Who pays for What?

This question has become a hot topic among brides, grooms, and their families. It can often create unnecessary feuds and tension. A wedding is a public announcement and celebration, and is not meant to impose financial strain on you or your family.

Traditionally, the bride and her family paid for most everything associated in a wedding. Today, relationships and roles of the traditional marriage have changed, as a result who pays for what is not set in stone and can be taken care of by a number of people.

Family incomes, long distance weddings, divorced parents, second marriages, all these come into play. You need to discuss with everyone involved. That means bride, groom, and both sets of parent’s need to talk about the wedding style, plans, budget, and who is paying for what.

Some parents will want to finance the entire wedding, and some will give the bride and groom a set amount.

In today’s world, more and more brides and grooms opt to pay for the entire wedding themselves. Couples who choose to live together before they “tie the knot” often pay for more wedding expenses them selves. Those marrying for a second time or more usually pay for the wedding themselves. If parents are living on a fixed income and do not have the means to help, the bride and groom may fund the wedding.

Diplomatically, ask each side of your families if they will be able to help with the cost of the wedding. Tell them your plans and ask if them if there is anything special they would like during the ceremony or reception. They may tell you of a traditional family ceremony you may want to include.

Have your parents give you a good idea on the number of guests that they would like to invite. Keep in mind, your wedding is a big social event for parents!

Splitting the expenses might also be an option. A three or more way split with the bride’s family, groom’s family, and you may be a solution. All three parties would then contribute funds towards the total wedding budget or each party can pay for a percentage depending on guests.

Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for:

• Wedding dress, veil, accessories
• Invitations, announcements, enclosures, personal stationary
• Trousseau and lingerie
• Bouquet/corsages for attendants
• Flowers for ceremony and reception site
• Rental fee for church or chapel
• Engagement and wedding photography
• Fees for the sexton, organist, and soloist
• Rental fees for aisle carpet and other equipment
• Transportation for all bridal party to the ceremony and reception sites
• The Complete reception: Food, beverage, music, decorations, gratuities and other services
• Groom’s ring
• Wedding gift for the groom
• Gift’s for bride’s attendants
• Hotel lodging for attendants and out of town friends
• Gratuities to police directing traffic and/or parking
• Bride’s luncheon
• Rehearsal dinner (optional)
• Corsages for mothers, grandparents, special guests

Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for:

• Bride’s engagement and wedding ring
• Marriage license
• Ceremony officials fee
• Bride’s flowers (bouquet and going away flowers)
• Wedding gift for bride
• Gifts for best man, grooms men, ushers
• Hotel lodging for out-of-town grooms men/ushers
• Wedding attire (grooms)
• Rehearsal dinner (optional)
• Honeymoon
• Blood tests (if required)
• Gloves, ties, ascots for men in wedding party

Traditionally attendants pay for:

• Personal wedding attire (except flowers)
• Traveling expense (except hotel)