The most important day of your life has finally arrived. Your wedding is looming on the horizon, a date that you and your fiancé will cherish forever.
Unfortunately, for most of us, the most important day of our lives can also be the most expensive day. There are dozens of considerations for the wedding budget, which can also make it stressful among couples. However it remains practical to ask the question: Who pays for What, and Why?
It can be a sticky situation, but it doesn’t have to be.
Perhaps most couples would find it easier to split all the costs 50-50, but if you’d like to learn more about the traditional way things are done, read up on the rules to see which ones you can break.
The Traditional Way
Bride pays for:
- Groom’s wedding gift
- Bridesmaids’ gifts
- Transportation to the wedding for the bridal party
- Groom’s ring
- Bridal party lunch or dinner
Bride’s family pays for:
- Wedding invites
- Engagement party
- Wedding coordinator
- Wedding dress
- Vendors and DJ
- Their gifts for bride and groom
- Photo and video fees
Groom pays for:
- Bride’s wedding gift
- Bride’s wedding ring and engagement ring
- Groomsmen’s gift
- Officiant’s fee
- Marriage license
- Wedding attire
- Bridal bouquet
- Boutonniere for the groom, groom’s father, and grandfather
- Corsages for bride’s family
- Transportation to the wedding for groomsmen
Groom’s family pays for:
- Their gifts for bride and groom
- Rehearsal dinner
- Alcohol for the reception
Having said that, today there are a lot more different views. These traditional rules can be referred to as a starting point to discuss finances. It is also becoming more common for couples to pay for their own wedding, without getting the family involved, especially if they have been living together. Parents and family members of both the bride and groom may also want to contribute to help reduce the burden of expenses. Financial contributions can be negotiated according to ability.
The bride’s parents traditionally throw the engagement party for their daughter and future husband to welcome him into the family and introduce him to extended family as well as friends. It is not a requirement but some families also opt to invite some of the wedding guests to the engagement party to help them get to know each other better prior to the reception. Having familiar faces at a reception will make it easier for all guests to socialize especially with the help of interactive wedding DJ.
The bride’s parents are also usually responsible for shouldering the costs of wedding announcements to local papers. In the event that the groom is from another town, the bride’s parents can also discuss with the groom’s family if they would appreciate having an announcement in their own local paper. They also play an important role as hosts during the wedding reception. The role of hosts is typically handed to the bride’s parents because more often than not they cover most of the wedding expenses.
The groom’s parents traditionally plan and cover the cost of the rehearsal dinner. Depending on their ability and preference, rehearsal dinners can either be small, or a large elaborate dinner keeping in mind that it should not outdo the wedding. However, the groom’s parents shouldn’t be expected to pay for a large rehearsal dinner that they may not be comfortable with. Because the bride’s parents pay for a large chunk of the wedding expenses, the groom’s family can choose to offset some of the costs by buying the alcohol for the reception and contribute for wedding entertainment.
If going traditional isn’t for you, an ideal way for couples to start working on expenses is to sit down with a calculator and openly discuss everything that needs to be paid for while keeping in mind what you both can afford. A small wedding will definitely be more affordable; while large weddings of over 100 people will cost significantly more. Once the expenses are listed down, the parents of the bride and groom may be approached to ask what they are willing to contribute, if any, to reduce the burden on their children. Another modern option is to split the budget three-ways, where the couple, bride’s family, and grooms’ family each pay for 1/3 of the wedding budget. However, this also means that they can each rightfully invite a third of the wedding guests.
Whichever way you decide to split the budget, if you are going to get the parents involved it is always bet to make sure that they only contribute what they are comfortable with. Then you can revise the wedding budget according to that.