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how to ask about $

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akw94

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,937
Hi everyone

I''m excited to post over on this side of the forum! I have a question for you.
How did everyone talk to their parents about $, if they were going to help? Is there some proper way? I think my parents will help, but I do think their resources are limited, even though I''m not sure they''ll admit it. My parents are divorced so there''s both to ask. Do you ask for an amount, just ask about financial contribution, etc.. ? It is sort of weird.

"Um, dad, will you help pay for my wedding and if so, how much or what specifically?" That seems extra uncomfortable. I also don''t want to have them say they will give me a certain amount and then have to go back to ask when or how or will they just pay for certain items. I could see my dad saying that he''d help but not being specific. Or I should let him know as things proceed... which would be soooo stressful!

Also, if asking for an amount, how do you do that w/o knowing how much things cost? I''m unsure if I pick things first and then ask for that much or find out how much and then start picking things. $2500 total is very different from $5000 total which is very different from $10,000 total. I wouldn''t even consider certain locations, etc.. if I know it''s a smaller amount and I''m paying for the rest of it.

Also, does this need to be an in person talk or on the phone? Does the FI come to this talk if it''s in person?

So what do you ladies think?
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
hey ya dixie! yeahhh, another newbie like me. I''ve been engaged 3 wks and it feels like ages, it''s amazing how quickly things move and how much is learned on the spot.
This is a touchy area, but I think since it''s your parents, you might just ask--or maybe start with your mom, and she''ll discuss it with your dad.
I think typically (after a few days have passed), the parents will have initiate a discussion with the daughter/couple discussing how much they can afford or how much the couple can contribute. It''s not that fun, but necessary and ultimately, how it''s broached is dependent on each family''s style. Mine is more formal so it was done somewhat more formally. In the end, it suited everyone''s expectations and I was surprised at how much my parents ''assumed'' would be on their tab. I''m in my 30''s though, so feel I should contribute a good portion.
 

sumbride

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 17, 2006
Messages
3,867
Good question! We''re kind of going through this too. My parents told me immediately after we announced the engagement that they would sit down and figure out what they could afford to contribute. The number they came up with surprised me but I was happy. M''s mom hasn''t really talked about it. She did say she would pay for the rehearsal dinner "since that''s traditional" but our RD will cost about $2k, which is only about 10% of the total budget. M and I are willing to step up and pay for what isn''t covered, like our honeymoon, but it would be nice if she offered a bit more since I know she can afford it. We are taking into consideration the fact that she will have to travel for it and my family won''t, but still... He doesn''t want to deal with her and I don''t feel it''s my place to ask, so if anybody can offer tips on asking "difficult" people, I''d appreciate it!
 

blushingbride

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
1,653
Congratulations Dixie94 and welcome to the forum!


My sister got married this past April....my parents offered to give her a set amount and they literally gave it to her and her FI a week before their wedding. They wanted to encourage them to save their money during the course of the wedding planning and it actually worked out nicely since they were able to pay for everything themselves (with the help of his side too) and have put my parent''s contribution into their savings which will be going towards buying a house. They are not in debt and never once put anything on a credit card so, it really was a great idea.

Now that I''m engaged, my parents are doing the same thing. My FI told his parents about what my parents were doing so, his parents offered to give us the same amount money, but they gave it to us after we got engaged. So, we have something to start us off with and we''ll have something coming our way at the end of our planning...in addition, we''ll be saving in between. Our goal is to also not use our parent''s money so, we''ll have money to use for a house, etc. in the end. Finger crossed that works out!
 

larussel03

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 22, 2005
Messages
1,747
I would approach asking for contributions for the wedding with a plan. It''s a super awkward and often thing to ask and my big thing when asking was making sure that I didn''t sound at all like I expected it and ONLY wanted their money or anything, so I asked in a way that made it sound OK to say no, although they would not say no we won''t help at all.

Maybe approach them like :

"Can I talk to you guys about something? As you know FI and I just got engaged and we''ve begun figuring how much it will cost for our wedding. We''re expecting that our wedding may ultimately end up costing X amount and we''ve begun budgeting and figuring out how much we have to save. I am asking this now so that we can budget appropriately, but I don''t suppose you''d be able to help us out?" And if they say yes, then you should probably work out a plan as to how much and how they''re going to get the money, if it''s from savings, investments, etc...just so that you don''t end up being shocked at the end if they say they can do X amount but end up only being able to do Y amount because you really need to know what your budget is going to ultimately be.

It''s a little beat around the bushy, but it gives them the opportunity to say no and save face if they really cannot afford to help out alot, but it also gives them the opportunity to be like "no, of course we''ll help," without you sounding like you''re assuming they''ll just hand out 20K. I don''t know if your parents are like mine, but this was the best way to approach mine, and they''re paying for 75% of the costs. You could leave the negative "I dont suppose" out, but I just like to use it because if I act like Im expecting anything with my parents, they''ll get offended (just from experience with them).
 

