09/29/2015 12:25 pm ET Updated Sep 29, 2016

Make the Money Talk Easier: 5 Wedding Budget Tips

Money is always a touchy subject -- especially when it comes to weddings! Who pays for what? How do you ask for help? While it may be tempting to avoid the subject entirely, you need answers -- and fast. Budget dictates the majority of your planning decisions, after all. Here are five tips to help you confidently tackle those awkward and emotionally charged money conversations.

Times are Changing!
While tradition dictates that the bride's family pays for the majority of the costs, including the ceremony and reception, while the groom's family foots the bill for things like the rehearsal dinner and honeymoon, today those rules are often thrown out the window. Don't feel beholden to traditional norms when figuring out how to fund your soiree.

Facilitate Honest Conversations
Sit down with your fiancé and talk openly about your expectations for the wedding and come to an agreement of priorities. Once you are on the same page, set up some time with your families (either together or separately) to have a realistic conversation about budget and whether they're willing to contribute. Remember, emotions tend to run high so try to have the discussion in a comfortable, neutral setting and try to keep your cool.

Share the Cost
The cost of a wedding can be sliced and diced a thousand different ways. As long as all parties are in agreement, do what's best for you. Many couples opt to pay for the festivities themselves, but others share the cost with parents, grandparents or even siblings or extended family members. If you are asking for family financial support, be realistic about expectations and make sure to give them a comfortable way to decline.

Whatever you do -- don't take out a loan or rack up the credit card debt to pay for your wedding. The last thing you want to do is begin your marriage under a pile of debt!

Your Wedding, Your Way
A shared budget can open the door for a lot of opinions. It's always a good idea to keep an open mind, but be sure to communicate your vision to your family from the get-go to avoid confusion. If you're aiming for an informal Texas-style barbecue or dreaming of an elegant winter wonderland, make that a part of the initial conversation so everyone's on the same page and can get excited about helping you bring it to life!

Keep Track!
Once the financial details have been decided, you must keep track of who has agreed to pay for what and stick to your budget so there are no surprises. Use a budget tracker app like WeddingWire or a shared Google Doc to monitor what you're spending so you can easily communicate expenses along the way. And don't forget to account for hidden costs like invitation postage, delivery and clean-up fees, dress preservation and vendor gratuities.

Conversations about money can be difficult but clear communication and a healthy dose of consideration are essential for smooth sailing. Trust me, when things get busier as your big day approaches, you'll be thankful that you put in all the hard work upfront. For more practical tips, check out this episode of Small talk. Big day.