Wedding Budget: Who Pays for What?

A standard wedding budget can help you sort through the variety of costs associated with your big day. Of course, a wedding is a personal event, so traditional wedding budgets can be altered as necessary to suit your needs. Today, it is common for a bride and groom to foot part of the bill, and some couples also have two sets of parents assisting with payments. The following discussion describes traditional ways expenses have been divided up and notes some new practices.

Bride's Parents

The actual wedding is traditionally a celebration given by the bride's parents in honor of their daughter's new husband and new family. The concept of the bride's family paying comes from a time when the bride offered a dowry as part of her marriage. Since she would be supported by the groom and his family from that day forward, the dowry was her single contribution. Today, even though a dowry is a thing of the past, the bride's family still often picks up the bill for the ceremony. This includes the bride's apparel, invitations, the location fee, the ceremony fee, the food, drinks, music, photographer and all the other expenses that occur on the day of the wedding.

Groom's Parents

The groom's parents traditionally pay for two important things: the rehearsal dinner and the officiant's fee. The rehearsal dinner was traditionally a time when those who were participating in the wedding joined together the night before. The dinner followed the wedding rehearsal. Today, the event has grown to often include close family or out-of-town guests. The officiant at your wedding will charge a fee, typically a few hundred dollars, that is also the traditional responsibility of the groom's parents. This is handed to the officiant by the best man following the ceremony.

Bride and Bridal Party

The bride herself should have to pay for very little. She may need to foot the bill for wedding gifts. She will typically elect to purchase gifts for the bridal party. Gifts range from small tokens of thanks to beautiful jewelry to be worn on the wedding day. The bride should also purchase a gift for her parents in thanks for their assistance with the wedding. This is given at the end of the wedding. Today, it is common for the bride and groom to purchase gifts jointly for both of their parents. The bridal party is responsible for paying for a shower and/or a bachelorette party if one is thrown.

Groom and Groom's Party

The groom will also purchase gifts for his groomsmen. These gifts tend to be more masculine than the bride's comparable gifts. The groom may also give his parents a gift or purchase these together with the bride. The groom's party, for their part, typically pays for the bachelor party if one is held. Finally, the groom often pays for the honeymoon. Today, a honeymoon expense can be shared among the groom, his parents, the bride, her parents and even honeymoon registry donations.

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