Your wedding budget is the most important detail to figure out when you’re in the process of planning your big day. The downside? Talking about money is tough, which makes these key conversations a challenge. We’ve asked our experts to share a few tips that will help you discuss dollars, from asking your parents to contribute to allocating the funds with your fiancé.
If your parents have always planned to pay for some (or all) of your wedding, this first conversation won’t be as hard as it could be. As soon as you start planning, have a conversation with your parents about what you’re envisioning, from the date and location to the size and style. They very well may bring up the wedding budget on their own, letting you know how much they plan to contribute. Easy peasy!
Not sure if your parents are planning to contribute to your wedding? Begin by having a conversation with your fiancé before speaking to either of your parents. Talk about the type of wedding you want, how big you’d like it to be and how much money the two of you have available to contribute to the wedding fund. You might already have money in your savings account, or may be planning to set some aside over the coming months. Once you have a number you’re comfortable with, talk to your parents. Let them know that you’ve started to think about the big details, and tell them how much the two of you are prepared to spend. Then, let your parents know that you were unsure whether they were interested in contributing to the expenses. A good way to frame this moment in the conversation is to say something like, “We have allocated X amount of money for our wedding, and are ready to start budgeting and planning. We weren’t sure if you had intended to contribute financially to our plans, and wanted to start this conversation sooner rather than later so we can make sure the event we’re planning fits within our available budget.” They may have a number in mind, or might need to discuss it amongst themselves. Remember, they may not be able to contribute financially to your wedding at all, so be prepared for a variety of answers.
There’s more to discussing your wedding budget than just finding out how much money you have to work with: You’ll also need to allocate funds for different expenses and keep an eye on your budget as you go through the planning process. With your total number in mind, sit down with your fiancé (and your wedding planner if you have one!) and figure out your top priorities for your wedding. That might be your dream venue, an incredible caterer, a killer band, or the photographer you’ve been following on Instagram for months. Decide what matters most, as well as what you care about the least, and arrange your budget so you’ve got a little extra money for those top categories, as well as a smaller budget (and therefore smaller vision) for the less important details.
As you go through the planning process, remember to talk budget every now and then. Take a look at your overall budget, tally how much you’ve spent in deposits, count up the outstanding payments, and get a sense of how much money is left over. This will help you tackle those last-minute ideas and expenses without totally blowing your budget, as well as figure out if (and where) you might need to cut back.