When Parents Are Paying

Weddings are beautiful, momentous and one of the best days of your life. They are also incredibly expensive! While some couples pay for the wedding bill themselves, other couples have the financial support from their parents. There are a few couples, however, that encounter parents that believe since they’re paying, they’re the ones who will make the decisions! Stress, disputes and family fights all can occur if the bride and groom do not set out rules a head of time. How can a bride avoid a hostile takeover of her big day? Here are a few tips!

Set The Ground Rules Immediately…

Know what you want and a realistic plan how to get there. The bride and groom should approach their parents with a general idea of who will be presiding over the wedding (religious ceremony or justice of the peace?), where the reception will take place, who is invited, food, décor and people in the bridal party. With a general idea of what the wedding will be like, the bride and groom can present their plans with more organization. “We would want this type of wedding and we thank you so much for any contribution you can make.” Rather than not having any plans but rejecting all of the plans your parents begin to make.


Try to budget for your wedding and have a general idea of total cost and cost breakdowns. No, it won’t take the fun out of planning but it will avoid a bride and grooms dismay when they realize that Mom and Dad were not expecting a $50,000 wedding or the shock they have that prices have gone up substantially since your parents got married. This way, your Mom and Dad have a realistic expectation of what they will be paying or they can make you an offer of how much they want to contribute or more specifically, what they want to contribute to (just the reception, the flowers and limo).

Accept Constructive Criticism

If Mom and Dad have a tradition that they would like to see (like a song that they danced with their parents on their wedding day) take it into consideration. Traditions are a beautiful tribute to your family history. There are ways to modernizing old traditions so don’t throw away their ideas completely! Get creative! Mom may be pushing you to wear her old wedding dress that you find is very dated. Many brides have a photo shoot in their mom’s old wedding dress and give them a snapshot as a Mother’s Day gift. That way, they have the keepsake that they have always wanted and you can still look great in your new wedding dress! Your parent’s ideas can be accepted, incorporated or modernized if you just get creative. However, if you just don’t see one of their ideas happening, let them know firmly, but kindly.

Let Them Feel Involved

                Parents want to be included in your big day. Trying to do everything yourself can be overwhelming. If there are tasks your parents can help with, whether it is going dress shopping or coming up with party favours at your wedding reception, allow them to take part. Giving your parents tasks instead of trying to shut them out will only give them the opportunity to push back harder and they may start getting the indication that you are not grateful for their financial contribution! Remember, it may be you one day desperately trying to be involved in your child’s wedding. History does have a tendency to repeat itself.

Planning a wedding is already a big deal and stress levels can be high. Every family is different and there are some families who will not budge on taking over. Remember, this is your big day and ultimately everything is your decision. With a strong plan and an idea in mind for your wedding, your parents can be your biggest assets rather than your greatest liability. Try to make positive memories and happy planning!

Grace Ste.Croix is editor of The Bridal Guide and owner of La Vigne Chantante, a catering consulting and events company in The GTA and Montreal.

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