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A few weeks ago, with our shop relaunch, I mentioned that we had added a whole new category to the Southern Weddings Shop: our e-book library! This was a natural next step for us, gals who have always been equally devoted to the pretty AND the practical. It’s my joy to give you a more extended peek into one of our first two digital offerings today: the Ultimate Guide to Budgeting for Your Wedding!

Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely passionate about personal finance. Since I am also passionate about weddings, this new e-book is pretty much the culmination of my life’s work! :) The good news is that you do not have to be passionate about either to get the most out of our guide — in fact, it’s meant for people who want to cover their ears when they hear the word budget!

In this 26-page digital download, we equip you with everything you need to know to spend, save, and celebrate your wedding with money smarts. Topics covered include:

— How to set your wedding budget
— Ways to supplement your hired professionals (and save money!)
— How to negotiate while hiring vendors
— Our favorite ways to cut costs
— Creative ways to stretch your budget
— Setting your budget priorities
— How to talk to your parents about money
— When and how much to tip wedding vendors
— Industry standard percentages for your budget
— 11 line-item budgets from real weddings (ranging from $12,500 to $100,000+)

…plus a budget spreadsheet, a payment tracker, and plenty of encouragement along the way!

We believe that if you can do your budget well, the rest of wedding planning will be so much more joyful – and that’s our greatest wish for you! Get more info and purchase your Ultimate Guide to Budgeting for Your Wedding.

P.S. Curious about the intersection of our e-book library and the Joyful Wedding Planner? Our e-books can be used alongside our planner (since we go into more detail on each topic than we were able to in the planner) or in tandem with another planner. We’ve heard from so many brides who were sad to have purchased another planner before finding ours, so this is a way that all of y’all can still get our perspective on individual topics without purchasing a second planner!

emily Written with love by Emily

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Did you feel a little shiver run down your spine just reading this post’s title? If so, you’re not alone! For many brides, talking to their parents about paying for their wedding is one of the most squirm-inducing parts of wedding planning, period. Not many of us love talking about money, anyway, and when you add in all of the emotions, hopes, and expectations around an event as significant as a wedding, well, things can get complicated fast!

The good news? As with most things in life, a grateful heart, a kind demeanor, and an insistence on believing the best about everyone involved will go a long way. Unless you’re set on paying for your wedding yourself or your parents have already told you they’re not able to contribute, this conversation is a must-do, so let’s get to our tips!

Photo by Sawyer Baird with styling and flowers by Blue Ribbon Vendor Jacin Fitzgerald from our ninth issue

First, unless they’ve told you otherwise, it’s helpful to start with the mindset that your families may or may not be willing or able to contribute, but that you are asking because it’s better to ask than to miss out! Here’s how you might start the conversation:

“Hi Mama! Now that we’ve been engaged for a few weeks, we’re excited to begin planning our wedding! We are really hoping to have a memorable celebration for all the people we love most. I’m not sure if you’ve given it any thought, so no need to answer today, but I was wondering if you and Dad are planning to contribute in some monetary way to our plans? We would be so grateful for whatever you’re able to offer!”

It could also be helpful to lead with what y’all are planning to pay for, so they understand you two are also invested in this experience.

Repeat this conversation with both your parents and your fiance’s parents – more than once if anyone is divorced – as well as grandparents, if applicable.

If your parents are looking for further direction or aren’t comfortable giving a lump sum, suggest they pay for a specific item or portion of the wedding (bonus points if you know it’s one that will be meaningful to them!). Try this: “Would it be possible for you to pay for the florist? We haven’t chosen a vendor yet, but the quotes we’ve gotten range from $1,500-$2,000.”

One final tip: It’s best to leave comparison out of this conversation – either with your siblings’ weddings, or your friends’. Trust that your parents will do their best to make things as fair as possible!

As you speak with each supporting party, make a note of their commitments (we have a handy worksheet for this in our wedding planner!). Once you’ve spoken with everyone and noted how much you and your groom will be contributing, you’ve got the beginnings of a budget!

I’d love to hear: if your parents helped pay for your wedding, did you initiate this conversation, or did they?

P.S. Looking for more wedding budget advice? I wrote our wedding budgeting e-book just for you!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar liam smith reply

    This is an interesting article is it is seldom discussed.

    My now wife and I had the same discussion with our parents, however we decided to approach it differently. We put together what we could afford and culled our guest list to just close family and friends. We then told our parents that any guests that they wanted to add they would have to pay for. It removed the awkward discussion of ‘how much can you give us’ and also placed the politics of who to invite in their hands.