KimberlyH

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 15, 2006
Messages
7,485
We never asked either set of parents for money, we planned it with the idea that we would only spend what we were willing and able to pay for and if parents chose to pitch in great. When I started sharing ideas my mom and dad said "send us the bills" and I said "okay, but when you''re done spending just let us know and we''ll take over." His mom ended up contributing a sum as well (she covered the photographer) and we paid for some of it (odds and ends that just didn''t seem worth having my mom and dad pay for).

I don''t think I ever would have asked them to pay for anything. We were/are 29 and 38 and had been on our own for quite some time (he for 20 years) and didn''t feel that it was something our parents should foot the bill for. We were extremely greatful that they did but it just wasn''t necessary or expected.
 

janinegirly

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 21, 2006
Messages
3,689
on a side note, traditionally speaking, who usually covers the honeymoon? We''ll be taking care of ours, (and probably my dress and some other portions), but I''m curious if some parents cover that too?
 

lovelylulu

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 6, 2005
Messages
2,406
Congratulations on your engagement!

I struggled with the very same issue and while I think everyone would have a personal approach to this subject here''s how my experience went:

i am the only girl in a three sibling family. though my now-husband and i are not terribly young (late 20s) we both had just finished grad. school and didn''t have a huge savings to pay for an entire wedding ourselves. i also knew that my father had been picturing the day he walked me down the aisle since i was a wee babe. he''s also in a fortunate place in his life to be able to help out each of his children (actually he has all along whether it be with college tuition or cheering on the sidelines of a sports game
) because my parents are divorced, i knew that i didn''t want to approach my mom about any fiancial help, just needed lots mom-to-daughter help and there was tons of that.

anyway, while i knew my dad was willing to help us, i didn''t specifically know what his expectations were. our families got together shortly after we (and my younger brother and his fiancee) got engaged to celebrate with a dinner. it was around that time, in person, that i brought up the situation. his response went something along the lines of

"I guess you haven''t heard of that age old custom of the father of the bride paying for the wedding. it''s a rather archaic custom based on the ill conceived belief that women not worth much so the father, in order to rid himself of the burden, gave the groom a dowry and in todays world pays for the wedding. Of course in your case you are priceless, but the tradition still applies.
just remember that it is supposed to be the happiest day of your life and most people want to share that experience with their family and friends."

while that initial conversation didn''t iron out any specific amounts, it cleared the way for us sort out the details. my hubby and i were so fortunate that both of our families were so generous and in a place where they could afford to be.

i hope that you find a way to bridge the topic and all goes well.
 

Jaders731

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 12, 2006
Messages
527
ahhh fun.. my favorite topic this week!! (hahahaha - hey at least I can laugh about it now!!)

Dixie:

this is how I approached it.. although, with my biological father, it didnt work at ALL... so I dont know that I am the greatest source of advice for this...

With my mom (who is remarried to my stepdad), we had already talked about it... in general.. but after I got engaged... I asked her to have a conversation with my stepdad to see what they could afford (Knowing that other than my Fi and I, they would be the main source for the wedding) I told her from there we would set the budget... although I did tell her that Fi and I would pretty much match what she put in. She gave me a number.. Fi and I doubled it and then I called my biological father.. ughhhh... (if you need a briefing... read my post titled "father issues")

When I talked to my father... I didnt ask him straight out for money.. I asked him if he would like to be a part of our wedding... yes.. a little beat around the bush.. but I dont know how else to deal with him sometimes.
I explained to him how much my mom and step dad were putting in and how much Fi and I were putting in.. and I didnt give him our budget!
He hemmed and hawed for a good month.. (and I got some nasty emails from his wife) and came back with a very low number... (again.. the post "father issues" explains it in much more detail)... frustrating yes.. but thats just him... I spose.

I guess what I am trying to say is.. .that how you approach this depends on your relationship with all the parties involved. I have never asked my father for ANYTHING... so I figured that he would be willing to help out with our wedding.. it turns out I was wrong...
My mom and I are very close.. so I felt comfortable asking her to discuss with my Stepdad what they were comfortable with in contributing...

I hope it all turns out well.. and I am sure no matter how you go about it.. your parents will be so excited.
 

piccolascimmia

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Apr 4, 2006
Messages
342
Date: 12/20/2006 10:41:35 AM
Author: KimberlyH
We never asked either set of parents for money, we planned it with the idea that we would only spend what we were willing and able to pay for and if parents chose to pitch in great. When I started sharing ideas my mom and dad said ''send us the bills'' and I said ''okay, but when you''re done spending just let us know and we''ll take over.'' His mom ended up contributing a sum as well (she covered the photographer) and we paid for some of it (odds and ends that just didn''t seem worth having my mom and dad pay for).


