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Talking to Family about Money

Updated: Jan 11

When it’s time to set your budget (ideally before you start booking things) talking about money with family can be a point of friction and uncomfortableness. Having the conversation early and setting firm boundaries and parameters around money for your wedding will decrease friction and power fights down the line.


Make a couple things abundantly clear:

1. The money is a gift not a contract. Once the money is gifted to you, it is up to you and your partner what you choose to put that money towards. Parents need to understand that you may take their ideas and wishes into consideration, but that the money they give does not afford them the power to make final decisions about your wedding.

2. The amount gifted cannot change based on the couple’s decisions about wedding specifics. It is not okay to take back the money if the parents are unhappy with the caterer, the seating chart etc because you’re on the hook for that money already.

How to have the conversation:

Make this a private conversation between you, your partner, and one person's parent(s) at a time. This should not be a conversation sprung on the parent(s) at a family event where they may feel pressured and flustered. Having the conversation with each parent(s) separately also takes the pressure off of feeling like they have to match or out gift the other parent(s).

**If you have parents that are separated/divorced also have the conversation separately from one another.**


Before you sit down for this conversation, you and your partner need to go over what you will and will not allow. You may decide that you're okay allowing parents to invite some friends and family of their choosing. Have that number set going into the conversation, and if you have any hard NO's on who may not be invited. Make your decision clear in the conversation so that down the line when it comes time for these to go into play the parents are already well aware of the boundaries and guidelines around the money they gift and if they are given any power in return.

The script:


As you know we are starting to plan our wedding, and before we start booking things we want to know the budget we’re working with. We wanted to ask if you would like to contribute any money towards the wedding?


Will respond yes/no and potentially a monetary amount.


If they answered YesThank you that’s very generous! Before you commit we want to make sure we're on the same page about a few things. Once you commit to a certain amount and we start booking things you won’t be able to take away that money as it will already be contracted to vendors. This money is a gift and while we will take your wishes into consideration, ultimately decisions about the wedding will be up to us. Gifting us money doesn't give you the power to make decisions about how we use it and who we choose to have as guests. (If you have decided to give them any power go over what that is now ie. 10 family or friends of their choosing). Do you still want to gift us the money?

If they answered NoThat’s totally okay thank you for being honest. Would you like to help with wedding related activities like the engagement/rehearsal party, making decoration etc?


Will respond yes/no or possibly change the monetary amount.

They may also try and set clauses around the money such as certain family being invited etc. Let them know you understand their wishes and will take that into consideration when planning but it may not be guaranteed.

** If they change their answer from Yes to No use the ‘No’ response above to talk about non-monetary ways to contribute**


Okay great! Thanks for talking to us about this today so we're on the same page.


Things to know:

- In order to avoid family backing out of money they’ve gifted or changing that amount based on your choices, try and receive all of the money at the start of planning.

- Parent(s) who are unable to financially contribute may feel obligated or uncomfortable. By asking if they want to contribute non-monetarily it gives them an out and a way to help within their means.

- They may want to contribute towards or entirely pay for a specific vendor cost. Ask what the budget they are comfortable working with is and decide if you want to cover the difference if the vendor you want is above what family is wanting to pay for.

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