Wedding Cost Breakdown

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Is there a guideline for who pays for the cost of each area involved in a wedding?

- Susan


In spite of changing trends in sharing wedding costs, many families still prefer to go the traditional route when planning for wedding costs. Here is a traditional breakdown for the bride and groom's families.

Bride's Family

The bride's gown and accessories are at her family's expense. The reception expenses including the location rental, food, and beverages are the bride's family's responsibility. All stationary, invitations and postal cost as well as the cost of the bridesmaids' bouquets and all flowers arrangements and decorations for the ceremony and reception are the bride's family's expense. Ceremony and reception music, photography, and all transportation and parking are also costs that the bride's family is traditionally responsible for covering.

Groom's Family

The groom's family purchases the bride's rings and wedding gift, as well as the marriage license and officiant's fee. The bride's bouquet and corsage, the corsages for the mothers and grandmothers and boutonnires for the groom's family are the groom's family's expenses. Ties, gloves and gifts for the groomsmen are also a groom's side expense. His family hosts and pays for the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon

Food Choices for the Reception

I am getting married in June 2006. I wondered if there were any etiquette rules to follow concerning food choices during the reception. I would prefer to give my guests a choice between a chicken and a beef dish, while the groom wants us to consider just serving chicken to cut down on costs. Are there any rules of etiquette to follow that would help us make this decision?

- Christy


There are no specific etiquette rules regarding serving beef, chicken or both at your wedding reception. Cost is always a factor in deciding what to serve your wedding guests, so be sure to get many quotes from different caterers before making a decision. You may find that you can offer both chicken and beef to your guests, depending on each type of beef or chicken dish you select for your options. Although beef is usually a more expensive selection, chicken dishes don't have to be boring or bland! Check with your caterer or location about an interesting chicken dish your guests will love.

Also, consider offering your guests a large number of meal options by offering a buffet. While less formal than a sit down meal, buffets allow guests to choose their food, the presentation is often gorgeous, and buffet does not necessarily mean that everyone has to get up to get their own meal. People with disabilities, seniors or children can still be served by wait-staff. Keep in mind though, that while buffets are thought to be less expensive, there are often hidden costs. Clear communication with your caterer is the key to wedding meals on a budget

Parents Meeting Parents

My son is Caucasian and he is marrying a Vietnamese girl. I need to write a letter to her parents now that they are engaged. Do you have any suggestions for content?

- Colleen


A short, heartfelt, hand written letter will be a lovely way to introduce yourself to your future daughter in law's parents! Are her parents bilingual? If her parents do not speak English or have difficulty with the language, ask your son's fiance if she can help you by writing out your feelings in Vietnamese.

Whatever the language, share the joy of your children's love! I suggest that you express your congratulations and let them know how happy you are that your son has found someone like their daughter to share his life with. Express that you are looking forward to welcoming their daughter into your family, and if it is possible, arrange for a time to meet face to face.

Costs for Wedding Party Clothing

Is it the bride's parent's responsibility to pay for the tuxedo rental for ushers and ring bearer? Who is responsible for paying for the tuxedos in the wedding party? If someone is asked to participate in the wedding, does the bride's family pay for the tuxedos? Who pays for the wedding party's tuxedos, the bride's family or the person themselves?

- Sandy


Who pays for what is one of the most common wedding questions. Traditionally, the groom's family pays for the groom's and groomsmen's attire, and the bride's family pays for the bride's and bridal party's attire. These days, it is not unusual for the wedding party to pay for their own attire, though.

When you ask your friends and family to be in your wedding party, it's a good idea to make sure they are aware that they will be expected to purchase their attire themselves. Some people may have to decline your invitation due to the expense, so be prepared to find an alternate attendant or foot the bill yourself.

Uninvited Guests

Is it appropriate for a guest to assume its okay to bring a guest? The maid of honor returned her response card stating that she would be bringing a guest to the wedding. She is not married, nor does she have a steady boyfriend. Her guest was not included in the budget, and she doesn't seem to understand. What should I do?

- Sharon


Oh dear, your maid of honor seems to be confused. There should have been better communication between the maid of honor and the bride regarding her invitation. She should have been told that a guest was not invited on her behalf because she will be busy helping with the wedding procedures.

Talk to your friend about it now. Perhaps you could suggest to her that her duties as maid of honor will be required all day, and that she will not have time to entertain a guest. If you cannot convince her that this may not be appropriate, don't panic. Locations and caterers know that there are often extra guests or food mishaps that will require extra plates and food - don't worry that there won't be enough. Paying for an extra person's meal likely won't make or break your budget, but pushing your maid of honor to dump her guest at the last minute might make or break your friendship. If there is no alternative, allow her to bring her guest, but remind her that she committed to you first.

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