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old-school funding

Here's an ultratraditional list of who pays what. Think of it as a starting point, because how you get to your bottom line is up to you!

    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 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
  • Bride and family pay for transportation of bridal party to and from ceremony and reception.
budget

Wedding Budget 101: Establishing Your Wedding Budget

From creating your wedding budget to saving without sacrifice, we'll show you how it's done.

Photo: Emily Koska Photography

Figuring out your wedding budget can be stressful, but don't worry -- whether you're dreaming of a lavish hotel affair or an intimate garden get-together, answering these questions will help you figure out what you have to spend to make it happen.

Who's Paying for the Wedding?

Talk with your families about who will pay for what: Some brides' families still pick up the entire tab, but more and more groom's families are participating too. How do you bring up the conversation? For many couples, talking to each family separately is the best way to have truly open discussions. When you do talk, here are strategies for determining your initial budget.

  • Ask both of your folks to commit to a specific dollar amount, and then add up all the contributions to create your budget.
  • Alternatively, it may be easier to ask each set of parents to finance a particular aspect of the wedding (such as the ceremony, honeymoon, or catering) instead of just committing to a dollar amount.
  • Decide how much you two can contribute between now and the wedding. (37 % of the couples we polled say they're planning to contribute financially to their wedding.)

How Much Do You Actually Need for the Wedding?

Just like buying shoes, an apartment, or a pair of jeans, when it comes to financing a wedding, you should figure out how much you need to spend to get what you want. Set your expectations accordingly. Knot Note: The average cost for a 150-person wedding is about $27,000 (higher in urban areas).

  • Here is a basic breakdown of what you can expect to pay:
    Reception: 48%-50%
    Ceremony: 2%-3%
    Attire: 8%-10%
    Flowers: 8%-10%
    Entertainment/Music: 8%-10%
    Photography/Videography: 10%-12%
    Stationery: 2%-3%
    Wedding Rings: 2%-3%
    Parking/Transportation: 2%-3%
    Gifts: 2%-3%
    Miscellaneous: 8%
  • To avoid stress, allot about 5% of your budget for a "just-in-case" fund.
  • If you're paying for your honeymoon yourselves, remember to budget for that as well.

How Much Should You Save for the Wedding?

As soon as you're engaged, start putting aside as much of your income as you can for the wedding. Saving 20% of your monthly income is a good -- though painful -- goal. The longer your engagement, the more you'll be able to sock away.

  • Ways to save: Limit your spending on small stuff (renting movies instead of going out; going to Starbucks once instead of twice a day; downloading just the song you love instead of buying the whole CD). These changes will hardly affect your quality of life, but after a year, the extra cash will cover some wedding essentials.
  • Make the most of your money: Instead of stashing your money in a low-interest savings account, consider buying CDs or opening a money-market account. The interest rate can be double that of a savings account. Just check the fine print to avoid penalties.

Establishing Your Budget | Staying on Budget | Ways to Save


-- Liz Zack

See More: Wedding Planning Basics