Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who Pays For What?

When planning a big important event like a wedding one of the first things to come to mind is how much is it going to cost and who pays for what? Traditionally in American custom the brides family pays for the event as they are the ones "giving" their daughter away. However, in 2008 grooms and other family members aren't getting off scott free anymore (sorry guys!). The breakdown of this tradition lightens the load from the brides family but also leaves the option open for the couple to completely take the burden from their parents and do it themselves. About 60% of all couples today pay for their own ceremony. Having many relatives pitch in to help the bride and room celebrate their day allows for them to get exactly what they want, right? Not exactly. Usually you would expect your family to help with funds but by doing this some relatives think that entitles them to a say or an opinion about how and what the money should be spent on. This can cause distress to the couple be often both parties never agree on the same vision for their wedding. It is always a good idea to make it clear that the money that is being gifted is to be used at the digression on the couple. If the money is a loan then there needs to be a clear understanding that the money is being used for any aspect of the wedding and will be repaid as soon as possible.Now on to the business of who actually is supposed to pay for what traditionally this is how it went.....

Engagement Party

Cost of the ceremony, including location, music, rentals, and all other expenses

Entire cost of the reception, including location, food, beverage, entertainment, rental items, decorations, and wedding cake

Bride's wedding dress, veil, and accessoriesWedding gift for the couple

Bridesmaids' bouquets

Bridesmaids' luncheon



Groom's FamilyRehearsal dinner

Travel and accommodations for the groom's family


Wedding gift for bride and groom

More modern tradition dictates this is how it should go........Bride

• Gifts for bridesmaids

• Lodging for bridesmaids

• Couple's personal stationery and thank-you notes

• Wedding programs/guestbookGroom

• Bride's engagement ring

• Marriage license

• Officiant's fee

• Rental or purchase of his formal wear

• Lodging for groomsmen

• Gifts for the groom's attendants

• Boutonnieres for self and groomsmen, as well as flowers for both mothers and grandmothers (it's much more common today for flowers to be paid in one lump sum, usually by the bride's family)

• Bride's bouquet (see above)Bride and Groom

• The wedding bands

• The honeymoon (in very traditional families, this is still considered the groom's expense)

Bride's Family

• Engagement and wedding pictures

• Wedding invitations

• Wedding consultant, if applicable

• Bridal ensemble

• Ceremony fees: rental of synagogue or chapel, chuppah, aisle carpets, or other decorating items

• Flowers: reception, ceremony, bridesmaids' bouquets and fathers' boutonnieres (see Groom for more on wedding flowers)

• Reception: site fees, caterer, food, bar, gratuities, decorations

• Music: ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception

• Bridesmaids' luncheon (a traditional gesture of thanks)

• Transportation for bridal party to ceremony and receptionGroom's Family

• Rehearsal dinner (optional) or any other expense they electBridesmaids

• Bridal shower

• Bridesmaid dress and shoes (flower girl/ring bearer attire is paid for by the child's parents)

• Any traveling expenses

• Bachelorette party (optional) Guests Traveling and lodging expenses (even if you're having a destination wedding, guests pay their own way)

Bucking the TrendsThese are the most common ways that the old guidelines of who-pays-for-what are being adapted to reflect the multi-host wedding that is so popular today:

Groom's Family• All beverage and liquor service• Limousines• Music for the reception• Photography and/or videographyBride and/or Groom• Bride's ensemble• Wedding flowers• All wedding stationery, including invitations, announcements, and thank-you notes*This list was found in Modern Bride MagazineAs you can see many things have changed from the traditional custom of paying and actually there are no rules to who, how and why people are paying for certain things in the wedding. As long as the bride and groom have a beautiful ceremony and don't break the bank too much, it really shouldn't matter who footed the bill.