Who Pays For What: The Dollars & Cents

This comprehensive guide helps specify the financial responsibility of everyone involved in your wedding.

The bulk of many wedding etiquette questions center around financial issues. In past generations, the bride's family paid for the majority of the wedding expenses. The groom's lucky family got off with just the rehearsal dinner, and the groom himself paid for the honeymoon, the bride's rings, and assorted other small expenses.

That was then. Nowadays, with the costs of weddings growing and many couples marrying later when they are more likely to have careers and incomes of their own, more brides and grooms are contributing to, or even picking up entirely, the cost of the wedding. And the parents of many grooms are also contributing more than in the past; a popular option is to have the bride's family, the groom's family, and the couple each contribute one-third.


For reference, the following is the traditional breakdown of expenses:

Bride's family pays for:

  • Engagement party (optional)
  • Wedding invitations and other stationery (announcements, thank-you notes, etc.)
  • Services of bridal consultant
  • Wedding gown and accessories
  • Flowers for ceremony and reception sites
  • Bouquets for bridesmaids
  • Music
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Ceremony
  • Reception
  • Bridal party transportation to ceremony
    and reception
  • Family's wedding attire

Bride pays for:

  • The groom's ring
  • The bridesmaids' luncheon
  • Gifts for the bridesmaids
  • Wedding gift for the groom


Attendants pay for:

  • Bachelor and bachelorette parties
  • Gifts for the bride and groom
    (can purchase individual gifts or chip
    in on a group gift)
  • Wedding attire and accessories
  • Transportation to and from wedding
    town or city

Groom's family pays for:

  • Engagement party (optional)
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Their own wedding attire

Groom pays for:

  • The bride's rings
  • The marriage license
  • Officiant's fee
  • His formalwear
  • Personal flowers: the bride's bouquet, boutonnieres for wedding party, corsages for mothers and grandmothers
  • Gifts for the groomsmen
  • Wedding gift for the bride
  • Gifts for parents
  • Honeymoon
  • Transportation to the honeymoon
     

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