Long before your wedding day arrives, you’re going to feel the love. After that outpouring of congratulations for your engagement, you’re likely to find friends and family giving you their time, energy, ideas, and yes, money, to make your special day as memorable as possible.
One of the most important things you’ll need to do when you first sit down to begin planning your dream wedding is to set a budget checklist, and one of the most important things you’ll need to do when setting a budget is ask yourself who’s going to pay for what.
Traditionally, many of the costs of a wedding have fallen to the bride’s family, but with more couples waiting until they’re older to tie the knot, and with the costs of weddings on the rise, these customs are not as strictly observed as they once were.
What Does the Bride’s Family Pay for?
Spanning many centuries and cultures, it has traditionally been the bride’s family who pays for much of the wedding, from the dress to the ceremony. Here are some items on your wedding budget traditionally covered by the family of the bride.
- Engagement Announcements: When the lucky couple are finally ready to go public with the good news, it typically falls to the family of the bride to pay for the engagement announcement in the local newspaper. If the groom’s family or the couple live in a different city, the bride’s family still traditionally pays for the announcements in those papers as well.
- Engagement Party: An engagement party to bring everyone together is traditionally the bride’s family’s responsibility.
- Stationary: This includes save-the-date announcements, invitations, and programs, but can also include less obvious stationary such as thank you cards and place settings.
- The Dress: It is the bride’s family who pays for the wedding dress as well, along with veil and accessories.
- Transportation: This includes any necessary transportation to or from the ceremony, reception, or accommodation.
- Wedding Ceremony: The bride’s family is traditionally who pays for the wedding ceremony, covering costs such as the venue, the flower arrangements, and the décor.
- Wedding Reception: Because the bride’s family often pays for the reception, they also play a very active role in the proceedings, greeting and entertaining guests and supervising the evening to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Feel free to divvy up the expenses of your wedding in a way that’s appropriate for you and your families’ financial situations.
What Does the Groom’s Family Pay for?
While the bride’s family plays a more prominent role in your wedding and fields more of the minor intricacies of the day, the groom’s family often takes on a small handful of major expenses to even the scale. Here are some basic items often paid for by the family of the groom.
- Wedding Bands: The groom is typically responsible for procuring the wedding bands, but many couples today choose to split the cost or purchase each other’s rings.
- Groom’s Attire: It’s customary for the groom’s family to pay for the groom’s wedding attire, though today it is more common for the groom to purchase his own. In some cases, the groom or his family pay for the bridal bouquet and boutonnieres as well.
- Rehearsal Dinner: The rehearsal dinner is sometimes considered optional, particularly for smaller weddings, but can be a great way to calm those nerves and bring your closest friends and family together for an intimate dinner before all the other guests arrive and the music starts. With so much else for the bride and her family to worry about, the groom’s family traditionally handles the rehearsal dinner, arranging the venue, organizing the food and drinks, and covering all expenses.
- Officiant Fees and Marriage License: These are the two expenses of the actual wedding ceremony that traditionally don’t fall to the bride’s family.
- Reception Music and Alcohol: The groom’s family usually takes a backseat for the reception, but it is customary for the groom’s family to pay for the alcohol and the music, be it a live band or a DJ. This seems like a minor contribution in the scheme of things, but the bar at your wedding reception will require quite a bit of planning on its own.
- Honeymoon: Traditionally, it is the groom’s family who pays for the honeymoon. However, couples are increasingly planning and paying for their honeymoons themselves. Because more and more couples today have already lived together for some time before tying the knot, couples often find that they don’t need many of the conventional domestic items that make up your standard gift registry, such as towels or kitchen appliances.
Try listing some itemized honeymoon funding in your gift registry or have a cute honeymoon fund jar at the reception.
Who Pays for the Bridal Shower?
Typically, the cost of your bridal shower is one of the few elements of your wedding that isn’t necessarily a family affair. Your Maid of Honor is responsible for a host of tasks in addition to being traditionally tasked with arranging your Bridal Shower.
Your bridesmaids will help organize the shower and may even pitch in a little bit on the cost, but don’t expect them to pay for too much. The bridesmaids have already taken on a few expenses just to be at your side. To keep the cost of the bridal shower low, the maid of honor often hosts it at her home, but if she has more ambitious designs, she’ll want to discuss with her fellow bridesmaids to get an idea what they’re comfortable contributing.
These traditions are generations old, and many families will still welcome the opportunity to play a financial role in your special day, but don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail. After all, how else will new traditions get their start?
Ultimately, your wedding will be entirely unique and special to you, so there’s no reason your payment plans shouldn’t be uniquely yours as well! Cherish the help of your family and friends. Sit down with those who want to contribute and work out who’s paying for what and how much everyone can afford to chip in.
Once you’ve finally nailed down who’s paying for all this, consider adding some international flair to your wedding ceremony. Take a look at our article How to Incorporate International Wedding Traditions in Your Ceremony.
Does your family have their own unique wedding payment traditions or wedding traditions in general? Share them with us in the comments below. Also, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter for breathtaking wedding photos every single day!
This article was written by WeddingDresses contributing writer, Kat W. Jackson.