Momzilla and wedding budgeting

By on May 12th
Bride and Mother-in-Law

Photo by Shannon Weiss Photography

Everyone warns you about Bridezilla, but no one tells you about how your mom will morph into Momzilla!

We set the date for June of next year and my mom's trying to plan everything now. She's totally not listening to me about what I want, or what is important to me. She and my father are paying for it.

Would it be selfish of me to tell my mother it's my wedding, and not hers?

Or should I let her have her way because she's paying for it?

-Jenna

My simple rule: If mom's payin', you need to listen to what she's sayin'.

For the longer answer, keep reading.

I get this question a lot, and my answer doesn't ever change: money is power, and if you accept money from your family for your wedding, then you have to accept that they have every right to chime in about wedding planning. Whoever pays for the wedding is acting as a producer, and therefore has a say in how their money is spent. Ideally, their say goes something like this: "Whatever you want, dear." But with many families — especially more conservative ones — that's just not gonna happen. That's why many offbeat couples finance their own weddings.

This is covered extensively in the book, but before you accept money from family members for your wedding, you need to have a serious conversation with them about what stipulation come with the money. You can't just assume Hey! Free Money!, and skip the conversation about what it means. Yes, it's uncomfortable to talk to family about money. But what's more uncomfortable: having a slightly awkward conversation early on, or going through months (years?) of tension over the issue.

If it becomes clear from that conversation that your family wants to be involved in the planning of the wedding, then you have a very serious decision to make: accept the money and lose some control, or maintain control and pay for it yourself? Some folks also try a third option, which is to ask their family for a loan, but that's definitely an even bigger challenge when it comes to tactfulness.

Another option is having two weddings — the one they pay for and design, and the one you do yourself. That's also covered in my book.