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mother of the bride - budget

Budgeting for the Wedding: Who Pays for What?

Wedding cost-splitting basics for the couple's families.

Photo: Kristen Alexander

Forget the archaic rule that says certain people have to pay for certain things. The bride's parents need not take out a third mortgage to pay for the wedding, and the groom's parents are not off the hook either. Besides, the two of you might even be covering a good chunk of the expenses yourselves. The best way to work it out? Sit down with pencil, paper, and calculator and figure out what you really want and can afford. Keep in mind that informal weddings are usually smaller (and therefore cheaper), and formal weddings tend to be larger (and therefore more expensive).

Here's a list of the traditional costs for everyone involved -- but remember, these "rules" are made to be broken!

Ceremony

  • Bride and family pay for church or synagogue, sexton, organist, etc.
  • Groom and family pay for marriage license and officiant's fee.

Clothes

  • Bride and family pay for bride's dress, veil, accessories, and trousseau (read: lingerie and honeymoon clothes).
  • Groom and family pay for groom's outfit.
  • All attendants pay for their own clothing (including shoes).

Flowers

  • Bride and family pay for arrangements for church (including huppah if a Jewish wedding ceremony) and reception, plus bouquets and corsages for bridesmaids and flower girls.
  • Groom and family pay for bride's bouquet and going-away corsage, boutonnieres for men, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers.

Honeymoon

  • Groom and family pay for complete honeymoon.

Photography

  • Bride and family pay for all wedding photos and video.

Prewedding Parties

  • Bride or groom's family plans and hosts engagement party; if there is more than one, bride's family hosts the first one.
  • Groom's family plans and hosts the rehearsal dinner.
  • Bride plans and hosts bridesmaids' luncheon.
  • Groom hosts and plans bachelors' dinner.
  • Maid of honor and bridesmaids host shower.
  • Best man and ushers host bachelor party.
  • Friends may throw additional engagement parties or showers.

Reception

  • Bride and family pay for all professional services, including food, drink, decorations, and music.

Rings

  • Bride and/or her family pay for groom's ring.
  • Groom and/or his family pay for both of the bride's rings.

Stationery

  • Bride and family pay for invitations, announcements, and wedding programs.

Transportation


-- The Knot

See More: Basics for Moms , Basics for Moms , Wedding Planning Basics , Family & Parents , Just Engaged?