- Who Is Supposed to Pay for Your Wedding? – Who Pays for a Wedding
- For the Traditionalists..
- The Twists on Tradition
- A Modern Approach..
- Budget It Out
- Wedding Traditions: Who pays for what?
- The Traditions: Who Pays for What?
- The Ceremony
- The Rings
- The Invitations and Other Stationery
- The Wedding Attire
- The Flowers and Other Decorations
- The Photography and Videography
- The Reception
- The Rehearsal, Rehearsal Dinner, and Other Pre-Wedding Parties
- The Honeymoon
- Travel and Transportation
- The New Traditions: Other Options for Paying for a Wedding
- Wedding etiquette – Who should pay for what?
- Wedding Etiquette – Who should pay for what?
- So, What Happens These Days?
- Debt dilemma
- Helping hands
- Guest list gripes
- READ MORE:
- Who pays for what in a wedding?
- The engagement party
- The engagement announcements
- The bridal and groom shower
- The wedding planning services
- The bachelorette and bachelor party
- The rehearsal dinner
- The ceremony and reception
- The honeymoon
- Who Pays for the Wedding? 5 Ways Modern Couples are Approaching This
- How to have the convo
- The “traditional” wedding etiquette
- Family of the bride
- Family of the groom
- #1. Doing it on your own
- #2. A three-way split
- #3. The family split
- #4. Divide and conquer
- #5. Headcount ratio
- Get your wedding budget on
Who Is Supposed to Pay for Your Wedding? – Who Pays for a Wedding
With couples more invested in the look, feel, and the never-before-seen nature of their wedding day (or wedding weekend) than ever before, planning a multi-day celebration, a night of dinner and dancing, and even a less formal ceremony or celebratory luncheon begs the question: Who foots the bill? There are the traditionalists who insist that all bills be sent to the father of the bride, but then there are the more contemporary ways to approach wedding expenses. Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, personal finances, priorities, and what couples and their families are willing and able to spend is evolving on a daily basis. Transparency, honesty, level-setting, and managing expectations has never been more key in ensuring a planning process that works seamlessly for both the couple and their families a. Here, a breakdown of all the ways to budget your wedding costs—choose your own adventure.
For the Traditionalists..
Put succinctly, tradition states that the father of the bride is responsible for paying for the wedding.
How could we forget the sweetest dad in movie history, Father of the Bride's George Banks (played by Steve Martin), stressing over the finances of his beloved daughter Annie’s wedding? Grappling over how much is too much, while also wanting to give one's daughter the wedding of her dreams, is a far too relatable tale for fathers who hosted weddings in the age of Emily Post.
And this is no small feat or fee—it includes everything from the venues to the décor, transportation, attire, florals, music, food and beverage, and more. This is why the bride’s parents typically receive that well-deserved place at the top of a classically composed wedding invitation.
Keep in mind that this historic method of hosting makes the parents of the bride the de-facto hosts of the event. They'll be the main point of contact for vendors, as well as have the most say on matters that concern the budget, including the guest count, guest list, and key décor and entertaining decisions.
While the bride's opinions, dreams, and desires are usually (and supposed to be) paramount, it's important to have honest conversations about who makes the final call, no matter who is footing the bill. As with any business decision, most suppliers will assume that the real client is the person who signs the check.
Tradition also states that the groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner.
Design by Ingrid FrahmEverett
The Twists on Tradition
The concept of 'tradition' has evolved over the years, and it's become commonplace to see both sets of parents, a member of the family on either side, or the couple contributing what they can, rather than feeling the pressure to spend beyond their means a la George Banks.
“We've hit fast forward to the twenty-first century, where new traditions are being forged all the time,” says Bryan Rafanelli, founder and chief creative officer of Rafanelli Events. “In this day and age, there is no single answer to who is paying for a couple's wedding, and it actually has made things much more personal and meaningful.
” Per Rafanelli's note, it's now not uncommon to see other, more distant members of the family or older generations contributing to a couple's event, be it grandparents, aunts and uncles, or godparents. Affirms Rafanelli, “Anything goes.
We work with clients where both the bride and groom's families pitch in together, and clients where only one family, be the bride's or the groom's, pay for the entire wedding celebration.”
