Understanding Wedding Expenses: Who Pays for What in a Traditional Wedding

Opinions differ regarding who should bear the cost of wedding. Historically, the responsibility rested with the bride’s parents, who organized and paid for the entire event. However, nowadays, most people believe that the couple should cover their wedding expenses, especially if they have been living independently for a while. Parents often want to contribute, and the amount they contribute should depend on their willingness and financial ability. Nonetheless, the conventional breakdowns outlined below can help determine who pays for what.

Whether it is your parents or your future in-laws offering to cover some or all of the wedding expenses, it is helpful to know the traditional payment breakdowns. While it is not mandatory for the bride’s family to pay for the engagement party or the groom’s family to cater for the rehearsal dinner, it is beneficial for everyone involved to understand how the payment structure works.

In this article, we are going to explain what you need to know about the traditional payment plan including the cost of wedding dresses nz and some tips to help you decide who will pay for each aspect of the wedding.

Who Pays for the Wedding Reception?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents are responsible for throwing an engagement party for their daughter and her fiancé. This serves as an introduction to both families and friends. While it is not obligatory, it is a great way for future wedding guests to familiarize themselves with one another before the big day.

Who Pays for the “I’m Engaged” Cards?

It is customary for the bride’s parents to send engagement announcements to local newspapers, and they are also responsible for the associated costs. If the groom’s family lives outside the area where the local paper circulates, the bride’s parents should ask if they would like the announcement to appear in their hometown newspaper.

What Does It Mean for the Bride’s Family to Pay for?

Traditionally, the bride and her family are responsible for all the wedding planning expenses. This includes the bride’s dress, floral arrangements, transportation on the wedding day, photography and videography fees, travel and accommodation for the officiant if they are from out of town, lodging for the bridesmaids (if offered), and all the reception costs. Additionally, the bride pays for the wedding flowers, bridesmaids’ gifts, groom’s ring, and a present for the groom.

Who Pays for the After-Wedding Party?


The bride’s parents are primarily responsible for hosting the reception and usually pay for some or all of the celebration. Therefore, their names are traditionally at the top of the invitations, and they play a special role in making guests feel welcome and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.

What Does It Mean for the Groom’s Family to Pay for?

The groom’s family is responsible for the corsages and boutonnieres for close relatives from both families, accommodation for the groom’s attendants (if offered), and sometimes the rehearsal dinner. Traditionally, the groom should pay for the marriage license, the officiant’s fees, the bride’s bouquet, her engagement and wedding rings, and a gift. He should also buy boutonnieres and gifts for his groomsmen. As the head of his household, he should pay for the honeymoon.

In conclusion

While there are traditional customs surrounding who pays for what in a wedding, it’s important to remember that every couple and family is unique. Nowadays, it’s becoming more common for couples to pay for their own wedding, with parents offering to contribute what they can. Ultimately, it’s up to the couple and their families to work out a budget that works for them and ensures that everyone feels comfortable with their financial contributions. By understanding the traditional breakdown of wedding expenses, couples can have a starting point for their discussions and make informed decisions about who will pay for what in their special day.

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