Whether it’s about their lack of contributions or a misunderstanding of how their donation was to be spent, it’s far too easy to have a fall out with mum and dad when it comes to wedding budgets.
The wedding budget… a foundation of your big day but a major cause of all those wedding stresses and headaches. While a little financial support from mum and dad may seem like a good thing, it too comes with its own problems. Whether you’re footing most of the bill yourself, or your parents are picking up the tab, make sure these common budget bust ups don’t become an issue…
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Having too high expectations of family contributions
It’s easy to let your mind wander when you begin planning your big day. The dream dress, the idyllic venue and a show-stopping cake. Rarely do we think about who will be picking up the tab.
No matter what you might expect your parents to contribute, or how much your friend’s parents contributed to her wedding, there’s no way you can predict what your family will put towards yours.
Tip: Before you begin planning your wedding, and get your heart set on certain ideas, think about your budget. No matter how difficult it may be to talk about money, you need to be upfront and hold a budgetary conversation with your family, right from the start.
If your families can’t afford to contribute, you can still save and plan an amazing day. Think about DIY details and calling in friends and family for favours – for example, making your wedding cake and playing DJ for the night. Also remember to think outside of the box with all the traditional elements – a barbecue instead of a sit-down meal along with a sample gown or pre-loved wedding dress.
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Not clarifying who is paying for what right at the start
Even after you’ve had a chat with both your families about financial help, there’s still a chance of having a bust-up. While your families may have said they would contribute, are you clear on how much or what they’ve asked the money to be spent on? Spending wedding dress money, donated by your parents, on a band for the night may not go down too well!
Tip: Once you’ve had a chat with your families, draw up a budget spreadsheet (or use ours) outlining who is paying for what and how you will meet your savings targets. Be sure to update your spreadsheet as and when you make purchases and pay off those all-important instalments.
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Having an open-ended budget
Whether your parents are contributing £1,000 or £10,000, you need to decide on an overall budget. Knowing the totality of your wedding budget will prevent you from overspending and getting into arguments with mum and dad as you ask them to help you out. It’s so easy to go overboard on all those little extras - and before you know it, you’ve blown your budget.
Tip: Decide on your budget right from the start and prioritise all your wedding elements to help you decide how much you will spend on each. Perhaps you’re happy with a discount gown? Or maybe you’re willing to sacrifice on fresh flower arrangements and use affordable centrepiece props instead? Decide exactly what it is that’s important to you and work from there.
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Failing to save the extra to meet your high-end demands
You can’t rely on the bank of mum and dad to meet your high-end demands. If theirs and your own combined contributions don’t quite allow you to have that explosive firework display, you’ll either have to save harder or think of something else.
Tip: If there’s something you really want on your wedding day, devise your own savings plan to get there. Also remember to think about whether it really matters – at the end of the day your wedding is all about those special vows. High-end ideas, like fireworks, can easily be replaced by something cheaper and more affordable, such as a sparkler send-off.
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Being unprepared to meet your parents halfway
If your parents are contributing heavily towards your big day, you’ve got to expect to meet them halfway. This might mean adding their best friends to your guest list, or allowing them some influence over the wedding breakfast menu. Denying them the chance to take part in the day may result in arguments, hard feelings or even their financial support being withdrawn.
Tip: Be clear about your wedding vision right from the start and get your parents involved in aspects you think you’ll enjoy working on together. If your parents try to take their influence too far, have a chat to them about how important it is for you to plan and personalise your own day.
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