A few weeks ago a bride emailed me to say that as soon as she had announced the wedding date both families seemed keen to give input emotionally and fiancially towards it, which was welcomed with open arms. Her family insisted on covering the cost of the wedding reception and the dress as they are quite traditional in that respect. The grooms family also wanted to help cover the cost of the reception and asked to share the cost. Without meaning to be rude, the bride's parents turned down this offer as they had saved for it since she was born and graceously reminded the groom's parents that their help would be needed for many other aspects of the wedding.
This bride then went on to say that since, the groom's family have become increasingly distant from the wedding plans. They have tried to involve them in each new plan and ask advice but they seem to busy. She added that she had savings to pay for the wedding themselves but accepted her parents help because there are aspects of the wedding are now more than first estimated and consequently the funds don't seem to be stretching as far as they first thought.
Specificially this bride wanted advice on what help the groom's family can give as the wedding gets near and nearer. As outlined money has always been a difficult issue and they are not sure how to ask them without sounding as if they expect them to help fiancially as this is not the case. She understands that they may feel excluded and rejected from the wedding but this was not done spitefully. She would really love for them to get involved but doesn't want them to think it comes at a price which is completely untrue!
So I was asked what is the safest way to go about this issue without treading on any toes but making sure that the bride and groom have enough savings for the wedding of their dreams?
In my reply I started by saying I could sympathise with the difficult situation she and her fiance were in and continued my advice as follows:
It sounds like you enjoy a good relationship with your fiance's parents so do try to talk to them about the wedding. As with all dealings with future in-laws you must be sensitive to their feelings. From your e-mail it sounds like they have felt left out of the wedding arrangements so perhaps have opted to take a back-seat rather than have their offers of emotional and financial support turned down.
If your fiance's parents are financially able to contribute to the wedding then I am sure this will help them to feel included in the whole wedding planning process. Indeed during the months leading up to my own wedding, when I was making arrangements and delegating arrangements to my husband, his parents, my parents and other members of the bridal party, was really enjoyable for me. It would be a shame for this special time to be spoiled for you due to your worrying about your fiance's parents' lack of interest in the run-up to the wedding.
Is there any one aspect of the organisation of the wedding which you can delegate to the Groom's parents to both organise and contribute towards(e.g. organising and paying for flowers for the church/wedding venue and buttonholes/bouquets or the wedding transport)? These are just two examples of the costs which you are likely to incur which are traditional to the reception costs which your parents will be covering.
I would suggest also that you both make a concerted effort to include them in the details of the wedding reception. Despite the fact that they are not paying for this event I am sure that they will be very interested to know what to expect at the reception. For example, you could arrange for them to visit the wedding reception venue and show them around, describe menu plans to them or even, if its not treading on your own parent's toes, to ask for suggestions about music, table flowers, seating arrangements, wine choices etc. Just ensure that they feel included.
Does your fiance maintain a close relationship with his parents? If so, then perhaps it would be helpful to all parties concerned if he could discuss these issues with them and reassure them that they play an important and unique role in your wedding plans. Of course you don't want them to feel like they are being treated like a walking cheque book but on the other hand contributing financially might well help them to feel involved in your wedding. Another suggestion is that perhaps you and/or your fiance speak to his parents about making a contribution towards the honeymoon. That is a substantial cost which I am sure you could use some financial help with.
I understand that you don't want to alienate his parents and it is essential that they too feel included in your special day. Just as your parents have been waiting since you were a little girl for this day, so too have his parents been waiting to proudly stand by and see their son get married.
Good luck on your wedding day
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