Traditional Wedding Financial Responsibilities

If you are starting to plan your wedding, you should have a budget set up well in advance. You also need to determine who pays for what. Every situation is a little bit different, but you and your future spouse should have an open conversation with your parents about your expectations and make adjustments accordingly. Not discussing a wedding's costs can cause confusion and even arguments later on, especially when the bills arrive.

In general, it is important for the bride and groom's families to come to terms with the wedding budget. Families may need to cap the number of guests who are invited, and the bride and groom may need to scale back on flower arrangements. The following lists can give you some rules to go by and to adjust as necessary:

What the Bride's Family Pays For

  • The engagement party
  • Engagement and wedding photography
  • Videography
  • Wedding invitations, announcements and postage
  • Bride's dress and other wedding attire
  • Fees for the ceremony site and other ceremony costs, such as musicians or singers
  • Ceremony accessories, such as aisle runners
  • Transportation for the bridal party to the ceremony and reception
  • Entire cost of reception, including food, drinks, cake, music and decorations
  • Bouquets and corsages for the bride's attendants, including the flower girl
  • Flowers
  • Their own wedding attire
  • A gift to the couple

What the Groom's Family Pays For

  • The rehearsal dinner
  • Their own wedding attire
  • Their own travel costs and housing
  • Wedding gift to the couple

What the Bride Pays For

  • A gift for the groom
  • The groom's wedding ring
  • Her own hairstylist and makeup artist
  • Housing for out-of-town attendants
  • Presents for her attendants
  • Personal stationery and thank-you notes or cards
  • Wedding guest book, cake knife, ring bearer pillow and other accessories

What Either the Bride or Her Family Pay For

  • Bridal consultant services
  • Boutonnières for the fathers and grandfathers
  • Valet parking or parking attendants
  • Security arrangements
  • A party for the bridesmaids

What the Groom Pays For

  • The bride's engagement ring
  • The bride's wedding ring
  • The honeymoon
  • A wedding gift for the bride
  • His own wedding attire
  • Marriage license and any other legal fees
  • Officiant's fee
  • The bride's bouquet
  • Flowers for both mothers
  • Boutonnières for himself and the male attendants
  • Corsage for the bride's going-away outfit
  • Corsages for grandmothers and other honored female guests, such as godmothers or special aunts
  • Housing for his out-of-town attendants
  • Bachelor party if no one else pays for it

What the Bride's Attendants or Parents of Child Attendants Pay For

  • Individual gifts for the couple or a joint gift from all
  • Their own attire and accessories
  • A shower and/or luncheon for the bride
  • Their own travel expenses

What the Groom's Attendants or Parents of Child Attendants Pay For

  • Individual gifts for the couple or a joint gift from all
  • Their own wedding attire
  • Their own travel expenses
  • The bachelor party

What the Out-of-Town Guests Pay For

  • Their own transportation and lodging
  • A gift for the couple
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