Wedding Etiquette: Who Typically Pays For A Wedding?

In terms of tradition and finances, should parents still pay for a wedding? Do the bride and groom have to foot the bill for the wedding? Here, we take a look at what couples may do to save money on their wedding. When it comes to weddings, the distinctions between who pays for what have blurred. At the outset, we must declare that there is no binding legal precedent regarding fiscal responsibility. No one needs to tell you that the bride's family usually pays for the majority of the wedding costs, but that hasn't stopped modern couples from using their funds to throw a lavish event.

The owner of A Day in May Events says that creating a wedding budget is one of the most crucial and challenging tasks, but that doing so early in the planning process can be a huge help. Discussions about the budget need to start at the same time as those about the guest list and the location. Even though most engaged couples don't think about it, knowing your 'cost per guest' early on will help you make decisions that are more in line with your budget, especially when evaluating vendors whose costs are not contingent on the number of guests.

There is some disagreement on who should foot the bill for the wedding. Once upon a time, the wedding was hosted by (and the cost of) the bride's parents. Most people today think the couple should foot the bill for their wedding, especially if they've been living independently for a while. The majority of parents would love to help out their children. The following slides outline the customary splits of wedding costs; however, contributions should be negotiated based on willingness and ability.

Whether your parents or the parents of your prospective spouse are proposing to pay for all or a portion of the wedding, it's useful to know who traditionally pays for what. It is not required that the bride's family pay for the engagement party or that the groom's parents pay for the rehearsal dinner, but knowing how the money for a wedding is normally divided up will make things go more smoothly.

One of the most crucial steps in wedding preparation is establishing a financial plan. However, determining who will be footing the bill for the nuptials is necessary before you can establish a realistic budget for the ceremony and reception (and, of course, make good use of WeddingWire's free budget tool to remain organised). There is also the conventional approach to determining who should foot the bill. However, in the modern era, there are several alternatives to traditional methods of division. Individuals often foot the bill for their own weddings. Some families may have a more even division of labour, while others may have one member who pays all the bills while the other does not.

Sixty-one percent of LGBTQIA+ couples pay for the majority of their wedding, but are receiving financial aid from friends and family more than in years past, so couples and their families need to design their own budget plan. However, it is ultimately up to you and your family to determine the best course of action. Here is a summary of the "conventional" manner to determine wedding costs and who should pay for what, but please don't take this as gospel.

There's a long-standing custom that stipulates certain guests must chip in for specific aspects of a wedding. But don't worry; the wedding won't require a second mortgage from the bride's family. And if you're typical of married people, you'll probably be splitting the bill quite evenly. Best way to sort it out, if there is one. Plan out your wedding expenses using The Knot Budget Calculator or good old-fashioned pen and paper. Please find below the customary allocation of expenses between the bride's and groom's family. Now, listen up: Although these guidelines may look like rules, you are free to follow them or deviate from them as you see fit to maximise your personal financial well-being.

Couples today are more concerned than ever before with the details of their wedding day (or wedding weekend), from the invitations to the flowers to the menu to the entertainment. The question of who pays for the event arises even at less formal gatherings like celebratory lunches. There are more conventional approaches, like having the bills sent to the groom's family, and there are also newer, more relaxed ways to handle the money. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, individuals are constantly reevaluating their priorities, budgets, and the amount they are able to spend on their partners and children. In order to have a smooth planning process that benefits the couple and their families, it is essential to be open and honest with each other, to set realistic expectations, and to manage everyone's expectations. This article provides a comprehensive guide on wedding budgeting, allowing you to chart your own course.

Traditionalists' Perspective

Simply put, it is customary for the groom's family to foot the bill for the wedding. Who could forget Steve Martin's endearing portrayal of George Banks, a father worried about how to pay for his daughter Annie's wedding in the film Father of the Bride? Fathers who hosted weddings during the Emily Post Era will recognise the struggle of trying to strike a balance between spending too much and not giving their daughters the wedding of their dreams.

