Thursday, September 23, 2010

Figuring Out Who Pays For What

Like many of you, I was ready to start planning my wedding before I even got engaged... And when I got engaged, I was doubly ready for the job! I started off on the most commonly known websites like The Knot and reading magazines like Brides and Get Married, and started thinking about everything from table linens to playlists.

The first few weeks, I took The Knot's checklist so seriously to the point, I printed it out and checked it pretty much everyday. Hmm, what can I click "done" for now!! And one of the bullets that remained on the checklist for a long (very long) time was Budget: Figure Out Who Pays For What.

I know this is kind of a touchy subject and like Mrs. Sloth mentioned, it's not polite to talk about money necessarily, but this was a big deal and has remained a big deal for Mr. B and I since day one. We didn't have any idea 1. how we were going to pay for our wedding and 2. who would help us make it happen.

We both sort of assumed our parents would chip in, but we didn't know to what extent. And neither of us, especially me, were prepared to ask the right questions to get answers. Deep down, I really, really, I mean, really hoped my dad would be one of those dads that said, "Money's no object. Just get what you want and foot me the bill," but apart of me knew it wouldn't go down like that.

For awhile, I sat on the "Budget" issue and prayed he would come to me. I really wanted our experience to play out like the scenes in Father of the Bride, when the mom and daughter hired a planner, and the whole family took part in the planning. That's not quite how it happened, though.

It took my parents awhile to warm up to the idea of me getting married anyway, and when I say awhile, I mean months. We talked about the date of the wedding for a long time before we even got to the budget part. This made planning really difficult too, not knowing a date and how much we had to spend, but I stuck it out and vented to the hive, and yes, I lived, even on days when I wasn't sure I would (live without a wedding date and budget, that is).

Finally, a few weeks (I think it was) after we finally settled on a date, I got up the courage to ask my dad the big question: Are you going to help? How much can you contribute?


I'm puking (not literally), praying, and on the verge of tears, anxious and scared. Feeling everything. This was the moment of truth.

My dad: "We're definitely going to help. We're planning too."


Fast forward a few weeks and I'm ranting to everyone from coworkers to friends about how I can't plan a wedding without a budget - hello! So, I really didn't have much of choice. I had to ask the question again: "Dad, we're getting to a point where we need to know much we have overall. Do you have any ideas how much you can contribute."

My dad: "Well, I'm not really sure. We'll look into it."

Ugh! Seriously.

It was a really trying time to be honest. It was kind of dark time, too. I cried a lot. Especially when we watched shows like Platinum Weddings. "Bu-bu-but why can't we have a wedding like that?"

I also grew kind of resentful since I'd always kind of assumed my dad would pay the bulk. Him and my stepmom had a very large and traditional wedding just a little over 10 years ago, and that made me wonder what the heck was going through their minds.

I'm sharing this in hopes that someone out there, anyone, has experienced something similiar. I want to tell you that my dad finally did give us a number, although vaguely. We decided to chose one aspect of our wedding that would cost approximately the amount he was willing to give, and let him own that.

I know I might sound like a spoiled brat to some of you that aren't getting any support from your parents, and I hope you don't think I'm judging your situation. I just wanted to share about some of the more challenging aspects of the planning, especially in the early stages when us brides are so excited, and yet so fragile.

How did you handle figuring out who pays for what?


Lady Grey said...

Oh I can so relate, hun.
When we got married last year we were both still students, with tons of debt and absolutely no money to contribute to our wedding.
I knew my parents would help, but they definitely couldn't afford whatever I wanted.
Both of our parents decided they would each pay for their own sides of the family. This was wonderful, and we were extremely grateful, but things became complicated by the fact that my husbands family is quite wealthy and had high expectations for a very grand wedding.... much more than my family could afford.

Suffice it so say that it was complicated, and I did a lot of research and hardcore budgeting. But in the end it all worked out and we had a beautiful wedding. Money is a funny thing. No one likes to talk about it, and we all wish it wasn't an issue.... but it most certainly is!


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