It's also becoming more customary for family members or the couple to handle or contribute to one of the wedding's many experiences, rather than simply offering up a lump sum.
Be it the wedding cake, the dress, or an activation a photobooth, or a surprise performer, the responsibility of paying for all the aspects of a wedding now tends to be shared amongst different parties to alleviate the financial burden on one person, family, or the couple.
Steve Moore, co-founder and creative director of Sinclair and Moore encourages couples and families to “Be collaborative.
While the parents of the bride might be expecting to foot the bill, they may be relieved to share the responsibility with contributions from the grooms side as well.
Given the current struggles of the global economy, a collaborative approach might be the best way to financially achieve the wedding you have been dreaming about planning.”
Rafanelli agrees, explaining that those looking to contribute can do so in a more subtle or surprise way should they prefer.
“We recently produced a stunning wedding in which the bride's parents took care of the total expense; however, the groom surprised the bride (and her family) with an out-of-this-world fireworks display at the end of the night! The really personal piece comes in when one or more aspects of the wedding are essential to the bride or the groom, a killer DJ for the after-party, or really over-the-top, gorgeous flowers.” Word to the wise: Should you be looking to surprise the couple, consult the wedding planner, or a family member key in the planning process, to ensure your surprise will be well-received, and accommodated by the timeline.
Design by Ingrid Frahm; Viktor & Rolf
As for wording invitations when multiple parties are paying, opt for modern language “The Families of…” or “The Parents of…” to make it clear that there is more than one host of the big day. A more collaborative approach to paying for the wedding is not only the most budget-friendly, but also makes the planning process more inclusive for all parties.
A Modern Approach..
Couples taking on the responsibility of paying for their wedding themselves is by far the most modern approach to wedding financing.
In scenarios these, couples have the final word on the size of the event, the guest list, the event's overall aesthetic, the fashion, and more.
They're also able—but not required—to ask friends and family for their input on an as-needed or wanted basis.
Wedding planners insist that if you want to run the show when it comes to wedding planning—be willing to contribute. Moore explains, “If you have the ability, consider contributing your own money to pay for your wedding.
I often see couples agonizing over their budget, frustrated that they weren’t given more, dreaming beyond the limitations of that budget, but still unwilling to contribute a dime of their own finances (when it is clear they can).”
Keep in mind that contributions from family members are a gift, and should be greatly appreciated but not expected. “About one third of all couples today pay for or contribute to the cost of their wedding rather than expecting it to be entirely paid for,” explains David Stark, chief creative officer of David Stark Design.
“Rarely do we see the wedding being split in exact thirds between the couple and both sets of parents, but when the couple has 'some skin in the game,' it shows a great sense of responsibility as well as respect for their parents’ financial situations. See any contribution that your parents make as a gift rather than a responsibility.
Weddings are very expensive. It’s good to acknowledge that.”
Budget It Out
Stark advises that couples set a budget and discuss it amongst family members first. “The line of 'who pays' for the wedding has been blurred in today’s social landscape.
Of course, the bride’s family has traditionally hosted the wedding ceremony and reception, while the groom’s has hosted the rehearsal dinner, but two things have evolved in present-day society that have softened that line.
Not only are couples getting married later in life than they used to (the average age of brides today is closer to 30 than 21), but couples have more established careers and are financially more independent than they've ever been before.
Secondly, in the legalization of same sex marriages where the traditional roles of 'bride' and 'groom' are thrown out the door, hosting roles that follow gender guidelines no longer apply.”
Design by Ingrid Frahm; Courtesy of Ariel Dearie
With that in mind, structuring a budget that works for the event(s) you have in mind, and the options for each of them is key. “It’s all choices, and everyone has different priorities,” Stark says.
“Create a master budget spreadsheet from the onset that outlines all of the potential costs of the wedding. Ideally, this breakdown shows a range, from low to high, to show what the wedding could cost those options.
This takes research; it allows for you and parents to have an honest discussion about what the costs might look so that financial comfort can prevail for all parties.”
The key, it seems is to do the one thing nobody really wants to do: talk about money.
Discuss what you'd to achieve, what people are able to contribute, and who is taking responsibility of what line items in advance so that everyone is on the journey with the same intentions.
