Who Pays for What?

Once upon a time the bride's parents were expected to host the wedding. However, times have changed, and many parents of the bride are thankful for that. Taking a closer look at traditional wedding expenses will give you an understanding of what goes into paying for a wedding and maybe some idea on how to lighten the load for your parents.

Traditional Wedding Expenses

What is the traditional breakdown of wedding expenses?

The bride and her family usually pay for:

  • Bride's dress and accessories

  • Invitations, reception cards, and announcements

  • Fee for the ceremony site

  • Flowers for the ceremony and reception

  • Attendants' bouquets

  • Bride's father's and grandfather's boutonnières

  • Music for the ceremony and reception

  • Groom's wedding ring and gift

  • Photography and videography

  • Housing and gifts for the bridesmaids

  • Limousines/transportation

  • Reception costs (venue, food, liquor, and décor)

  • The groom and his family traditionally pay for:

  • Bride's wedding and engagement rings

  • Bride's bouquet and gift

  • Marriage license

  • Officiant's fee

  • Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers

  • Boutonnières for the groom, groomsmen, his father, and grandfather

  • Ushers' and groomsmen's housing and gifts

  • Rehearsal dinner

  • Honeymoon

  • The bride's attendants usually pay for:

  • Their dresses and accessories

  • A shower gift

  • Bridal shower

  • Bachelorette party

  • Their own travel expenses

  • Gift for the couple

  • The groom's attendants usually pay for:

  • Their tuxedoes or suits

  • Bachelor party

  • Their own travel expenses

  • Gift for the couple

  • Money Talks

    My parents are paying for the wedding. Does that mean I don't get a say in the planning? Parents often feel they should have some say when they are handing over cash, but no matter who's paying for the wedding, you and your fiancé are the only people who should ultimately decide what your wedding will be like. When working with reasonable parents, you should be able to accept their financial help and at least consider their wishes and concerns.


    Diligence and self-control are required to prevent you from going overboard and over budget. You can and should provide a safety net for yourself. Factor in a percentage of the budget, 10 percent for example, for last-minute or unexpected expenses. There are always some.

    If my fiancé's parents want to invite a lot more people than mine, shouldn't they offer to cover the extra cost? The families of the bride and groom should try to have a balanced guest list. But if your future father-in-law insists on inviting all of his great-aunts and second and third cousins, your fiancé should speak with his parents about contributing some money to defray costs.

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