17th December 2021

Who Pays for the Wedding? The Full Wedding Budget Breakdown

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Breaking down who pays for what in the wedding budget can be a real head scratcher. Do you go traditional, or do you go the more modern route when splitting the costs? It feels like there are a lot of “shoulds” thrown around in the wedding world when you are looking for information which aren’t always helpful. Below we have broken down both the traditional etiquette of who pays for what at weddings, and then included a more modern take on what your breakdown might look like. Remember that there is no rule for this and you should break it down however you see fit. These are just some guidelines to use as a starting off point.

The Traditional Breakdown:

Traditionally the bills for weddings have been split out mainly between the family of the bride, and the groom. While some people may still want to stick to tradition, we know that this breakdown probably won’t look anything like your actual wedding budget.

What Does The Groom Pay For?

A lot of the big costs traditionally fell to the groom. The main ones were the engagement ring, the groom’s suit, groomsmen’s suits, and the honeymoon. The engagement ring tradition still generally stands, as long as the couple is heterosexual and the groom is the one doing the proposing. While the bride may gift the groom a watch or similar on the morning of the wedding day to complete his outfit, the groom is expected to cover all of his own personal costs. He is also traditionally responsible for paying for the groomsmen’s suits.

What Does The Bride Pay For?

In the traditional breakdown, the bride gets of pretty easily. The only thing she is required to foot the bill for is gifts for the bridesmaids! Of course, this traditional breakdown reflects the expected financial position of each member of the couple. These traditions assume that the bride will not be working, or at least will be earning significantly less than her partner, which is why it breaks down this way.

The Couple

Tradition states that the couple pays for each other’s rings.

The Bride’s Family

The bride’s family actually take on the brunt of the expenses. Firstly, they are responsible for footing the bill for the ceremony and the reception. That’s all the food, drink, music, décor and the registrar and church fees too. Not only that but they are also expected to pay for the wedding dress and accessories, and even the bridesmaid’s outfits! As if that wasn’t enough, tradition states that they pay for the guest accommodation and transport for everyone on their side of the guest list. Phew!

The Groom’s Family

Comparatively the groom’s family get off pretty lightly. They are only expected to pay for guest accommodation and transport for the guests on their side of the wedding. However they may also be asked to help the groom pay for suits for him and his groomsmen.

An Updated Breakdown of Wedding Costs:

If your parents haven’t been saving up since your birth to throw you a dream wedding, it is probably unlikely that they will want to foot the bill for your big day. So if the traditions are out of the window, here is a breakdown of how your costs might actually look.

Engagement Ring

Generally whoever pops the question foots the bill for the ring. It is up to you if you want to reciprocate the gift to your partner and get them an engagement ring as well!

Wedding Rings

When it comes to wedding rings, we think it’s fair that you pay for each other’s. It is sweet to think of the wedding ring as your first gift to each other as a married couple. However, definitely keep a budget in mind before you go ring shopping.

Wedding Clothing

The likelihood will be that you have an overall wedding budget which is comprised of your own savings. The wedding dress and suit budget will then come out of that. It is likely that the wedding dress will end up having a higher price tag than the suit, so you may want to balance this out elsewhere in the budget. But this is completely up to you! If your family wants to contribute to either of your outfits, it may be nice to include them in the choosing process. However don’t let their wishes overtake yours of course.

Wedding Ceremony

The bride and groom will likely foot the bill for this portion of the day. This includes the venue, celebrant, any extras like choir or organist, and décor such as flowers. If there is a very religious element to your ceremony that relates to a family religion, then your parents may be more likely to get involved.

Wedding Reception

Nowadays it is the marrying couple’s responsibility to foot the bill for the reception. This is great because you can make it all about you, and not feel swayed by other people’s opinions.

However, it is common that your families may want to make some contributions. For example, footing the bill for the wine, or the band. Letting your families chip in for specific things instead of just contributing a chunk of cash will help them see what their money went towards. This will also prevent the “too many cooks” mentality which could result in you having to compromise.

The Bridal Party

The outfits for the bridal party can either be paid for by you, or by them individually. If you expect your bridal party to wear very specific and pricy outfits then etiquette would dictate that you offer to foot the bill yourselves. However some couples do not have the budget for this,. If you need your bridal party to pitch in then the decision over what they will wear should be a collaborative one.

If you would like to give thank you gifts to your bridal party then the budget for these will come out of your overall wedding budget.

Guest Accommodation & Transport

Generally it is now expected that guests pay their own way to your wedding. They should also cover the costs for their accommodation. There are exceptions to this however, such as if you opt for a destination wedding. If you choose a venue that is very far away or overseas, it may be pertinent to set aside some funds to assist guests who may not be able to afford to come otherwise. Similarly, lots of venues actually include guest accommodation in their overall hire costs. This way you can cover the cost for your closest family and friends accommodation for your wedding.

The Honeymoon

It is up to the couple to cover the costs for the honeymoon. This can either be from a special budget that you set aside for the purpose, or you can ask your guests for honeymoon contributions in lieu of gifts.

How are you planning on splitting your wedding costs? Let us know down below!