Budgeting is a crucial part of wedding planning. In the UK, the average cost of a wedding is £19,184, which is a heck of a lot of money to save for any couple. That leaves many with no other choice than to ask their parents to help them. And there’s nothing wrong with asking your parents for help, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a difficult conversation to have.
If this is you, then there are some potentially awkward conversations in your future. If you think you may need to discuss the money aspect of your upcoming nuptials with your parents, there are ways to approach it carefully so you don’t feel too shy, awkward or embarrassed. The last thing you want to do is make your parents feel like you’re demanding money, which you might accidentally do if you go in all guns blazing.
Thankfully, Bridebook is here to help you negotiate those tricky conversations with your parents, so you can sort out your budget once and for all. In this post, we’re going to explore how to ask your parents for wedding money, including what to do, what to avoid, and what to do after the talk to keep Mum and Dad on your side.
Whether or not your should ask your parents for wedding money totally depends on the scale of the wedding you have in mind and how that aligns with your personal finances. If you’re in the lucky position to have a high-paying job, significant savings or next Saturday’s winning Lotto numbers, then you may not need to have this conversation at all.
As revealed by our annual UK Wedding Report, modern couples generally get married a little later in life thanks to higher-paid jobs and more savings. Up to a third of couples pay for their entire wedding themselves. However, that leaves two-thirds of couples who need a little extra help. So, when it comes to who pays for what at a wedding, the split might look a little like this:
You also need to bear in mind the financial situation of your parents. It’s likely that your parents will want to help, but whether or not they can is something else entirely. If your parents don’t have savings or live month to month, asking them to fork out thousands will be a rather tall order. It might make them feel bad if they want to help but don’t have the spare funds, so consider this before sitting down to have the conversation.
There’s no set amount you should ask for. Of course, there are traditions related to what each side of the family pays for, but this might not be possible. It’s important not to go into the conversation by asking for a blank cheque or a random number that you’ll make work. Jumping in unprepared will put you on the back foot and won’t instil in your parents a whole lot of confidence that their money will be put to good use.
Below is a step-by-step guide for how to ask your parents to help you pay for your wedding. If you follow these steps, you might find that it doesn’t need to be quite as daunting as you think.
Before you even consider sitting your parents down to ask them for money, you first need to understand exactly what you need. You and your spouse-to-be should generally agree on what you want and don’t want from your wedding. You don’t need to agree on the nitty-gritty at this stage, but you must be at least on the same page. After all, when it comes to the cost of transport, there’s a big difference between hiring a vintage car and a horse-drawn carriage, and when it comes to venues, a castle costs more than double a restaurant.
Establish how much you need to fund your dream wedding. You can do this by using our handy wedding budget tool, which allows you to enter the cost of each part of your wedding. You can also get a great idea of what things cost in our guide to the average cost of a wedding.
Once you have a rough idea of how much your wedding might cost, take a look at your finances. You both might have some savings, and you should be able to work out how much additional money you can save between now and your wedding. For example, if you can each save £100 a month and your wedding is in two years, that’s almost £5,000 – or about a quarter of the average cost of a wedding. Suddenly, that helps you realise that maybe you won’t have to ask for quite as much as you fear.
To make things easy, let’s imagine your dream wedding is estimated to cost £20,000.
You and your fiance have £5,000 in joint savings, and you estimate that you can save another £5,000 before the wedding. The good news is, you’ve already accounted for half the cost of your wedding! With bonuses and any side hustles you might have, you might be able to scrape together another £2,000.
So, that leaves you with £8,000 to find. That’s still a heck of a lot of money, but it’s a solid amount, not a figure you’ve plucked from nowhere. Now you know what to ask for.
How you decide to split this is entirely up to you and your parents’ finances. Do you split it 50/50 and ask each set of parents for £4,000? Or would it be fair and more achievable to split it 75/25 and ask for £6,000 from one side and £2,000 from the other?
However you decide to split it is up to you. At least now you have an idea as to what you’re going to ask for, which makes for a far easier conversation.
Before you drop a major bombshell on your parents, it’s only fair to give them a heads-up. If they don’t know what’s coming, you might catch them off guard, which might not lead to the outcome you hope for.
If possible, it’s a conversation to have in person, not over the phone, and especially not via text. But, you can give them the idea that you want to talk about money any way you can. That way, you can present them with everything you’ve put together and you can explain it all in full, which will prevent anything from being misunderstood or misinterpreted.
If you’ve followed the above steps, when the time comes to have the big money talk itself, it shouldn’t feel quite as intimidating. You’ll know what you want to say and exactly what you’re asking for, which puts you in the strongest possible position.
Start by setting the scene. Take your parents through your plan, including the whats, wheres, whens, whys and hows. Show them how much you think your wedding will cost and how you got to that amount. Remember, our budget tool is a great way to put an accurate amount together.
When it comes to asking your parents for help paying for your wedding, you have two main ways you could approach it:
Either option is fine, but you may find it easier to ask them to pay for certain vendors. Think about it, which of these questions sounds easier to you: ‘Please could you pay for our wedding reception?’ or ‘Please can we have £6,000?’
When asking for money, it’s important to be gracious, open and honest. Don’t expect anything or assume that just because you’re asking nicely it automatically means you’re going to get it. Everyone’s situation is different. If you’re lucky, your family might have been secretly building a wedding fund since you and your partner first got together. Similarly, your parents’ car might have died recently and they drained their savings when they bought a new one. It’s impossible to guarantee any kind of outcome – so prepare to receive any kind of response.
Asking your parents to help pay for your wedding is a big deal, so they may need time to think about what you discussed before agreeing to anything. They may also need to take a look at their finances to see how much they can afford.
Don’t push or press. You might find you have to do just as much listening as you do talking. Also, try not to make your parents feel guilty by expecting them to contribute the same amount – or more – as your partner’s parents.
It’s also worth clarifying with your parents whether the money they offer you is a gift or a loan. Most families will present the money as a gift; however, it’s always best to check. Equally as important, once you have your final budget with all the parental contributions, make sure you don’t come back asking for more money, which would be more than a little awkward. Instead, come back to them with a beautiful thank-you note, to show how much their help is appreciated.
Hopefully, after talking to your parents they’ve agreed to help you pay for your wedding. That’s amazing news! Now you have everything you need to plan your perfect day.
At this stage, you’ll want to make sure your parents are involved in the planning process as much as they want to be. If they’re generous enough to help you pay for certain services and vendors, then it’s important to ask them to come along if they’d like to. For example, if they’re paying for the venue, ask them to check out some of your favourites. If they’re paying for the cake or your caterers, let them come to a wedding tasting with you. They may even want the final say if they’re dropping thousands on a single vendor.
Your parents likely won’t want to be included in everything, but if they’re stumping up a chunk of change, then the least you can do is let them be a part of it in some capacity. The last thing you want to do is take the money and run, which will make them feel a little crummy.
Once you have an answer from your parents and you know exactly how much budget you’ll have, you can start to plan your big day in earnest.
Here at Bridebook, we have all the tools and resources you could need to plan a fantastic wedding. Sign up and start your planning journey today!