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Your parents (and maybe your fiancé's parents, too) have offered to pay for your wedding — you may be one of the luckiest couples out there today! Nowadays, most brides and grooms have to self-finance the bulk of their wedding expenses. But if you're letting somebody else pick up the tab for your big day, those parents probably assume that they will also have some say in the choices you make and how their money is spent. It's up to you to make sure you have a clear understanding of their expectations when you accept their generous offer.
It's not a good idea to have anyone other than you or your fiancé sign any of the contracts related to the wedding, unless it's at a private club where your parents are the members and they have to sign the contract. Even so, it's a good idea to set expectations about how much participation and influence they're going to have over your wedding festivities.
If you and your parents are all on the same page, planning a wedding together can be a lot of fun and a great bonding experience. However, if you're envisioning flower crowns and a sand blending ceremony and your mother has always imagined the church and you wearing her wedding gown, there may be some speed bumps ahead.
Have an open and honest conversation with your parents before you accept their offer to pay for your wedding. Explore the following questions together:
1. Find out what out what they have in mind from the beginning. Does your vision match their vision, and can you achieve a compromise?
2. Do your parents want creative input or to just sign checks and show up as VIP guests on the wedding day?
3. How many of their own friends do your parents intend to invite, and how does this work into your guest list and budget plan? Can you reach a compromise that keeps everybody happy? Both sets of parents get to invite the same number of guests, theoretically.
If you can answer all of those questions in a positive way and feel like there is nothing you can't compromise about if there is a disagreement, you're going to have smooth sailing. Go into it knowing that they have a totally different vision of your wedding in their minds and you might just find out how stressful wedding planning can be.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.