The Wedding Budget – Who Pays for What?

Traditionally, the bride’s parents have been responsible for the majority of the wedding expenses. However, as the average age rises for marriage, many couples today host and pay for their entire wedding celebration themselves, issuing the invitation for their own wedding. For encore weddings, the couple is always responsible for the costs.

Traditional Rules: Wedding and reception expenses for a first marriage are traditionally the sole responsibility of the bride’s family. When paying, they get to determine the size and style of the wedding and reception. The groom’s family may offer to share in the cost of the reception, and the bride’s family may accept in order to accommodate a larger wedding.

Modern Rules: Both families may divide the expenses as their budget allows, or each family can contribute a set amount to the total expenses. This may be supplemented by the bride and groom.

To provide guidance, the following is a traditional scope of who pays for what: The important thing is to talk it through with those involved so you can determine your budget early on. Like, do disney travel agents get free trips? Check it out for more information.


  • Determine your budget asap
  • Prioritize from highest to lowest what the most important… needs, wants, and “would be nice”

The Bride and Parents of the Bride

  • Wedding Consultant/Coordinator
  • Wedding dress and accessories
  • Bridesmaid gifts
  • Flowers: bridesmaids, flower girl basket and pillow for ring bearer
  • The groom’s ring and gift
  • Engagement party and/or notices
  • Save the Dates, Invitations, Thank You Cards and associated stationery
  • Wedding reception
  • Decorations, flowers for reception
  • Wedding cake
  • Photography, Videography
  • Transportation of the wedding party
  • Possibly, hotel accommodations for out of town attendants
  • Miscellaneous costs for reception or ceremony
  • Music

The Groom and the Groom’s Family

  • Engagement and wedding ring
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Groomsmen gifts (you can find cool gift ideas here)
  • Wedding attire and accessories
  • Marriage license
  • Clergy, Officiate
  • Corsages for parents and grandparents
  • Boutonnieres for groomsmen and fathers
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Honeymoon (possibly shared by both bride and groom)
  • Possibly, hotel accommodations for out of town attendants

The Bride and Groom

  • Gifts for your parents
  • Other items not included in the budget


  • Dresses and accessories
  • Travel expenses
  • Bride’s shower


  • Rental of tuxedos and accessories
  • Travel expenses
  • Bachelor party


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