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Expense Breakdown

Who Pays For What? Traditionally Speaking

We all know that figuring out who pays for a wedding can sometimes be a touchy and confusing issue. It is customary for the bride’s family to take responsibility for the majority of the wedding expenses. However, it is not as clear-cut as it used to be. Today it is not uncommon for the bride and groom to bear the brunt of the wedding expenses themselves. Though there is no set way the bill has to be split, here is a traditional guideline of how the costs are customarily divided.

The Bride:

  • Groom’s wedding ring

  • Gift for her future husband

  • Gifts for her attendants

  • Luncheon or party for her attendants

  • Lodging for her out-of-town attendants

  • Wedding consultant

The Groom:

  • Bride’s engagement and wedding rings

  • Gifts for the best man and ushers

  • Marriage license fees

  • Clergy fees

  • His tuxedo

  • Boutonnieres for his ushers

  • Lodging for his out-of-town attendants

  • Gift for his future wife

  • Financing the honeymoon

The Bridesmaids and Maid of Honor:

  • Bridal shower and bachelorette party

  • Cost of their gowns and accessories

  • Travel expenses, if wedding is out of town

  • Wedding gift for the bride and groom

The Groomsmen and Best Man:

  • Bachelor Party

  • Cost of tuxedo and other formal attire

  • Travel expenses, if wedding is out of town

  • Wedding gift for the bride and groom

The Groom’s Family:

  •  Rehearsal Dinner

  • Ties and gloves for the groom’s attendants

  • Bride’s bouquet, mothers and grandmothers corsages

  • Flowers to be worn by immediate family members

  • Generous wedding gift to the bride and groom

The Bride’s Family:

  • Invitations and announcements

  • Wedding stationery

  • Bridal gown, accessories and trousseau

  • Flowers for the ceremony, including bouquets for bride’s attendants

  • Reception expenses, including facility, food, flowers, bar costs, etc.

  • Photographer and/or Videographer

  • Music and entertainment for ceremony and reception

  • Transportation and parking expenses for the ceremony and reception

  • Generous wedding gift for the bride and groom

Above all else, make sure the joy and goodwill that should accompany your wedding is not overshadowed by controversy or ill will over who is paying for what. Sensitivity to the financial capabilities of both families is imperative. Care should be taken to not cause undue financial burden and even embarrassment if the one who “customarily” should pay really can’t afford to. The bride and groom should take the lead in openly discussing with the families how to allocate the costs of “their wedding day” so everyone will feel comfortable with their contribution before and after the wedding. Clarifying the financial responsibilities early on will create a sense of harmony throughout the wedding planning process.


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