First, how this conversation goes varies greatly on your relationship with your parents. If, for example, you have always been close with them, and everyone is honest and direct, you really don't need this question answered for you. Approach them the way you always have, in a way that you know works for them.
For those who don't have frequent and open communication with their parents, here are a few tips:
- DO NOT talk about money for the wedding for the first time with anyone else around. Many would advise the groom should be a part of this conversation, and he can be –later. Money is a tremendously awkward subject, and for those from older generations, something that can be viewed as rude to discuss. Give your parents the chance to be honest about how much they can be involved without having to worry about the impression that they are giving to someone they may not know very well.
- Be careful to not assume anything. With the current economy, and the growing number of couples paying for their own wedding, the days of a lavish affair on Daddy's dime are gone. If they can't pay for much, or anything, it doesn't mean they don't love you or support your marriage, it could just mean that the money isn't there.
- Don't dance around the subject. Be polite, but straight-forward. A simple, "Derek and I are starting to set our wedding budget, and wanted to know if you would be able to contribute" should work just fine as a conversation starter.
- Be careful what you wish for. The fact of the matter is that whoever pays, gets a fair share of control over the wedding. Does your mother loathe pink? Does your father think that real wedding receptions have a big band? Guess what? Your bridesmaids won't be rocking cotton-candy colored dresses while swing dancing to Count Basie. If you want to have complete control over your wedding, better not ask your parents to pull out a checkbook.
Photo Credit: Julie Weisberg