Ok, so let me preface this post by saying that these days no one is expected to pay for anything and anyone can pay for anything when it comes to weddings. These days, things are done less “traditionally” when it comes to footing the wedding bill. That being said, there are things that, traditionally, are assigned to the bride, groom, bride’s family, or groom’s family. I’ve compiled a list to help guide you, and maybe to use to facilitate the conversation on who will pay for what in your wedding and what your budget should be.
Groom’s ring ~ Gifts for your bridesmaids ~ A wedding gift for your groom ~ A gift for your parents ~ Your own hair & make-up for the wedding
WHAT THE BRIDE’S FAMILY TRADITIONALLY PAYS FOR:
Save the Dates, Invitations, Programs, Menus, and other paper goods ~ Wedding gown & bridal accessories ~ Feeding you and your bridesmaids on the wedding day ~ Bridesmaid’s bouquets ~ All fees associated with the ceremony site rental and decor AND the reception site rental and decor ~ Florals used for decor ~ Food for the reception ~ All Wedding Vendors (photographer, cinematographer, planner, band or DJ, etc.) ~ Wedding cake ~ Favors ~ Transportation for the you, your wedding party and your family to the wedding ~ Gratuities for any vendors ~ Post-wedding brunch, if you have one … So basically, almost everything. (but again, this is only traditionally and really varies these days)
WHAT THE GROOM TRADITIONALLY PAYS FOR:
Engagement and wedding ring for the bride ~ Bridal bouquet ~ A wedding gift for the bride ~ Gifts for the groomsmen ~ Boutonnieres for all men in the wedding party or families ~ A gift for his parents ~ Cost of the marriage license ~ Officiant’s fees ~ His attire & accessories ~ Ties & accessories for men in the party ~ Honeymoon ~ Transportation for bride & groom at the end of the night ~Accommodations for the wedding night
WHAT THE GROOM’S FAMILY TRADITIONALLY PAYS FOR:
Rehearsal dinner ~ Their own wedding attire ~ Their own travel expenses & accommodations ~ Transportation for groom & groomsmen to the ceremony ~ Bar & Beverages at reception
WHAT THE WEDDING PARTY TRADITIONALLY PAYS FOR:
Bachelor & bachelorette parties ~ Bridal shower, if hosting ~ A wedding gift for the couple (yep, you’re still supposed to get them a gift) ~ Their travel expenses ~ Attire (dress, shoes, jewelry, suit or tuxedo purchase or rental, and accessories, and for flower girls & ring bearers – their parents pay for their own attire) ~ make-up and hair on wedding day if the opt to have it done, unless the bride pays as their gift (although if the bride requires matching shoes, jewelry, or requires you to have your hair or makeup done, she should really cover the costs)
Again, let me stress that this list is not a hard-fast rule. These decisions will vary and should take into account everyone’s financial abilities. If you and your husband can bear more of the financial burden you may decide to do that. If the groom’s parents wish to contribute more than the booze, that is totally fine. If the bride’s family can’t pay for all of the listed things, they don’t have to. Remember that with the money comes the understanding of more involvement and decision-making. Your parents may not expect that, but it is customary that those who pay have more say.
As I told you in my tips for what to do when you get engaged, you should talk to your significant other about what kind of wedding you want, what you can afford to spend yourselves, and then talk to your families. My husband and I talked to our own parents separately and solo, as we were more comfortable doing that. I think talking to both families at the same time will make the other feel uncomfortable and pressured. We didn’t even tell each side of our family what the other was contributing, so one side wouldn’t feel bad or less helpful.
So what do you think? Do you agree with the traditional idea of who pays for what? Did you and your honey do things differently? Do you have any advice for how to discuss this with your families?