All the venues, decorations, transportation, clothes, flowers, music, food, drinks, and more are included in this price tag. This is why, in most traditional wedding invitation wording, the parents of the bride are given prominent placement. Remember that according to this time-honoured tradition, the parents of the bride serve as de facto hosts of the wedding. They will be the go-to person for vendors and have last say on all things financial, such as the final headcount, guest list, and major design and party choices. Although the wishes of the bride are customarily (and rightfully) given top priority, it is important for those involved in the planning process (regardless of who is footing the cost) to have frank discussions about who has the final say. Just as in any other transaction, most vendors will treat the person who writes the check as the de facto customer. The rehearsal supper is traditionally hosted by the groom's family.

Traditional List Of Wedding Costs And Who Pays

Melbourne who Pays for the wedding

Parents And Family Members Of The Bride

If you're keeping things strictly conventional, the families of the bride and groom will foot the bill. Even in stereotypical roles, the bride's family is only responsible for a portion of the wedding costs. In most cultures, the family of the bride foots the bill for the wedding ceremony and reception.

  • Engagement Reception (though friends or other loved ones may host this)
  • The Wedding Ceremony - Decoration, Location and Music
  • Location of the reception
  • Catering Reception Music
  • Bride's Gown and Accessories
  • Wedding Planner Flowers (save for the bride's bouquet, men's boutonnieres, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers in some situations)
  • Save-the-dates, invitations, ceremony programmes, escort cards, and other stationery
  • Favours
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Transportation
  • Wedding Cake
  • Day-After Brunch (if desired)

The Twists On Tradition

The meaning of the word "tradition" has changed over time. Nowadays, it's usual for both sets of parents to be involved, with each side of the family pitching in financially to help the couple raise their kids. A new tradition is always being created in the twenty-first century, according to the CEO and founder of Rafanelli Events. The fact that there is no universal rule about who pays for a wedding today makes the ceremony more significant to the couple. According to Rafanelli, it is becoming customary for grandparents, aunts, uncles, and godparents to play a role in a newlywed couple's special day. Rafanelli is confident in his statement, "Anything goes. We deal with couples whose families are contributing equally to the cost of the wedding, as well as couples for whom only one set of parents is footing the bill.

Instead of giving a monetary gift, it is becoming more common for friends and relatives of the couple to take charge of or contribute to one of the many activities associated with the wedding. The financial weight of a wedding, whether it be the cake, the dress, an activation like a photo booth, or a surprise performer, is often divided amongst several people or organisations nowadays.

When it comes to raising a family, Steve Moore, co-founder and creative director of Sinclair and Moore, says, "Be collaborative. Although the bride's family may have anticipated paying for the wedding, they may be relieved to learn that the groom's family will also be contributing. In light of the current difficulties in the global economy, working together could be the ideal option to prepare the wedding of your dreams without breaking the bank.

Rafanelli concurs, saying that contributors might choose between being obvious and surprising. We just put on a spectacular wedding that the bride's parents paid for in full, but the groom threw a fireworks extravaganza as a surprise for the bride and her family. The wedding takes on a more individual tone when the bride and groom insist on including certain elements that are particularly meaningful to them, such as a special song requested by the bride or groom during the ceremony or a spectacular floral arrangement. A word of advice: if you want to surprise the happy couple, it's probably best to talk to the wedding planner or a close relative who is helping out with the preparations to make sure it will be well-received and fits into the schedule.

In A Wedding In 2021, Who Pays For What?

Let's take a look at the present situation before we dive into the customary split of who pays for the wedding. The majority of wedding costs are still covered by the parents, as reported by the 2020 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, with the couple paying for 47% and other family and friends covering the remaining 1%. But partners in a couple typically pitch in around the same amount. The age of the team has an effect on this. Between 42% and 56% of wedding costs are covered by parents for couples with wedding dates between 1981 and 1996. When it comes to wedding costs, however, couples from the Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) typically foot 78% of the bill while their parents pay for the remaining 20%. For LGBTQIA+ couples, the breakdown of who pays for what is also different: the couple pays for 61% of the wedding costs, while the parents pay for 37%.

