Paying for a wedding can be expensive. Did you know that the average cost of a wedding is over $35,000? When you factor in the venue, catering, wedding attire, honeymoon, and transportation, it’s easy to see why the cost of getting married has increased over the years. If you’re worried about paying for the big day, consider the following guide on who should pay for what in a wedding.
Setting a budget
Before you even contemplate setting your heart on a specific type of wedding celebration, you need to think about your budget. Setting a budget eases the stress of paying for a wedding as well as helping to keep your wedding planning organized. If you’re not going to be paying for the celebration yourself, sit down with your parents and family to discuss how much they intend to offer financially. Some families may decide to pay for the full wedding, while others may wish to stick to tradition and pay for certain elements.
Alternatively, ask both families to contribute a set amount to your wedding. According to a study from The Knot, the parents of the bride tend to contribute 43 percent of the cost, with the groom’s family paying 13 percent and the rest paid by the bride and groom. However, this isn’t a set guide and many couples prefer to ask for the same amount to be covered by each family.
The typical cost of weddings
Before you can start planning a budget, you’ll need to know how much is typically spent on each element (this does depend on your wedding theme and personal preferences).
Once you’ve allotted an overall amount for your wedding day, you can set a budget for each element. If you and your loved ones are planning on sticking by tradition, then take a look at what each family should pay for.
What does the groom’s family pay for?
Traditionally, the groom’s family pays for several wedding elements. The marriage license and officiants fee are two aspects that the groom’s parents take care of financially. The groom’s parents also pay for the bride’s bouquet, corsages, and boutonnieres as well as the reception, entertainment, and alcoholic drinks. If you’re planning a rehearsal dinner, you may wish for the parents of the groom to host and pay for this – traditionally, the bride’s parents pay for the first dinner. However, these aren’t rules you have to follow. These days, many couples choose to split paying for a wedding. Depending on the financial status of each family, you may choose to ask for your loved ones to pay for one or two elements rather than what tradition dictates.
What should the groom pay for?
The groom (and his parents) traditionally pay for the bride's wedding ring and the groom's wedding suit. The groom may also wish to pay for the attire of the groomsmen in addition to groomsmen gifts. However, many of the wedding party may choose to pay for their own suit. When it comes to the bachelor party, it’s usually the responsibility of the best man and groomsmen to coordinate the planning process. The groom may decide to cover the cost of this or split the fee with his groomsmen. It’s best to make this decision before any party planning commences.
What does the bride’s family pay for?
Luckily, the bride’s family won’t require an extra mortgage when paying for a wedding. Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding ceremony (this might be a church, synagogue or casual setting), the wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses. Many bridesmaids prefer to purchase their own dress, but the bride’s family can cover these costs. The bride’s family also pays for floral arrangements for the wedding, bouquets for the bridesmaids and flower girls, photography and videography, as well as the invitations and announcements. The full cost of the wedding reception, including catering and décor, transportation, and groom's wedding ring is the responsibility of the parents of the bride too. If you’re planning a bachelorette party or bridal shower before your big day, you may want to share costs with your bridesmaids and maid of honor. Alternatively, the bride and groom can take care of this, so discuss this with your wedding party beforehand.
Who pays for the honeymoon?
Your honeymoon is your chance to relax and celebrate your union after a stressful period of wedding planning. Tradition dictates that the groom or his family should pay for the honeymoon. This is particularly ideal if you’re planning on surprising the bride with a secret trip to a romantic destination. However, many couples now choose to delay their honeymoon to keep costs down. If you plan on paying for the honeymoon as a couple and have a tight budget, this is a great idea. You could use your savings to cover your honeymoon costs or you could have a separate honeymoon budget.
Who pays for the engagement party?
Your engagement party is the first opportunity you have to celebrate your upcoming nuptials. If you want to follow tradition, it’s normally the bride’s parents who host and pay for this celebration. A lot of couples choose to split the cost of an engagement party between them – you could also ask each family to contribute 50% of the cost. It’s not uncommon for family and friends to share the planning and payment, especially if a surprise engagement party is in the cards.
Paying for a wedding doesn’t need to be overwhelming or provoke a confrontation. Simply create your budget first and talk to each family before the planning stage commences. Once you’ve established a budget, have an idea of costs, and know who wishes to pay for what, you’ll be able to plan your wedding with ease. If you’re unsure as to how to split costs between the families of both the bride and groom, follow this guide and stick with traditional wedding values -- it will make your wedding preparation seamless.
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