Who is Dear Abby?

Everyday Dear Abby receives thousands of letters about love.  Among them are hilarious stories, tales of anguish, complaints and lots of questions about this enduring symbol of love: weddings.

You might be asking…Who is this Dear Abby?  

Dear Abby is an American advice column founded in 1956 by Pauline Phillips under the pen name “Abigail Van Buren” and carried on today by her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now owns the legal rights to the pen name.

Today, Phillips dispenses advice, offers comfort (or a reality check) and settles disputes with the same mix of wit and wisdom that endeared her mother to millions of readers and turned Dear Abby into a cultural icon. The times have changed, but Dear Abby’s appeal hasn’t. Nor have the issues and irritations that fill Phillips’ mailbox and inbox.

Dear Abby tackles the most difficult questions that challenge tradition and our culture surrounding wedding planning.  I came across one of her most recent questions from a Mother-of-the Bride.

Read the writer’s question and Dear Abby’s answer here:

Dear Abby's advice on wedding planning

Great answer Dear Abby!  

As a Wedding Planner, I am also going to tackle this very question. Dear Abby does a great job in sharing that the tradition of weddings and the culture of weddings are changing from one generation to the next.

To make this transition from tradition go smoothly, you do need to be mindful of two very important conversations that need to happen before you start planning your wedding.  

Money Matters  

The underlying question is who is financing this wedding.  Tradition and wedding etiquette say:

“Traditionally, the bride’s parents paid for an engagement party, all costs of the wedding ceremony and the reception (including invitations, flowers, music, and food), along with the bride’s dress, bridesmaids’ flowers, and groom’s ring. The groom’s parents paid for the rehearsal dinner, the bride’s engagement and wedding rings, the marriage license, and officiant’s fee, accommodations for the groomsmen, and the flowers (boutonnieres for the groomsmen, the bride’s going-away corsage, and in some regions, the bride’s bouquet).

Today, finances can be divided however best suits the couple and their parents. It’s best to talk about who can or would like to contribute what. Any conversation about money should be respectful and candid – and given with notice. Even though many families are willing to share the cost of a wedding, it should never be assumed that they are expected to do so. When parents are willing to contribute, the bride and groom should consider the range of possibilities ahead of time and be sure they agree on what they would prefer before they sit down with their parents to discuss the costs. If the couple wants financial help, they need to be willing to compromise on some of their wishes, and if parents offer help, they need to remember that in the end, it’s the couple’s day, and they can’t hold the couple hostage with their checkbook.”

-See Inside Weddings article

Relationships Matter More

A major part of your wedding day is celebrating your relationship with your partner. But don’t forget that it’s an important day for your parents, as well. After all, they’ve probably been thinking about and waiting for this milestone since the day you were born. While you may not always agree with your parents during the planning process, you probably don’t want to ruin your relationship either. And while planning a wedding is a great way to show your independence as a responsible adult, you shouldn’t go totally rogue and forget about your loved ones in the process.

There are certain wedding-related decisions that your parents should be involved in, both major and minor. Make sure that you run these items by your parents before moving forward with your big day.

Wedding Planning Conversations You NEED to Have with Your Parents

Setting Your Budget

One of the most important first steps of wedding planning is figuring out how much you can afford to spend. If you would like your parents to help pay for your wedding, be sure to discuss this with them politely but directly—not only do you need to know if they’ll be able to contribute, but exactly how much they are willing to spend.

If you and your partner want to pay for your wedding yourselves, props to you. It’s a major sign of financial independence that you’re able to foot the (rather large) bill—and it means you’ll have full control over the decision-making. However, your parents may actually want to assist with paying for your wedding—perhaps they’ve been putting aside money for this milestone. Make sure that everyone is aware of how the wedding is being paid for before moving forward.

Related Article:  10 Ways To Blow Your Wedding Budget

Finalizing Your Guest List

It’s a good idea to discuss your guest list with your parents before it’s set in stone. If your parents are contributing financially to your wedding, they should get a say in who’s invited. Yes, there may be some disagreements (i.e. “Seriously, your old co-worker who you haven’t seen in 10 years, Mom?”), but it’s best to hash those out now rather than keeping the guest list a secret. And yes, if you’re paying for the wedding, you can technically invite (and nix!) whomever you want—but we still recommend giving your parents a set number of people they can invite to make them happy. It’s a big day for them, and they should be surrounded by loved ones, too!


These conversations can be difficult and a bit awkward.  Especially, if talking about money wasn’t something you have done in your immediate family (like mine).  I urge you to not skip this very important step. It will not only bring lots of peace to the financial aspect of planning a wedding, but it will also keep those relationships that are near and dear to you intact.  A wedding is a big untaking and you can’t do it alone. You will need those relationships not only during the planning process, but most importantly into your marriage (that’s the big picture).

Happy Planning!



Do you agree with Dear Abby’s advice?  Why or Why not?  Or if you have a questions of your own concerning budgeting or family relationships.  Please share below or with us here.

Professional Wedding Planner