Should any member of your family be resistant to talk finances, express your willingness to research, educate yourselves, plan, and make the right financial choices together as a family. “Showing sensitivity to what is an expensive proposition goes far,” Stark advises.
“Be humble. When talking budget with both sets of parents and receiving their contributions to the wedding finances, do not share what each is willing or able to spend with the other set of parents. It simply breeds resentment and competition,” Stark adds.
“Let graciousness prevail; everyone is in a different financial position. It’s important to respect that and simply be appreciative of the gesture.” To keep the intentions of the event top of mind, be smart, be realistic and have a good time.
Don't let the money talks cause tension, stress, or anxiety in the planning process. They're intended to understand what you can spend as a whole, and what you are able to achieve with that budget in place.
This might be the first event of this scale you've hosted as a couple or a family; lots of line items, from production to florals, food, staffing, and more will ly affect your bottom line more than you expect.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic in mind, adjust your budget accordingly if a postponement is needed. Understand that some deposits may be lost—but the work that has already been put into your wedding is not.
“If you are faced with the difficult decision on whether to postpone your wedding, take a moment and remember that your friends and family will always want to celebrate you,” Rafanelli says. “Postpone, don't cancel.
Your special day may not happen exactly when you planned—but it will happen, and it will be amazing.” Even in private conversations concerning money, it's important to remember that you're not alone.
Discuss all issues with your partner and get on the same page prior to your conversations with your respective family members. If you are struggling to navigate your budget, communicate with your family about finances, or sort out your options—there's an even better solution: Hire a wedding planner.
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Wedding Traditions: Who pays for what?
Weddings are surrounded by tradition at every turn — and those traditions extend to who pays for the various elements of a wedding. Of course, traditions are changing, with many couples taking on the financial responsibilities of their own weddings in different ways.
As you plan your wedding, though, it's still helpful to understand the “rules” governing how to split costs, if only to use as a starting point for your own budgeting process.
Take a look at how wedding costs have traditionally been split between the bride and groom and their families.
The Traditions: Who Pays for What?
Traditionally, the bride's family was responsible for paying for most of the expenses for the wedding and the reception.
Because of that, they are typically in control of making the major decisions about the style and size of the wedding.
The rules, however, have been in flux for a while, so use these traditions as a guideline to establish what you want for your own wedding and to determine who will pay for it.
The bride's family is traditionally in charge of making the arrangements for and paying for the actual wedding ceremony. This includes all rental fees for the church, synagogue, or other venue.
It also includes payment to all musicians playing during the ceremony. Some venues may also add extra charges for insurance and security; these are also paid by the bride's family.
In addition, if the couple is using a wedding consultant, the bride's family should pay their fees.
The groom or his family has a few financial responsibilities attached to the ceremony. He should pay the fee of the ceremony's officiant, and he should pay for the actual marriage license.
The wedding rings are at the heart of any wedding. You can have a wedding without a long line of bridesmaids and groomsmen, without a fancy reception or even a cake, and with a very minimalist ceremony — but it isn't a wedding without the exchange of rings.
Traditionally, the bride purchases the groom's wedding ring, and the groom purchases the bride's ring. The groom, of course, also purchases the bride's engagement ring. (If the groom is also wearing an engagement ring, as is becoming more common, the bride purchases that.) The couple's families may pitch in with the expenses if they choose.
The Invitations and Other Stationery
Wedding invitations can range from complicated packages with multiple envelopes and pre-stamped RSVP cards to simple handwritten notes — or, today, even emailed invitations with links to the couple's wedding website.
In all circumstances, though, the bride's family is responsible for the creation, printing, and mailing of the invitations.
The bride's family also takes care of the creation and printing of any announcements and of programs to be handed out at the ceremony.
The Wedding Attire
Not surprisingly, the bride and her family are responsible to pay for the wedding dress, as well as all the accessories that go along with it, such as the shoes, veil, and any jewelry. They also pay for the bride's trousseau, if she's packing lots of lingerie for the honeymoon.
The groom should pay for his own suit, whether he buys it or rents it. His family may pitch in to help with this cost in some cases.
All bridesmaids and groomsmen are expected to pay for their own wedding attire, including their shoes. However, the bride traditionally pays for any beauty treatments for the bridal party, including hair and makeup on the day of the wedding.
