Beautiful bride in a white dress with butterflies. Studio shot

Ask Rene: It’s MY Wedding..
How Can I Ask Everyone To BUTT OUT?  

My fiancé and I are getting married next year. We can’t afford to pay for a dream wedding. Both of our parents and my grandmother have agreed to help us financially. The problem is that everyone thinks they can tell us what to do. I understand that it’s their money and they can do whatever they want with it, but I don’t think I should be forced to have an open bar at the reception when I really want butterflies released at the wedding. I really am grateful for the help, but I want what I want. Is there a nice way to ask for the money and tell everyone to butt out?

Signed: Wedding Woes

Dear WW:

First of all, congratulations on your engagement!

Family and money can cause interesting dilemmas when they’re mixed. I truly understand what you are going through. I can also see both sets of parents and your grandmother wanting to have some say in some of the decisions because it is their money. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean they should have ALL the say in what goes. I mean, after all, you only [ideally] get married once in your life and you will remember that day for as long as you live. You want to create happy memories!

So here’s what I would do if I were in your shoes.



How about a family meeting? Start on a positive note about how grateful you and your fiance are that they have agreed to help foot the bill for your nuptials. Then clearly lay out your vision, perhaps even in writing so everyone is on the same page. Tell them you want more peaceful than party; maybe instead of an open bar, you could opt for servers with Champagne along with your butterfly release.  They might ask you why you feel the way you do, at which point you can explain.

Or not.

Read more: Ask Rene: Is Chivalry Alive And If So, WHERE?



I believe the key to true happiness is compromise. You don’t have to give your parents and soon-to-be in-laws everything they want, but perhaps you could see your way clear to give them a little something. Give them a theme and some parameters and let them operate from within them, of course, reserving final say.

Read more: What’s Love Got To Do With It? – 19 Lessons From 19 Years Of Marriage



If they still don’t see your way, you have two choices: let them plan and proceed (and you be miserable) or scale down your wedding. You could be married by a Justice of the Peace now and save for a big ceremony later or just have much smaller and more intimate ceremony. Those might be your only options if neither side budges.

Read more: Doses of Reality: 5 Items That SHOULD Be On The Wedding Registry


I know this is stressing you out, but I truly believe there is a way for everyone to get what they want. Most of all, you.

Best wishes!

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So, GEM readers, what would you recommend she do?