Who can forget Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride" daydreaming about the backyard BBQ wedding he's planning to throw for his daughter or picturing her as a little girl while she breaks the news about her upcoming nuptials?
As weddings have become more personal and creative reflections of the engaged couples at any budget, the father of the bride's role has become more flexible as well. These five tips will make you a hero in your daughter's eyes as you walk her down the aisle.
Set a Budget Up Front
You can best support your daughter and her fiancé by having a frank discussion soon after the engagement about the wedding budget. While the average cost of a wedding in 2011 was more than $27,000, brides and grooms can tie the knot on any budget. Also, although the bride's parents traditionally paid for the wedding, recent statistics indicate that more than half of all couples contribute to the cost of their own weddings.
No one benefits from a lack of communication in this process. Help the couple work within their budget to create the wedding of their dreams by pointing them in the direction of budget-management tools. Online wedding planning sites offer free budget trackers, calendars and guest-list managers to help couples stay organized.
Guarantee Her Fairy Tale
Marriage is hard work, and you might not always be able to provide a safety net for your daughter. However, you can help her avoid the financial and emotional disaster of something going wrong on the day of the wedding.
Once your daughter and her fiancé have initiated the time-consuming process of identifying venues and vendors, encourage them look at the fine print. Some wedding vendors have gone under in these tough economic times without returning customer deposits or giving notice, and nearly a third of travelers' wedding insurance claims last year were the result of problems with vendors and venues.
Wedding insurance is one option to consider. However, wedding insurance doesn't guard against the mishap in the first place. In markets where it is available, 1-800-Registry's complimentary, money-back Wedding Assurance Guarantee gives couples peace of mind that the vendors they book are trustworthy professionals who are highly recommended, reliable and guaranteed.
You Are the Financier, Not the Fairy Godmother
While you should help your daughter identify the most financially sound venues and vendors, mum's the word when it comes to style decisions for the wedding.
If you share Steve Martin's wariness about hiring an over-the-top wedding coordinator to stage the day, think about recommending online wedding-planning sites to your daughter. Some of these sites offer complimentary wedding-planning services to give your daughter the help she needs without compromising her vision for the wedding day.
Be supportive! While it might seem silly that your previously level-headed daughter is losing sleep over invitation stamps and favors, each decision matters to her. You might even check out Pinterest so you can send your daughter some fun wedding ideas and make yourself look like the coolest dad on the planet.
Find Common Ground -- Even if It's Shaky
Falling in love and finding your soulmate -- that's the easy part. Mixing together two families and hoping for the best as you create a guest list and plan a big party? Well, that's when the going gets rough.
Whether you are meeting your future son-in-law for the first time or you've known him since kindergarten, see your daughter's fiancé through her eyes and begin the process of welcoming him into the family with open arms. Don't forget, when grandchildren come along, you will want to be a regular fixture in their lives!
Remember the Honeymoon -- for Her and for You
Give your daughter some practical advice when it comes to the honeymoon. With nearly three-quarters of couples living together before marriage, many already have the household items usually requested from traditional wedding registries. Recommend a honeymoon or new home registry -- they're not only practical and popular, but they are a wonderful way to enable the couple to afford the honeymoon or new home of their dreams.
Also, don't underestimate the physical and emotional exhaustion you will feel after pulling off an event like your daughter's wedding! While you might not feel like you have a single dime left for a vacation after the wedding, you and your spouse deserve a little downtime, too. So whether it's a weekend away or a relaxing "staycation," give yourself a few days to recover from the excitement of your daughter's special day too.
Just make sure you choose a different destination than the newlyweds!