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Dedicated May 2022

Confusion about in-law's contribution towards wedding expenses

Amanda, on May 27, 2021 at 1:50 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 12
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In a conversation we had before starting wedding planning, my fiancé and I told my in-laws that we do not expect any help paying for our wedding, but wanted to know if they were planning on contributing. They said they had wanted to help out with the rehearsal dinner - great. However we ended up booking our venue for the night of the rehearsal dinner as well and are planning a very small catered dinner, so they offered to contribute towards the cost of the reception catering as well. Great again.

The issue is that they are not specifying a specific dollar amount, but instead saying they'll help cover the difference between the cheapest catering option we're considering and the highest - they are very concerned with people having enough food as we're looking into food trucks vs typical buffet-style catering (a lot of different options). Which is very generous, but that doesn't really help me budget for the catering. As I'm sure most of you have experienced, prices can vary drastically and you will often pay per appetizer, per how many entree options you offer....etc. I'm just generally confused by how they are offering to help (although very grateful they want to help at all). Any advice with asking them to nail down a specific dollar amount they're comfortable with, or how to calculate the catering cost "difference"?

12 Comments

  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    You need to clarify with them but it sounds like they want to see an invoice along with what you can afford vs what they will be contributing. There needs to be more solid information on their part before you can book anyone. Go on Yelp looking for catering companies. Read their menus online, ask for tastings (this is a must before you book anyone, even those who are required in house catering) and go from there.

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  • L
    Lady ·
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    Are you actually including them in planning? It sounds like you're doing whatever you want, which is fine, but maybe they're looking for more of an active role in planning the event that they want to help pay for? I would try that first, and then if it doesn't work, plan what you want, pay for it and if they want to give you any type of contribution let them decide how much they want to give.

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  • A
    Dedicated May 2022
    Amanda ·
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    That's good advice, I have gotten "quotes" from several vendors already. I think we will just end up showing them the catering information we have and see what they think. Thanks!

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  • A
    Dedicated May 2022
    Amanda ·
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    I have been pretty much just planning everything myself. Now that I know they want to pay for some part of the catering, I agree, it's a good idea to include them in the planning and let them decide. Thank you!

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  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
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    Another piece of advice that I think is important is this: until you have the money in your hand, plan as if you don't have it. It's nice they want to help but they may have very different ideas about what is a reasonable amount to spend, what would be a good timeframe to give you the money, or any number of other things.

    To avoid disappoint/disaster (there are posts here from couples scrambling to pay for things at the last minute that they thought someone else was covering), choose the catering you can already afford and just consider any money you receive from the future in-laws as a bonus.

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    This! It is very common for parents to promise money and back out last minute leaving the couple scrambling. Plan only what you can afford without assistance. If they still want to help with catering, perhaps they can host a get together the night before or day after.

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  • A
    Dedicated May 2022
    Amanda ·
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    That’s a really good point!
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  • A
    Dedicated May 2022
    Amanda ·
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    I genuinely hadn’t considered that, thanks!
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  • A
    Super December 2020
    Anais ·
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    This worked really well with my parents! They had said they wanted to contribute to our wedding but didn’t really know how much it was going to cost. I ended up creating a spreadsheet with all the average costs I had found for each vendor and that gave them a better idea of how much money they wanted to give us.
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  • Virginia
    Super June 2021
    Virginia ·
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    Budget what u can afford and whatever they give, u get. It’s like with child support. Never factor that into your budget.
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  • K
    Just Said Yes November 2021
    Katy ·
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    I know I’m late but I completely agree with this. My in laws are behaving the exact same way and talked me into a pricey photography package. (Including a book that had to be ordered in Italy for hundreds of dollars and I don’t even want it.) When it came time to put deposit down they told me to pay and they could maybe help reimburse me later. I quickly decided nope and booked the one I could afford without their help.
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  • Just Said Yes September 2021
    Online ·
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    This is the best advice.
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