Paying For The Wedding – What’s The Norm?

Who pays for the wedding
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A wedding is an expensive affair, there is absolutely no denying that. If you want to have a beautiful venue, an exotic cake, a diamond ring, and on top of that a honeymoon abroad, they come with a hefty price tag. and a strict wedding budget that you might have to adhere to, to be able to incorporate everything. While you’re dreaming up your perfect wedding, complete with the perfect floral arrangements and your favorite band for entertainment, another grave and important thought might come to you. The very thought and question of, “Who is paying for the wedding?” might just send shivers down your spine. Is it going to be the bride’s family or is it the groom’s?

When you’re not too sure about what paying the wedding costs is supposed to be for both sides, a bunch of questions pop into your head. Should you ask someone’s parents? Should you ask your partner? Can you actually afford your favorite band, or do you need to rely on Uncle Jerry’s guitar-playing skills? Maybe it’s best to just splurge on the band actually and maybe save on the wedding party decor in that case.

To put your mind at ease, let’s talk about the intricacies of paying for a wedding and also understand what a wedding budget is like. As you probably know, there is the traditional way of paying for the wedding and the new-age way of sharing the expenses between the bride and the groom’s family. But the big question that is often asked is, what is the norm when it comes to splitting costs among a couple and their families when planning the big day?

Why Do The Bride’s Parents Pay For The Wedding?

If we look at the traditional ways of paying for the wedding, it was expected that the bride’s family would be paying for the wedding, and maybe also the engagement party! Although in some cases, you’ll see how it is normal that the groom’s family pays some share for it too. An average American wedding expense, inclusive of everything, is around $33,000.

Traditionally, in accordance with gender roles, it was believed the groom would pay for the honeymoon and then would be responsible for buying a house and supporting his wife financially. So, it was just understood that the wedding budget had to be managed and paid for by the bride’s parents since the groom would take on her financial responsibility after the wedding.

“Why does the bride pay for the wedding? At our wedding, we didn’t much care about what the traditional way to do it was. We decided to pay as much as we could ourselves and then took help from our respective parents when we thought we needed it. If you’re wondering how we split it, we didn’t really for the intricacies of what is the groom responsible for paying for in a wedding or what the bride purchases. We decided to split it equally,” says Jacob, talking about how Martha and he decided on paying for the wedding.

The intricacies of who pays to cover costs depends on your dynamic, but it’s always helpful to take a look at the way it has traditionally been done and the options available.

Do Bride’s Parents Still Pay For Most Of The Wedding?

If the bride’s parents are shouldering the wedding costs they are expected to pay most of it. However, the groom’s parents are also expected to pay a certain amount, at least in most marriages nowadays. People are becoming more progressive and things are indeed changing. While earlier it was understood that the bride traditionally pays, that is not the case always. So, finally, who pays for the wedding? Here’s how the basic payments are done:

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Related Reading: How To Have A Non-Religious Wedding – Some Awesome Tips!

1. Who pays for the wedding event?

The bride’s parents pay for this although the groom’s parents can buy things like alcohol or any added purchases, like entertainment in the form of fireworks, dancers or any other performances. But in most cases, there are no major financial expectations that the bride’s family holds from the groom’s side. The bride’s parents pay for the venue rental fees, the decorations, all the food, and all other arrangements like photography, video, guest’s stay, and transportation.

It’s a huge chunk of the expenses that they take up so they have to allocate quite a few thousand dollars to the wedding event expenses budget. Some couples even apply for a joint wedding loan and pay it off together post-wedding. Sometimes, a parent also needs to sign as a co-signer if the couple doesn’t have a good credit score. Exactly how you want to go about paying for the big day is something you should discuss before you get married. And do discuss it at great length.

paying for the wedding
The bride’s parents are traditionally supposed to pay for the wedding

2. Who pays for the honeymoon?

Because the woman’s family paid for the engagement party and the wedding, does the groom now pay for the honeymoon and everything that comes after? Well, you yes. If you are indeed asking, “What is the groom responsible for paying for in a wedding?” Usually, it is the honeymoon. Though grooms can take assistance from their family, the responsibility usually falls on the groom, as long as you’re trying to do it in a way that you follow tradition.

Before you hit the roof thinking how much your travel to the Maldives or Bora Bora will cost you, the good news is you can create an online honeymoon registry where you can divide the expenses and ask your guests to pick up a part of the expenses as a gift.

3. Does the bride’s family pay for the wedding dress?

As you’d expect, the answer to, “Who pays for the wedding dress?” is the bride’s father. So yes, the bride’s family pays for the wedding guest, traditionally. However, in recent times, the bride or the couple themselves pay for the wedding dress which to most couples is now starting to make the most sense as they prefer to not put that kind of pressure on their families. But do keep in mind, that this pertains to only what the bride is going to wear, and not what the bridesmaids and the best man will wear.

4. Who pays for the clothing?

The cost of the groom’s attire is usually his own to bear. He sometimes chips in with the color-coordinated clothes of the bridesmaid or the groomsmen. Buying the boutonnieres is his responsibility, and if he’s planning some gifts for his groomsmen, that’s his choice.

