Who Traditionally Pays for Weddings?

The wedding cake is just one wedding component for which the bride's family pays.

The wedding cake is just one wedding component for which the bride's family pays.

The costs of the various elements of a wedding -- including venue, flowers, music and caterers -- adds up quickly. According to WeddingStats.org, the average cost of a wedding is around $27,000. With such a high price tag, it's likely most people are not excited about footing the bill. Thankfully, tradition makes it easy to determine who should do so.

Ceremony and Reception

The responsibility for paying for the ceremony and reception typically falls on the bride and her family. This includes the cost of ceremony and reception spaces, the photographer, food, music and any decorations. If any special transportation is arranged to and from the ceremony and reception site, the bride's family pays for that as well. However, the legality of the marriage falls on the shoulders of the groom and his family, as they are responsible for paying for the marriage licenses and any officiant fees.


When it comes to the attire for a wedding, it's everyone for themselves. The bride and her family foot the bill for the dress and the groom and his family pay for his attire. The one exception to this rule is the rings. Instead of paying for their own, the bride pays for the groom's ring and the groom pays for the bride's ring. Bridesmaids traditionally pay for their own dresses and groomsmen usually pay for their tuxedos. Occasionally, the bride may purchase special jewelry for the bridesmaids to wear or offer to pay for the ring bearer's tux or flower girl's dress.


While the bride and her family traditionally pay for most of the flowers for a wedding, the groom and his family also have some responsibility. Traditionally, the groom and his family will pay for the corsages for special female family members, such as mothers and grandmothers, as well as for others helping with the wedding, such as guest book attendants. They should also pay for the boutonnieres for the groomsmen. As a special gift, the groom and his family also pay for the bride's bouquet.


Celebration of a couple's impending union often starts before the wedding, with bridal showers, bachelor parties and rehearsal dinners. The best man and maid of honor are traditionally responsible for footing the bill for the bachelor and bachelorette party. The maid of honor, another friend of the bride or a member of the bride's family throws the bride a bridal shower and pays all related expenses. The groom's family organizes and pays for the rehearsal dinner, which follows the wedding rehearsal.


The groom and his family traditionally pay for the couple's honeymoon, but the couple may choose to pay for it themselves if they desire to take a more elaborate trip. The bride's parents also may present the couple with a honeymoon as a wedding gift.

About the Author

Stacy Zeiger began writing in 2000 for "Suburban News Publication" in Ohio and has expanded to teaching writing as an eighth grade English teacher. Zeiger completed creative writing course work at Miami University and holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in secondary education from Ohio State.

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