Eeee…talk about a touchy subject! Asking anyone to contribute to your wedding can be a difficult topic to breach. And what happens if they do contribute? If they’re paying for it, don’t they get a say in the whole thing? Well, yes and no; here are a few tips to navigating this complicated situation:
1.) Timing is everything. As you have no doubt learned through other life experiences, the time to discuss something with your father is not the second he walks in the door. It’s best to let him kick his shoes off, watch a bit of the baseball game, get a little food in him and then approach the subject. This is the same with everyone! Don’t ask for money just after they get into a huge fight. Use common sense; you want to ask them when they are in a good, easy-going mood.
2.) Ask nicely. Yes, you need to ask. The old, “But you’re my dad, you’re supposed to be paying for my wedding!” is not a realistic argument. If you want to get married that’s on you, not your parents. If they don’t have the money, or simply don’t want to give you the money (hey, they worked hard for it!) then accept it and move on. That means no begging, no whining, and absolutely no guilt-tripping. If you do any of these things you are acting like a baby…and are certainly not mature enough to consider getting married.
3.) Be prepared to negotiate. If you ask your parents for financial help for your wedding, they may not be able to give it to you, plain and simple. But they may be able to help in other ways. Maybe your mom is friends with one of the best florists in town, and this florist owes her one. Having her call in a favor is just as much of a financial help as it is contributing the money herself. Let your family be creative if they want to help but can’t do it with their wallet.
4.) Know the difference between what you need and what you want. Yes, this is your wedding, but having an ice sculpture in the likeness of your favorite cat is not going to determine your future happiness in your marriage, so don’t ask someone else to pay for it.
5.) Know the rules. Yes, if your parents agree to pay for the open bar at the wedding, they can set a limit on it. That doesn’t mean you get to go crazy and rack up a $50,000 bar tab. Maybe it means they can pay for the bar for the first hour of the reception and then goes to a cash bar. If they agree to buy your wedding dress, they are allowed to say what they can contribute. If it’s out of their price range, you can make up the difference.
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