In this day an age there are no rules about who pays for a wedding. I have seen many couples pay for the whole event themselves and have complete control over their wedding, venue, meal, music, food, flowers…and colours!
I sometimes go to weddings where the parents have split the cost equally and have taken care of every detail – perfect for the couple who wants to get married but doesn’t want to plan a wedding! These parents book and pay for everything and sign the contracts for all of the vendors.
There is also the option to split the wedding costs 3 ways – each set of parents and the couple. You can do this by deciding who is paying for what, or make it very clear that the money isn’t going to anything in particular but is simply being pooled to cover all the costs. This is what we did when I got married and we stuck to a strict budget so we didn’t go into debt for our wedding. Both of our parents wanted to take part and contribute but we didn’t want anyone demanding any one thing to be what they paid for. Both parents went on to pay for extras like wine favours and the whiskey bar.
Modern weddings still come from old customs – let’s have a look at what would traditionally been paid for by whom…
Traditional Costs for the Bride’s Family
The responsibilities of the bride’s family begin before the wedding day. The bride’s parents customarily host and pay for an engagement party as a way to welcome the groom and his family into their family. The bride’s parents are traditionally the main hosts of the reception. It’s their job to make sure the day run smoothly and make guests feel welcome (remind your parents to greet everyone including vendors!). In addition to paying for their attire and travel, the bride’s family is responsible to pay for the following:
The reception, including food, music, decorations, rental fees, and entertainment
Rental fees and decorations
Flowers for decorating the ceremony and reception
The bride’s dress and accessories/jewelry
Invitations, announcements, programs, and mailing costs
Photography and videography costs
Officiant’s travel and lodgings (if from out of town)
Bridesmaids’ lodgings (if out of town). Note this the next time you’re a Bridesmaid!
Transportation of bridal party on the wedding day
Traditional Costs for the Groom’s Family
The groom’s family, by tradition, has a different set of financial responsibilities. In addition to paying for their attire and travel expenses, the groom’s side is responsible for hosting the rehearsal dinner. A rehearsal dinner can be casual or formal, but the purpose is to have an intimate occasion for both families and bridal parties to meet and get to know each other before the big day. The groom’s family is customarily responsible for paying for the following:
The rehearsal dinner, including food, invitations, decorations, and entertainment
A wedding gift for the couple
Corsages and boutonnieres for parents of both families
Lodging for out-of-town groomsmen
Though optional, sometimes the groom’s family pays for or contributes to the costs of alcohol served at the wedding reception
Traditional Costs for the Bride
The bride is the star of the wedding. But, she’s traditionally been responsible for a few things, including:
The groom’s wedding ring
A gift for the groom
Gifts for her bridesmaids and attendants
Hair and makeup for herself and the bridal party
Sometimes accommodations for any out-of-town bridesmaids if her family has not taken on the responsibility
Traditional Costs for the Groom
The groom’s list of financial obligations includes the honeymoon. Traditionally, the groom pays for the honeymoon as a symbol of starting the couple’s new life as head of his new household. The list of items the groom pays for includes:
The marriage license- this cost varies by city/town
The officiant’s fee (note the bride’s family pays for an officiant’s travel and lodging)
The bride’s engagement ring and wedding ring
A gift for the bride
The bride’s bouquet
Gifts for his groomsmen and attendants
Boutonnieres for attendants in the wedding party
Accommodations for any out-of-town groomsmen
What do you think? Ready to go back to tradition or sticking with modern ways? How did you pay for your wedding?
I offer services which include Elopements, Civil Unions, Commitment Ceremonies, Vow Renewals, Handfastings, Baby Namings, Memorials, Graveside services, Celebrations of life, and Funerals (Religious and Non-religious).
Couples in Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Newcastle, Port Hope, Cobourg, Grafton, Brighton, Belleville, Trenton, Kingston, Uxbridge, Port Perry, Lindsay, Bobcaygeon, Peterborough, Millbrook, Bailieboro, Durham Region, Northumberland County, and the Kawartha Region can count on their ceremony being beautiful and memorable.
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