How to divide the wedding expenses

The idea that the bride’s family pays for the entire wedding is a little old hat these days, and there are plenty of ways to split the wedding expenses. The golden rule is that everyone involved in the wedding should only spend what they can afford – nobody needs to be bankrupted by a family wedding! Here’s some guidance on wedding expenses and who usually pays for what.

who pays for the wedding

The bride usually pays for:

  • Gift for the groom
  • Gifts for the bridesmaids
  • Bridesmaids’ bouquets and headdresses
  • Wedding ring for the groom

The bride’s family usually pays for:

  • Newspaper announcements
  • Ceremony music
  • Bride’s wedding gown, veil, and accessories
  • Aisle carpet, ribbons, and church decorations
  • Wedding photography
  • Wedding car and transport for bridal party
  • The full cost of the wedding reception

The groom usually pays for:

  • The marriage license
  • Gift for the bride
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Registrar’s fees
  • Buttonholes for men in the wedding party
  • Ties for the men in the wedding party
  • Formalwear costs
  • Gifts for the best man and ushers
  • Gifts for the parents

The groom’s family usually pays for

  • The engagement party
  • The honeymoon

a lot of money piled on top of each other

The bridesmaids usually pay for:

  • Purchase of dress and accessories
  • Contribution to a gift from all bridesmaids to the bride
  • Individual gift to the couple
  • The bridal shower

The ushers usually pay for:

  • Formalwear costs
  • Contribution to a gift from all the ushers to the groom
  • Individual gift to the couple
  • The stag party

The bride and groom

It is fairly common for a bride and groom to pay for their own wedding and this is often the option for second marriages or older couples.

Both families

It’s fairly common for both families to contribute to the wedding and this can be done on three ways:

  1. The total bill can be split with each family paying an equal share.
  2. Both families can have specific expenses allocated to them. This is similar to a traditional budget, but there are no rules for who is in charge of what.
  3. Each family pay an amount which they can reasonably afford. It is very acceptable for one family to contribute more than the other, as long as no one is spending more than they can afford.
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