Photo courtesy of Miranda Marrs Photography
When it comes down to actually planning your wedding, there is a lot to consider. The best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed is to get ahead of the planning process. One of the tasks you will have right away is figuring out who is wanting to contribute to your wedding (financially or with guidance). That means there may be some awkward, but necessary, conversations are in your future with your family. Whether it’s about budget or family traditions, it’s better to have these conversations at the beginning of the planning process. Knowing what to say and what information you need can go a long way towards making these conversations less awkward. So here are some things to consider and questions that you can ask word-for-word to make the whole planning process smoother.
Photo courtesy of Coburn Photography
The first step is to sit down with each person you think might contribute – financially, emotionally, or both – so that you can make sure that you are all on the same page. A great question to start with is “How involved do you want to be in the decision-making process?” This allows you to open the discussion with a neutral topic that is not directly about the budget, but may provide a good segue. Perhaps they want to be very involved in decision-making because they plan on contributing a significant amount. Maybe they want to show support for you and your fiancé by helping with the planning and design. Whatever the case may be, you can now have an open and honest conversation about what that involvement will look like. You can then easily transition to the financial aspect or what compromises can be made.
Photo courtesy of Lindsay Davenport Photography
In terms of finances, a simple “Do you want to contribute to our wedding?” is a great way to start the conversation without assumptions. If the answer is yes, then you can dive into the specifics. In addition to how much they are willing to contribute, you will also want to find out more about how they expect the money to be managed. Would they be comfortable with you managing how that money is spent, or would they like it spent in a particular way? Alternatively, we have seen couples assign a specific vendor to a family member who like to contribute to the wedding. For instance, if you know that the bar service is going to be very important to your side of the family, your parents might agree to pay for that part.
Photo courtesy of Dot & Anchor Photography
While you are discussing expectations in regards to money, you might also want to find out about any family or religious traditions they want include. Do they want you to get married in a specific spot – church, family home, etc.? Who do they think should be there and involved? Are there any particular traditions they want to see incorporated in the ceremony or reception – a tea ceremony, unity candle, the dollar or hora dance? Is there a cake topper that has been handed down for generations that they want you to use? What traditions have you seen at other family events? This is your opportunity to find out and learn a little family history while you’re at it.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Shae Photography
You want to understand what key family member’s roles and expectations are so you can make plans with that knowledge in mind. It doesn’t mean that you have to incorporate every aspect of what the contributors expect, but it does mean that you can make an informed decision about what you want and are happy to include. This may lead to another awkward conversation in which you tell the contributor that you have made a different decision that is more in line with what you want as a couple. But that is ok, and if it will help save you the drama or hurt feelings on the day of the wedding then it is well worth it. Ultimately it is you and your fiancé’s wedding day!
If you need further help navigating these tough questions contact us! If you want more, you can read about things to consider before you start planning you wedding.