One of the big questions on most couple’s minds when they’re starting to plan a wedding is who pays for what. After all, a wedding is an expensive event to put together and the costs can be daunting. Today, there are no hard and fast rules about who pays for the wedding. Often families divide up the costs based on what they can afford, not along etiquette guidelines. Many couples choose to pay for their weddings on their own so they have more control over the decisions.
With that said, however, many couples find it helpful to know the traditional breakdown of wedding expenses, especially if their families are going to be contributing financially. Plus, it’s important to know which costs aren’t supposed to be paid by the couple or their families – you don’t want to end up being stuck with a bill that shouldn’t be your responsibility. So let’s look at who paid for what according to wedding etiquette.
The Bride’s Family
Traditionally, the bride’s family paid for the majority of expenses for the wedding, including all of the wedding stationery, the bride’s gown and her accessories, the groom’s wedding ring, and the groom’s wedding gift.
Additionally, they were expected to cover all of the costs of the ceremony and reception, including paying for the locations, the catering, the music, the wedding cake, and the transportation for the bride and her bridal party. The bridal party’s bouquets and the decorative flowers for the ceremony and reception are also included in their bill, as are the costs of preserving the event on film and video.
Since 40% of the average wedding’s cost is dedicated to the reception, and the average wedding in the U. S. costs $20,000, the traditional bride’s family would end up paying at least $8,000 just for the party portion of the event. That’s a pretty steep bill, and it’s easy to see why fewer families are sticking closely to this breakdown.
The Groom’s Family
Even though the bride’s family does have to handle a big chunk of the wedding costs, the groom’s family is supposed to help out with certain costs, too. His family pays for the bride’s wedding and engagement rings, her wedding gift, and her bouquet. Additionally, they pay the fees for the marriage license and the officiant, as well as buying the corsages and boutonnières for the parents and for the groom’s wedding party.
While those items may seem small, the groom’s family is also responsible for two big ticket expenses: the honeymoon and the rehearsal dinner. Obviously, those costs can add up pretty quickly, too.
The Wedding Party
As mentioned above, not all of the wedding expenses are meant to be paid by the bride’s and groom’s families. The attendants for each of them are responsible for covering some of their own costs, too. For example, both bridesmaids and groomsmen are supposed to pay for their own outfits and accessories. They are also responsible for throwing a bachelorette and bachelor party for the bride and groom and for buying them a gift. Groomsmen are also responsible for paying for their transportation to and from the wedding while bridesmaids must cover the costs of transportation from the wedding.
The important thing to remember when looking at these cost breakdowns is that you don’t have to follow these suggestions strictly. Work closely with your family and your wedding party to make sure the wedding costs don’t become too great a burden on any one.