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Etiquette

How to talk to parent's about budget

bohobrideCAbohobrideCA San Diego, CA member
100 Love Its Second Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper
I wasn't sure where to put this so excuse me if there is a better board for it but you guys always know what to do here. To be completely clear I have not asked my parents or anyone else to pay for any part of my wedding nor have I asked if they were planning on helping, nothing of the sort.
However.
FI and I got engaged last month with a rough idea that we would get married in a year and a half or longer to give us plenty of time to save up for the wedding and spread out costs. I'm pretty clueless with wedding planning but figured that would be an good economical decision. I had a feeling my parents would offer to help with some cost but my overall plan was to have a small budget wedding that FI and I paid for ourselves.
The first conversation I had with my dad after our engagement was him asking for a rough date and if it's gonna be a "big princess thing" (mostly kidding) so he could see how "prepared he needed to be to pay for the wedding". Cool. He then balked at the idea of waiting longer than a year to get married after the engagement so we decided on a year-ish long engagement, Spring 2017. This was cool with FI and I since my dad more or less said he's going to help pay and we are really excited to get married as soon as we can. 
A few days ago my mom asked if I had started to look at venues yet and how many people I was thinking about inviting and I told her I'm not doing that until I know my budget and that my dad offered to help pay but hasn't given me a number yet so I was waiting on him and at that point she said that she "obviously" is going to help too but asked me to figure out my budget first and then said something about doing a 50-25-25 split "or something"?!
My dad has come up with venue ideas and when I've brought up cost he's said things like "it doesn't matter" bc the venue (he wants to rent a big house or estate so out of town guests can spend the night and we can have the ceremony and reception in one place) is the most important part.  
This is where I'm confused. I don't want to ask them for X amount of money and I don't know my budget until I know how much they want to help. But both of them have been the most excited to start planning and locking things down. 
My parents are divorced and remarried and I am their oldest and only child together, it's my first wedding so none of us have done this before. They both seem to have different ideas of how they plan to help but how am I supposed to navigate this budget conversation with them without asking for money or help?

Re: How to talk to parent's about budget

  • bohobrideCAbohobrideCA San Diego, CA member
    100 Love Its Second Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper
    Thank you, I guess I need to research the going rate for all of that stuff then, I really don't know where to start.

    The 50-25-25 was for my dad, my mom and FI and I as a couple. Although, I have no idea which of the percentages are for who or why she would sign my dad up for one, they're divorced. No one is expecting or asking FI's family for anything. 
    anidorikiladra
  • bohobrideCAbohobrideCA San Diego, CA member
    100 Love Its Second Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper
    CMGragain said:
    "Hi, Dad!  We are starting to make plans for our wedding, but we don't know how much to budget.  We have a joint bank account for money so that we can plan for no more than we can afford.  You said you wanted to help financially, so I was wondering what hard dollar figure you had in mind? " (Now you shut up and listen.)
    Warning!  Many parents have good intentions, but when the bills are due, the money isn't there.  Don't count on any money until it is in that bank account.

