Although your wedding is you and your fiancés big day, it’s always important to discuss aspects of your wedding day with your families to make sure the event planning process is smooth sailing. Start with these topics and ask some of the suggested questions to get your wedding planning conversation with your family started.
Budget: Who Is Paying For What?
The wedding budget is always the most difficult issue to discuss with your fiancé and family members. But don’t be afraid to sit down and hash out the details – it’s better to speak openly about it then cause financial stress and strain on your family during the final planning stage. Do some preliminary research so you come prepared with some costs that your family will need to discuss. Questions to consider are:
- Should you follow the typical division of payments between the bride and grooms family for weddings?
- Who would like to contribute to what part of the wedding?
- What amount are each side comfortable contributing and what are you and your fiancé comfortable with?
- What aspects of the wedding are most important to invest in and what elements can you do without?
Guest List: What Family Should Be Invited and Where Should They Sit?
It is your wedding after all so you should be the primary person defining your guest list, but it’s often a good idea to turn to family members to determine who should be invited to the wedding and who may not be receiving an invitation in their mailbox. Your budget and wedding size should be the main considerations, but here are things to consider with your families when discussing who should be invited to your big day:
- What other family members weddings have you been invited to in the past? Or whose do you think you will be invited to in the future?
- How close are you with the family member or family friend and when was the last time you were in contact?
- Do you have a logical explanation for not inviting them if they ask or feel hurt? Size, location, etc.?
- What family members are comfortable sitting together and which family members are best kept on opposite sides of the room?
Religion: How Should Religion Be Included In The Ceremony?
Maybe you share the same religion, or maybe you don’t. But either way, each families’ religious values will always differ slightly. Discuss religion openly with both sides of your family to see what religious elements are important to them and what is important to you. Once you discuss all of the elements, it will be easier to put together a wedding ceremony that will please both sides of the family. Topics to discuss include:
- What church, temple or other religious location will the ceremony take place?
- Will religious elements such as communion, lighting of candles, chuppah, kepubah and others be included in the ceremony?
- What religious songs and hymns will be included?
- If your marriage is interfaith, how will you combine both faiths in an equal way?
Traditions: What Wedding Traditions and Rituals Does Each Family Have?
Besides religious affiliations, it is also important to think about what ethnic, cultural or family traditions you and your fiancé have. Should you have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue? Does your heritage call for untraditional wedding elements that the other family may not be aware of? Here are some general talking points:
- What traditions or rituals occurred during you parents’ weddings?
- What about traditions that occurred at your grandparents’ weddings?
- What new traditions do you want to include in your ceremony that can be included in future family weddings?
- What ethnic traditions should you include in your wedding and how will you combine both if you and your fiancé are different ethnicities?
Family Members: How Will You Honor Those Lost and Those Present During the Ceremony or Reception?
Your wedding isn’t just a significant event for you and fiancé, it is a family event that symbolizes the connection of two families. Take this time to honor those family members who have been important throughout your life and throughout your relationship. Consider family members who have since passed on and be sure to properly thank those who have been involved in your planning process. Try asking some of these questions to start:
- What family members have past that should be recognized or memorialized at the wedding?
- Are there any other family wedding anniversaries that are on or near your wedding day?
- Who should you thank during the ceremony or reception for helping you throughout the wedding process?
- What dances should be saved and announced during the reception?