If it's the couple's second wedding, they'll probably pay for it themselves, with the couple paying 88% and the parents contributing 10% of the total. In terms of wedding etiquette, it's important to keep in mind that whoever foots the bill gets to call the shots. For instance, if your parents are footing the majority of the bill, they should have input into crucial decisions like the guest list, wedding location, and catering. On the wedding invitation, they will also be listed as hosts.

A Cost-Splitting Guide

Discuss with both sets of parents whether and how they would like to make a financial contribution to the wedding.

The parents of the bride and groom should not be asked for money until the bride and groom have had a chance to address the matter amongst themselves. Rebecca Gardner, an East Coast event specialist, urges her clients to "please, please talk about prices upfront." Post agrees and suggests that, once the couple has discussed the issue internally, they bring it up with their families in a tactful manner. She recommends framing the question as "We were wondering whether you would want to donate to the wedding" and reassuring guests that the couple is "not expecting anything." Parents who wish to contribute should be asked to specify their desired level of involvement and the costs they are willing to cover.

Think About Who Typically Pays For The Wedding

According to Lizzie Post, co-host of the Awesome Etiquette Podcast and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post, the bride's family often pays for most of the wedding's expenses, including the wedding planner, invitations, clothing, ceremony, and reception. A dowry was traditionally given by the bride's family to the groom's family as compensation for taking on the "burden" of a wife. "It's tougher to think about this now, and a feminist," she says. In addition to paying for the wedding fees up front, Victorians also gave the bride a trousseau, which included clothing and household goods for a year.

Traditional engagement parties are also hosted by the bride's family. The bride paid for everything, including the ceremony flowers, the gifts for the bridesmaids, the groom's ring, and the groom's gift.

Traditionally, the groom's family has footed the bill for the wedding ceremony and reception, including the rehearsal dinner, honeymoon, and transportation. There was a catch, though: traditionally, the officiant was also selected by the groom's family. The bride's engagement ring, wedding ring, and the gifts for the groomsmen were all purchased with money from the groom.

Who Pays For The Wedding Doesn't Depend On The Couple's Age

Prices of Wedding Venue Melbourne

"Paying for the wedding has very little to do with age," The couple's financial stability and the part their families wish to play in the wedding are truly what matter most. The age of the contributor is irrelevant, as Post admits. A parent should wish to support if they can afford to, whether their child is getting married in their forties, thirties, or twenties.

Contributions To Your Wedding's Budget May Have Conditions.

If your family contributes considerably to the cost, you can encounter challenging circumstances where they insist on doing things their way rather than your way. If you anticipate it happening, you might want to think about paying the bills on your own. Even if you ultimately decide to scale back the celebrations, you'll be far more at ease planning the wedding you want according to your terms.

FAQs About Wedding

Whether it is their second marriage or they seek independence from their parents, many contemporary couples choose to take on all of the costs associated with their wedding by themselves.

In certain instances, it's also feasible that their parents aren't in a position to assist in any way due to the circumstances of their own lives. Compared to previous decades, an increasing number of engaged couples are choosing to host all or part of their weddings.

Nowadays, it is a usual tradition for both families, and sometimes the bride and groom, to share expenses for the wedding. This is done to avoid placing an undue financial strain on one family to cover the entire cost of the wedding.

The following are some of the more up-to-date methods of paying for weddings: The couple, the bride's family, and the groom's family each contribute an equal amount to cover the costs of the wedding.

According to long-standing custom, the bride is the only person expected to pay for the wedding band worn by the groom and the presents given to the bridesmaids. However, many of the costs associated with a wedding (including everything from a coordinator to flowers and décor) are typically split between the bride's family and the bride herself.

Since the bride is the groom's date, the bouquet ought to be a present from the groom to the bride. The bride's bouquet may even be made of wildflowers, adding a touch of romance to the occasion. The floral arrangements at the wedding are generally paid for by the groom's side of the bride's family.

