Parents of the Bride and Groom – How Involved?

As a parent of the bride or groom, the upcoming wedding is a joyous and exciting time for you, but figuring out your role can be challenging. Finding a healthy balance is key to maintaining everyone’s happiness and sanity in the wedding planning process. Here are some tips on parental involvement and participation:

Financial Responsibility: Traditionally, the bride’s family was responsible for paying for the wedding and the groom’s family paid for the rehearsal dinner. Nowadays, there’s no hard and fast rule when divvying up the wedding expenses. Whether you’re the parent of the bride or groom, you have the option of being as financially involved as you would like. Once the happy couple gets engaged, it’s best to have an honest discussion about finances. Be open about how much, if any, you’d like to contribute to the wedding expenses. This can be set as a dollar amount to be used however the bride and groom prefer, or you can claim responsibility over certain items (i.e. flowers, food, rehearsal dinner) regardless of the cost.

Decision-Making Power: This is a tough one. There’s no predetermined rule that establishes how much pull parents have in the wedding planning process. Understandably, if you’re contributing finances, you probably prefer to have some say in what decisions are made. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to express your opinions, but try to remember that the wedding needs to be a reflection of the bride and groom, as well. Share your opinions and preferences when asked, or when you feel they really need to be heard, but respect the final decision that the bride and groom make.

Conflict Resolution: There will undoubtedly be conflict that arises during the process. It’s a stressful, harried time in any couple’s life and often the anxiety gets the better of them. The best way to avoid and resolve conflict is by being open and honest. Be upfront about your financial commitment and have regular conversations to make sure your son or daughter is sticking to the budget. Have a heart-to-heart about the level of involvement the bride and groom desire you to have in the wedding planning, decision-making, and festivities. Be candid about your desires, as well, so your child knows how much you’d like to participate. And lastly, be willing to let go of some of the control. As much as you love your child, you need to respect that they’re becoming their own person with their own ideas, preferences, and needs. Make sure you’re not overstepping your bounds during the wedding planning process and adding undue stress to the couple.

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