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FMIL says she'll pay up to $X for our wedding IF...

hellosweetie1015hellosweetie1015 Where the skies are so blue member
2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Anniversary First Answer
...we decide on a beach wedding. 

Which, okay, is not OFF my list. I want a small wedding, and the beach is the perfect way to say Oh, it's just close family, and then have a "your presence is a gift" kind of casual reception at a somewhat later date. Besides, I love the beach - particularly the beaches I would be getting married at. The places I have considered (prior to her "offer") are places that I've spent vacations since I was a little girl. But I have a couple of ... reasons to hesitate, let's say, when it comes to her offer.

One thing is, we got engaged on May 6th, but our wedding is not until October of 2015. Right off the bat, FMIL started dropping far-from-subtle hints that she wanted us to get married on the beach. I'm not against a beach wedding, but I want our wedding to reflect us, and I'm not certain that a beach wedding would do that at all. I love the beach, but I'm not sure my fiancé does. Also - that is a FULL 16 months between proposal and "I do"s. I jumped right in at first, but it stressed me out so much that I stepped back.

Another thing is that she said she offered up to $X amount. Meaning, I assume, that if we came in under that amount, she'd pay it - and that would be that. Which isn't a big deal, it's a generous offer, but if she's going to give us $X, I would prefer for $X to go into my savings account, and then I do with it as I see fit - and if that means getting a less-expensive wedding pulled together and having some money left over to put back towards a VERY nice dinner out with our families after the ceremony, then great. If I choose to do a less-expensive wedding and pay for lodging for everyone, sweet. If I decide to blow the whole $X on the wedding and pay for a lower-key but still nice dinner, that's fine too. 

The largest issue, though, is that it came with the caveat of "if you have a beach wedding". I don't necessarily NOT want a beach wedding, but if the $X that she offered only applies to that particular option, then any other option I might have had in mind is, essentially, off the table. And while the $X that she offered is not a large amount of money by any means, it is substantially more than enough to make me consider it.

I guess my question is - should I run the risk of offending her by asking for clarification on whether it's $X, outright, and if I don't spend that much on the beach wedding I can use the rest for the reception/honeymoon/whatever else I see fit? Should I even bring up the possibility that we might not want to get married at the beach? Or am I being a horrible selfish person for even questioning the offer? (I feel like it's the last one.)
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Re: FMIL says she'll pay up to $X for our wedding IF...

  • Personally, if she puts money towards the wedding, I think she gets to have a say in some of it.  I think you and your FI need to decide what you want first. If your FI doesn't want a beach wedding, then I don't think you should have a beach wedding.  Decide what you want first.  Then sit down and tell her what you and FI would like and be honest.  Tell her you are so appreciative of her offer, but you are a bit unclear what it means.  If she wants it her way and nothing else, I would decline her offer and plan what you want. I don't think it's ok to ask her to put money in your savings and you spend it on things like your honeymoon.  It sounds like she wants it to go towards the wedding/reception.  Those are things she will get to enjoy too.  I don't think you're horribly selfish for questioning her offer because it sounds confusing.  It's ok to ask for clarification.  But at the end of the day it is her money and she will want to have a part in how it's spent.  Good luck.
    louien2013japrincess24
  •       I am planning to pay for my own wedding, but I am fortunate enough that both sides of the family have offered to contribute. These offers, however, didn't come with any strings attached and I'd be hesitant to take money from anyone who put caveats on the contribution. Even if it turned out the strings were things I wanted, I'd be afraid it would be a slippery slope, today, they decide the destination, tomorrow the food, next the guest list, you get the idea. 

        If it were me I'd plan the wedding I could afford so I could keep all of my options open until I was ready to solidify them. If the money came with no strings, that could be a different story.

       I also wouldn't count on anything until you have it in hand. For instance, I'm not accepting any money from my in-laws from the wedding itself, but my FMIL really wanted to host a welcome dinner the night before. She is doing that, but I have he money in the budget to pay for it myself should she not come through for some reason (I have no reason to think she wouldn't, it's more precautionary). Before she offered I had planned to host one anyway and had it budgeted.

       However, she hasn't attached any strings to go along with this contribution. If I thought there would be I wouldn't have accepted her offer. 
  • I think the first step is figuring out what you want. It's your wedding. Then you need to be upfront with her and tell her what you and your soon to be husband want. I don't think you should ask her conditions on the money, I think that could definately ruffle some feathers and not come off as intended or grateful. It's her money so I think she should get a say in how it's spent. If she offers you ten grand to ride in on a pink elephant than it's up to you and your FI to decide if that's what you want. If it is, awesome it's not an expense you have to come up with but if you want a blue elephant than you know it's on your own. I think planning a wedding you can afford is a good idea and if you end up not having to pay some of the expenses count it as a blessing! 
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