Wedding Planning 101: Let’s Talk About Money, Honey

Please Touch Museum Wedding, Philadelphia, PA by Lindsay Docherty Photography

Talking about the budget for your wedding can be a scary thing, but getting it out of the way early (and very likely, revisiting it often along the planning process) is crucial to your wedding planning process. Think of your budget as a living, breathing, changing thing - of course the goal is to keep that overall budget number consistent, but how you spend those dollars may change along the way.

The first thing to discover when you’re defining your budget is who is going to be contributing to the wedding budget? And along with that, what are the expectations, if any, tied to those funds? For example, it used to be pretty cut and dried - traditionally the bride’s family paid for 95% of the wedding, and the groom’s family paid for the flowers, transportation and the rehearsal dinner. With so many couples paying for the entirety of the wedding themselves, or various members of the family all chipping in, it’s important to know who’s “in” - and, a slightly more delicate topic, for how much.

The second piece of this puzzle is where we start to play emotional roulette. It’s no secret that money tends to stir up both conversation and emotion, and when you add “wedding” to the mix of factors, the emotional investment is even higher. Often times people don’t think they have a pre-defined expectation, and it’s only when those expectations aren’t being met that they realize, “Oh, I guess what I really wanted was…..” Have the conversations now, at this stage of the game, to get a better sense of what your family members expect when they’re contributing to your wedding budget. (For example, do they get a “vote” in how that money is spent? Do they get the final say in vendor or venue selection, based on budget alone, or on the overall experience you’re creating?)


“Tell me that you want, the kind of things that money just can’t buy, I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love” - The Beatles


Sometimes when a family member contributes to the budget, they want to play a part in the decision making process. Is this something you are going to be ok with? Or do you want to make all of the decisions? Again, communication is HUGE.

While it may be an uncomfortable conversation, talking about the expectations of decision making is strongly recommended. You don’t want to damage any relationships you have with your family (or future family) over something short term. These are the people you are going to spend the rest of your life around; hosting holiday get togethers, birthdays and more.

However the budget for your wedding comes together, everything needs to be talked about. These are all conversations that nobody likes to have, but they are all necessary. It’s time to start figuring out what your budget is, and how it’s going to be divided up between all of your wedding expenses.