Q: My parents are paying for the wedding, and they are constantly reminding me of this. How can I get them to stop making me feel guilty?

A: Almost every gift comes with strings attached, especially a gift as grand as a wedding," says Les Parrott, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Seattle and coauthor of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. But knowing how to talk to your parents can help relieve your guilt. First, shower your parents with praise. Let them know how much you appreciate all they are doing for your wedding. Dr. Parrott suggests writing them a heartfelt note to say how grateful you are. "After you express your appreciation, give it a few days. Believe it or not, sometimes gratitude is enough to curtail the guilt trips," he notes. If that doesn't work, try asking them what their expectations are for your wedding. This will show them that you aren't being cavalier about their investment and that their opinions carry some weight. If you're still getting barbs after all this, then it's time to be a little blunt, says Dr. Parrott. "Try saying something like: 'Your repeated reminders of how you are paying for this wedding are making me feel guilty, and it's taking the fun out of wedding planning. I know that's not what you intend, but I want you to know how it makes me feel.'" Most parents will back down a bit after hearing this. If not, he adds, "It's time to consider whether or not having them foot the bill is worth the guilt that comes with it."

See all questions about budget etiquette

Give a Subscription to Brides Magazine as a Gift

Get personalized planning advice, exclusive offers and must-read wedding news.

Thank You
for Signing Up!

Check your e-mail inbox for the latest updates from brides.com