If you are engaged to be married, this may be a familiar scenario:

Mom has offered to financially contribute to your wedding but instead of writing you a check for a flat amount, she offers instead to pay for the flowers and your cake.  You think this is great and the planning continues.  Only now, mom wants to accompany you and your wedding planner to your floral appointment because since she’s paying for the flowers she assumes that she should get a say in what types of flowers are ordered and how they’re arranged.  Annoyed, you smile politely and try to accommodate mom’s wishes since she is being so generous in paying for said flowers.

Next up, the cake tasting…  Mom insists she joins you again because she needs to be there to pay.  After sampling endless flavors, you and your hubby-to-be decide that you want one tier of your cake to be red velvet, and two tiers to be chocolate ganache. Mom interjects and thinks not enough people will like red velvet and that there should be a vanilla option.

Do you see where I am going with this?  Talking money is not easy, but in many – no, most – wedding planning situations, its inevitable.  Be prepared to discuss the sensitive topic of money with your family and you will make your planning that much easier.

Solution:  If someone offers to financially contribute to your wedding, be grateful, but then also plan to tell them that you prefer they write you a check in whatever amount they feel comfortable with.  You can give them an idea as to what, say, flowers or a cake typically cost.

Preventative Action:  I personally think the best idea is to discuss wedding finances with your parents very soon after you are engaged.  Meet with your wedding planner prior to meeting with your family so that you have a very clear idea as to what your wedding budget should be.  Lets say that you and your fiance plan to pay for half of your wedding on your own but anticipate your parents will pay for the other half.  I suggest sitting down with your family individually and discussing your projected budget; that you can afford to pay half but that you still need $20,000.  Tell them that whatever they can contribute would be so appreciated and that you would prefer a check for a flat amount that you can put towards your overall budget.  Be kindly direct.  This eliminates any confusion as to how they will contribute.

Good luck and happy planning!