Wedding costs – who pays for what?

MoneyAs the average age of marriage increases, with many couples living together for long periods of time before getting hitched, today’s wedding has changed with many couples paying for their own nuptials rather than relying on the family.

There has also been an increase in cost sharing between families, with the contributions from both sides, together with the couple.

The expenses can be divided in many ways. The most important factor is that each party should only be expected to contribute what they can afford.

Some modern ideas for cost sharing include calculating the per-head cost for the entire wedding, with each side paying for those guests that they invite. Another option is that if the bride and groom pay for their own wedding, then the parents wedding gift may be to contribute a portion of the wedding cost, or for certain items, such as their daughter’s wedding gown, or perhaps the honeymoon for their son and wife to be. Alternatively the total wedding cost could be split down the middle and each half be paid for by each family. A practical way is for each family specify an amount that they can afford, and the couple to make up any shortfall.

The more traditional path is as follows:

The Bride pays for

  • Bridesmaids bouquets and headdresses
  • Presents for the bridesmaids
  • Gift for the groom

The Bride’s Family pays for

  • Newspaper announcements
  • Bride’s wedding gown, veil and accessories
  • Bride’s trousseau
  • Fees for ceremony soloist or musicians
  • Ceremony decorations
  • Photography
  • Transportation for the bridal party to the church and to the reception
  • Cost of the reception

The Groom pays for

  • The engagement and wedding rings
  • Gift for the bride
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Celebrant, Clergyman’s or other presiding official’s fees
  • The marriage license
  • Flowers for the two mothers
  • Boutonnieres for men in the wedding party
  • Gloves, ascots or ties for men in the wedding party
  • Gifts for the best man and ushers
  • Gifts for the parents

The Groom’s Family pays for

  • The engagement party
  • The honeymoon

Bridesmaids pays for

  • Purchase of gown and accessories.
  • Individual gift to the couple
  • A hens night, shower and/or luncheon for the bride

Groomsmen pays for

  • Bachelor party
  • Cost of hire or purchase of wedding attire
  • Individual gift to the couple