NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're not in a position to help your child with the cost of their wedding, you're not alone. Millions of Americans are woefully undersaved, and oftentimes there's no room in the budget for an expensive blowout. If you're concerned about breaking the news to your child, don't be. Experts say the conversation can be easy as long as you follow a few simple rules:
Talk to them as soon as you can.
Tell sooner rather than later, says April Masini, founder of AskApril.com and author of Think & Date Like a Man.
"Keeping the fact secret is going to waste time -- yours and theirs," she says. "They can plan a wedding more efficiently knowing what their budget is."
If you delay telling your child you can't help them, they may start planning the wedding thinking they've got more money to work with than they actually do, Masini cautions.
"Transparency with this kind of thing is imperative," says Michael Levenson, co-founder of Present Value, a free gift registry for milestone purchases such as first home or a college education.
Your son or daughter may assume that you have the money to help them out, and they may have no idea that they need to start saving. They may even need to book a wedding date six months to a year later than they were planning so they have more time to save.
"They need to know as soon as they get engaged how long it's going to take them to reach their goal," Levenson says. "They don't need to feel like you broke a promise or reneged on what you told them you could afford. It just needs to be addressed up front."