The Flowers and Other Decorations
Most traditional weddings are decorated with flowers everywhere you look. The participants wear and carry flowers, the wedding ceremony venue is decorated with flowers, the reception is also filled with the flowers, and sometimes little girls even toss flower petals down the aisle as the bride approaches her groom.
Almost all these flowers are the responsibility of the bride's family, who often choose to reuse the ceremony floral displays at the reception.
The bride and her family should also buy any bouquets, floral crowns, and other flowers that are part of the bridesmaids' outfits, and they should purchase corsages for special helpers and relatives.
They also buy the flowers for any flower girls, and, in a Jewish ceremony, they're responsible for the chuppah and its decorations.
The groom and his family have a few floral responsibilities, however. They should purchase the boutonnieres for all the groomsmen, as well as the corsages and boutonnieres for the couple's parents and grandparents. In addition, the groom traditionally pays for the bride's bouquet, and for her going-away corsage, if she plans to wear one.
The Photography and Videography
Brides and grooms have commemorated their wedding with photographs of the special occasion since cameras were invented, and modern couples often want the more detailed memories that videography can provide.
The bride's family is responsible for all costs associated with photography and videography, including making copies of photos and videos for family and the bridal party, if desired.
They should also pay for any engagement photos and bridal portraits.
The reception can be one of the priciest aspects of a wedding, depending on the couple's choices. Once again, the financial responsibility falls on the bride's family, who are the official hosts of the reception — though they often get some key help from the groom's family.
The bride's family pays for the rental fees associated with the reception venue, the food being served, and all the decoration. They also pay for the wedding cake. The groom's family, however, very often pitches in by paying for all alcohol served at the reception. They also often pay for the music and entertainment, whether it's a DJ or a full band.
The Rehearsal, Rehearsal Dinner, and Other Pre-Wedding Parties
For many couples, the wedding is the highlight of a series of celebrations which may have more or less official status. Primary among these is the wedding rehearsal, which traditionally involves a rehearsal dinner.
The groom's family is the host of the rehearsal dinner, with the entire bridal party and any relatives (especially those who have traveled to the wedding) invited. The rehearsal dinner can be formal or casual, depending on the couple's wishes. The groom's family pays for not only the dinner and drinks, but any invitations, entertainment, and decor.
Other festivities can include an engagement party, which can be hosted (and paid for) by either family or by the friends of the couple. The bridesmaids typically pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party, though in some cases, brides host (and pay for) a pre-wedding luncheon or weekend away with her bridesmaids. The groomsmen pay for the bachelor party.
In the case of a destination wedding, a morning-after brunch is often hosted by the bride's family.
Once the wedding is over, it's time for the groom to get out his checkbook. Traditionally, the entire honeymoon is the groom's financial responsibility, including the accommodations for the wedding night.
Travel and Transportation
A small wedding that's close to home may not incur any costs related to travel or local transportation. When those items are needed, the responsibilities are split as follows. The bride and her family pay for:
- The travel and accommodations for the officiant
- The accommodations for any out-of-town bridesmaids
- The wedding day transportation for the bridal party, including any limousine for the bride and groom
The remaining expenses left for the groom and his family include:
- Accommodations for any out-of-town groomsmen
- The transportation for the bride and groom leaving the reception
The New Traditions: Other Options for Paying for a Wedding
Traditions about who pays for what in a wedding have been changing over recent decades as weddings and marriages themselves have seen change.
Couples getting married late in life, often not for the first time, see no need to defer to their families regarding wedding-related choices or expenses.
Divvying up what the bride or groom should pay for makes little sense when a wedding has two brides or two grooms.
While many people still rely on the traditional division of wedding expenses detailed above, others simply sit down, make a budget, and divide up the expenses depending on the bride's and groom's income.
In some cases, where a groom from a wealthy family is marrying a woman of lesser means, the groom's family may choose to pay for the entire wedding.
Often, couples choose to host their own weddings, sometimes aiming for a minimalist ceremony and reception so they can devote their resources to the honeymoon or to buying a home.
One new tradition that many people are adopting is that of the three-way split. In this case, the wedding costs are divided equally between the couple, the bride's family, and the groom's family. As long as everyone agrees on their expectations for the wedding, this plan can work well.
