How to Pay for Your Wedding Day
Deciding how to split up costs to pay for your wedding day
When planning a wedding one of the most important factors can be money. You have options to think about when trying to find the money to pay for your big day. Here’s a rundown of some of them, plus their pros and cons. Keep in mind that a combination of two or more may be your best bet.
THE BRIDE AND GROOM PAY FOR EVERYTHING
This is more the norm than you might think. As more and more brides and grooms marry later in life more couples are in a good position to pay for the entire wedding.
The Pros: You will have total control over all aspects of the wedding. If you want to get married shoeless on the beach and dance to a calypso band at the reception, you can do it. Your parents may not really approve, but in the end, if you are paying for the wedding yourself, then you can do what you like.
The Cons: You might drain your savings accounts and end-up with debt if you take out a loan or use your credit cards. You also run the risk of offending your parents if you refuse their financial help. To avoid hurt feelings, you might consider accepting a minimal amount from them, or let them pay for something you don’t have strong opinions about.
THE BRIDE’S PARENTS PAY
Having the Bride’s family foot the bill is the most traditional way to go and this is still pretty popular with many families.
The Pros: You don’t have to dip into your nest egg to pay for the wedding, which means you’ll probably be driving a better car, buying a better house and a year after the wedding you won’t have the wedding day bills following you around.
The Cons: The person who pays ultimately gets the wedding that he or she wants. This means that if you want 100 guests but your parents want 250, you’ll probably end up with at least 175 to 200 people at your wedding. Having your parents pay for the wedding doesn’t hurt your wallet, but you have to be willing to compromise on what the wedding will be like. Another downside of having your parents pay for the wedding, especially if they’re retired, on a fixed income, or just not that well off to begin with is that it could put them in financial harm or serious debt.
YOU SPLIT THE WEDDING EXPENSES BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU, THE BRIDE’S FAMILY, AND THE GROOM’S FAMILY.
Dividing the costs between all vested parties can be a very effective way of taking care of the expenses. It works best if you take the entire cost of the wedding and divide it three ways, rather than have specific things to pay for. For example, if you let your parents pay for the dinner, then they may be inclined to invite more guests and it can become a sticky situation. If you can’t divide it equally because of financial inequities between the families (if one party is more or less wealthy than the other two) then ask that party what’s comfortable for them to give, and throw it into the kitty. One rule that should be established is that if one family, for example, is giving four times as much money as the other that doesn’t mean they get four times more say in the details of the wedding and the reception. You’re handling the wedding planning as a group, and one person can’t push his or her weight around. The key to making this work is negotiation and compromise.
The Pros: By pooling your resources, you may be able to afford the kind of wedding you want. You also may not have to empty your savings account to get it. What’s more, since everyone is contributing, which means everyone gets a say, you’re not likely to make one side or the other feel left out.
The Cons: By accepting money from other people, you do give up some control. But there are always solutions. Remember to enjoy your day and not to worry about the small things.