Wedding Budget Addendum: Suggestions for handling money and accepting cash from family / by Laurie Cohen

Your parents are generously contributing money to help pay for your wedding enabling you and your partner to have an amazing wedding.  Does this come with certain implications?

First of all, money is a touchy subject. At Sip and Twirl, our number one rule with regards to wedding budget is to create a separate "Wedding Bank Account" for all monies to be used toward your wedding budget.  Managing a budget is simplified when all of the funds are in one place.  It is never a good idea to have wedding money commingled with regularly monthly expenses such as mortgage, bills, etc.. This tip can be especially beneficial if there is money coming from other sources (family, etc.).  If family members are planning to contribute to the wedding fund, it's best if a check is given in lump sum, if possible, for the couple to deposit and spend as they wish, when it is most needed.  A lump sum, or a scheduled series of partial payments is oftentimes less compacted than having to ask each time you need to pay a vendor, deposit, etc.. 

As a mother AND a daughter, I think about both sides of this situation.  Oftentimes, families contribute what can be lovingly referred to as "blood money" which can lead them to believe that they are endorsed with full decision making rights and veto authority. (I hope my mother will read this...we joke about how she does it to me and I do it to my kids).  Despite my occasional participation in this perspective, I know as well as anyone, this is not reasonable or fair.  Wedding money is a gift, like any other and if there are strings attached, disappointment and discord will almost certainly ensue.  What is important to remember is that parental feedback is welcome, valued and necessary...but is a function of the relationship between parents and children and not of the financial contribution.  

The other side of this is that whether or not your parents will be contributing their hard earned money to the wedding you are planning, it's always wise to be appreciative and include parents in the planning.  Whether or not they have expressed it directly, your wedding is a huge deal to your folks.  Their "Child" is getting married, a major milestone.  Your wedding is about you and your partner, but, in other ways (and to your parents) will feel like a reflection of your family, their success as individuals and as parents.  Please keep this in mind throughout the planning process. 

And one last tip!   Please get them boutonnieres and corsages and include them in the ceremony. Get them a gift on wedding day.  Tell them you love them at least 20 times on wedding day and thank them profusely.  At the end of the day, your wedding is about family and can bring you all closer together with a little planning and consideration.