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 pays for the wedding.
Setting Your Wedding 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. 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 for each family to cover an equal amount.
The Typical Costs For Weddings
Before you can start planning a budget, you’ll need to know how much is typically spent on each element.
While these will depend on your wedding theme and personal preferences, it’s a good guideline.
- The wedding reception – up to 50% of the overall cost. This includes décor, catering, and drinks.
- Entertainment costs, including music or props – up to 10%
- The cost of your ceremony – 2 to 3%. This fee may be included with your reception, depending on your venue of choice.
- Wedding attire, including the wedding dress – up to 10% of the overall cost.
- Flowers – up to 10%
- Wedding photography and videography – around 10%
- Stationery (wedding invitations, place cards etc.) – 2%
- Wedding rings – 3%
- Gifts for the bridal party – 2%
- Transportation – up to 3%
- Miscellaneous, including the honeymoon – up to 5%
- Save 5% as a backup fund to avoid extra stress.
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.
For a quick and simple illustration of responsibilities, see the below graphic. Keep in mind that these are just guidelines. Not every wedding will have all these aspects, and families often change around payment options.
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, the groom’s parents traditionally host and pay for it. 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. Or some of the wedding party may choose to pay for their own suit.
When it comes to the bachelor party, the best man and groomsmen are responsible for coordinating the planning process. However, 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 venue, the wedding dress, and bridesmaid dresses.
Many bridesmaids prefer to purchase their own dress, but the bride’s family may help with these costs.
The bride’s family also pays for floral arrangements for the wedding, including bouquets for the bridesmaids and flower girls. Additionally, they normally cover 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, the bridesmaids and maid of honor may assist with costs. 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 arrangement is ideal if you plan 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?
This one is far less of a necessity than most of the things we discussed above.
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.