Wedding Budget

Who Pays for What in a Traditional Wedding?

Who Pays for What in a Traditional Wedding?
(Photo Credit: TheDarkThing on flickr)

Money can be a touchy subject, especially when the price tag is as big as most weddings today.  Typically, the question of “Who Pays for What?” is answered by wedding tradition and etiquette.

Keep in mind, though, that these are not hard and fast rules.

Tradition dictates that the bride’s family pay for the majority of the wedding costs, so, fathers of brides-to-be, it’s time to save up!  The dress, the floral arrangements and the wedding cake alone can cost a fortune!

What Does the Bride’s Family Traditionally Pay For?

  • Wedding invitations and thank-you notes as post-wedding stationeries
  • Fees for bridal coach or bridal consultant or wedding planner
  • Wedding dress and accessories
  • All costs related to the ceremony including venue fees, décor, etc.
  • All costs related to reception including food, music, décor, entertainment, venue rental, etc.
  • Flowers for both the ceremony and the reception
  • Bouquets for the bridesmaids
  • Documentation services such as videography and photography
  • The bridal party transportation
  • Their own wedding attire and transportation expenses

What Does the Groom’s Family Traditionally Pay For?

  • All expenses related to the rehearsal dinner
  • Their own wedding outfits
  • A wedding present for the newlyweds
  • Alcoholic beverages for the reception

What Does the Bride Traditionally Pay For?

  • Her groom’s wedding band or ring
  • A wedding present for her husband-to-be
  • Gifts or tokens for her guests and bridesmaids
  • All the beauty treatments (hair and make-up, spa and salon services)

What Does the Groom Traditionally Pay For?

  • The bride’s engagement ring and wedding band
  • The honeymoon (although usually this is given as a present from his parents)
  • The marriage license and the fee for the clergyman or officiant
  • A present for her bride
  • The bride’s bouquet
  • Boutonnieres for the men and the corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
  • Tokens or gifts for his guests and groomsmen

Aside from the bride and her family and the groom and his family, the friends of the couple sometimes chip in on the cost, typically for pre-wedding celebrations. The maid of honor together with the other bridesmaids usually provide the bridal shower while the best man and the rest of the groom’s men throw the stag party for the groom.

These are the traditional rules for who pays for what in a wedding.  Times are changing, though, and some couples are bucking tradition.  Check out the next page, “Who Pays for What in a Modern Wedding?” to see how things are changing.

Do you think these traditional rules are still useful today?  Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Page 1:  Here Comes the Bride, Here Comes the Bill:  Who Pays for What in a Wedding?

Page 2:  Who Pays for What in a Traditional Wedding?

Page 3:  Who Pays for What in a Modern Wedding?

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