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Money | A Hot Issue


We have an entire wedding budget area to talk about the complexity of money. No matter what your money views, there is no "right or wrong." This very simple award-winning game is worth the emotional awareness you'll gain. A few big "a-ha" moments may greatly help in wedding planning. Learn more

We're Going to Be One Happy Family...Or Else!


A very unique book written by a nationally respected marriage and family therapist who has worked with couples and families for over 30 years. Learn why a mother bought 25 copies for EVERYONE in her family to get everyone on the same page during the most intense, public, family event. Learn more

Wedding Discounts for Marriage Prep


Engaged couples are by their nature extremely happy. But as you know, after the honeymoon, marriage is hard work. We offer many options for marriage prep at many price-points(and wedding discounts from vendors who want to help!) Encourage your adult child to visit our website.Learn more


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My parents (or in-laws) want to invite people we don't know and don't have the money for. What should we do to politely tell them to stop adding people!


What may be going on: Weddings are a big deal to parents. It's a time to bring everyone together to celebrate this big day. It's the beginning of their son or daughters new marriage, but also the beginning of their own new family, introducing the new son or daughter-in-law to their clan of family and friends. Parents want their friends to know this new person, and the easiest way is at the wedding. Afterall, they know you're not likely to want to spend a precious weekend night hanging out with their friends. How else will their friends meet your new spouse?


What usually doesn't happen, but should: Chances are you announced your engagement and then started working on the wedding without thinking about who THEY would want to invite. You are just trying to figure out this whole wedding planning thing! But your parents are thrilled (hopefully!) and are blasting everyone they know with the big news, through emails, letters, phone calls, or hanging out in person with their friends. So, while they're bolding talking about the upcoming wedding, they likely have no idea who is ultimately going to be invited, how much the budget is, where you'll have the wedding and how big or small you want the wedding. It is these early conversations your parents have that can set the tone for months down the road. If your mom assumes her best friends are going to the wedding, only to find out 7 months later, there isn't "room", it's going to cause a lot of hurt and social ackwardness for her to verbally "uninvite" her dearest friends.


How to avoid potential drama : Set a conversation as a couple and with your parents pretty quicklyafter your engagement (or as soon as you're noticing new people on the guest list) for a "ball park" notion of the wedding or a more direct conversation about the wedding plans to date. The beginning of wedding planning isn't a time to hen pick guest lists, but if you and your spouse-to-be wrote out rough numbers of who you would likely invite to the wedding, you can then show your parents the list and they can give you their first response. It is at this point where you can all view the potentially opposite notions of the wedding rather than let the conflict be a trickle of stress as each new person gets added.


What not to say : If you haven't had the hard conversations about values, priorities and money up to this point, it's now time to hash out the underbelly of the wedding plans. It is not good enough to simply say "we don't have money for", because it can backfire in two ways. One way it backfires is the person then offers to pay for those extra guests! This may likely cause you even MORE tension because you really didn't want those people in the first place. You just liked the "money excuse" as a way not to offend your parents. The second way it can backfire is you cause a lot of hurt feelings, unwittingly telling a loved one that money is more important than their feelings or friendships, or so they may perceive it. You can come across as crass or open yourself up to critiques and complaints about other parts of your budget, like "you know if you had one less flower on each table you'd be able to invite my best friend without spending more money!"


When you talk from your values and priorities it makes all conversations a lot easier to handle. For a quick priority worksheet, download it here. Read more from our book, Take Back Your Wedding available on our website or Amazon.



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Elizabeth Doherty Thomas, is a co-founder of The First Dance, along with Marriage and Family therapist father Bill Doherty. The First Dance is a 2007 Modern Bride Trendsetter award winner for taking on the complex family dynamics of wedding planning. See what engaged couples and wedding professionals are saying about our book Take Back Your wedding. Our entire website is dedicated to offering advice on working through the people stresses of wedding planning as a couple, with your families, and how to strengthen your upcoming marriage through this enormous first task of married life.