Once upon a time, my dad told me that he’d give me and whoever I decided to marry $5,000 that we could spend as we liked, provided I eloped. When The Beard and I did decide to marry, that offer changed to $2,000 to put toward a “real” wedding, since my dad’s wife at the time wasn’t going to see me married without all the proper proceedings. Honestly, we probably would have put that original sum toward my wedding budget because I like weddings and The Beard is his mother’s only son, but the thought of having a few thousand more dollars in the bank to put toward a house might have been tempting!
According to a New York Times blog, the newest trend where parents and budgets are concerned is asking for money for big ticket items in lieu of a contribution to a wedding. A down payment on a home is one popular way to spend the spoils, though others might include a much-needed new car or a blowout six-month vacation.
if you’re thinking of asking your parents for cash instead of a wedding contribution, bringing up the subject if your parents haven’t offered first can be difficult. Ms. Martini Bratten [editor-in-chief of Brides] recommends that couples first find out if their parents plan to contribute to the wedding before broaching the subject and not to be shocked if parents are perplexed by the proposition. And if parents make the proposal themselves, choosing whether to take the money or not can be hard as well, though Ms. Martini Bratten said she expected many brides would probably still opt for their dream event.
Asking for money to put toward a wedding budget is difficult enough for many brides and grooms without having to find a way to tactfully say something like “On the assumption that you’re going to help us pay for our wedding, might we just have the cash instead?” I suppose it would get a little easier if your parents have already said they’ll give you such-and-such an amount, and slightly more easy if you want to spend that money on something responsible, like a graduate degree or a flat in the nice part of town.
It might be harder, on the other hand, to ask moms and dads for money when you are planning a biggish wedding and your spouse-to-be’s parents have already indicated that they’ll help pay for it. In that case, it might be awkward for both sets of parents, particularly if there is bad blood between the families and one thinks the other isn’t contributing enough to the happiness or survival of the kids. And I think that asking for cash would be especially difficult if you and your spouse-to-be are well-off enough to pay for a rather nice wedding on your own and plan to do just that, but would like some additional funds for big expenses.
In my case, The Beard and I approached all of our parents to ask (with no strings attached) if they were planning to help us pay for a wedding. At the time, it never occurred to us to use the money so graciously given to us for our wedding for something else, and the thought of asking whether it would be all right if money given for one purpose might be used for another makes me feel a little itchy. That’s why I’m wondering if any of our readers chose to use parent-gifted wedding budget funds for other purposes… if so, did you ask your moms and dads if they’d be willing to hand over cash instead of writing checks to vendors? Did proposing the idea feel weird?