The average price of a wedding dress is around $1600 and the groom’s tux costs a minimum of $350. It could also be rented for around $150.

5. Who pays for the wedding rings?

The groom is usually expected to buy the rings both for himself and his bride. But sometimes the bride’s side opts to buy the groom’s ring and extend some financial help. But the groom definitely buys the bride’s bouquet that is future wife would carry down the aisle That one is on him, without a question.

The bouquet is a very important part of the wedding and it has to match the wife’s attire and has to be her choice as well. It is specially ordered and the choice of flowers is usually of the bride. Both the bride’s and the groom’s wedding band cost around $2000 on average.

Related Reading: Premarital Counselling – 12 Reasons You Should Opt For It

6. Who’s paying a minister for the wedding?

Out of the wedding party members, do not forget the minister. And definitely do not forget, that the minister brings his own set of charges too. In regular set-ups, the groom pays for the marriage license and officiant’s fees. A Christian wedding is officiated by a pastor, such as a priest or a vicar. The pastor’s fees can range from $100 to $650. The cost of a marriage license differs from state to state but it is usually between $50 and $100.

Infographic on paying for the wedding
What are the sides that couples set on when it comes to making wedding payments?

7. Who pays for the rehearsal dinner?

Who pays for the rehearsal dinner? If this is a question people are asking, let us tell you that this is one place where both sides pay, if you follow tradition. The menu and the venue of the rehearsal dinner are decided upon by both parties and all family members from both sides decide to chip in. The cost of a rehearsal dinner is usually between $1000 and $1500. We know that sounds like a lot. Perhaps that’s why financial planning for newly married couples is so important.

8. Who pays for the wedding reception dinner?

If the question, “Who pays for the wedding reception dinner?” has been weighing on your mind, then usually, the groom’s family pays for that. Since it’s an event that takes place after the wedding, the groom’s family or the groom is expected to foot the bill.

9. Does the bride’s family pay for the wedding cake?

Who pays for the wedding cake? Well, since one mostly expects the bride’s family to cover costs most of the time, it is possible that one assumes that the cake is also billed to her family. But hear this. There is quite a bit of controversy about the cake, actually. Traditionally, it is the groom’s family who should pay for the wedding cake and the bride’s bouquet, but some families have the tradition of the bride’s family paying for the cake. So it is decided to depend on the tradition a particular family follows. The average cost of a wedding cake in the US is $350, but it also depends on how many wedding guests you decide to invite.

What Is Proper Etiquette For The Groom’s Parents To Pay?

Ideally, both families should meet over a meal one day to discuss wedding plans, settle on mutual finances and settle on the wedding budget so there is no fuss later on. They should let each other know about their family traditions and what needs to be followed and what can be done away with.

Then, a basic budget can be drawn up. The proper etiquette for the groom’s parents to pay is to take up the list and offer to pay for the items that are traditionally expected from them and they could offer to pay for a few things more to lighten the burden on the bride’s family’s side.

Whether the bride’s side would accept that or not is up to them, but it is good etiquette on the part of the groom’s parents to offer to pay. This helps in building a bond between both families.

Hence, instead of focusing on, “Why does the bride pay for the wedding?”, try to facilitate the whole process by being a bit generous and offering to take up a few more expenses.

Related Reading: How To Write Wedding Vows (And What You Should Never Write)

Who Pays For The Big Day These Days?

Things have changed drastically over time. Unlike a just-out-of-college girl getting married to the love of her life as shown in the movies, modern couples get hitched usually much later in life, after they have had successful careers and as well as a good bank balance. They prefer not to carry a student loan into marriage and try to be debt-free before they tie the knot. The purpose of marriage, to them, isn’t to sit around and pay off loans together.

According to research, the average age of marriage for women in the US is 27.8 years, and the average age of marriage for men is 29.8 years. That means both partners are capable of funding their own wedding. So, the expectation has shifted from the bride’s family to the bride and the groom, and they work out the costs among themselves.

Usually, among most couples, it is the bride and groom who spearhead the conversations between the two families about who pays for the big day. They let them know what they would like to pay for and then if the bride’s and the groom’s family would like, they agree to take up some wedding costs. Usually, both families agree to pay for the wedding.

Key Pointers

  • Most family members are now choosing split costs when deciding who pays, but there are some traditional ways of going about it
  • The bride’s family usually covers things such as the wedding event, the minister and her own clothes
  • The groom’s family usually pays for the cake, and outfits of the groomsmen, splits the rehearsal dinner with the bride and also covers the bill for the honeymoon

Now that you know everything about paying for a wedding, right down to paying a minister for the wedding or the reception dinner, you’re probably in a better place to make decisions. However, when it comes to sharing expenses in a relationship these days the traditional norms are not followed anymore.

Since most couples believe in equality nowadays, it is not a given that the father of the bride would pay for the wedding. If the film Father Of The Bride had been made now, it would certainly have incorporated the changing norms of a modern wedding.

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