Weddings are a big deal. They’re a joyous occasion to celebrate the love of two people, but they can also be a lot of work. If your child is recently engaged and about to start planning a wedding, you might be wondering about your own role in that process, especially if you’re providing financial support. Here are some ways you can prepare for the responsibilities you’ll be facing as your child plans their marriage celebration.
Decide how you want to contribute
If the honor of financing a wedding reception falls to you, you may first want to have a frank discussion regarding contributions. Your child and their partner may have expectations about their ideal nuptials. Now is the time to clearly establish how much you are able to fund their wedding and how much input you expect to have. The earlier you can clearly communicate expectations, the smoother the wedding planning will be. Now is also the time to consider how you will finance your child’s wedding. Many parents dip into their savings or take on credit card debt to pay for a child’s wedding, but you can also leverage other assets. If you’ve been wondering is whole life insurance worth it?, consider the inherent usefulness of being able to borrow against your policy to fund your child’s wedding if you’ve had the policy long enough to build up the cash value, which can take awhile to become a useful source of funds policy loans will reduce the death benefit and could have other tax consequences. You can make similar use of other financial options, like taking out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), to borrow funds without divesting yourself of your retirement savings.
Help prep the guest list
Once the finances have been outlined and agreed upon, you can start helping with the guest list. You may consider it your responsibility to advocate for your side of the family, but it is important to keep in mind that it is your child’s day. Agree on the size of the guest list beforehand and try maintaining a sense of perspective when discussing invitees and seating arrangements. If you established certain expectations during your earlier conversations, like the ability to invite a table of your friends, now is the time to begin actively planning. Keep in mind your financial constraints, and remember that your child’s friends (not to mention your new in-laws) also need room at the celebration.
There’s something of a contention at the heart of wedding planning: the people getting married often aren’t the ones paying for it. At some point, you may feel like your financial burden doesn’t match up with your say in the wedding. These feelings may not be unreasonable, but it’s crucial that you remember what’s important: you are supporting a new lifelong partnership between your child and the person they love. Keeping an eye on your priorities while maintaining a willingness to compromise will help keep the planning process relaxed, productive, and enjoyable for everyone involved.
4. Be there for them
Much is expected of the parents: Financing nuptial celebrations and being available to help with planning while also giving your child enough space can feel like a delicate balancing act. Remember, by offering your understanding and support, you can help make your children’s wedding one of the most memorable days of their lives–and yours, too.