You're getting married and full of excitement and joy about a day that you have dreamed about for years. It can be easy during this festive time to forget about pesky details, like how you are going to pay for your dream wedding. Knowing the traditional distribution of financial obligations regarding weddings can help you better plan for your important day.
The bride's family traditionally has been the party responsible for shouldering most of the costs associated with the wedding. The bride's family may pay for the cost of the ceremony and reception, including the wedding cake, flowers, decorations, rental fees, the bride's attire, invitations, entertainers, wedding planner and transportation. The bride's family also traditionally pays for engagement announcements that are published in local newspapers.
The groom's family may pick up smaller, individual expenses and may also supplement some of the obligations of the bride's family. It may pay for the donation or fee for the officiant, for the special clothing required by the groomsmen, the rehearsal dinner and the honeymoon. The groom's family also may help pay for flowers. In particular, the groom's family may pay for corsages and boutonnieres for immediate family members of both families.
The bride typically pays for gifts for the groom, bridesmaids, flower girls, attendants and her parents. She may also host a bridal luncheon after the wedding and may pay for lodging for out of town guests. She usually pays for the groom's wedding band. If her family cannot afford all of the expenses of the wedding, the bride may pay for a portion of them.
As the groom has traditionally remained free from paying for most of expenses related to a wedding on the premise that he is assuming financial responsibility for the family unit for the rest of his life. The groom traditionally pays for the marriage license and any blood tests or other fees that are associated with becoming legally married. He pays for the bride's engagement ring, wedding band, bouquet and wedding gift. He pays for his own attire and he is expected to pay for gifts for his groomsmen. If he has groomsmen or guests from out of town, he may pay for their lodging. He sometimes pays for the honeymoon and related transportation expenses.
Each family is different and may have different values regarding weddings. Some families will happily assume all financial obligations of the wedding, while others may not have the budget to do so. Some families will agree to certain expenses, such as the flowers or beverages, while others may offer a certain amount of money to assist with the budget. Brides and grooms who separately have been on their own for years and have established themselves in their careers are better prepared to shoulder some or all of the financial obligations. Some families opt to split the costs three ways among the bride's family, the groom's family and the bride and groom. The families' contributions may be reduced if it is not the first wedding for the bride, the groom or both.
- The Knot: Budgeting for the Wedding: Who Pays for What?
- Good Housekeeping: Second Wedding Financial Obligations
- Perfect Princess Events: Financial Traditions
- Your Wedding Iowa: Financial Obligations
- Emily Post: Traditionally, Who Pays for What?
- Martha Stewart Weddings: Who Traditionally Pays for What at a Wedding?
- Bridal Guide: Who Pays for What: The Dollars & Cents
Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.