Jun 05

Who’s paying for this?

white flowerThe Word Is… June Edition

Who’s supposed to pay for what? Here is a quick guide to use as a reference only. Your wedding day is just that… your wedding day. So you define the rules as you see fit. But if you are wondering who traditionally handles wedding expenses then this should answer some of those questions.



moneyplantThe role of the payee in weddings has changed and evolved over the years. Traditionally it was the bride’s family who paid, presented dowries and shouldered the brunt of the decision making concerning the wedding..since ..well…they were paying for the wedding. The groom or receiving family paid for the festivities.

As family dynamics are changing, roles are being redefined and the wedding day power struggles ensue, more and more couples are financing their own wedding day. Talk to a financial planner about preparing for wedding day expenses and your financial life together afterward. Consider other creative ways for financing your dream wedding like opening an account that you can make monthly deposits into, seek sponsors or responsibly consider taking a bridal loan. A financial planner can help you with these types of decisions. I don’t condone going into debt for your wedding. Avoid a honeymoon hangover caused by reckless  wedding spending. you still have to live after your wedding day. Money issues are still the number one cause for divorce in the US.

I have had a fair share of my younger couples take the reins somewhere during the early planning stages once they realize that the day they envisioned is lost in the mind of the holder of the purse strings. For older couples or couples who have been previously married, they almost always self finance.

So how do you make sure that your vision stays your vision for your wedding day if you are not paying for it yourself? I would suggest you start off with speaking to a planner or bridal consultant.  Work out at least one meeting into your budget and work together with the Wedding Payee (mom, dad or groom’s parents or even the groom ) on a vision they can help you achieve. The planner will be able to see  what’s important to you, weed out things that may not work and be able to use their years of experience to help you create a vision for your day everyone can agree on. Many times the planners are able to quell any early signs of dissension by providing you with a clear cut vision and plan of action for your day. They have first hand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t and many of them have super mediating  skills. (All hail the might wedding planners!)

Find wedding planners here.

If using a bridal planner or consultant is not in the budget,

  1. Make it clear from the beginning that you appreciate them paying for the wedding and enthusiastically work to build their confidence and excitement about your day through your eyes.  
  2. Consider compromising on the lesser important issues.
  3. Make sure you stick to the budget. There is nothing more rude than treating someone else’s money as if it has no value. Remember someone at one time or another had to earn that money.
  4. Be respectful. Be humble and appreciative, but don’t let the process burden you. It is not worth it if you will look back on your wedding day with regret.


The List:

Typically the bride or the bride’s family members will pay formoneysign1

  • Engagement Party

  • Wedding dress, headpiece and accessories

  • Beauty and spa needs

  • Lingerie

  • Your something borrowed, blue, old and new

  • Invitations, personal notes, and mailing expenses

  • Wedding programs

  • Personalized items like t-shirts, hats, napkins, favors, signs, wedding websites, apps

  • Guest book

  • Wedding cake

  • Groom’s wedding ring

  • Groom’s cake

  • Father of bride formal wear

  • Bridesmaid gifts (jewelry, flip flops, robes, etc)

  • Bridesmaids’ bouquets

  • Bridal brunch

  • Grandmother, Mother corsages

  • Church or venue fee

  • Ceremony/Reception flowers

  • Ceremony rentals. (arches, candelabras, chairs, etc.)

  • Wedding breakfast

  • Reception hall & rentals

  • Reception favors, cameras

  • Catering

  • Music – Ceremony & Reception

  • Photography and videography providers

  • Transportation for the wedding party

  • Wedding planners

  • Accommodations for the bride’s out-of-town family, attendants and guests

moneyclipstThe groom and his family members usually pay for :

  • Engagement Party-depending on how many and who hosts

  • Bride’s rings

  • Groom’s wedding attire

  • Flowers for the bride’s bouquet, corsages for the mothers and grandmothers

  • Groom’s boutonniere

  • Groomsmen & Usher’s boutonnieres

  • Father of groom formal wear

  • Gloves/Ties/Ascots for attendants

  • Gifts for the bride, best man, groomsmen and ushers

  • Rehearsal dinner

  • Marriage license

  • Clergyman/Officiant Fee including Tip or Gift

  • Limousine for bride & groom

  • Groom’s cake

  • Alcohol at reception

  • Honeymoon

  • Accommodations for groom’s and bride’s out-of-town family, groomsmen, ushers and guests

  • Unity ceremony items (unity candles, lassos, African wedding broom, or hand-fasting ropes)

The bridal party members such as attendants, bridesmaids, Maid Of Honor (MOH) and  Beat Man (BM) and groomsmen usually pay for

  • Wedding gift for the couple

  • Maid of Honor Gown- Maid of Honor

  • Bridesmaid’s Gowns -Bridesmaids

  • Bachelorette  or Hen party – Maid Honor and Bridesmaids

  • Bachelor party – Best Man and Groomsmen sometimes groom’s Father

  • Best Man Formal Wear – Best Man

  • Car decorations – Best Man

  • Groomsmen’s Formal Wear -Groomsmen

  • Usher’s Formal Wear -Ushers

  • Children’s Formal Wear -(flower girl, ring bearer, etc) Children’s Parents

  • Travel costs- the person doing the traveling, sometimes the Family of couple or the couple themselves

To the person holding the purse strings or platinum credit card, do not abuse your monetary position over the couple. If you are there to help them, help them solely from your heart. Remember that they are their own unique individuals and their tastes may differ, their beliefs may not be the same and they are probably gonna get married anyways. This is about their love and only their love. Gently guide them. If you are on two opposite polar ends and compromise is not an option, discuss it and make a decision and move on or move out of the process. Remember, momma or poppa purse strings, it is not about the wedding you had or didn’t have or the 400 influential business people you invited that the bride and groom may not even know. It is about the couple getting married, celebrating their love.

Couples, listen to your partner and on issues you may not agree on find out why it may be important. Keep in mind at no time should this be a power struggle. A wedding is a celebration of love. Wedding Planning is stressful and years of planning comes down to just a few hours on one day. Surround yourself with positive happy people and if you want total unopposed control of your day… save up and self fund. There is nothing like a happy, stress free bride.

Let’s not forget the guys. They often have such a small voice when it comes to weddings that we don’t even really address their roles or wants in the wedding. Listen to what they want as well and see how their ideas can be incorporated into the day if they are interested in a more active role in the wedding process. This may help to increase your overall budget if they feel a part of the process and may be willing to help with the cost. While it is true some don’t want a role any larger than showing up, there are many wedding savvy men who offer a great deal of contribution to their pending nuptials.

There are weddings where the bride and groom or the family of the couple will foot the entire bill for everything down to the clothing of everyone involved in the wedding. Should you be so lucky to attend a wedding like that make sure you bring your A- game in the gift department! Shop here.

Remember this list is nothing more than a suggestion and it is up to you to make your day special. Happy Planning!  



Wedding Officiant, Blogger and Amateur Photographer
By Sheri Thomson I DO Weddings by Sheri PO BOX 780395 Orlando Florida 32878