the planning stage you do need to know what they can/want to contribute so that you can proceed with planning with a firm budget in mind (this is what we ended up doing after my parents were a bit wishy washy, as basically, their contribution made the difference between a simple, small ceremony and pub reception, and the much fancier, more formal affair we ended up having).

Post # 25
1149 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

peachbee23:  OK I agree this is kind of annoying, but if your parents have helped plan/pay for your brother’s wedding recently, they know how much weddings cost.  They are probably just wanting you to take the reins and come up with a budget for the kind of wedding you want.  My suggestion is to do a little research- it does not take a lot of time to do.  Pick like 5-10 places you’re interested in and get a quote from them.  Most places have an electronic brochure for weddings they would be glad to send you.  Consider a wide range of options- I have actually found that all-inclusive places end up being more affordable when you consider all the extra costs.  Then come to your parents with a range of options you would be happy with and get their input.  I personally have been having a ton of fun shopping around, and my parents pretty much left it up to me to budget something I was happy with as well.  They ended up offering to pay for the whole thing with a 15k budget, but I’m sure they would have been happy to offer more if that’s what I had come to them with.

Post # 26
3830 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

My parents were like this too. Though they gave my sister a number for her wedding last year, they live in the south, and I live in DC, so I think it was more my parents not being sure how much things would cost vs. them trying to deliberately be coy about numbers. I did some research about the costs of the things that we would like to have (venue price ranges, estimated per person cost for food, etc.) and googled the average cost of a wedding where I live. The next time I talked to them, I shared the information I had learned, and it turned out that they had already thought of a range based on the average wedding cost and just wanted to make sure that it would be a good amount.

If your parents truly have no clue what they would like to contribute, but have specified that they do want to, I would do something similar. Get a range of the cost of vendors, see if you can find averages for your area or call/email specific vendors to get an idea. Let them know about what everything would cost for X and Y guests (in case you have to cut your guest list to afford what you want) and let them know that of course you’d appreciate any contribution, but wanted to give them some numbers so that they could decide. If they are still wishy washy on a number, I’d be direct, and say we think our wedding will cost A, we can save B. If you could cover the difference, that would be amazing, if not, could you please give us a different number so that we can plan a wedding we can afford. Good luck!!

Post # 27
11940 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Is your wedding in the same town as your brother’s? My guess is that there is no set budget because there isn’t one. They may not be familiar with prices or value for the money in your area and they may be willing to spend more if you find something you love and want.

If they are a true co-host and not just offering a gift to be used for your wedding, expecting them to hand you over a lump sum is not only presumptuous, it is  not even necessarily to your advantage. If you aren’t OK with having a co-host, then plan and pay for your own wedding.

Meanwhile, they are not needing to go to every vendor meeting themselves, and they do seem to trust in your overall judgment. So just bring back a few different options, explaining the pros and cons of each as you see it. I don’t think this has to be that challenging. 

Unfortunately, if you are relying on their help, you really can’t have it both ways.

Post # 28
766 posts
Busy bee

peachbee23:  I would take a compromise approach here.  I think it’s reasonable to get a few venue quotes before settling on a number, as the venue/caterer you choose will determine the bulk of the wedding budget.  Beyond that, I agree it will be cumbersome to run every line item by them.  Depending on your comfort level with them, I would ask them if once they approve the venue, if they wouldn’t mind giving you a total amount they would be comfortable contributing so that you’re not having to constantly bother them with every little item.  But ultimately, if this is the way they want to do things and they are writing the checks, I think you’re just going to have to accept that it just comes with the territory of having your parents host the wedding.  And ultimately, as long as they are generally reasonable people when it comes to weddings (your brother’s experience should give you some indication of that), it’s not a terrible burden.

Post # 29
227 posts
Helper bee

Honestly, I think what they are doing is fair and to me it’s better than them being like “You get $1000 because that’s what our wedding 25 years ago cost”. I would research what you’re interested in and give them the numbers and go from there!

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