Regardless of how you decide to allocate the costs of your wedding, one of the most important things you can do is make a wedding budget — and then stick to it. Decide with your loved one what elements of your wedding are most important to you, and then start planning a wedding that truly reflects who you are as a couple.
Wedding etiquette – Who should pay for what?
When it comes to wedding etiquette and budget, should Mums and Dads still pick up the big day bill? Should the bride and groom pay for the big day? We look at the options facing couples when planning their wedding budget.
Wedding Etiquette – Who should pay for what?
There’s was much speculation around the three royal weddings in the past decade. The speculation being around who will pay for what. Luckily most couples don’t face the same scrutiny over their wedding plans. However, who picks up the tab can cause disagreements or, sometimes, worse.
These days it’s not too hard to get your wedding etiquette right, as long as you know how you’re going to manage it up front.
Today, the average cost of a wedding is around £30,000 which is beyond the reach of most couples.
Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding reception (including the venue, food and drink) while the groom pays for the honeymoon.
However, there’s transport and the church or ceremony fees, hen parties and plenty of other costs to factor in. These days, few couples play by the traditional wedding budget rules.
So, What Happens These Days?
Some go it alone completely and don’t get any help from their parents, others pay most of the costs themselves but are happy for parents to chip in. Kelly Chandler of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners says that as couples take more control over thir wedding. They also tend to stump up more of the cash.
“Most couples can’t afford to pay everything, there’s often a trade-off. This is between accepting financial help from your parents and having the wedding you want.
“If parents are putting up a large amount of money towards the wedding budget they’ll have their own ideas on how it should be spent.”
If your parents pay for the reception you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll want to have a say in how many guests are invited. Parents often want to invite long-lost aunts, and other family members you’ve not seen for many years. If you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding you can have more of a say about who gets invited.
While you might the idea of being able to pay for your own wedding, it’s not realistic for everyone. High deposits and student debts mean that money is tight for many couples in their 20s and 30s.
Lynsey and her husband Gareth got married two years ago and Lynsey knew they would only get limited financial help from their parents.
“My Mum and Dad had a wedding budget for me but it went on a deposit for my flat. In the end, my parents paid for my wedding dress. Gareth’s Dad paid for us to stay for a couple of nights in the hotel after our wedding.
“We paid for everything else except for the honeymoon which family members and friends chipped in for.”
Kelly Chandler says that an increasing number of couples are getting friends or relatives to pay towards their honeymoon. Cash presents are becoming increasingly popular, something that was far less common in the past.
“Some people are happy to pay towards the honeymoon but others prefer to buy something tangible and not everyone s the idea of giving cash. It’s something to be aware of.”
Nicola Neilson is another bride-to-be who’s turning her back on tradition. She and her husband are splitting the cost of the wedding. However, she says that saving for the big day has been quite a challenge.
“There always seems to be something else to spend your money on, having to take the dog to the vets, so you have to be very disciplined. We found that paying for things the wedding venue and invitations as soon as we had the money was the easiest way to do it.”
Guest list gripes
Nicola says that even though it’s been tough finding the money they need, she s the fact that she and her fiancé can have the wedding they want.
“A lot of people have questioned why we’re paying for everything and we’ve said it’s what we want. The biggest thing was the guest list as people ask why they haven’t been invited. However, we can be honest and say it’s down to money.”
“If you and your parents have very different ideas about the wedding reception but they want to contribute, why not let them pay for something? This could be the wedding cake?” says Kelly Chandler.
“Most parents want to help with the cost of the wedding budget. One way to reduce the stress is to work out what you want your way and what you can compromise on. Then you can let them pay for that.”
If parents are putting up a large amount of money they’ll want a say on how it’s spent.
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Who pays for what in a wedding?
It’s no secret that wedding celebrations cost a pretty penny, which is a big reason why both families have traditionally split the expense.
Most modern couples pay for the majority if not all of the costs associated with their wedding – this is especially if they have been living together for a period of time. However, parents and family members and even friends of the bride and groom have been known to still contribute in some way.
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If navigating monetary contributions is a difficult task, here is a breakdown of who traditionally pays for what in different parts of a wedding, according to most American wedding etiquette guides.