    It is not your mother's business how much anyone else is paying for the wedding.  Give her the same speech.  If she asks how much other people are paying, you do not owe her the answer.  Just say, "We aren't sure about our budget, yet."
    Awesome. This is basically what I had in mind but I didn't know if it was awful to say "how much were you thinking" to my dad. I guess there's really no other way.  I also thought the same thing about my mom. If her and my father separately give me X amount of money is it awful if I put significantly less or none of my own money and work with what they give me? I don't know if I want to sign up for matching whatever amount she's looking to give but with her wording I think that's more or less what she's thinking. My father didn't give that stipulation and it seems a little strange.
  • bohobrideCAbohobrideCA San Diego, CA member
    100 Love Its Second Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper
    MobKaz said:
    I wasn't sure where to put this so excuse me if there is a better board for it but you guys always know what to do here. To be completely clear I have not asked my parents or anyone else to pay for any part of my wedding nor have I asked if they were planning on helping, nothing of the sort.
    However.
    FI and I got engaged last month with a rough idea that we would get married in a year and a half or longer to give us plenty of time to save up for the wedding and spread out costs. I'm pretty clueless with wedding planning but figured that would be an good economical decision. I had a feeling my parents would offer to help with some cost but my overall plan was to have a small budget wedding that FI and I paid for ourselves.
    The first conversation I had with my dad after our engagement was him asking for a rough date and if it's gonna be a "big princess thing" (mostly kidding) so he could see how "prepared he needed to be to pay for the wedding". Cool. He then balked at the idea of waiting longer than a year to get married after the engagement so we decided on a year-ish long engagement, Spring 2017. This was cool with FI and I since my dad more or less said he's going to help pay and we are really excited to get married as soon as we can. 
    A few days ago my mom asked if I had started to look at venues yet and how many people I was thinking about inviting and I told her I'm not doing that until I know my budget and that my dad offered to help pay but hasn't given me a number yet so I was waiting on him and at that point she said that she "obviously" is going to help too but asked me to figure out my budget first and then said something about doing a 50-25-25 split "or something"?!
    My dad has come up with venue ideas and when I've brought up cost he's said things like "it doesn't matter" bc the venue (he wants to rent a big house or estate so out of town guests can spend the night and we can have the ceremony and reception in one place) is the most important part.  
    This is where I'm confused. I don't want to ask them for X amount of money and I don't know my budget until I know how much they want to help. But both of them have been the most excited to start planning and locking things down. 
    My parents are divorced and remarried and I am their oldest and only child together, it's my first wedding so none of us have done this before. They both seem to have different ideas of how they plan to help but how am I supposed to navigate this budget conversation with them without asking for money or help?
    First of all, you and your FI need to decide how many strings you are willing to tolerate if you accept money from your dad or mom.  Your dad has already made a decision on one of the biggest planning considerations, the venue. As you can see, often strings are attached to money.  There is a BIG difference between parents who want to gift you money and those who want to pay for the wedding.

    You also need to determine whether your mom and dad have spoken to each other in regard to this wedding planning.  What if they are on different pages?

    I suggest you and your FI decide the type of wedding you envisioned.  Do you want it in a church?  Your dad has already decided HE wants the ceremony and reception in the same place.  How important is the ceremony to you and your FI?  Contributing or not, I personally do not think any parent should interfere with the ceremony in any way.  How many guests were you and your FI planning on inviting?  On what day were you hoping to hold the wedding?  Your dad has already influenced when you plan on marrying.

    I suggest you and your FI make some decisions on what is important to you before speaking with your parents.
    Yeah, my dad is getting really pumped about wedding planning but I'm cool with it, there's nothing he's talked about that I'm not on board with, it's been totally collaborative (he's always been my more maternal parent). I understand the strings with money, It's generally like that with any parental help like cars and college and I'm kind of used to it. Maybe I'm being naive at this early stage but I'm just happy that my parents are so supportive and want to be this involved. Plus, they both have great taste and are casual when it comes to religious and cultural customs. But I get it, you never know. 

    They definitely haven't spoken to each other and probably need to, I guess. They both have other spouses to consider before each other and they have usually been on different pages when it came to helping me in any way during my life so that's between them I guess? 
  • I think it sounds like you have the right idea to start the conversation with budget ... and to start early. I think making sure you and FI have a rough idea about what you would want (if no other money was provided), what you would want with a bigger budget (if additional money was provided) and things that are non-negotiable. Once you two are on the same page, then you can have concrete conversations with anyone who has offered about what is realistic.

    I would also say that money should never be counted on until it has been paid out. Priorities and ability to pay can always change so I would make sure that you aren't moving too far ahead with talked about money.

    Budget and guest list are the first major things to sort out. Keep in mind that SOs always have to be invited and with a year to go, single guests can enter into relationships. Make sure you have enough wiggle room with your venue(s) to accommodate all guests with real and potential SOs.

    bohobrideCA[Deleted User]mollybarker11lc07
  • SP29SP29 member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I agree that first you and your FI should sit down and figure out the type of wedding you would like- are you set on a particular style? (sit down dinner vs. brunch) Are you set on a type of venue? What guest list are you thinking?

    Then I would talk to your parents. Since they have initiated the money conversation, I think it is fine to ask. I would ask if they are comfortable giving a dollar amount to the total, or if they would prefer to pay for specific items (such as DJ, bar, etc). Ask them what they see the guest list as- they may want to invite several extended family members and friends that you hadn't intended on. This will also tell you how much input they wish to have.

