Money is always a tricky topic of conversation, but when it comes to a wedding it's easy for things to get emotional -- fast! Between the bride, groom, and their respective families, keeping all the stakeholders happy is like walking a tightrope. But never fear! Here are three tips to help you navigate and master that dreadful money conversation.
Set your budget
Sit down with your fiancé and both of your families in a comfortable environment to have an honest and open conversation about the realities of your budget and who is willing and able to contribute. Have this discussion before planning begins to avoid awkward conversations about who is paying for what as inevitable costs pop up. Not only will it help set expectations but it will be easier to keep emotions in check this early in the game -- before you absolutely fall in love with that perfect venue or dress that you just can't live without.
Share the cost
According to tradition, the cost of the wedding used to be the sole responsibility of the bride's family. This has definitely changed over the years and today, more often than not, the cost is shared. In fact, according to The Knot's annual real weddings study, in 2015 the bride's parents contributed an average of 44%, the couple handled 43%, while the groom's parents pitched in 12% of the total wedding budget. Depending on financial situations, the couple's families will both contribute what they are able, or sometimes (12% of couples in 2015), the lovebirds will pool their savings together to pay for their own soiree. There are no hard and fast rules here anymore and you should do what makes the most sense for you and your families.
Once you have your budget and financial plans in place, be sure you keep track of all the spending! It's always helpful to track these things in a spreadsheet or a budget tracker app so you know exactly what you have spent on each item, and what you still have left to play with. Make sure that you are not only keeping careful records of spending but that you are clearly communicating with your partner and your families about the expenditures to avoid worry or conflict. Discuss and prioritize what aspects of the wedding you want to spend more on, and where you're willing to compromise. This will help tremendously as you search for vendors to help you bring your perfect wedding to life.
Remember, when there are lots of people contributing large amounts of money for an event as important as a wedding, emotions will be at an all-time high. Having regular, respectful and direct conversations with all stakeholders can help everyone feel comfortable and included, avoiding conflict and allowing your wedding to feel like a real celebration -- as it should!