Dave Says: No Pay, No Say

by | Jul. 17, 2012


Dear Dave,

My fiancée and I are planning our wedding. Our parents don’t want to contribute financially, so we’ve budgeted $7,000 to cover everything. The problem is both sets of parents still want to make decisions regarding the ceremony and how many people attend. How should we handle this?


Dear Anthony,

In my mind, they don’t have a say in what happens or who attends if they don’t contribute. I understand how your parents feel though. How nice the ceremony is or who’s invited can be a painful discussion, but in this case their opinions should only count as long as they fall within the confines of your budget.

Be courteous and gentle when you explain how much you’ve budgeted and what that means in terms of who can come, how many are there, and just how fancy this event will be. Now, it would be really nice to involve your fiancée’s mother in the planning. But at the end of the day, she does not make decisions. Make sure you involve them and their opinions, but it’s you and your bride-to-be who have the power.

I know your parents love you, and they want it to be a wonderful day for everyone. But this is your wedding, not theirs. And by the way, this would be a really good time to consider premarital counseling. It amazes me how many people enter into a lifelong commitment without talking and thinking things through. And part of that should be you guys getting on the same page as to how you’re going to handle interfering in-laws. You both obviously have some!


Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 5 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.