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Wedding Money: Guilty Wedding Budgeting?

Q.

I am 29 and my fiance is 42. I have a fairly steady job and my fiance is doing extremely well. Several years ago, my dad said that someday he would pay for my wedding. Well, I recently asked if he would like to contribute, and he said he would need to talk it over with my stepmom. It was a hard question to ask, because he hasn't paid for anything for me since I moved out almost 10 years ago. It was very uncomfortable for both of us. Two weeks later he offered me $10,000. My aunt has since expressed surprise that I asked -- she felt that since I am almost 30 and have been working for so many years, it wasn't the right thing to do. But my fiance really encouraged me to ask, as I am my father's only daughter. Now I feel guilty about the whole thing. Should I just let it go, accept that he has offered to pay, and try to find the best possible deal to keep wedding costs at a minimum? Should I maybe try to pay for some of it myself?

A.

Budgeting for your wedding is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. Money is never fun, especially when paired with guilt. It sounds like you should have a heart-to-heart with your dad, telling him how much you appreciate his offer to contribute but that you are also having conflicting feelings about it. Maybe he felt guilty when you asked, too, and came through on his promise from several years ago because he felt obligated. Or maybe he's glad to do it but was initially hesitant because he knew he had to discuss it with his wife. I'd say the most important factor is how you feel about taking his money. If it's going to make you miserable throughout your wedding planning, then it's probably not worth it. Your aunt's comment seems totally off the mark--just because you are of a certain age and have a steady job doesn't mean you must foot the bill yourself. And this is really none of her business anyway--ultimately it's between you and your father.

If you and your fiance can comfortably contribute to your wedding costs, you should do so. However, it strikes me as a little odd that your fiance was so enthusiastic about your dad contributing when, as you said, he's "doing extremely well." (You also said, "Maybe I should pay for it myself" -- shouldn't both of you be contributing?) My take on it is that every couple should contribute to their own wedding as best they can; they shouldn't expect money from their parents, nor should they automatically be expected to pay for it themselves. The most important thing right now is to clear the air with your dad, so you can have fun with the wedding planning instead of feeling depressed.


See More: Money , Wedding Planning Basics