You watched her play in the sandbox, lose her first tooth, go on her first date, graduate from high school and live on her own for the first time. Now your little girl isn't so little anymore -- and she's getting married! You're reliving the memorable moments in her life with fondness and looking forward to the days ahead as your daughter becomes a wife … and maybe even a mother.
However, as you think about all you need to do to prepare for her wedding day, you may wish you'd started planning sooner! There are a lot of items on your to-do list before your daughter ties the knot, but what are some things you can do emotionally, financially and legally to prep yourself for her big day?
We've got five must-do tasks before your daughter walks down the aisle! First up, we'll explain why money and matrimony are so closely linked.
Traditionally, the bride's family foots the bill for the wedding ceremony and reception. If this is the route your family decides to take, a wedding can be an awfully big expense, so you want to be sure you're prepared! Many modern couples foot the bill of the wedding themselves, or they'll split the bill in some way with their families.
Whether your daughter is five or 15 years away from "I do," start saving now. Depending on how old your daughter is, it may seem too soon to be thinking about her wedding, but it'll be here before you know it. A great way to start saving is to open a separate account for her wedding fund and put away a set amount of money each month. This way, you can save a little at a time and not feel rushed.
If she's already engaged and you haven't been saving, don't panic. Evaluate your finances and determine how much you can afford to spend on the wedding. Once you've got that number, you can build the wedding budget.
Your daughter will soon become someone's wife, and you'll want to spend as much time with her as possible before she has a new role and responsibilities. You should spend time with her together as a family, but each parent might want to carve out some one-on-one time so she feels special attention from both Mom and Dad. After all, you both have valuable experiences and marriage advice to share!
Need a few bonding ideas? Pull out old photo albums and cozy up on the couch. This is a fun way to remind your daughter who she is and where she came from before she starts a new chapter in her life. And, she can snag photos she may want to use in her rehearsal dinner slideshow. If you've got the funds, plan one last family vacation. Or, set aside the first Thursday of every month until the wedding for a family dinner.
If an engagement is in the works or has already happened, you'll want to spend some time getting to know your daughter's future in-laws. It's safe to say that when two people unite in marriage, two families are also united, and it will be important for you to get along well with your daughter's new family. Establish a good relationship so you can amicably divvy up holidays and so your kids maintain a connection to their families as they're building a new one.
Invite the future in-laws over for dinner, or take your daughter's future mother-in-law to see the ceremony and reception venues. Also, don't be afraid to spend time with them on your own without your daughter and her fiancé. After all, they'll become your family, too!
Even if your daughter isn't on your insurance plan anymore, you can help advise her and offer assistance if she's undergoing any medical procedures.
Make sure that any medical or health issues are taken care of (and paid off!) before your daughter's big day. Go ahead and schedule surgeries, dental work (including braces, fillings or cosmetic procedures) and any other checkups while she's under her current medical insurance. Some things can be considered pre-existing conditions when she switches to her new insurance with her husband, and they might have to be paid out-of-pocket. You don't want your daughter going into her marriage with medical debt or issues that could be emotionally and financially taxing on her relationship.
There's nothing worse than having to plan and attend a wedding with family where there are heavy issues that need to be resolved. Take a stand and mend any strained relationships before the big day. You want your daughter to enjoy her wedding day as much as possible, and a big part of that includes avoiding family drama.
Lingering family tensions that can't be fixed with a visit, phone call or letter should be neutralized. For instance, if certain relatives don't get along, place them at different tables at the reception and rehearsal dinner. If you and your husband are divorced, agree to a peace period between your daughter's engagement and her wedding. Cooperating to plan a beautiful day for your daughter should be something you can both agree on!
What are some tips for parenting adult children? Learn about 10 Tips for Parenting Adult Children at HowStuffWorks Family.