A young couple is meeting with a financial advisor.

Who traditionally pays for each portion of the wedding?

Weddings are a time to celebrate traditions. These can include the bride wearing blue or tossing the bouquet. What about financial traditions?

There used to be hard and fast rules on whose side of the family pays for this celebration. Nowadays, the groom and bride may take on expenses to help create their dream wedding.  However, many people still follow traditional guidelines on who pays for what. These can be a good starting point for figuring out your wedding budget. Here’s what you need to know:

The Bride’s Side

The bride’s family will traditionally pay for the entire reception. This includes:

  • hiring a wedding planner to handle the details
  • pre-wedding preparation such as getting the bridal party’s hair and makeup done
  • renting the reception venue
  • catering costs including food and beverages
  • the wedding cake, if not purchased through the venue or caterer
  • any music and entertainment

The family will also pay for the ceremony itself. These expense include:

  • the venue
  • decorations including flowers
  • wedding photography
  • party favors

Invitations, from printing expenses to postage costs, are also handled by the bride’s family. For a modern twist, connect through social media. You can also hire a social media expert to create a hashtag for your special day.

Finally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding attire including the dress, veil, and shoes.

The Groom’s Side

In contrast to the bride, the groom’s family has traditionally fewer expenses. They are expected to pay for:

  • the rehearsal dinner, including the venue and food
  • the engagement and wedding rings
  • the marriage license
  • the honeymoon
  • the officiant’s fee

Split Expenses

Do you have out-of-town guests coming in? These expenses, from plane tickets to hotel rooms, are often split between families. Traditionally, each side will pay for their own friends and family.

Each side of the family may be expected to provide wedding gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other important guests.

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