Whether a small ceremony, lavish affair, or exotic island destination, weddings have a cost. Regardless of your ceremony and reception dreams, no one wants to pay a penny more than they have to. The big question is, who pays for the wedding?
It’s no longer common for a single person to cover each and every expense. Rather, funding the party has become a group effort based on a combination of income and tradition.
Follow our checklist and we’ll help you break your expenses into bite-sized pieces and create guidelines for how to settle disputes.
Who Pays For What In A Traditional Wedding?
A traditional wedding tab consists of the venue, the food, and the drinks for the wedding reception which is traditionally covered by the bride’s family. There’s also transportation, ceremony fees, and the honeymoon which are traditionally after the groom’s family.
This is straightforward, but what happens when the bride and groom ask for more than they can afford? Or, what happens when you’re dealing with a destination wedding and the costs become very much one-sided due to transportation needs?
Before you can answer these questions, set yourself a wedding budget leaving 10-15% for unexpected costs or last-minute upgrades. Even though it’s not your money, you still don’t want your family to spend more than what’s realistic.
Then, start assigning approximate budgets for each main category that we mentioned above. Making sure that one side of the family is not paying drastically more than the other is an important step before you start nailing down each little cost.
Who Pays For The Wedding These Days
Going it alone is a decision that many couples are making. Between same-sex marriages, modern family structures (single or divorced), and the economy, there are plenty of reasons for couples to pay for their entire wedding. Perhaps the most compelling reason; the more your parents pay, the more likely it is they’ll want a say in everything from the guest list to the bridal bouquet. Planning the timeline of the wedding day avoids rush charges and gives you the flexibility to shop around for the best price.
Paying your own way eliminates the possibility of arguing over who buys the wedding dress and keeps your celebration 100% under your control.
It also forces you to plot every single detail which should be at least a one year wedding plan. This is the first, and easiest, step in making sure you don’t pay more than what’s necessary.
In particular, DIY is also a huge trend that doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. But this can cause some confusion. The rule of thumb is to follow the traditional allocations as a roadmap. Whatever projects fall under the bride or groom’s parents section of responsibility should stay true. For example, if you’re crafting your own wedding programs, this would fall under a Venue cost. The price of materials, in this case, should be covered by the bride’s family.
The Bride And Her Family Pay For
Even if the couple’s family is footing the traditional bill, there are still some costs which both the bride and groom will have to cover.
You may be wondering, what does the bride pay for?
Part of the answer is stationary. Invitations, table cards, programs, and all of the other printed materials have a cost whether you make them yourself or not.
Accommodations for the bridesmaids is another item to put on the bride’s tab. This goes for lodging, transportation, luncheons, and gifts. However, who pays for the bridal shower isn’t an exact science. Under these rules, the bride’s family should pay. Anyway, the bridal party tends to pool their money to fund this occasion.
It’s most common the bride’s family who pays for the reception and ceremony. Being one of the costlier expenses, the bride and her family spring for the venues, music, favors, and flowers for both locations.
But who buys the groom’s ring? The last, but not least, is the groom’s wedding band. Grooms have their own style in mind, as does the bride. It’s her task to choose, and pay for, the perfect ring.
The Groom Or His Family Pay For
Source: Ross Anderson photography
What the groom pays for and what the groom’s family pays for can add up just as quickly as the bride’s side.
He and his family are responsible, as mentioned previously, for transportation, ceremony fees, and the honeymoon.
Transportation includes trips to the ceremony and reception for the happy couple, the groom’s family, and the groomsmen. It also extends to getting the couple to the airport for the honeymoon. Technically, if the destination wedding is at play this could extend to those travel costs. However, each scenario is different. Sometimes there’s an equal split among the family but most often guest pays their own way.
Ceremony fees usually consist of the marriage license and/or other legal documents, and the officiant’s fee. A small penny-pincher tip here is to have a close friend become ordained and perform the ceremony as their wedding gift.
There’s no doubt about who pays for the honeymoon. The groom of course. In case you have already covered the trip, mind other things as well. There are the hotel, travel arrangements once you’re there, meals, and any entertainment you may want to partake in. All of this goes to the groom and his family.
The groom is also responsible for his tuxedo rental as well as all of the suits for the groomsmen. More frequently these days, he’s also picking settling the fees for bridesmaids’ dresses.
Who buys the wedding rings?
Again, last but not least, the groom must buy both the engagement ring and wedding band. The only difference between the two is that you may want to invite the bride to help select the perfect wedding band. So, you see, when it comes to who pays for wedding bands both the bride and groom have to pitch in.
What Are The Other Expenses To Be Ready For
Managing both your time and expenses is the key to balancing the budget. Modern brides and grooms are leaping into the DIY option in order to save a few dollars and be personally involved in their ceremony.
But, some things are better left to the professionals. Far too often couples, their friends and family collaborate on a project which ends up costing more than had they simply made a purchase. First, consider your time. This is valuable. Spending too much time on a project has the potential to keep you from otherwise making money.
Secondly, you have to consider the waste. Many projects are unfamiliar territory. This means mistakes will be made. For instance, imagine the first few centerpieces you’ll make. Is there a chance that the end result will be a little sub-par compared to that YouTube video? Small mistakes like these can quickly add up. Thus, including both of these items in your estimates when comparing purchase vs. DIY.
The best advice is to have a conversation. Speak with each parent. Have a candid discussion about how much you expect the wedding to cost, how much cost you can absorb as a couple, and what each parent can comfortably commit to.
Who Pays for the Wedding Traditionally (infographic)