When it Comes to the Wedding, Whose Family Pays for What?

If you are planning a wedding the subject of money will undoubtedly come up often. The most stressful question,  “who pays for the wedding?. With marriage being one of the longest standing practices in the world, it’s no surprise that it comes with quite a bit of tradition. First and foremost on many couples’ minds? The established plan for who pays for what.

who pays for the wedding

We’re big believers in bending the big day “rules” to suit you and your S.O..

Here are the standard guidelines for who pays for what at a wedding.

1. Engagement Party.

Yay! You’re engaged! Let’s celebrate. But who is going to foot the bill? Well, traditionally this honor goes to the bride’s family. Mothers and fathers of the bride also have the responsibility of sending announcements out to the newspaper, but with the introduction of Facebook and Instagram that formality has mostly fallen out of favor.

2. Bachelorette and Bridal shower.

Technically, the bride’s family can rest easy on this one (although nowadays it’s not uncommon to see mothers, aunts, and sisters hosting the shower). According to custom, the maid of honor and bridesmaids should be planning these events. Everyone chips in, except for the bride, of course.

3. Bachelor Party. 

Time for the boys to step up! The best man and groomsmen are in charge of planning and paying for the bachelor part, although many sentimental fathers have been known to kick in a few dollars for everyone’s fun.

4. Wedding Attire.

 This expense typically falls along gender lines. The bride’s attire? Paid for by the bride’s family. The groom’s is covered by the groom’s family. For anyone involved in the wedding (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc) the jury is still out. Traditionally, the bride and groom’s families would cover the parties of their respected offspring too, but nowadays, they typically pay for their own get-ups.

5. Rehearsal Dinner.

Because so much wedding spending falls on the side of the bride, the rehearsal dinner is traditionally the time for the groom’s family to pitch in. Although, many couples are paying for rehearsal dinners themselves or splitting the cost between both families.

6. Wedding Ceremony. 

As part of that crazy, antiquated concept of a “dowry,” this cost has historically belonged to the bride’s family. However, with so many couples living together for years before marriage, or with many pairs just not feeling comfortable asking Mom and Dad for money – this expense can be shared a number of ways. Brides and grooms may pay for their own weddings, or go 50/50 between both families. Rules are out the window these days, and the more hands on deck the better.

7. Reception.

No surprise, this cost has been bridal territory. However, with the growing cost of weddings and the increasing number of guests, this is another opportunity for the couple to chip in, or the groom’s family to offer a proposal the bride’s can’t refuse.

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