Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays for What?

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Financially, there’s always an unspoken battle at times of who should rightfully pay what but thanks to the modernized perceptions, we no longer need to bind ourselves to the rigid old-fashioned divisions.

Back in the day, it was customary for the girl’s family to sponsor the entire wedding festivities. We personally believe this old-fashioned rule no longer has a place in the modern and broader-minded families.

Thankfully, people now realize the unfairness in that approach and parents no longer have to take out a mortgage to marry their daughters off.

Who Pays for What at a Wedding?

Today, modern couples believe in dividing the costs equally between themselves while leaving the choice to contribute at the discretion of their parents. Even then, if you wish to learn the etiquette of who should pay for what rightfully and we’re here to guide you about it.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the budget break down etiquettes for a wedding:

1. The Engagement Party

Traditionally, the girl’s family sponsors and hosts the engagement party. The idea behind it is to welcome the groom as part of their family now and also introduce him to their extended family, friends and acquaintances.

But like we just mentioned, the society now has a broader perception about wedding budgets and who should be paying and we like that. Hence, if for any reasons the parents cannot afford to or are unable to host an engagement party, anybody else can do it. Even the couple can throw a bash for their family and friends jointly.

Usually though, parents do find this a wonderful opportunity and a grand gesture for establishing a solid rapport with their daughter’s future husband and his family.

2. Ceremony

The ceremony is the most important part of any wedding and naturally, both families would want to participate to their fullest in it. Hence, the traditional route for sponsoring the wedding ceremony includes the bride or her family paying for the synagogue or Church where the ceremony will take place.
She also pays for the sexton, the organist and choir and other similar Church arrangements. The groom and his family are responsible for paying the officiant’s fee and sponsoring the marriage license.

3. Reception

Generally, the bride and her family sponsor all the professional services for the reception, including the food, décor, event management and so on. The groom and his family pay for the liquor, the band and dj and also the photographer for the event.

This is why you will note how you will see the parents of the bride playing the most important role at wedding receptions usually. They have to play the host and hostess because traditionally, this honor belongs to them as they’re paying for the major portion of the festivities.

Their names not only feature right at the top of the wedding invitations but they’re also the ones who have to welcome the guests and overlook the smooth progress of the reception events.

4. Wedding Attires

Nowadays, you will more commonly see the bride and groom paying for their own wedding outfits, and it does sound practical to us. But if you’re planning to go down the traditional route for this one too, then the bride and her family sponsor the brides wedding attire.

This includes her veil, accessories, her wedding gown and trousseau (consisting of her honeymoon clothes and lingerie). The groom and his family pay for his outfit and accessories. If he’s opting for a traditional tuxedo, this would include paying for the accessories too, like cufflinks, tie pin, bowtie and others.
The attendants or the bridal party, pay for their own clothing and shoes too.

5. Décor and Flowers

The bride and her family are also responsible for the floral arrangements for the ceremony and reception. This includes the floral décor for the Church, the corsages and bouquets for the bridesmaids and the flower girls. Also, the bride’s family pays for the Chuppah in case they’re Jews and the ceremony will typically be a Jewish one.

The floral arrangements that the groom and his family pay for are the bride’s bouquet, the corsages of grandmothers and mothers on both sides of the family and the boutonnieres for men, also on both sides of the families.

6. Pre-wedding Celebrations

The pre-wedding celebrations can be sponsored equally by both the families. The groom and bride’s side of the families can even plan mutually and host each celebration jointly. If there’s to be more than one pre-wedding party, then the bride’s parents can host the entire engagement party while the groom’s family can choose to pick up tabs for the other celebrations.

For example, the groom’s family can throw the rehearsal dinner and even have an intimate celebration for the two families and close friends before that. The maid of honor, the bridesmaids and friends of the bride can host the bachelorette or bridal shower together.

For the bachelor party or stag do, the best man and the other friends can get together and host the entire events. The friends may also collectively plan a few additional parties or showers for the groom and bride to be.

7. Rings

The bride and/or her family pay for both of the groom’s rings, including the engagement ring and his wedding band while the groom and/or his family pay for both of her rings.

8. Stationery

The bride and her family also sponsor all the stationery that is to be part of the wedding events, including the engagement and wedding announcements, invitations and also the wedding programs.

Final Thoughts

It is quite interesting to note that the bride and her family take responsibility for the lion’s share of the wedding costs. From stationery to invites, wedding dress and accessories to engagement party and the reception, the bride and/or her family sponsor it all.

As times have evolved, many have broken out of the traditional and somewhat unfair distribution of costs. Modern couples are more independent and prefer to sponsor their entire wedding, from the engagement bash to the reception all on their own.

As such parents are under no obligation to pay for anything but if they wish to, they can willingly contribute as much as they like, without any obligations.

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