wedding costs: who pays for what?

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Traditionally, the bride and her family carry the financial burden of paying for most of the wedding.

However, times have changed and many couples who marry later on often pay for the wedding and reception themselves.

As a compromise, costs can be divided amongst the bride and groom, and their families, so that one family isn't responsible for the majority of expenses. Sometimes, instead of splitting the bills, they divide the tasks and costs. For example, the bride's family pays for the photographer, food, etc. and the groom's family pays for the flowers, invitations, etc. Here's a list of how the costs are traditionally divided:

bride's family responsibilities

  • Bridal consultant/wedding planner
  • Wedding dress, headpiece, accessories
  • Wedding announcements and invitations
  • Ceremony music, decorations, flowers
  • Groom's ring
  • Groom's gift
  • Most flowers
  • Photographer and Videographer
  • Transportation
  • Reception site rental, decorations, party favors, food, entertainment

groom's family responsibilities

  • Bride's engagement and wedding rings
  • Marriage license
  • Groom's attire
  • Officiant or clergy fees
  • Bridal bouquet
  • Boutonnières for ushers, mother's corsages
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • alcohol at the reception
  • Bride's Gift
  • Honeymoon

modern wedding expenses

Thank goodness that common sense has (finally!) prevailed and brought us up to date. Everyone should contribute if possible. The wise thing to do is have a meeting with the bride, groom, and both sets of parents. To avoid confusion, set a budget and decide how to split the wedding expenses before you make any purchases or sign contracts.

It may also be a good idea to consider the size of each family and if the guest list will be balanced for the reception. This will help keep the list in check and perhaps stop one family from inviting too many people. Remember to communicate. The better you communicate, the more organized your wedding day will be!