    Your mom shouldn't be making up figures for people- I think she either needs to give you an X dollar amount so you have a budget to work on, or decide she wants to pay for Y items. If your parents are going to give X amount, then they should talk so everyone is on the same page regarding the location, style and size of wedding, otherwise, I don't think it matters.

    I don't think that you need to match their contributions- if your parents are willing to gift you a generous amount, I don't think that means you need to up the wedding budget to match it. They should be offering what they are comfortable with. This is why I like dollar amounts or paying for specific items and why I think you should go in with a budget in mind.

    I also very much agree to not count on money until it is in your hand- so while saying it's great if one or both of your parents are planning to gift you a large amount of money (and thus you do not have to contribute as much), you should also be prepared to cover the costs of the wedding until they have given you said money- either money up front, or have your parent sign the contract for payment.


    bohobrideCA[Deleted User]
  • I'm unsure of your parents relationship with one another, but wanted to say this: don't tell the one how much the other is giving. If your mom is already putting 50/25/25 splits on things- is she expecting your dad is going to pay for half? 
    I think the best idea is to say to them separately "what are you comfortable contributing". Then once you have the cash in the bank, you start planning. 

    I don't see anything too wrong with your Dad picking the venue- my Dad picked our venue, before we looked at any! Haha, but he's also footing the whole bill, and the venue he picked is one I've been to countless times, was on my list, and was where he married my mom! So it worked out lol And the deal was- he got no say in anything else ;)
    bohobrideCASP29short+sassySTARMOON44
  • levioosalevioosa Southern California member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    Ditto PPs. You and FI really need to figure out what strings you are willing to accept as well. Once other people's money is involved, they get a say. Don't count on any money until it is in the bank. 


    image
  • We had a similar issue with my parents. When we got engaged his parents told us flat out that they'd give us X amount and we could use it for whatever but part of that had to include the rehearsal dinner.

    With my parents they kept asking about our plans and saying they wanted to help financially but kept avoiding the actual amount. Finally we just set our budget that we could afford without their help and I went to talk to them and I showed them our budget and said we picked this venue and this is our guests list size and we're budgeting this much for photography, dress, etc... At that point they said it looked good and said how much they were going to contribute. 

    Luckily neither had strings (or ones we disagreed with anyways) but keep in mind that if they pay they get a say. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
    bohobrideCA
  • My parents were the same way when we got engaged, except that they're married to each other so it was a little less complicated. They kept saying that they wanted to help, but would never pin down a number. Dad just kept saying he'd pay for whatever it cost.

    It finally occurred to me that he wasn't giving a number because he didn't know what numbers made sense. It was like he wanted me to go to Costco and buy one "wedding" and give him the receipt. I think the issue was that they weren't getting that a wedding could cost $1,000 or $100,000, and I was uncomfortable asking for a particular number.

    I ended up visiting a few (widely different) venue options and making up some mock budgets. When I could present real options like X venue/type party with Y guests will cost about Z, they seemed to be better able to articulate how they wanted to contribute. It also helped to make this part of the guest list conversation, because they had a big list. 
    100% this. My dad and I had the same conversations and struggles. Him and my mom got married 30+ years ago and all he knew about how much a wedding cost was that it was going to be more than him and my mom spent. I wanted a number to start with before I starting looking (and falling in love with places) but he needed a frame of mind on where a reasonable number even is. Guest list should also be a part of the conversation, as well as what their expectations are for the event that they are funding so you know what strings are coming with the funds. 
    image
  • My parents offered to help pay for our wedding, but they were pretty vague on the exact dollar amount. My dad just kept saying "figure out how much everything is going to cost and then we'll talk about how much we'll cover", which was frustrating for me because I wanted an amount first so we could budget using that number. We compromised by agreeing that they would pay for specific things, and however much those things cost, they would cover it. They decided they wanted to pay for the venue, the food, and the booze. It works for us because I think they like being able to physically see what they're paying for, instead of just giving us a check and not knowing what it's going toward. Maybe something like that could work with your parents?
    bohobrideCA
  • My parents offered to help pay for our wedding, but they were pretty vague on the exact dollar amount. My dad just kept saying "figure out how much everything is going to cost and then we'll talk about how much we'll cover", which was frustrating for me because I wanted an amount first so we could budget using that number. We compromised by agreeing that they would pay for specific things, and however much those things cost, they would cover it. They decided they wanted to pay for the venue, the food, and the booze. It works for us because I think they like being able to physically see what they're paying for, instead of just giving us a check and not knowing what it's going toward. Maybe something like that could work with your parents?
    This is what I was going to suggest. Maybe your dad wants to pay for the venue (which may or may not include the catering costs--if so, that's the bulk of the budget usually). And maybe your mom will want to pay for your dress and your flowers. Or something like that. 

