It’s always tricky talking about money. How do you handle things when your parents are footing the wedding bill, or part of it? The bride’s parents traditionally pay, but the practice is slowly dying out. Sometimes the bill is split between the two families, but just as often the couple pays for their own wedding. Many modern couples pay some themselves and accept contributions from both sets of parents.
If you’re wondering how to handle the whole money thing, here’s some sensible advice about wedding budget planning. The trick is to talk everything over first, no matter how difficult it might seem, so everyone knows where they stand from the start.
Handling both sets of parents with sensitivity
This is your big day, to celebrate your love for each other. If your parents are paying, the official wedding planner recommendation is you get them involved, at least at some level.
Some parents pay for the wedding and expect full control over the guest list, in which case a compromise is probably your best bet. Most parents realise it’s their child’s day and stand back a little, playing an invaluable supporting role. The secret is to find a way to honour your folks, even if it’s simply making them feel involved without direct input into the wedding planning process.
Who should pay for what?
Tradition says the engagement ring is usually bought by the groom, along with any travel costs, the accommodation, best man and usher gifts. The wedding dress is traditionally paid for by the bride’s family, as is the wedding venue, flowers, wedding photos and stationery, the cake, the entertainment and more.
The bridesmaid’s gifts are traditionally bought by the bride herself, as is the groom’s ring, hairdressing and make-up. The financial responsibility for the groom’s suit hire falls to the groom’s family. And wedding insurance is usually paid for by the bride and groom. Having said all that, these days more or less anything goes.
The art of not getting carried away!
Whoever is paying for your wedding, you need to set a budget from the beginning and stick to it. Start with a realistic figure for your wedding budget, based on savings, earnings and extra cash you can save between now and the big day. Consider timings too – do a little research into when you’ll need to pay deposits for your wedding venue, dress, cake etc.
Setting your wedding budget
There are a few key things to remember when setting your wedding budget. It should include the engagement and wedding rings, hen and stag celebrations if you want them, and your honeymoon.
It makes a lot of sense to list your expenses up front so nothing gets left out. The invitations, order of service, menu and place cards, gifts for the bridesmaids, best man, ushers and parents of both parties – everything should be considered. Do you want a wedding video or photographer, or both? Don’t forget the finishing touches that will make your day extra special – additional arrival drinks, bespoke canapés, bacon sandwiches at midnight…
Next there’s your wedding venue, flowers and favours… the list can be extensive. Which is why a wedding budget planner is a great idea, a pre-created document including all the fine detail, which you simply follow and tailor to your own wedding!
Keeping control of your wedding budget
Bear in mind it’s never too early to set your budget. Some couples like to put their wedding savings into a separate bank account so it doesn’t get mixed up with everyday finances. It’s a great idea to include a contingency amount, say 10%, to cover unforeseen expenses. Remember to get quotes in writing so they’re official and read all the terms and conditions of booking so you know when each installment is due.
Photography Credit: Stan Seaton Photography
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