It’s going to be one of the happiest days of their life and it’s only natural that you want to be able to contribute to that – but how do you get the ball rolling?
In days gone by, there were some handy rules to follow when it came to your contribution to the big day and while modern couples tend to like to do things differently, those traditions can come in handy when it comes to starting that conversation.
It’s a gesture, not an obligation
These days, many couples are in a far more stable financial position before they choose to get engaged, and likely to be able to finance their own weddings. It’s now really quite unusual for parents to pay for the whole day and you should really feel under no obligation to do so. However, it is still your duty to start a conversation about how you might be able to help.
Remember that it will be much harder for your children to ask for money than it is for you to make the offer, so make sure you’re the first person to bring up the topic. The earlier in the engagement it comes up, the easier it will be for your child to plan so don’t put it off for too long.
Don’t be coy
When you first broach the topic, you might find it hard to talk about actual figures but you need to push through any awkwardness. Knowing exactly how much you’re able to put towards the wedding could have a big affect on the kind of venue, dress or even flowers that your child chooses.
You also need to state clearly whether the money you’re contributing is a gift or a loan. The last thing you want is confusion that could result in upset or embarrassment further down the line.
Look to traditions
It’s also important to remember that the parent’s of your child’s partner are likely to want to be able to contribute too and if deciding who pays what is becoming tricky, take a look at tradition.
The bride’s parents were once responsible for everything from the engagement party and the dress to the cake and the ceremony itself. The groom’s family was expected to finance the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon.
Now, families tend to prefer to split the costs more fairly – although you may still find there’s some benefit towards the old system, especially if the couple will be taking on much of the cost themselves.
See what suits
Ask you son or daughter whether they would prefer for you to handle one specific expense, such as the dress or the flowers, or whether it would be easier for them if you simply gave them some money to add to their wedding budget.
Most if all, bear in mind that every family is different and there’s no right or wrong answer anymore – as long as you’re frank, open and willing to bend to suggestion, your contribution is sure to be gratefully received and much appreciated.
Have you contributed to your son or daughter’s wedding?