    Given what you've said about your parents, this might be the easiest way forward. They both seem to want to see what they're money is going towards, and yet seem uncomfortable just giving out a number.

    Just remember that they get a say in whatever they pay for!


    Before you talk to them, I'd still figure out your overall vision for the day--how many guests, etc. 
    [Deleted User]SP29bohobrideCA
  • One word of warning.  Many parents are out of touch with how much things cost for a wedding these days.  My own wedding in 1976 cost less than $1000, dress included, so my DH was in shock when we were planning daughter's wedding.
    I made him watch "Say Yes to the Dress" with me, and a few other wedding porn TV shows.  He freaked out.  When daughter's wedding came in at about $12,000, he was quiet.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    bohobrideCAHeffalumplc07
  • I know this is a few days late, but if you're looking for what things cost in your area there are a number of sites that show averages spent on each type of vendor in a county. I used that, along with other budget calculators to show what different breakdowns would be. I just googled average weddin prices in the county we were getting married and found a few different examples but they all were pretty similar.

     My Dad also just kept saying he would pay for "whatever", but I really had no idea what that meant. It also worked out that two of my cousins got married around the same time so my Dad would talk to his brother and their sister about what things cost. He was pleasantly surprised when our wedding came in cheaper. 
    kimmiinthemittenlc07bohobrideCA
  • PrettyGirlLostPrettyGirlLost A Land Filled with Unicorns and Cat Hair member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Thank you, I guess I need to research the going rate for all of that stuff then, I really don't know where to start.

    The 50-25-25 was for my dad, my mom and FI and I as a couple. Although, I have no idea which of the percentages are for who or why she would sign my dad up for one, they're divorced. No one is expecting or asking FI's family for anything. 
    No matter what kind of wedding you have and no matter what  your budget is, plan for the reception to cost 50%-60% of your total budget.

    Reception costs include venue fees, food and beverage costs, table, chair, and linen fees, centerpieces and other decor, taxes and tips, etc.

    "Love is the one thing we're capable of perceiving that transcends time and space."


    SP29charlotte989875bohobrideCA
  • Sounds like if you take mom and/or dad's money it's going to be a huge drama filled wedding. If that's not what you want, then you just need to plan the wedding you and FI can afford & let all parents involved know the number of guests that each can invite. Try to leave a little wiggle room that if they come back with 1-2 more than you allotted them, see if you can squeeze them in. Thank them for the offer to help out with the wedding but that you've got it all under control. That's what we did and doing it all ourselves reduced so much stress. The different boards on here will help you a lot on advice on what to do and not do. The timeline counter that tells you what you should have done by what point, can be super helpful. Since we turned down money from other sources, our parents were just more generous with their gift to us, which was wonderful.
  • bohobrideCAbohobrideCA San Diego, CA member
    100 Love Its Second Anniversary 10 Comments Name Dropper
    "Huge drama filled wedding"? I don't know where you got that. Neither my parents nor I have ever had "drama" between the three of us in 28 years, including their divorce. We're all adults but wedding planning is just new to us. If they want to pay for something they can have it, it's really not that big of a deal. 
  • I echo what CMG said about costs. My parents offered to pay for some but originally didn't give an amount. They had a vague idea of some costs from my brother's wedding but it was 10 years before and they weren't really sure of how much things were anyway. So when we talked about things I would mention prices, this venue starts at this $, this venue has a minimum of $$, wow DJs are XYZ, photographers go from A to B price, etc. It gave them an idea of how much things would cost and they came back and said we'd like to give you $$ to use. They gave me half and then later on asked if I still needed the other half, and I said you can give whatever you like, they have me the other 1/2 they had mentioned and asked if I wanted more but I said no they had given plenty. We had a budget friendly wedding and they ended up paying for about 2/3
    bohobrideCA
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