Wedding Expenses – Who Pays What?

Settling on a wedding budget is a daunting and difficult task but it is one that must be done early before things get out of hand. Wedding expenses can pile up very quickly and become quite the monster if you don’t set a pretty good budget and follow it. You don’t have to take out a loan to have a wonderful wedding!

People always think “well the bride’s family pays for everything” and there is a lot of truth in that, but it’s not 100% the case. A lot of different people tend to pitch in to make the wedding as great as it can be. Whether that is parents, grandparents, Aunt’s and Uncle’s, you name it. There really is no right or wrong answer for who pays what… but there is a traditional answer.

Here is what tradition tells us.

wedding expenses a place in the vineyard wedding

Wedding Expenses


The Bride’s Family is supposed to pay for:

1) The Wedding Ceremony: the venue, decorations and music

2) The Reception: the venue, decorations, DJ or band, catering, cake, photography, videography and basically anything else that’s necessary for the reception (find your wedding vendors on the knot!)

3) The Wedding Gown: the gown itself, any necessary alterations, shoes, jewelry and the veil

4) The Wedding Planner: if you choose to have one

5) The Stationery: any of the printed materials like save-the-date cards, invitations, ceremony programs, menus, escort cards, thank you cards, etc.

5) The Transportation: for the guests (if necessary) and transportation for the bride and groom’s send off

6) The Pre and Post Wedding Parties: the engagement party (although this is normally hosted by a friend or other family member) and the day-after brunch (if you have one)

Now I know what you’re thinking… “Yikes! Is there really anything left for anyone else after all those wedding expenses??” Believe it or not, yes there is. So let’s move on to the groom’s family…

wedding expenses a place in the vineyard wedding

The Groom’s Family is supposed to pay for:

1) The Rehearsal Dinner: the venue, catering, decor, music and libations

2) Honeymoon: air fair and the trip itself

3) Alcohol for the Reception: wine, beer and liquor for all guests

Yes, traditionally speaking the groom’s family does get off the hook with a much lesser bill than the bride’s family but like I said, this is just what tradition dictates. Many couples and families come up with vastly different budgeting splits. Any help with the wedding expenses is welcomed.

wedding expenses a place in the vineyard wedding

The Bride is supposed to pay for:

1) Bridesmaid Gifts: jewelry for the wedding is a popular choice

2) The Groom’s Wedding Band

3) Hair and Makeup: not only for herself but for her bridesmaids as well if she is setting up the appointments or making it mandatory

4) Wedding Day gift for the groom

5) Gifts for her parents: I don’t see this one very much but it’s a sweet gesture for sure!

wedding expenses a place in the vineyard wedding

The Groom is supposed to pay for:

1) The Marriage License

2) The Officiant: the groom’s family often pitch in with this

3) The Bride’s Rings: both the engagement ring and the wedding band and any resizing or cleaning

4) Groomsmen’s Gifts

4) His own attire: tuxedo, shoes, cuff links, etc

5) Wedding-day gift for the bride

6) Bride’s bouquet, men’s boutonnieres, and mothers’ & grandmother’s corsages: this is a VERY traditional way of splitting it up. This is normally all handled by the same person that orders the rest of the flowers.

7) Gift for his parents: again, I don’t see this a lot but it’s very touching

8) Wedding Night Hotel

PHEW. One. More. To. Go.

wedding expenses a place in the vineyard wedding

The Wedding Party is supposed to pay for:

1) Their own attire: bridesmaids get their own dresses and groomsmen get their own tuxes

2) Their own travel and hotel

3) Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties: keep these as low key as you want or go all out

AND we are done. Yes, there are a lot of wedding expenses. Splitting them up is immensely helpful if people are willing to pitch in. But keep in mind that this is just the traditional way of splitting things. Many couples do not follow this at all and that’s totally okay too.

The biggest piece of advice I can give you is not to over extend yourself. You don’t want to spend all your life savings or rack up tremendous credit card debt trying to fund your wedding. Yes they are generally pretty expensive but it can and should be done with a budget in mind.


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