I don''t think I ever would have asked them to pay for anything. We were/are 29 and 38 and had been on our own for quite some time (he for 20 years) and didn''t feel that it was something our parents should foot the bill for. We were extremely greatful that they did but it just wasn''t necessary or expected.
I''m with KimberlyH...I''ve been engaged now for 6 months and havent asked my parents for anything, mostly because I really can''t fathom spending so much money on one day (and we can afford the budget I''ve picked out between the two of us), and also because my parents already helped out with the down payment on the house and I think that''s enough. But good luck to you bringing it up, its a tough topic!
 

akw94

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,937
Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. It really helps a lot. I thought about doing some sort of formal thing where I come over to talk about it but now I think, just thinking about my parents, that might be too much. I like the idea of bringing it up casually and asking them to think about it, if they hadn''t already.
I agree that I shouldn''t expect anything from them, but honestly, I have very little to contribute on my own, same w/my FI. I''d prefer not to rack up a ton of debt so I am hopeful that they can help.

Janine, since my parents are divorced, not sure if I would ask my mom and then she talks to my dad.. I don''t know, actually possibly the other way around b/c I think my mom will have very little to contribute. But I know that I would approach them separately and then they may talk to each other. It''s hard to know.

Sumbride, I WISH my parents would just come up to me and tell me what they would contribute. I would love not to have that conversation w/anyone. I asked my FI about his mom and he said he wouldn''t feel comf. asking for more than a minimal amount from them and I wouldn''t expect him to ask more, if he''s not comf. So I''m not sure if he will actually ask them or what. At first, I really thought my FI and I would sit together and ask them all, but now, I think maybe not.

Blushing bride, that''s a great idea for you to have the $ to help w/a house. Unfortunately, b/c I and my FI have very little, I could really use my parents help w/costs. Otherwise, I''m sure I''ll have to charge a lot and I''d rather not. Good luck w/not using any of the $ given!!

Sweetpea, I like your suggestion about to start the conversation. I think I''ll go w/something like that. It''s funny, when my mom and I were once talking about this a few months ago, she mentioned something like she, my dad and my brother''s FI''s parents all split his wedding and paid for everything. So I thought, wow, they''d do the same for me. But then she mentioned something later that didn''t give me that impression. I also know that they don''t have much. So I really don''t know how the conversation will go.

Kimberly, I do wish I wouldn''t need to ask my parents but although both my FI and I have been on our own for some time, I''ve never been able to save any great amount and neither has he. He worked hard to pay off his debt and is now starting to save. I have had my son and just started working a job that covers all expenses within the last 3 years. Although I''ve started putting some away for retirement, not much goes into a savings. I am going to sell my condo soon and am thinking about using part of that to help... assuming I actually make a profit!

Lulu, I am the only girl too. One brother and 3 step-brothers and the youngest! While I think my dad will *want* to help a lot, not sure what he can really do. A little of what I''m worried about is him saying he''ll cover things but then it not necessarily getting covered. Also, I don''t want to over-burden them.

Jaders, sorry you''re having a hard time w/this same topic! I think you''re right, it really does depend on the people involved and how they are. You''d think I would be able to figure this out easily since I''ve known them all forever! I think my conversation w/my mom might be similar to yours. Since we have talked a little about finances generally, I think I can just bring it up and ask her what she thinks.

Piccolascimmia, part of my problem is that I''m not really sure how much things cost. I do know though that location''s are expensive in my area and there seem to be so many things and everyone says they add up so quickly. I think I might need to make a list and jot down a few numbers to give myself a real idea.

Thanks again everyone! It''s fun to hear how everyone handled this and is currently handling this. I feel a little less worried, a little.
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
i just asked my mom if they were planning on giving any ''contribution'' to the wedding and if so if they had talked about what they wanted to pay for. i said if not it''s no big deal but i just wanted to know up front if they had planned on anything. she said they had talked about it and told me what they were thinking.

then when we decided to go destination, i just told them to keep their $$ and use it for all the travel costs they''d be incurring for the wedding. aka my parents had to pay for themselves and my 2 sisters to get to hawaii and stay there for a week. so it worked out to basically what they''d have given us for the wedding locally.
 

musey

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
11,242
I was 15 when my cousin got married, and my dad asked my uncle how much her wedding cost. He then put that amount into a low-risk Charles Schwab account and has always kept me up to date on how my "wedding fund" was doing in the stock market.

So I''ve known since then about how much money I''d have for my wedding from them.

