Who Pays for What?

Breaking Down Traditional Wedding Costs

One of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to weddings is "Who pays for what?" More and more often, established couples are able to pay for their own wedding, but there are still instances when a newly engaged couple needs the help of their families. One way that more contemporary weddings are being paid for is by dividing the cost equally between the bride's and groom's families. This is a widespread and fair way to cover wedding expenses.

However, in spite of changing trends in wedding cost sharing, many families still prefer to go the traditional route when planning for wedding costs. But traditionally, which family pays for what parts? Here is a traditional breakdown of expenses for the bride's 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 paid for by the bride's family's. Ceremony and reception music, photography, and all transportation and parking are also a cost that the bride's family is traditionally responsible for when planning the wedding budget .

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 boutonnières for the groom's family are at the groom's family's expense. 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.

It can be difficult to keep track of which family pays for what part of the wedding. The following table offers a simple breakdown of the wedding expenses for the bride and groom's family. Use it as quick reference when you need to quickly explain parts of your wedding budget.

Bride's Family Groom's Family
Groom's ring Bride's wedding gift
Groom's wedding gift Bride's wedding gift
Bride's gown and accessories Groom's attire and accessories
Reception, including food and beverage Honeymoon
Music for reception and ceremony Marriage license
Announcements, invitations, thank-you notes and mailing costs Officiant's fee
Ceremony Rehearsal dinner
Flowers for bridesmaids, Flower girl, reception and ceremony Bride's bouquet, mother's and grandmother's corsages, groom's, groomsmen's and ushers boutonnires
Transportation costs  
All gratuities for parking, services and security Gifts for groomsmen
Gifts for bridesmaids  
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