Wedding Money: Asking the Folks for It

So it's time to ask the p's for wedding money. Not so fun. Here are some pointers to make it not so terrible, and maybe even bearable!
These days, a couple should be able to ask both sets of parents for help with wedding finances.

Many families (usually the grooms') feel that the financial burden falls upon the brides' parents, while the groom's family takes care of the rehearsal dinner, and perhaps a pair of cufflinks. But fear not, this way of thinking is as outdated as black-and-white TVs. These days, a couple should be able to ask both sets of parents for help with wedding finances. In fact, in The Knot survey, we found that 41.3% of you are paying for the wedding through a combination of funds from yourselves and both sets of parents. Here are some tips:

Granted, the prospect of talking about money (let alone asking for it), is about as pleasant to deal with as a root canal. But if it's the only way you're going to have the wedding of your dreams, and the wedding of your dreams involves more money than you've got, you'll have to bite the bullet and ask away. The other side of this fence, however, is that money often comes with strings attached. By forking over the dollars, your parents may feel that this gives them a say in how you plan the wedding -- from how many guests you invite, to what you serve as an entree, right down to what you give as favors. For some people, this is an acceptable trade-off; for others, an intolerable situation. Know thyself, and plan accordingly. It may not be worth it to get the money but relinquish a certain amount of control.

Keep in mind that it never hurts to ask; the worst that can happen is that they say "No." That said, be up-front about exactly how much money you need. You may feel the urge to hem and haw, or underestimate, but by being clear from the start there's less chance of misunderstandings. Keep in mind it will help to have drawn up a budget beforehand.

If you intend to use the money exactly as you wish, say so at the beginning. Keep in mind that although it is your wedding, and you get the final say, asking for opinions and involving parents is always a nice gesture, regardless of how much or how little money they have contributed. If you are asking both sets of parents for money, it's nice to give them an idea of what their money is going toward. There's no doubt, asking for money can be an anxiety-fraught situation, but if to-be-weds gloss over their needs and requirements, and don't lay them out clearly at the start, there's nothing but trouble ahead.

If you feel guilty asking for an outright gift, consider asking for a loan, and follow through on your intention of reimbursing your parents. Set up a repayment schedule so that both parties feel comfortable. Try to finalize the agreement before the bills start adding up. It's less stressful this way. If you are lucky enough to get the cash flow from your parents -- be grateful! It's a caring and generous expression of their love for you and support for your relationship. Be sure to have the wedding you've always dreamed of, but be sure to thank them and let them know just how much they, and their support, means to you. Good luck!


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