Q: I’m hoping my parents will contribute to our wedding—but we’ve never discussed it. How do I ask?
A: Before you mention anything to your families, make sure you and your fiancé are on the same page.
Use the wedding budget worksheet on The Emily Post Institute website to estimate the total cost, how much you can afford to contribute—and how much you might ask Mom and Dad for.
Don’t do this on the fly—give your parents time to prepare: “Mom, Nick and I were hoping we could talk with you and Dad about the wedding budget. When would be a good time?”
Once you’re talking, be appreciative of any assistance, respectful of your parents’ financial situations, honest about your own finances—and willing to compromise.
And breathe. Everyone has a different idea of what a wedding should look like. Try to explore expectations neutrally (“This is what we were thinking, what are you two thinking?”).
Regardless of who is paying, it’s your right to remind parents that they can make suggestions, but they can’t hold you hostage to their wishes. Parental politics can be tricky, and often the pressures are unspoken. Try to acknowledge their ideas, while standing firm about your own.
“Mom, I don’t mind your change to the flowers, but when it comes to more guests—even with your offer to pay—our plan is to keep the wedding small, and we want to stick to that.”
If price tags and competing priorities get in the way, think about your 25th anniversary. When you look back, what you’ll remember are the people who were there and the joy you felt, not the Vietnamese spring rolls.