Who Pays for What in a Wedding

by Kim Forrest

Who pays for what 2

Setting a budget is one of the most important parts of wedding planning – but before you can figure out how much you can afford to pay for your big day, you’ll need to decide who is paying for what. Of course, there’s the old-school, traditional way of doing things, but nowadays, there are lots of ways to divvy things up. Many couples pay for everything themselves. Some families split things up more equally, or perhaps one family contributes and another chooses not to. But in the end, it’s really up to you to decide what works best for you and your families. 

Here is the breakdown of the “traditional” way to divide up the budget - use this as a starting point, and not the final word on the matter.

Bride’s Family
Engagement Party
The Wedding Ceremony – venue, décor, and music
The Wedding Reception
The bride’s attire
Wedding planner
Flowers (except, in some cases, for bride’s bouquet, men’s boutonnieres, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers)
Stationery – invitations, ceremony programs, etc.
Day-After Brunch (if desired)

Groom’s Family
Rehearsal Dinner
Honeymoon (if desired, often the couple themselves pay)
In some parts of the country, it’s tradition for the groom’s family to pay for the alcohol at the reception

Bridesmaid Gifts
Groom’s Wedding Band
Hair and Makeup for Herself and Attendants
Wedding-Day Gift for the Groom
Gift for Her Parents

Marriage license
Bride’s Rings (Engagement Ring and Wedding Band)
Groomsmen’s Gifts
Groom’s Attire
Wedding-Day Gift for the Bride
The Bride’s Bouquet, Men’s Boutonnieres, and Mothers’ and Grandmother’s Corsages (this is a very traditional way of doing things – usually the bride’s bouquet and the boutonnieres are paid for by whoever’s handling the total flower budget)
Gift for His Parents
Wedding Night Accommodations

Wedding Party
Their Attire
Their Travel and Accommodations
Wedding Gifts for the Couple
Other Parties – Bachelor/Bachelorette, Bridal Shower, etc.

Parents of Flower Girl/Ring Bearers
Children’s Attire

Again, this list is based on traditional roles, and nowadays, it's rare for anyone to follow it exactly. We advise all couples to have an open and honest discussion with family members about their roles in the wedding budget. Ready to start planning your wedding budget? Head to WeddingWire's Budget Tool to get organized and stay on track!

Photo by Clane Gessel Photography 

Read More About Creating a Budget for Your Wedding
7 Wedding Expenses You Might Forget | 5 Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Wedding Day | 10 Wedding Dresses Under $1,000 | 5 Ways to Save Money on Wedding Flowers | How to Create a Wedding Budget

Posted on March 14, 2014