When you’re feeling comfortable with your combined financial future, it’s time to talk about your first financial challenge – planning your wedding. Truly the first step in your actual wedding planning is to establish a wedding budget. This will be a great exercise in learning to talk openly and honestly about finances and spending with your future significant other.
Here’s some Wedding Goals conversation starters -
What kind of wedding do you envision?
What are the most important features of our wedding (music, food, etc)?
How much are you willing to spend on a wedding?
Are there other achievements we could have with this money that are more important to us than having a formal wedding celebration?
What is the main objective for our wedding?
How much have we/can we save for our wedding?
Are we willing to put any of our wedding expenses on credit?
What other sources of financial support will we have?
Parents and grandparents will typically help with funds, especially if it’s your first wedding. It can be awkward to open these conversations. The Knot recommends talking to each family separately for more candid discussions. Prepare for these conversations by doing some initial research on average costs in your area or even actual costs for vendors or venues that you would like to use. Schedule a time to meet with parents, giving them advance notice of what the meeting is for. Remain sensitive to the financial needs of your parents. Depending on their own personal financial circumstances, they may be only able to contribute very little or not at all. Go in to this conversation with the emotional flexibility to compromise on your wedding details in case its solely up to you to pay for it.
For parents that do contribute, they may do so in a variety of ways. It’s rare that families still follow tradition when it comes to who pays for what. Some parents will have saved in anticipation of your wedding and are willing to pay for the majority or all of the costs. Some may be eager to pay for specific costs, especially for things important to them like photography or a wedding dress. If your parents aren’t already contributing significantly but insist on adding to the guest list, its fair to ask them to contribute the additional costs of their guests.