The engagement party
It's no secret that once upon a time the bride's parents were the ones to shoulder most of the costs associated with the wedding. This includes the marrying couple's engagement party and several other wedding-related events and/or elements that lead up to the special day.
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The engagement announcements
(iStock) Wedding invitations
The bride’s parents are traditionally responsible for sending out and paying for the couple’s engagement announcements. This can be an engagement announcement in each family’s local newspaper or formally printed announcements. The bride’s parents also tend to pay for the wedding invitations, which is why their names have historically been displayed at the top.
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The bridal and groom shower
Typically, pre-wedding showers are hosted by a close friend or family member or someone from the wedding party. Whoever hosts the shower generally pays, though sometimes this expense can be split if more than one person is hosting.
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The wedding planning services
The bride’s family is generally responsible for paying for all the wedding planning services, including the bride’s attire, floral and décor, transportation, photography and videography, travel and lodging for the officiant and sometimes the bridal party.
The bride, on the other hand, is expected to pay for personal wedding flowers and gifts for her bridesmaids and other special guests as well as the groom’s ring and present.
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The groom’s family is generally responsible for covering the cost of corsages and boutonnieres for the immediate members of both families. They are sometimes responsible for the lodging of the groom's attendants if money is not an issue.
The groom is expected to pay for the marriage license, the officiant’s fees, the bride’s bouquet, engagement and wedding rings. And just his wife-to-be, the groom is responsible for the boutonnieres and gifts for his groomsmen and other special guests.
The bachelorette and bachelor party
Bridesmaids and groomsmen are traditionally responsible for paying bachelorette and bachelor expenses. Every attendee is expected to chip in except for the bride and groom.
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The rehearsal dinner
(iStock) Pre-wedding rehearsal dinner wine toast
The groom’s parents usually organize and pay for the engaged couple’s rehearsal dinner, which can either be a small gathering for wedding party members or a large gathering for all wedding guests depending on their budget. The rehearsal dinner shouldn’t outdo the actual wedding, though.
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The ceremony and reception
The bride’s parents are traditionally responsible for covering the execution of the actual wedding day. This includes the ceremony and reception as well as music, assorted entertainment, guest favors and event rentals.
In some circumstances, the groom’s parents may pay for the bar or flowers to offset the reception’s cost.
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(iStock) A couple relaxing on a beach
The groom traditionally pays for the honeymoon as the new head of the household. However, this can be a shared expense for the newly married couple. Alternatively, today’s couples may also turn to honeymoon registries such as Honeyfund or Traveler’s Joy where guests can contribute funds for a post-wedding vacation.
Who Pays for the Wedding? 5 Ways Modern Couples are Approaching This
You're engaged! As you bubble over with excitement, you might have a nagging feeling at the back of your mind – who is going to pay for this wedding?
Wedding traditions dictate their own set of rules, but modern-day couples are also evolving how they'd to handle wedding finances. So to make it easier, and give you a flavor of both old and new approaches (see what we did there?), here's a guide to wedding budgets.
How to have the convo
Before we even get into wedding budgets, let’s not forget that having the “who’s going to pay for what” conversation can be super stressful. Doesn’t everyone love asking their parents or in-laws for financial help?! (lies, no one does). You can avoid the drama by walking through a carefully designed process that respects everyone’s perspective.
Here’s our recommended process:
- Start by getting on the same page with your partner. Set your expectations with each other before meeting up with the parentals. Discuss how much each of you can chip in (if at all) and a realistic idea of what you’ll ask your families to cover.
- Having a budget in mind. Having a sense of your overall budget will be helpful going into a conversation with your parents/in-laws. Plus, it will show that you’ve done your research! Try and break out what you’ll want to spend in different categories (food, music, venue, etc.) so it will be easier to divvy up expenses amongst everyone involved.
- Be respectful, appreciative and flexible. Once you’ve actually begun discussing who’s going to pay for what, you’ll want to consider being transparent about your own finances, mindful of others’ situations, and flexible to a possible compromise. Instead of telling them “we’d you to cover these wedding expenses”, ask them “what would you be comfortable paying for?”. Remember, any contribution towards your day is a nice gesture, so don’t forget to show them some love. Here are a few cute thank you gifts you can take along.
