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As with many changing customs and traditions, it is no longer written in stone as to who is required to pay for different aspects of a wedding. In fact, up to 70 percent of weddings are paid for by the couple themselves, or by some combination which may include the couple, the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents.

As a reference, here is a checklist of the traditional expense responsibilities of the various aspects surrounding a wedding celebration. Keep in mind that the following guidelines are variable, and depend on the particular circumstances of the wedding.

Traditional Expenses of the Bride

  • Groom's wedding ring
  • Wedding gift for the groom
  • Gifts for the bridesmaids

Traditional Expenses of the Bride's Family

  • Services of a Wedding Consultant
  • Formal stationery: invitations, enclosures, and announcements
  • The bride’s wedding gown and accessories
  • Their own wedding attire
  • Floral decorations for ceremony and reception, bride’s bouquet and bridesmaids’ flowers
  • Engagement, wedding ceremony and reception photography
  • Videography
  • Music for the ceremony and reception, including any soloists
  • Transportation of the bridal party to and from ceremony and reception site
  • All reception expenses
  • Rental of awnings for ceremony entrance and carpet for aisle (if applicable)
  • Fee for services performed by Officiant and Sexton
  • Services of a traffic officer and parking attendant
  • Transportation and lodging expenses for the Officiant if from another town and if invited to officiate by the bride’s family
  • Accommodations for bridal attendants
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon

Traditional Expenses of Maid of Honor / Matron of Honor / Bridal Attendants

  • Purchase of wedding apparel and all accessories
  • Transportation to and from the city where the wedding takes place
  • A contribution for a gift to the bride from all of the bridesmaids
  • An individual gift to the couple
  • A shower or luncheon for the bride

Traditional Expenses of the Groom

  • Bride’s engagement and wedding ring
  • Wedding gift for the bride
  • Gifts for best man and groom’s attendants
  • Ties and gloves for the groom’s attendants, if not part of their clothing rental package
  • The Marriage License
  • The bride’s bouquet (only where it is local custom for the groom to pay for it)
  • The bride’s going away corsage or flowers
  • Boutonnieres for groom’s attendants and all other men in the wedding party
  • Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers in both families (unless the bride has included them in her floral order)
  • Transportation of the Officiant to and from the ceremony site
  • Transportation of the groom, the groom’s attendants, and the groom’s family to and from ceremony and reception site

Traditional Expenses of the Groom’s Family

  • All costs of the rehearsal dinner
  • Their own wedding attire
  • Bachelor dinner, if the groom wishes to give one
  • Transportation and lodging expenses for the Officiant if from another town and if invited to officiate by the groom’s family
  • Accommodations for the groom’s attendants
  • Transportation and lodging expenses for the groom’s family
  • Honeymoon expenses

Traditional Expenses of the Best Man/ Groomsmen/Ushers

  • Rental or purchase of wedding attire
  • Transportation to and from the city where the wedding takes place
  • A contribution for a gift to the groom from all of the groom’s attendants
  • An individual gift to the couple
  • A bachelor dinner, or bachelor party, if given by the groom’s attendants
  • Out-of-Town Guests’ Expenses
  • Transportation to and from the wedding and reception site
  • Lodging expenses and meals
  • Wedding gift for the couple

NOTE: If the costs for the wedding and reception are being shared between families, communication is the key to keeping harmony so that things continually run smoothly. Any discussion about money should be open, honest, dignified and candid. If you are receiving financial help, be willing and prepared to compromise on some of your wedding wishes. Your wedding is a special day indeed; it is the first of many special days in your life together. Make a realistic budget and stick to it. Don’t let little things, which might later seem trivial, ruin your celebration.

Whatever the division of expenses you all settle on, the key to avoiding misunderstandings is to have a clear discussion at the start of the planning process regarding how much each party is prepared to contribute.

Each party can contribute a fixed amount. In this case, it is important for both sets of parents to let the couple know in advance how much they are willing to contribute.

The different parties can offer to pay for certain aspects of the celebration.

The bride’s and groom’s parents can split the costs half and half; alternatively, each set of parents and the couple can each pay one-third of the cost.


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