When the current budget simply isn't working.
Credit: Archive Photos/Stringer

Asking your parents for financial help is stressful at any age, but it feels especially uncomfortable when you're an independent, working adult who's planning a wedding. And if your parents have already written a check for their monetary contribution, you may feel even more awkward about revisiting the topic of budget. If you and your significant other find you need additional financial help in order to plan your dream wedding, it's important to have a clear, detailed conversation with your parents. Here's what you'll need to know to get the ball rolling.

Get the conversation started early.

As soon as you realize the current budget isn't going to work, you should start mapping out your next steps. Every family has a unique way of approaching conversations about finances and you'll likely have an innate sense of the most respectful yet effective way of kicking off yet another budget chat. Your parents may have given you a lump sum at the beginning of the planning that you thought would go further, so now's a good time to share with your parents what you've learned so far.

Arm yourself with information.

Now that you've had time to chat with vendors and venues you like, you can approach your parents with a budget that's realistic and thoroughly researched. You should have a dream scenario worked out, but also be able to talk through where it's easy to cut costs and where you think you've been frugal in your guesstimates. It may be helpful to put together a spreadsheet that lists ranges of what you expect to spend on each vendor category, including detailed notes on per guest costs like food and drink.

Pre-compare costs.

If your parents planned a wedding for your sibling(s) in recent years, they may think they have a clear understanding of what the celebration really costs. If this is the case, you'll need to explain the differences in your location, time of year, guest list, and whatever else may be adding to the total. Your sibling could become your greatest ally in this, particularly if they have a realistic memory of what their wedding cost and why.

Explain what additional contributions are being made.

Your parents shouldn't be the only ones who are financially on the hook for your wedding (unless, of course, they've offered the foot the entire bill, no matter what the cost may be). That's why it's important that you let them know what you and your fiancé are covering and where else you'll be getting contributions for your wedding weekend before asking if they're able to contribute additional funds.

Be prepared to talk alternatives.

You should go into the budget conversation with a clear understanding that your parents may say no and you might have to cut back your budget. The number one cost-cutting measure is decreasing guest list numbers, so you'll want to mention this first as a possibility. You might also consider changing the location and venue if you haven't already signed the contract. Be candid with your parents about where you're able to minimize your spending and you might be able to find a middle ground that works for everyone.


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