Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays For What?


There’s no need hammering on how expensive a wedding can be. Hence, as expected, budgeting and division of costs amongst the families is a major piece during the planning stage. While I am yet to find the ultimate modern guide that specifies who pays for what in a wedding, I’ll be sharing a list of traditional cost splits.

Let me start by saying this is not a definite list to go by and you’ll find that depending on the families involved and their finances, certain groups will take on more costs than the other.

The bride’s parents don’t need to sell all they have to pay for the wedding neither should the groom’s parents. The bride and groom should also consider covering some of the expenses themselves as well. Knowing an approximate size of your wedding, the theme you are going for, food and décor amongst others will help in estimating the cost of your wedding. Pay attention to what you really want and CAN afford. Don’t focus on pleasing your guests because if you do, you’ll be going over your budget in no time. Remember: you can’t please everybody.

Bride’s Family

Engagement and wedding ceremony costs (Venues, catering, hall décor, music, any applicable fees, etc)
Groom’s Rings
Stationery (Save the dates, invitations etc)
Flowers, bouquets and corsages for Bridesmaids
Transportation for Bridal Party
Gifts for Bridal Party
Groom’s Gift

Groom’s Family

Bride’s Ring
Bride’s wedding gown, accessories, bouquet, corsages and boutonnieres
Marriage license and any applicable fees.
Rehearsal Dinner
Transportation for Groomsmen
Gifts for Groomsmen
Engagement ceremony gifts
Bride’s Gift

The bridal party is responsible for paying for the cost of their attire, their accommodation and transportation.
The bridal party and friends of the couple can and should help pay for the bridal showers, bachelorette party, and bachelor’s party.