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Budget Real Talk: How to Discuss Wedding Finances with Your Families

It's so important, even if it feels a little awkward.

joanna jay wedding couple hands
Photography by: Nina and Wes Photography

One of the most complicated parts of creating a wedding budget is a lack of transparency between all parties involved, but talking to your families about big-day funds doesn't have to be awkward. Since most parents want to contribute to the cost of the wedding (and maybe even some extended family, too!), it's important to get a clear sense of who is contributing—and how much they're able to offer—early on. But does the idea of asking for that check make you feel sick to your stomach? You're not alone. To help you prepare for those important budget talks, here are our top tips for making those financial discussions way less awkward.

 

Wedding Budget Breakdown for Planning Your Big Day

 

Ignore what's considered "traditional" and focus instead on what works for each of your families.

Tradition says that the bride's family should cover the cost of the wedding while the groom's family is responsible for footing the bill for a rehearsal dinner. Depending on family dynamics, financial scenarios, and realistic budgets, there are a number of ways to finance a wedding, including the couple themselves and extended family footing the bill for certain aspects of the big day. If you're able to approach the financial discussions with your families as conversations rather than requests, it may help you to have more honest and candid budget chats. It's important to keep in mind that each of you should be communicating with your own parents directly about their financial contributions, as split family dynamics can add a lot of difficulty and stress to these conversations if there's too much back and forth. 

 

Ask direct questions to get real answers.

One of the toughest things about having multiple groups financing a wedding is that it can be difficult to get a straight answer about numbers. Many parents will say something evasive like, "we'll make it work." That sentiment is nice in theory but it's a lot more helpful to have a realistic budget you can plan around. By asking direct questions about the budget, you'll be able to create a clear idea of what you have to spend, making it easier to plan accordingly.

 

Be realistic about the budget prior to going to your families for money.

This may seem counterintuitive, but it's really helpful to have a rough idea of what you'd like to spend prior to asking your families for their contributions. If you're able to come up with a clear budget for all of your wedding vendors and venue, including a contingency amount for unforeseen expenses, you can start having conversations about what your family sees as an appropriate amount of money to contribute.

 

Set up a wedding-specific bank account.

One of the easiest ways to access your wedding budget is to have a bank account set up specifically for this use. This way, your parents can transfer money to you when they're ready to contribute and you can keep tabs on your spending and monitor your funds easily.

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