Wedding Expense Etiquette – Who Pays for What?

Wedding Expense Etiquette – Who Pays for What?

First and foremost, there are no rules governing who pays for wedding expenses. Traditionally, the bride’s family covers the cost of most wedding expenses; however, this obligation depends on the individual situation. With more couples getting married later in life, they are often able to cover some or all of the wedding expenses. Ideally, this subject should be discussed with both families to determine a solution that works for all parties involved.

Following is a list of wedding expenses traditionally covered by the bride, the groom, their families and their attendants:

The Bride

  • Wedding ring for the groom
  • Wedding gift for the groom
  • Bridal Attendant gifts
  • Stationery, such as Thank You notes
  • Medical exam and blood test
  • Accommodations for out-of-town attendants

The Groom

  • Engagement and Wedding rings for the bride
  • Wedding gift for the bride
  • Best Man and Usher gifts
  • Groom’s wedding attire
  • Bride’s bouquet and corsage
  • Mothers’ corsages
  • Boutonnieres for attendants and fathers
  • Gloves, ties and ascots for attendants
  • Medical exam and blood test
  • Marriage license
  • Clergyman’s fee
  • Limousine service
  • Honeymoon expenses

The Bride’s Family

  • Engagement party (optional)
  • Wedding breakfast
  • The cost of the ceremony including the church fee, reception site, photographer, food, beverages, entertainment, rental items, floral items and the wedding cake
  • Canopy, carpet kneeling bench, candelabras, etc.
  • Bride’s wedding gown, headpiece and accessories
  • Wedding gift for the couple
  • Wedding invitations, announcements and mailing costs
  • Wedding programs
  • Bridesmaid bouquets
  • Grandmother corsages
  • Transportation for bridal party from bride’s home to the site of ceremony
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon
  • Photography (groom’s parents may pay for the pictures they would like)
  • Personal wedding attire

The Groom’s Family

  • Rehearsal dinner party
  • Groom’s cake
  • Personal wedding attire
  • Travel and accommodations for groom’s family
  • Wedding gift for the bride and groom
  • Any general expenses they may wish to contribute

The Wedding Party, Ushers & Other Attendants

  • Formal wear for themselves
  • Personal travel expenses
  • Wedding gift for bride and groom
  • Showers given by maid of honor or bridesmaids
  • Bachelor party given by best man or ushers

The Bride and Groom

  • Gifts of appreciation for parents or others who helped with the wedding
  • Expenses of items desired which have exceeded original budget allocations

To reiterate, there are no rules governing who pays for wedding expenses. This listing is to serve as an example of who traditionally pays for wedding expenses.