Wedding Money: Making Wedding Decisions with Parents?
Q: With the exception of a few specific expenses, my parents are paying for my sister's wedding. There seems to be some confusion on wedding etiquette -- what level of decision-making power does this extend to my parents vs. my sister and her fiance? My mom sometimes feels she's being treated like an ATM. On the other hand, the "I'm the hostess" position she's taking often seems a little selfish. Could you please explain the proper level of decision-making power of the wedding host and wedding hostess (i.e., Mom and Dad)?
A: Ah, if only a book quantified the hosts' proper decision-making power. When parents are paying, they should have some say -- the bride and groom should not take financial help for granted and think they can do exactly what they want without consulting mom and dad (the ATM sensibility you mentioned). In a perfect world, parents want their kids to have the wedding of their dreams, but in reality, the wedding day is also important to mom and dad, and since they're paying they have a stake in what the party will and should be like. Some parents want to be in control, while others are more than happy to write the check and let their kids deal with planning. There's no black or white here -- it's a very gray area, depending on the families involved. It sounds like you're the referee, so you might want to bring both sides together for a good heart-to-heart. Maybe your mom needs to tell your sister how she's making her feel, and sis should tell Mom what's really important to her about the wedding, so they can compromise instead of playing tug-of-war. Good luck!