  2. avatar Kirsti Cook reply

    My sweet mama initiated the conversation with my fiancé and I about two weeks after we got engaged and started looking at venues. The funny part during this process is that we are trying to stick as close as we can to our budget and my mama, bless her heart, always says “If it will make your day perfect, then just do it!” While we want to be gracious hosts to our guests, we also know that spending an arm and a leg on our wedding won’t effect our marriage so we are trying to keep it from spreading like kudzu!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Last week we tackled one of the trickiest (and most common) wedding planning questions when we asked “how much does a wedding cost?” This week, we’re moving on to the next logical step: who ponies up the money? :) Read on for our thoughts on who pays what in the wedding!

See more from this engagement session by Elle Danielle on Facebook Friday!

According to Emily Post, “The days when the bride’s parents were expected to bear all the expenses of the wedding and reception are over. It’s now more common for engaged couples, especially those who are established wage earners, to pay all or most of the costs or at least to share some of the expense with their parents. The groom’s family may also make a substantial contribution.”

We tend to agree, as does the data! From a survey of 16,000 couples married in 2014, Splendid Insights found that 80% of respondents contributed to their wedding. 62% had parents who contributed to the wedding, and 35% had a partner whose parents contributed.

This pattern of a community coming together to pay for the wedding seems to hold true in the Southern Weddings office, as well. Marissa and Lisa reported to me that they, their parents, and their husbands’ parents all contributed or are contributing to their wedding budgets. Same goes for my household, except my grandmother was added into the mix, too! For all of us, the money all seemed to go into one pot, though the tradition of the groom’s parents paying for the rehearsal dinner seems to have some staying power.

Of course, while you might hope your parents will contribute, unless they make the first move, you still need to ask them! We’d recommend going into the conversation with a grateful heart and without expectations, being thankful for any contribution they’re willing and able to make. I’d also recommend taking the lead with your parents, and letting your fiance do the same with his.

Not all parents are willing or able to contribute financially, but they (or other friends!) might be pleased as punch to contribute in other ways on or before the wedding day: sewing napkins, stuffing envelopes, assembling favors, playing music, setting up your reception space, scouting vintage china, lending centerpiece vessels, addressing invitations, brewing beer, or baking desserts are all places to start! Graciously take people up on their kind offers whenever possible – not only will it help cut down on costs, but it can give your wedding a beautiful sense of community. In our experience, loved ones love being asked to play a role in the big day!

Finally, don’t despair if you’re financing your celebration on your own. Start saving as early as you can (just $5 a day over one year adds up to $1800!), and prioritize the parts of the wedding that matter most to you. And when all as fails, keep in mind that the quickest (though not the least painful) way to cut your overall budget is to lower your guest count.

Friends, I’d love to hear: who is paying for your wedding? You and your fiance? Some combination of your parents? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. More of our best budgeting advice.

We’ll be sharing a quick and simple piece of wedding planning advice based on our most frequently asked questions once a week! Feel free to email us with your own question, or pick up a copy of the Southern Weddings Planner for all of our best resources in one place!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Anna reply

    My husband and I were so grateful that both of our parents were able to help contribute some to our wedding. After sitting down to talk with them and learn what they were gifting us, we supplemented the rest of our budget with our own savings. It was so important for us to do this before we started planning to have realistic expectations of what we would be able to afford for our big day!

  2. avatar Jen reply

    My parents decided on a set budget, and anything over that my fiancé and I will cover ourselves. It works out because we are blessed with funds to cover all of the basics, but we have the option to add a few more things if we’d like!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    I love the idea of a self-sufficient couple paying for their own celebration. With that said, I think graciously accepting any gift to help with your day is wonderful, too. It doesn’t take a huge budget to make a dream day!

  4. avatar Abby reply

    My parents wanted to go a very traditional route and paid for our wedding. They gave me a budget to stick to and we were able to plan the wedding we all wanted within that. I think my fiancee’s parents would have been happy to contribute but my parents actually refused. They have 4 sons and I am their only child so I think in their minds at the end of the day they were probably all spending the same on weddings in our lifetime. It was such a blessing to have that financial support, we would not have had the same wedding if it were left to us to pay for on our own and is giving us the ability to put our money towards a house in the future.

  5. avatar Samantha reply


    Our 27 year old daughter met a 61 year old man 2 months ago and is now engaged planning a wedding!

    This is her first marriage and his 4th.

    She wants to sit down and talk about the wedding.

    What can her father and I expect to have to pay for?

    It just seems to me that the advanced age of her fiance’ would say that he should be paying for this wedding!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Mom and Dad

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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