Who Pays for What in a Wedding?

@vedrana2701 / Twenty20

One of the biggest single expenses in a couple's life can be their wedding. Even if the bride and groom decide to be economical, it's difficult to say no to just one more thing. If you have a wedding photographer, why not go ahead and spring for a videographer? If you have music, why don't you pay a few bucks for a DJ or live band? There are so many expenses that pop up during the planning stages, it doesn't seem right to put the burden on one family.


Who Pays for What in a Wedding?


Traditionally, the bride or her family paid for the wedding and reception, while the groom and his family covered the rehearsal dinner. That has changed. Today’s bride and groom are more likely to sit down with everyone involved and plan a budget that everyone can afford without causing undue financial stress on any of the parties.

Traditional Weddings

Even if you plan to have a traditional wedding, the bride's family doesn't have to bear the entire burden of cost. Some of the expenses are typically paid by the groom or his family. 

For those who choose to go with tradition, here are the bride’s family expenses:

  • Church
  • Wedding gown and accessories
  • Bridesmaid parties
  • Gifts for bridesmaids
  • Groom’s ring
  • Invitations and announcements
  • Flowers for the wedding and decorations for the reception
  • Food, drink, decorations, and entertainment for the reception
  • Photos
  • Transportation to and from the ceremony and reception

Groom’s family expenses:

  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Marriage license and fee for officiant
  • Bride’s ring
  • Gifts for groomsmen
  • Groom’s suit or tuxedo
  • Bridal bouquet, boutonnieres for the groomsmen, and corsages for mothers
  • Honeymoon
  • Party for groomsmen

Wedding party expenses:

  • Bridesmaids and groomsmen pay for their own outfits
  • Bridal showers
  • Bachelor party

Contemporary Weddings

Since more couples are choosing to marry later in life, they're bearing more of the cost themselves, without turning to their parents to foot the bill. And because of this, they're getting creative in ways to save money, while not cutting back on the celebration.

Here are some ways you can have fantastic wedding to remember without breaking the budget:

  • Have a destination wedding. This will cut back on the number of people who will attend, so you won't have massive numbers of people to feed at a sit-down dinner reception.
  • Have a family-only wedding and a party after the honeymoon. The party can be a backyard barbecueopen house, or housewarming party that should cost quite a bit less than a large reception.
  • Skip the wedding by eloping. Send announcements when you return and invite friends over to show pictures of your honeymoon. Selfies are less expensive than a professional wedding photographer.
  • Have your wedding and reception in one spot. You don't have to have a sit-down dinner. You can have a table of refreshments with finger foods and drinks instead. 
  • Have a DIY wedding and ask friends to participate. Pick flowers from your garden or put together a bouquet from the grocery store. You can have a cake-making party the day before and ask musically gifted friends to play and sing for the event.