The Wedding Budget: Who Pays?

Image: Ryan & Alyssa

The Wedding Budget. I'll be honest; this is never a fun topic. Setting a budget and deciding who is going to pay for what can cause some headaches. Traditionally, the bride's family assumes the majority of the wedding cost.

Fun Fact for all of you history buffs: this stems from the practice of providing a large dowry during ancient times. It eventually evolved into providing a settlement from the bride's family to the groom's family during the Victorian era.

However, today it is very common for both the bride's family and the groom's family to share the costs of the wedding...or for the bride and groom to pay for all or a part of the celebrations themselves. Even though we are living in modern times, it's still considered bad etiquette to ask the groom's family to pay for the wedding costs. BUT if his family offers to pay a part of the expenses, then the bride's family can accept the offer. If this is your situation, I've broken down a list of the traditional wedding expenses and who is responsible for paying them. While these are pretty traditional, you can share the responsibility as whatever best fits you and your families.

The Bride and Her Family

  • Wedding Planner/Wedding Coordinator/Wedding Consultant Services
  • Stationery:  invitations, all enclosures, announcements (including Save the Dates)
  • Attire:  the Bride's wedding gown and accessories
  • Florals: the floral decor for both the ceremony and reception, the bridesmaids' bouquets, the Bride's bouquet
  • Decor/Extras: the tent, awning, arbor, and aisle runner
  • Musicians:  for both the ceremony and reception
  • Transportation:  for the wedding party to the ceremony and the reception
  • A security guard if applicable
  • All reception expenses
  • Photography:  photographer, the wedding photographs, any wedding albums
  • Videography:  videographer and final DVD/video
  • Transportation and lodging for the Officiant if he/she is from another town and if the Officiant was invited to officiate the wedding by the bride's family
  • Accommodations for the Bridal Party
  • The Bride's gifts to her attendants
  • The Bride's gift to the Groom
  • The Groom's wedding ring

The Groom and His Family

  • The Bride's engagement and wedding rings
  • The Groom's attire
  • Ties for the groomsmen if worn and not part of their clothing rentals
  • Accommodations for the Groom's Party
  • Accommodations for the Groom's parents and siblings
  • All Rehearsal Dinner expenses
  • The Officiant's fee or donation
  • Transportation and lodging for the Officiant if he/she is from another town and if the Officiant was invited to officiate the wedding by the Groom's family
  • Marriage license
  • Transportation for the Groom and Best Man to the Ceremony
  • The groomsmen boutonnieres
  • Corsages for immediate members of both families (unless it's already included in the Bride's floral order)
  • The Groom's gift to the Bride
  • The Groom's gifts to his attendants
  • All honeymoon expenses

The Maid of Honor and the Bridesmaids

  • Bridesmaid attire and accessories
  • Transportation to and from the wedding location
  • A contribution to a gift from the bridesmaids to the Bride
  • An individual or group gift to the couple
  • A shower, luncheon or bachelorette party for the Bride

The Best Man and the Groomsmen

  • Groomsman attire and accessories
  • Transportation to and from the wedding location
  •  Bachelor dinner/party
  • A contribution to a gift from the groomsmen to the Groom
  • An individual or group gift to the couple

Out-of-Town Guests

  • Transportation to and from the wedding location
  • Accommodations
  • A wedding gift to the couple

I will say that no matter the size or style of your wedding, if you spend your money well, you'll be happy with the end result. 

Thanks to Emily Post for these tips!