Flowers and Decorative Items The bride and her family are responsible for paying for all of the wedding ceremony's floral arrangements, the reception, and the bouquets and corsages for the bridesmaids and flower girls. The groom and his family foot the bill for the bouquet carried by the bride, as well as the boutonnieres and corsages are worn by the men and the mothers and grandmothers.

Find Ways To Express Gratitude At Every Opportunity

Those who make an effort to aid others are often showered with gratitude. If the wedding is being paid for by a relative or friend, the bride should be extra grateful and gracious. Respect their role in the wedding or else you risk offending them. Don't forget that "he who has the gold, makes the rules." The bride's family's name should appear first and foremost on the invitations if they are footing the bill for the nuptials.

The invitation might read, "Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Smith request the honour of your presence at the wedding of their daughter Mary Ann to Everett Montgomery." Wording like, "Charles and Delaney Tout and Harold and Claudia Kohn ask you to celebrate with their children Amelia and Stephen" works well if both sets of parents are footing the bill. (Only the bride and groom's names need to be on the invitation if the couple is footing the bill for the nuptials.)


Should parents still foot the bill, both financially and culturally? Do the bride and groom often pay for the wedding themselves? In this article, we explore some of the ways that engaged couples might cut costs. Making decisions that are more fiscally responsible can be facilitated by an early budget. It is essential to your wedding budget that you choose who will be responsible for paying the costs.

In certain households, the burden of financial responsibility may be shared more evenly, while in others, it may fall mostly on the shoulders of a single breadwinner. Of LGBTQIA+ couples, 61% said they will pay most or all of their wedding expenditures themselves. Modern-day couples put more thought than ever into every aspect of their wedding. Even at more casual get-togethers like celebration lunches, the issue of who will foot the bill inevitably emerges. To help you find your own way, this article offers a detailed guide to wedding budgeting.

In most societies, the bride's family pays for the wedding and reception. The role of godparents, grandparents, and other extended family members in a wedding is growing in popularity, as reported by Rafanelli. Parents still pay for most weddings, although partners usually contribute about the same amount. The bride and groom typically cover 61% of the wedding costs for LGBTQIA+ couples while the parents cover 37%. It's likely that the pair will foot the bill entirely if this is their second wedding.

It is inappropriate to request financial support from the parents of the bride and groom. The bride's family would typically provide the groom's family with a dowry. Whether their child is getting married in their forties, thirties, or twenties, parents should want to support them if they can. Consider pitching in some cash of your own to cover the wedding's expenses if your family is helping out a lot with the tab. Keep in mind the important part they play in the wedding and avoid upsetting them. All wedding invitations should feature the surname of the bride's family prominently.

