Once upon a time, it was traditional for the father of the bride to pay for his daughter’s wedding. Once upon a time though, there was no such thing as bridal couture, candy buffets or a sit-down three course meal for 150 guests.
As wedding costs have escalated and times have changed, it’s become a little unreasonable to expect dear old dad to cough up, particularly as many brides are independent, working women with their own source of income.
Whilst it’s now considered nice and very helpful if either the bride or groom’s parents offer to contribute towards any aspect of the wedding, it can come with added complications.
There is the risk that the parent that offers the money will expect a say in what you do with it. Whilst this isn’t too bad if they give you the money and say it’s specifically for flowers, it becomes problematic when they tell you it’s for pink calla lilies and green gerberas, when your colour scheme is purple and cream.
The only way around this sort of situation is to confront it head on, in a grown up manner. It’s easy to revert to your sulky teenage self when discussing important matters with your parents, but try not to lose your head. If you feel that your parents are becoming to controlling, you can decline their financial help. If that’s not an option, then be willing to compromise.
Sit down and outline what they can and can’t expect to have a say in. If they are paying for the meal or reception, then it’s reasonable for them to expect to be able to invite some guests of their choice, or at least have some say in the guest list. However, it is ultimately your wedding, so gently remind them that whilst you appreciate their contribution and will take their suggestions on board, it is important for them to realize what matters to you and your fiancé as well.
A good way to keep parents sweet is to give them one thing to have control over. Let them choose the welcome canapés or the centerpieces for the tables. They’ll be happy to be involved. If you can’t face doing that, make sure you always ask for their opinion; even if you don’t plan on listening to it, they’ll appreciate you consulting them and feel important.
At the end of the day, your parents have your best interests at heart and you should consider yourself lucky if they offer financial help. With the average wedding now costing upwards of $50,000 a wedding planning couple need all the help they can get! If this means your mother picks the color of the flowers and you have to invite your father-in-law’s distant cousin, surely that’s a small price to pay? Particularly if it means there are less actual things to pay for in the long run...