Now that you know how to handle the “who pays for what” convo a boss, let’s get right into the different ways a wedding can be paid for.
The “traditional” wedding etiquette
Traditional wedding etiquette began hundreds of years ago when dowries were commonplace — parents of the bride paid the groom’s family to accept their daughter into the new family (eye roll).
While weddings today have evolved considerably since then, the concept of who pays for what in this traditional context has remained steadfast.
Typically, the families of the bride and groom pay for the celebration, leaving the newlyweds without a bill to bear. Here’s how the expenses usually break down:
Family of the bride
- The engagement party, (if you’re having one)
- Wedding planning costs, including a planner
- Wedding announcements and invitations
- Bride’s wedding dress, veil, jewelry, and shoes (sometimes hair/makeup)
- Venue for the ceremony
- Music for the ceremony
- Ceremony decorations, including the floral arrangements
- Floral arrangements for the reception, as well as the bridesmaids’ bouquets
- Photography and videography
- Transportation for the wedding party on the day of
- Wedding reception expenses, from decorations to live music
- Transportation and hotel expenses for the officiant
Family of the groom
- Any expenses relating to the rehearsal dinner
- Bride’s bouquet, as well as corsages and boutonnieres for immediate family members on both sides
- Groom’s suit, and any other attire expenses
- Fees for the officiate
- All of the honeymoon costs
Talk about a hefty bill! As is painfully clear above, the bride’s family traditionally has a much larger financial burden. To some couples, that doesn’t seem fair and modern couples are choosing to revise that split.
While the parents cover most of the costs in this traditional model, the bride and groom do pay for a variety of things for each other and their wedding party. This includes each other’s rings/bands, gifts for each other, gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen, and gifts for their attendees. The groom also typically pays for the marriage license on his own.
#1. Doing it on your own
Many modern couples are taking it upon themselves to pay for their own weddings in full. This is an especially popular option when the parents of the bride and/or groom can’t afford such expenses.
When couples take on the cost of their weddings, budgets and more affordable options ( renting a wedding dress) are of utmost importance. Sticking to the essentials and prioritizing your absolute “must-haves” vs.
“nice-to-haves” is a good way to stay true to what matters most to you.
#2. A three-way split
Another option in determining who pays for what in a wedding is just to take the full cost of the event and evenly split it between the bride/groom, the bride’s family, and the groom’s family.
This way, each family involved is paying an equal portion of the wedding costs. The best way to do this is to determine a contribution amount early on (say $10k each) and then craft a budget to help you stick to that amount.
This is a popular method amongst young couples because everyone shares in all expenses equally.
#3. The family split
Another option is to let the wedding couples’ families own the bill together. For those families who want to and are able to take on the wedding costs for their children, this is a great option that still balances fairness between families.
#4. Divide and conquer
Setting a budget can be incredibly helpful in determining who pays for what in a wedding, especially if you create a wedding budget for each expense. For example, if you decide that photography and videography will make up 15% of your total wedding budget, you could delegate that cost specifically to the groom’s family.
As you budget specific items within your overall wedding budget, you can delegate those items to family members (and yourself) accordingly. This is a great solution for families who can’t contribute across the whole budget but can contribute towards something specific. Keep scrolling for one of our favorite wedding budget templates!
#5. Headcount ratio
The thought behind this approach is that if one party has more people in attendance, then they’ll pay for more of the wedding expenses.
Let’s say the bride’s family wants to invite second and third cousins, friends of friends, and maybe teachers that had an impact on them growing up. But, the groom’s family only wants to invite immediate family members.
Since the bride’s family has a higher headcount than the groom’s family, they’d be responsible for paying more of the wedding costs.
While these are all valid ways to decide who pays for the wedding, you’ll want to choose the right fit for you, your spouse-to-be, and your families. Once you’ve collectively decided on the ideal way to pay for the wedding, keeping track of the planned expenses will reduce stress for everyone.
Get your wedding budget on
The best way to stick to a wedding budget is to keep track of it. Start by outlining the potential costs of the wedding, broken down by sections. Here’s one of our favorite wedding budget templates. Use this as a jumping off point and you’ll be well on your way to being a wedding budget pro.
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Let’s do this money thang!