A wedding is an expensive affair, there is no denying that. If you want to have a beautiful venue, an exotic cake, a diamond ring and a honeymoon abroad then it comes with a lot of expense along with the question – Who is paying for the wedding?
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 paying for the wedding?
Why Do The Bride’s Parents Pay For The Wedding?
If we are looking at a traditional wedding it was expected the bride’s family would be paying for the wedding although the groom’s family could be chipping in with a little bit here and there. It’s a fact that a wedding in the west is not as extravagant as an Indian wedding that could go on for days and where guests are constantly treated to elaborate dinners and gifts, but it could turn out to be expensive as well. An average American wedding expense, inclusive of everything, is around $33,000.
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But now even in the west with designer gowns coming in, a guest list becoming longer and couples opting for destination weddings, if the father of the bride is paying for the wedding then he could be under increasing pressure.
Traditionally it was believed the groom would pay for the honeymoon and then would be responsible for buying a house and will support his wife financially. So the wedding expenses were to be paid by the bride’s parents since the groom would take on her financial responsibility after the wedding.
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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 but the grooms parents are also expected to pay a certain amount to make the wedding work. So finally who pays for the wedding? Here’s how the basic payments are done:
1. The wedding event
The bride’s parents pay for this although the groom’s parents can buy the alcohol if they wish to. They could also pay the bartender. The bride’s parents pay for the venue, decoration, food and all other arrangements like photography, video, guests 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. But sometimes a parent also needs to sign as a co-signer if the couple doesn’t have have good credit score. How you want to do it you should discuss before the wedding.
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2. The honeymoon
The groom is expected to pay for it. If he is tying the knot with a high maintenance girl then he’s had it. He has to make financial provisions to make it to the exotic locale she would pick up for the honeymoon. Jokes apart. It’s the groom who has to pay for the honeymoon so be prepared.
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 gift.
3. The clothing
The bride’s clothes are bought by her parents but in many traditional homes the groom is expected to buy her special dress for the special occasion. The cost of the groom’s attire is his own.
He sometimes chips in for the colour co-ordinated clothes of the bridesmaid or the groomsmen. Buying the boutonnieres is his responsibility and if he is 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 at around $150.
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4. The 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. The groom definitely buys the bouquet that his bride would carry.
The bouquet is a very important part of the wedding and it has to match with the wife’s attire and has to be her choice. IT is specially ordered and the choice of flowers is usually the bride’s. Both the bride’s and the groom’s wedding band cost around $2000 on an average.
5. Marriage License
The groom pays for the marriage license and officiant’s fees. A Christian wedding is officiated by a pastor, such as the 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.
6. The rehearsal dinner
Who pays for the rehearsal dinner? If this is a question people are asking let us tell you this is one place where both sides pay. They together pay for the rehearsal dinner.
The menu and the venue of the rehearsal dinner are decided upon by both sides. The cost of a rehearsal dinner is usually between $1000 to $1500.
7. The Wedding Cake
Who pays for the wedding cake? There is a bit of a controversy about it. Traditionally it is the groom’s family who should pay for the wedding cake and bride’s bouquet but some families have the tradition that the bride’s family will pay for the cake.
So it is decided depending on the tradition a particular family follows. The average cost of a wedding cake in the US is $350.
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What is proper etiquette for the groom’s parents to pay?
Ideally both families should meet over lunch one day to discuss the wedding plans. They should let each other know about their family traditions and what need to be followed and what can be done away with.
Then a basic budget can be drawn up. The proper etiquette for the grooms parents to pay is to take up the list and offer to pay for the items that is traditionally expected from them and they could offer to pay for a few things more to lighten the burden from the bride’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.
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Who Pays For A Wedding These Days?
Things have changed. Unlike a just out-of-college-girl getting married to the love of her life as shown in the film, modern couples get hitched usually much later in life after they have had successful careers and even a good bank balance. They prefer not to carry a student loan into a marriage and try to be debt free before they tie the knot.
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. So 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 it is the bride and the groom who spearhead the conversations between the two families. They let them know what they would pay for and then if the bride’s and the groom’s family would agree to take up some wedding costs they do. Usually both families agree to pay for the wedding.
When it comes to paying for a wedding these days the traditional norms are not followed anymore. Since 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, two decades later, it would certainly have to incorporate the changing norms of a modern wedding.