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Tactful vs. Tacky: Wedding Budget Etiquette

Posted on: November 19th, 2012 by grandave No Comments

Guest Post By Krista Chapman


Nashville Wedding LimoMost conventions related to covering wedding expenses are steeped in tradition and with couples waiting to marry, modern families taking  on all shapes and sizes and more financial equality between men and women, the rules have loosen a bit.  While long-standing expectations still tend to hold true (Bride’s family pays for ceremony and receptions costs while groom’s family covers expense of rehearsal dinner), today’s couple may find themselves hefty contributors as well.  So the real question of how to cover the mounting wedding expenses and where to cut.  How to be tactful vs. tacky?


Cash Bars are TACKY… as well as anything else on your wedding day that requires you guest pony up cash is tacky.  Remember these are the same dearly loved friends and family that bought a special outfit, traveled across the country, paid for a hotel room and bought you a gift for your wedding.  During the wedding day, guests' wallets should stay in back pockets and purses.  Tactful Solution… If you are set on offering liquor at your wedding but fear the cost, consider a limited bar with only wine and beer (better yet keg beer, often costing half as much per serving as bottled).  Additionally, some venues will let you bring your own booze but I strongly recommend hiring a professional bartending service for peace of mind (check out Hamilton Bartending Service at


Asking for money is TACKY…. Sorry, you cannot ask your wedding guests to give you money in lieu of gifts.  Period.  Tactful Solution… While the bride and groom may not ask for money, family members may subtly bring this to guests' attention.  It can be helpful to skip the registry and have Mom let guests know that while gifts are welcome, money in high on the list of wants. 


Not enough food is TACKY… especially when your reception is during a meal time.  Guests hunger will force them to leave the party early if there is only cheese and fruit to nibble.  Tactful Solution… Opting for an afternoon reception or Sunday brunch can cuts costs as a full meal is not expected and often the items served are lower in cost.  Make sure to time your ceremony and communicate what guests can expect on your invitations (please join us for light refreshments, etc). 


Spending more than you can afford is TACKY… Starting out in a financial hole, does not make for a happy husband and wife.  Spending more than you or your family can afford will inevitably lead to stress and disappointments.  When I had a client that felt they were spending too much, they were never happy with the outcome, regardless of how great a job the vendor did.  Be realistic and remember your wedding day is just part of the bigger adventure of marriage.  Tactful Solution…. Having a clear idea of who is contributing and how much is key to determining your wedding budget so make sure to sit down and have some honest conversations before you start planning your dream wedding.  Also, be thoughtful of your guest count as this is the largest contributing factor to your overall costs and with some trimming, a wedding budget can be significantly reduced.


Krista Chapman is a freelance writer, wedding expert and educator based in Nashville, TN with more than 15 years in the biz. She loves travel, wine with bubbles and the Green Bay Packers. Currently, fans keep up with her daily blog posts at, where you can find advice, planning tips and inspiration related to wedding planning.  Her work can also be seen in The Pink Bride Magazine, published locally in various markets across the state of Tennessee

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