1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email

Who Pays for What at a Wedding

How to Figure Out Who Pays for a Wedding

By

You have a dream wedding planned in your mind, but do you know who’s going to pay for what at the wedding? Traditionally, the bride’s family would pick up the tab but with the average cost of a wedding skyrocketing, and more couples getting married later in life, these traditional roles are far from set in stone.

Some scenarios for who pays for what:
  • Traditional Responsibilities

    • The bride’s family pays for:
      - Reception costs, including food, music, decorations, rental fees and entertainment
      - Ceremony costs including rental fees, decorations
      - Flowers for ceremony and reception
      - The bride’s wedding dress and accessories
      - Invitations, announcements, programs, and mailing costs
      - Favors
      - Photography
      - Transportation
      - Their own attire and travel expenses

    • The groom’s family pays for:
      - The rehearsal dinner, including food, invitations, decorations and entertainment
      - Their own attire and travel expenses
      - A wedding present

    • The bride pays for:
      - The groom’s wedding ring
      - A wedding gift for the groom
      - Her hair, makeup, beauty treatments
      - Gifts for her attendants
      - Sometimes accommodation for any out-of-town bridesmaids

    • The groom pays for:
      - The marriage license
      - The bride’s engagement ring and wedding ring
      - The honeymoon
      - A wedding gift for the bride
      - The bride’s bouquet
      - Gifts for his attendants
      - Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
      - Boutonnières for men in the wedding party
      - Sometimes accommodation for any out-of-town groomsmen
      - Fee for the officiant

  • When the bride and groom are older, or whose parents don’t have resources
    The bride and groom pay for all wedding costs themselves

  • A modern take on who pays for what at a wedding:
    After announcing their engagement, the bride and groom sit down and estimate what they’ll spend on the wedding, probably after finding a reception site and making general decisions about theme, style, time of day etc. They then approach their parents and after describing what they’ve decided on so far, say gently, “We were wondering if you would be able to pitch in for any of the costs.” The parents may look at the budget and say, “We’d like to pay for the reception food and the flowers” for example. They may also offer a set amount they’ll contribute. If their parents say they can’t afford to contribute, or only offer a small amount, the bride and groom say, “Thank you for considering,” and perhaps have to revise their budget or find creative ways to pay for the wedding.

  • Split the budget three ways
    In this scenario, the bride’s family, the groom’s family, and the bride and groom themselves each pay for one third of the budget. Typically, this means they will also each invite one third of the guests.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.