Boy, money's touchy, right? In addition to being worth something, it carries all sorts of really loaded emotional messages and symbolism: independence, generosity, obligation, gratitude, just to name a few hot buttons.
More couples are older when they marry, and the expectations for who pays for a wedding has shifted a lot. Nowadays, most people will say, "a couple should pay for their wedding themselves!" And yet . . . it doesn't seem "entitled" to want your parents to help you financially. (Especially if they're going to balk at your inviting fewer people.) In fact, many parents volunteer their help.
But can you ask, if your parents haven't offered? I think yes -- but you have to do it carefully. The last thing you want is to have your mom and dad -- or worse, his -- think you're greedy.
"Do you want to help us pay for the wedding, or should we proceed without you?" Or best of all, "What help will you be able to give us with the wedding?" Because this leaves the door open for them to tell you that money isn't one of the pieces of help they can give -- but manpower might be.
Are your parents helping? Did you have to ask them, and if so, how'd you ask?