Budgeting for the Wedding – Who Pays for What?
The cost of a wedding can approach the expense of new car or even more, depending on any number of items. According to The Huffington Post, a wedding in Quebec can run about $8,400 for just 77 guests, but one survey found that the average amount spent on a wedding was about $23,000. That figure does not include the engagement ring or honeymoon. Today’s couples have to make sure they have budgeted for their wedding. Traditionally, families were expected to help with the expenses, but in today’s environment, that isn’t always the case. Although the lines of who pays what for a wedding are definitely blurred, there are some customary divisions.
The Groom and His Family
The groom and his family have the easier burden when it comes to the wedding. The groom generally pays for the engagement ring and bride’s wedding ring. He should also expect to be responsible for:
- His attire
- Boutonnieres and corsages for his side of the wedding party
- Officiant’s fee, plus accommodations and transportation
- Marriage license
- Bride’s gift
- Gifts for the groomsmen
- DJ or music at the reception
- Liquor at the reception
Because the groom’s family traditionally hosts the rehearsal dinner, he or his family should expect to manage all the expenses associated with it.
The Bride and Her Family
Generally, if it isn’t in the groom’s list, it’s the bride’s responsibility. This includes the ceremony and reception expenses, as well as all of the planning, invitations, and photography. Most of the big ticket items are under the bride’s purview. The bride’s family is generally the one who hosts the engagement party, and the bride’s parents are considered the hosts of the reception. This is one reason their name is listed first on the invitation. If the bride hosts a luncheon for the bridesmaids, it is her responsibility to pay for the party.
Although the bride and groom are responsible for most of the expenses associated with the wedding, the attendants should pay for their own attire and accessories. Considerate brides and grooms may offer to assist with costs if the attendant is not able. The bride and groom may also need to provide attire for younger attendants such as the ring bearer or flower girl who do not have discretionary income.
The attendants generally work together to host the bachelor or bachelorette party, and the maid of honor and bridesmaids may host the bridal shower. Attendants should also arrange their own transportation to and from the wedding. Sometimes, the attendants chip in together for a gift for the couple, but it isn’t mandatory.
Contemporary Views of Who Pays
More couples are waiting until they are older and settled into a career and home before they tie the knot. This lets them contribute more money to their own affairs and not ask their parents to cover any expenses. Some families are splitting the bill in thirds, where the groom’s family, the bride’s family, and the couple each pay for one-third of the wedding.
Instead of looking at traditional lists of who pays for what, it’s important to consider the abilities of each party. Adult brides and grooms who have been managing their own finances should not expect parents to cover any of the costs. If the parent offers, then consider it a blessing and don’t ask for more. Second-time brides and grooms are pretty much on their own when it comes to wedding expenses.
Instead of making your wedding about money, take the time before you ever make plans to work out a budget and know exactly what you and your future spouse can afford. Stay within your budget to get started on the right foot without going into debt and dealing with a truckload of bills in your first year of marriage.