I guess that doesn''t help you too much, but with any financial conversation (with my dad especially) it''s always uncomfortable to get the ball rolling. Depending on how long your engagement is going to be, you could spend a while hinting around it... in all likelihood they''ll pick up on it on approach you before you have to approach them (this is of course if your engagement will be long enough to buy you that time!).
 

ladykemma

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2006
Messages
2,194
i, too, come form a divorced family mess.

what happened was my mom contributed 500, my ex-stepdad (who raised me) contributed 5000, my inlaws bought us all the stuff we needed for our brand new house (huge fridge, washer, dryer, miniblinds). my hubby and i had 5000 between us which went for the purchase of a tiny ring and the new house.

My stepdad tried to encourage us to elope or have a teeny tiny wedding, and use the $5000 for making our future.

if i ever get married again i'm having a potluck!
I'm serious.
 

ChargerGrrl

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 17, 2005
Messages
2,865
Date: 12/20/2006 10:41:35 AM
Author: KimberlyH
We never asked either set of parents for money, we planned it with the idea that we would only spend what we were willing and able to pay for and if parents chose to pitch in great. When I started sharing ideas my mom and dad said ''send us the bills'' and I said ''okay, but when you''re done spending just let us know and we''ll take over.'' His mom ended up contributing a sum as well (she covered the photographer) and we paid for some of it (odds and ends that just didn''t seem worth having my mom and dad pay for).

I don''t think I ever would have asked them to pay for anything. We were/are 29 and 38 and had been on our own for quite some time (he for 20 years) and didn''t feel that it was something our parents should foot the bill for. We were extremely greatful that they did but it just wasn''t necessary or expected.
This was also our "strategy".

DH and I have been on our own for awhile now (I''m in my mid-30''s). I think that after a certain age it''s just expected that you''re responsible for the majority of the wedding costs. That''s the way it seems to be in my social circle.

GOOD LUCK!
 

Trelala

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2006
Messages
138
I think it''s a good idea to know how much things cost and to be prepared to show specifics such as renting this hotel ballroom will cost X, it''ll be $__ per head for food and drinks, a photographer will be $__, etc. Just give ball park figures. Your parents can pick what they''ll pay for, flowers and photographer for instance.

I think it depends on both sets of parents'' expectations of the wedding. For instance, my parents want a fancy wedding, his side prefers it casual. We''ve all communicated our expectations so my parents are fine with paying a bit more to make the extra impression they want.
 

labbielove

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 28, 2006
Messages
862
I''m in a similar boat as other 30''s brides.
well, i''ll be almost 40 by the time i get married. i have been engaged before years ago and knew how much my folks planned to pitch in then. luckily, that wedding never happened

now it''s a different story- my mom (dad has passed away) pitched a fit that we are living together once we got engaged (hello- did i mention i''m 39, yikes) so we didn''t speak for a few days this summer. however, during that time she came around and asked my sister if X amount of $ seemed fair for a contribution to the wedding.

but, since then (this past summer) she has never mentioned to me one thing about giving any $, so we''ve been planning based on what we can spend, and if someone comes forward later and can pitch in, great!
in some ways i''m upset because i know the other 5 sibs had $ given for their weddings, 7 grandchildren have gotten contributions to college, etc. and the selfish side of me feels like i''m being gypped somehow. but- the reality is, it''s our choice, our money, our wedding,etc. so i''m fine with that.

at this point, i''ll be happy if mom actually shows up at the wedding, much less contribute anything. and that''s fine with me.
 

basil

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 27, 2006
Messages
1,526
Before I got engaged, I sort of asked my mom jokingly "if I got married, would you want to pay for the wedding?". She said (seriously) "of course we would". So I sort of went on that assumption after I got engaged. I slowly started sharing with her prices of dresses, receptions, etc., just to see what sort of reaction I got. Whether she said "wow, that''s outrageous!" or "well, we could do that if you really wanted". My fiance''s family doesn''t really want to contribute because they want to have their own reception where they live for their friends
. The difficult part has been pinning my parents down to any sort of set amount or budget. I asked my mom to talk to my dad at one point about what they felt was reasonable to contribute. The result of their conversation was something like "well, we want it to be nice, so we''ll just see what the prices are when we seriously start looking at things." Can you get any more vague?
 

Jas12

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 16, 2006
Messages
2,330
I guess it depends on your relationship with your parents and the level of formality b/w you guys..
I simply said, "we divided the wedding cost in 3 shares (my parents, FI parents and us) , and we need X number of dollars from you guys" hehe

I''ve never asked for money from my family before, they know we are responsible and so they were perfectly fine with it, and we moved on.


P.S. just a planning tip for when you do start to spend that cash. Get a points credit card now, use it for EVERYTHING, pay it off weekly, online and you''ll have 1/2 your honeymoon paid for in the form of a free flight (FI and I are a few months away from getting enough points for our trip).
 
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