Wedding budgets are complicated. It can be even more complicated in determining who picks up the tab. In order to create an accurate wedding budget, it is important to figure out who pays what and how much each party is paying.
According to traditional wedding etiquette, the bride and family are responsible for most of the expenditures and the groom’s family covers the cost of the rehearsal dinner, the honeymoon, and a few other expenses, such as marriage license and officiant fee. See below for links to sites that breakdown who traditionally pays for what in a wedding.
Modern day rules have changed and traditional wedding etiquette is rarely followed. This may be for a variety of reasons, such as: age of couple, incomes, and dynamics within the family. Gone are the days that a wedding is looked at as some sort of dowry or trousseau. Weddings are still seen as tradition, yet many couples trade in the traditions and customize their celebration as their own. With so many changes, it is not a surprise that the financial responsibility no longer falls solely on the bride’s parents.
Being of an “eligible age” I have had numerous friends and relatives who have been married and each bride seemed to do it differently. As one of five daughters, my father has made it clear that he will give us each one lump sum and anything beyond that is our responsibility. One friend reported that her in-laws did the same thing: they agreed on an amount and wrote a check. I was also in a beautiful wedding that followed all traditional wedding etiquette. Another financially successful friend paid for the whole wedding herself. It seems as if there is no right or wrong answer; it is a matter to be determined by the couple.
Before creating a budget, it is recommended that the bride and groom have an open and honest conversation regarding expenses of a wedding. The couple may already have had a conversation with their families regarding the financial assistance that they will be given and it is important that this is clearly communicated before a budget is set. Once the couple has discussed the situation and consulted on what each of them is comfortable in asking from their family, it is important to have a final conversation with each side of the family confirming what each party can contribute and when the monies can be given. With the final budget and responsible parties established, wedding planning can commence!
Read more about the costs of a wedding and who is traditionally responsible to pay for it: