I’m sitting at my dining room table staring at my vintage Father of the Bride poster. Spencer Tracy is looking a little upset in his tuxedo and pulling out the fabric of his pant’s pocket, showing that he has no money left after paying for his daughter’s wedding. I’ve never seen the original version, but I know the Steve Martin/Diane Keaton film by heart. Same idea just 50 years later.
It used to be that the father (and mother) of the bride would pay for the whole wedding – maybe the groom's family would pay for a few items like the bar and honeymoon. Today the couple will most likely pay for part or all of the wedding.
When discussing your budget, never assume that mom or dad – his or yours – or grandma and grandpa will be giving you any money to put towards the wedding. Paying for your wedding is not a parenting must. It’s optional.
If your parents, or his, have said that they will pay for some or all of the wedding than you need to know early on what that amount is. Remember, their weddings were 30 or more years ago and prices have changed. My grandmother’s wedding dress was $25 in 1945 and assumed my dress would cost about $250. She was shocked when I paid $2500 (at a sample sale – the real price was $10,000).
Talking about money is never easy but just like taking off a band-aid, it has to be done so do it 1-2-3 and have the conversation early in the process. You don’t want to start reserving vendors and then find out that mom and dad thought a band would cost $1000 when they’re costing $1000 per musician.