It's not uncommon for parents to want to be involved in their children's wedding planning, but that involvement can also be a minefield. If you're footing part of the bill for your child's wedding, you might feel as though you should have some say in the event itself. That's not completely unreasonable, but it's important to keep in mind that it's ultimately not your event. Below are a few ways to collaborate with your adult child on planning a wedding so that it is an event you both look back on with fondness instead of stress.
Communicate Early About Finances
You can eliminate a lot of conflict by being clear from the start about how much you are willing to contribute and what you expect as a result of that. You then need to remain firm about that amount. You may need to take out a loan to pay for your children's wedding if you have not been saving up for it or if you decide you'd like a little more financial flexibility than what you have already saved allows. Your bank or credit union may offer loans, or you may find a better deal with an online lender. Be sure to take interest rates and the time frame you have to repay the loan into account.
Make Reasonable Requests
You should talk to your child about the amount of input you will have into the wedding at the same time you talk about the budget and your contribution. Families and individuals will have different ideas about what constitutes reasonable in this situation, but a good guideline to follow is that it should not be something that is actively upsetting to your child, that is out of the place with the overall wedding aesthetic or that is costly in terms of money and resources.
For example, it is reasonable for a parent to include some extra guests. It is not reasonable if the guests are people that the child has a strained relationship with and would not want at the event for that reason. This is not the place for family reconciliations. It's also important that parents do not shift goalposts regarding these requests. One common source of conflict between parents and children during wedding planning is that parents' requests can intensify over time. Like the monetary contribution, these requests should be agreed upon early on.
Consider a Professional
The best use of your money could be hiring a wedding planner to work with your child. Planning a wedding is a daunting task for anyone who doesn't already have event planning experience, and even for those who do, those events were probably not as fraught with emotion and personal baggage. A professional has done this dozens or hundreds of times and most likely also has good contacts with vendors. A planner doesn't mean giving up control of the event. It simply means you have someone in place and on your team, who knows how to take the ideas that you, your child and your child's future spouse have and make them work effectively.