Wedding Budget: Who Pays for What?

Weddings: a magical, enchanting day you’ve been dreaming of your whole life…but, it comes at a price. It’s no secret that weddings have become incredibly costly throughout the years. So much in fact, that it puts most couples under an extreme amount of financial stress. Are your parents willing to help you out with the wedding budget?

The reason why weddings have become so expensive is due to the number of features required for the big day…flowers, food, cake, band/DJ, photographer, venue – When it comes to the wedding budget, who pays for what?

In this blog we cover:
  • Modern Wedding Expectations
  • Traditional Wedding Etiquette
  • What the Bride’s Family Pays for
  • Groom’s Family Expenses
  • What the Bride and Groom Pay for themselves
  • Splitting the Budget 3 Ways
  • 6 Extra Tips for Cutting Costs

Traditional Wedding Etiquette

Traditionally, it was up to the parents of the bride to pay for the wedding. This was, however, before weddings became so extravagant in nature. The dress, flowers, photographer, and beverages were the main expenses of the big day. The bride wearing her mother or grandmother’s dress, as well as guests bringing food to add to the harvest table were common ways to cut costs. It is evident, however, that throughout the year’s weddings have transformed into grand affairs where flowers and dresses envelop glamour, style and sophistication.

Today’s Wedding Expectations

Weddings have become an incredibly costly affair over the past few decades. Not only have the prices of wedding dresses increased, so have the expectations of guests. Today, weddings embody a vast amount of etiquette and style! Gone are the days of serving a small meal at the reception. Nowadays guests are treated to a three-course dinner by candlelight. This is why, over the years, the responsibility of the wedding budget has split between the families.

Contemporary Wedding Budget Arrangements

Contemporary weddings have gained many additional features that weren’t really prevalent many years ago. For example, having a wedding photographer is no longer good enough; most couples nowadays want a wedding videographer too. In contemporary weddings, the following elements on the wedding budget are split as follows:

What the Bride’s Family Pays for:
  • Wedding gown and accessories
  • Bridesmaid’s attire
  • Gifts for bridesmaids
  • Groom’s ring
  • Invitations
  • Flowers and décor
  • Food and entertainment
  • Photos and video
What the Groom’s Family Pays for:
  • Rehearsal dinner (if there is one – can also be referred to as a meet and greet before the wedding)
  • Marriage license
  • Bride’s ring
  • Gifts for groomsmen
  • Groom’s suit or tuxedo
  • Bridal bouquet, boutonnieres for the groomsmen, and corsages for mothers
  • Honeymoon

However, there are different approaches that can be taken when it comes to the wedding budget. The bride and groom may feel as if they want to pay for their own wedding. If they are older and more established, or their parents are unable to foot the bill for their own financial reasons, the couple may opt to pay for all wedding costs themselves. One great thing about this as an option is that you will be able to call all of the shots. You won’t feel pressured into anything if it is your own money that you are spending. In cases such as these:

What The Bride Traditionally Pays For:
  • The groom’s wedding ring
  • A wedding gift for the groom
  • Her hair, makeup and beauty treatments
  • Sometimes accommodation for any out-of-town bridesmaids
What The Groom Traditionally Pays For:
  • The marriage license
  • The bride’s engagement ring and wedding ring
  • Honeymoon
  • A wedding gift for the bride
  • The bride’s bouquet
  • Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
  • Boutonnières for men in the wedding party
  • Sometimes accommodation for any out-of-town groomsmen

Split the Wedding Budget Three Ways

In this scenario, the bride’s family, the groom’s family, and the bride and groom themselves each pay for one-third of the wedding budget. This option is great because it lessens the burden on everyone. However, you may have to bend to your parents’ wishes on certain things since they are paying for a portion of the big day. Take into account that if you are not paying for the wedding yourself, there might be other opinions that clash with what you really want for your big day.

There are financial aids that can be started for a special day, but you will need to sit with your husband-to-be and discuss whether this is the way to go for you. Perhaps rather save that extra money that you would have spent on the dream venue and put it toward starting your married life together.

6 Extra Tips for Cutting Costs:
  • Venues are the most expensive during 1) summer and 2) Saturdays. If you have your heart set on a venue but are looking for ways of cutting costs, why don’t you consider having your wedding on a Friday or during the off-season, such as autumn and winter?
  • Look at what the venue includes to cut costs. For example, most venues supply tables, chairs and a kitchen.
  • Have your ceremony and reception at the same place.
  • Incorporate DIY elements into your wedding day (such as the wedding stationery).
  • Get family or friends involved to save costs: do you have any make-up artists of florists in the family?
  • Final resort: elope or have a destination wedding (fewer guests mean fewer costs!) 
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