Wedding Costs: Who Pays for a Wedding

Who pays for what at a wedding? It’s the ultimate question! Usually, because the first step in the wedding planning process is to set a budget. But how can you do that until you’ve made the rounds to see who plans to contribute for your big day. After all, like many aspects of a wedding, there are traditions involved when it comes to money. To help you understand who is expected to help pay for a wedding, here’s a full yet easy-to-understand breakdown!

The Bride & Groom

In recent years, brides and grooms have taken on more of the financial responsibilities associated with hosting a wedding. More couples are covering the costs of smaller wedding details and their honeymoons. You are also likely to see bride and grooms chipping in for pre-wedding events, like the engagement party, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner. What a bride and groom pay for will depend on each unique couple. Do what works for you, but don’t be afraid to accept the financial help when it is offered! 

• The engagement party – if you choose to have one.

• The honeymoon

• Marriage license/officiant fee

• Bridesmaid / groomsmen proposal gifts

The Bride

Since the bride already has her ring, she will want to start by purchasing a band for her groom. Next, she will want to get him a gift. She can also purchase presents for her own parents, which she will present to them the morning of the wedding. Lastly, the bride often pays for her bridesmaid’s hair and makeup. In some cases, she will also cover manicures and pedicures, if they are required.

• Groom’s wedding bands

• Gift for the groom

• Bridesmaid’s hair & makeup

The Groom

The groom’s responsibilities are slim. He will need to take care of his own wedding attire, with approval from the bride. And, if there will be an exchange of presents, purchase a gift for his bride-to-be. He might also choose to purchase gifts for his own parents.

• Gift for the bride

• Groom’s attire

The Bride’s Family

There isn’t much that has changed when it comes to costs covered by the bride’s family. They front the majority of the wedding ceremony and reception costs, including photography, decorations, furniture, and food. While in some cases they will cove the cost of the wedding dress, more brides are paying for their own wedding getup. We’re also seeing more grandparents, especially grandma, pitching in for gowns and flower arrangements. As usual, both the bride and groom’s aunts usually collaborate to host a bridal shower. We recommend that you confirm any offers to cover wedding costs before setting an official budget. It will save you a lot of stress and heartache in the long run!

• Wedding dress (including veil & any accessories)

• The bridal shower

• Ceremony/reception

• Invitations/stationery/save the dates/wedding programs

• Photography/videography

• Wedding planner/coordinator

• Wedding decorations/furniture rentals

• Wedding catering/cake

• Transportation/accommodation for bridesmaids

• Decorative flowers/centerpieces

The Groom’s Family

Traditionally, the groom’s family is only responsible for the rehearsal dinner and the wedding bar. However, the parents of the groom continue to look for ways to pitch in. Their roles have evolved to include the cost of personal floral arrangements, as well as reception entertainment, and wedding night transportation, and accommodations for the newlyweds. As with the parents of the bride, we recommend having a candid conversation with the groom’s family to see how much they would like to be involved, both financially and throughout the planning process.

• Rehearsal dinner

• Bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres, and corsages

• Wedding night transportation/accommodations for bride & groom

• DJ/band

• Liquor/alcohol or wedding bar

The Wedding Party (Bridesmaids & Groomsmen)

The expectations of bridesmaids and groomsmen are relatively simple. They will pay for their own wedding attire, accessories included. And, they are responsible for helping cover the costs of the bachelorette and bachelor party. In some cases, the bridesmaids will also host a second, smaller bridal shower for the bride’s friends.

Some brides and grooms will volunteer to help pay for a variety of these expenses, while others expect the wedding party to foot the bill. Considering the costs associated with being a part of a wedding party can be so high, we recommend that you explain your expectations during your proposals. This will allow each person an opportunity to respectfully decline. And if you still want them to attend, you can offer to help cover their costs or invite them to be a part of your wedding in another way.

• Bridesmaid dresses/groomsmen suits or tuxedos

• Bachelorette party / Bachelor Party

• Bride & groom’s bachelore/bachelorette party expenses

• Bridal shower

• Food/drinks for the morning of the wedding

If there are younger people in your wedding party, such as a junior bridesmaid, note that they are not responsible for these costs. Additionally, the cost of their wedding attire is usually fronted by their parents, or the bride and groom.

With all of this information in mind, it’s important to note that they are guidelines, NOT rules. Who pays for what in a wedding will vary based on each bride and groom. We encourage you to do whatever works best for you and your family, and not to feel discouraged if you diverge from this list. 

follow the wedding style society