Content Summary

  1. Who pays for what at a wedding is no longer clearly defined.
  2. It goes without saying that the bride's family will foot the bill for a large portion of the wedding, but that hasn't stopped modern couples from spending a small fortune on the big day.
  3. When considering vendors whose prices do not vary with the number of guests, understanding your 'cost per guest' early on will help you make decisions that are more in accordance with your budget, even if most engaged couples don't even think about it.
  4. Who should pay for the wedding has been a source of contention.
  5. Weddings used to be hosted by and paid for by the bride's family.
  6. It's helpful to know who typically covers certain costs at a wedding if either your or your future spouse's parents have proposed footing the bill in full or in part.
  7. It is customary for the bride's family to cover the cost of the engagement party and the groom's family to cover the cost of the rehearsal dinner, but neither of these arrangements is mandatory.
  8. When planning a wedding, creating a budget is an essential first step.
  9. To set a reasonable budget for the wedding and reception (and, of course, to make good use of WeddingWire's no-cost budget tool to stay organised), you'll need to know who is paying for the big day.
  10. The standard method of deciding who must pay also exists.
  11. In many cases, the happy couple will pay their own way for the ceremony.
  12. But you and your loved ones must make the final decision.
  13. Please don't take this as gospel, but here is a rundown of the "traditional" approach to dividing up wedding expenses.
  14. Budget for your wedding with The Knot Budget Calculator or good old-fashioned pen and paper.
  15. Traditional methods, such as having the invoices sent to the groom's family, coexist with more modern, informal alternatives.
  16. Open communication, honest expectations setting, and effective expectation management are all crucial to a stress-free planning process that yields positive results for the couple and their families.
  17. To help you find your own way, this article offers a detailed guide to wedding budgeting.
  18. In the Viewpoint of Traditionalists
  19. A wedding is traditionally paid for by the groom's family.
  20. Keep in mind that the parents of the bride act as hosts de facto for the wedding, as per this time-honored custom.
  21. Traditional weddings typically have the bride's and groom's family pay for the festivities.
  22. The traditional role of the bride's family in covering wedding expenses is often exaggerated.
  23. In most societies, the bride's family pays for the wedding and reception.
  24. It is becoming common for today's couples to have the support of both sets of parents in raising their children.
  25. According to the CEO and founder of Rafanelli Events, every day in the twenty-first century brings the birth of a new tradition.
  26. Couples can put more thought into their big day because there is no longer a hard and fast rule concerning who pays for the wedding.
  27. The role of godparents, grandparents, and other extended family members in a wedding is growing in popularity, as reported by Rafanelli.
  28. More and more often, guests at a wedding will not give the happy couple money as a gift, but will instead volunteer to organise or provide resources for one of the many events planned to celebrate the union.
  29. This past weekend, my fiance and I hosted a wonderful wedding that was paid for in full by the bride's family, but the groom surprised everyone with a fireworks display.
  30. If you're planning on surprising the newlyweds, you might want to run the idea by the wedding coordinator or a close relative who's helping out with the preparations to make sure it's appropriate and doesn't interfere with anything else.
  31. According to the 2020 WeddingWire Newlywed Report, parents continue to pay for most of the wedding, with the couple paying for 47% and other family and friends paying the remaining 1%.
  32. Among couples who tied the knot between 1981 and 1996, parents paid for between 42% and 56% of the ceremony and reception.
  33. However, couples from Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) typically pay for 78% of the wedding costs themselves, while their parents cover the remaining 20%.
  34. Also different is the distribution of who pays for what when it comes to weddings for LGBTQIA+ couples: the pair typically covers 61% of the expenditures themselves, while the parents cover 37%.
  35. In most cases, the newlyweds will foot the bill for their second wedding, with financial assistance from family members amounting to no more than 10% of the entire cost.
  36. It is customary for the party that pays for the wedding to have the last say on all major decisions.
  37. If your parents are footing the majority of the expense, for instance, they should have a say in the wedding's location, guest list, and menu.
  38. Prior to discussing the topic amongst themselves, the bride and groom should not approach their parents for financial support.
  39. Post agrees and suggests the couple explore the matter privately before broaching the subject tactfully with their respective families.
  40. Parents who are interested in helping out should be asked about the extent to which they are willing to participate and the financial contributions they may provide.
  41. Consider the Traditional Wedding Payer.
  42. The bride's family often foots the bill for the majority of the wedding, including the planner, invites, attire, ceremony, and reception, says Lizzie Post, co-host of the Awesome Etiquette Podcast and great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post.
  43. Traditionally, the bride's family would offer the groom's family a dowry to offset the financial "burden" of marrying into the family.
  44. The bridegroom's family has historically paid for the wedding and all associated expenses, including the reception, rehearsal dinner, honeymoon, and transportation.
  45. Who pays for the wedding has little to do with how old the couple is. What really matters is the couple's financial situation and the role their family want to play in the wedding.
  46. You should prepare to handle your own financial obligations if this is something you expect to occur.
  47. You'll feel much more at ease organising the wedding you want on your terms even if you end up having fewer guests and smaller festivities.
  48. The bride's attitude should be especially thankful and courteous if a friend or family member is footing the bill for the wedding.
  49. Keep in mind the important part they play in the wedding and avoid upsetting them.
  50. In the event that the bride's family is paying for the wedding, their names should be featured prominently on the invitations.
  51. If the happy couple is covering the price themselves, then only their names need appear on the invitation.
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