I’m Not Paying For That?!

15 Dec

The subject that baffles my clients’ the most is about the cost of a wedding. How much will it cost? Who is expected to pay for it? What are we expected to pay for up front? If you’re like me, then you hate to discuses money and more importantly, you hate trying to figure out how to get more of it!  It can be a daunting task trying to figure out how to pull off the wedding of your dreams on the budget you have. Especially since most couples find it hard to set a budget at the beginning of the planning process.

There is a blurry line between “traditional” and “reality”. It used to be that the mother-of-the-bride (or MOB) made a lot of the decisions because it was her, along with her husband, hosting the soirée. But that isn’t the case anymore! Oh sure, we all know how mothers are…. their opinions will surely be heard…. but with brides and grooms being older when they marry, modern couples are footing the bill and making the majority of the decisions.

We find that the financial situation varies greatly and the circumstances and arraignments on who is paying for what vary as well. The most common solution is when all of the expenses are divided up amongst the couple and their families with everyone paying what they feel comfortable with. Sometimes a family is comfortable giving an amount (“We can contribute $X toward your wedding”) or they offer to pay for certain aspects of the event (“We will pay for the wedding planner, the food and the band”). Whatever your circumstances are, it is important to sit down and have a conversation with your families to see what they are comfortable with and how much they would like to be included in the planning process.

It’s so important to be smart and savvy by knowing what your budget is and who is paying for what before you start down this journey of planning your wedding. Don’t book a single vendor before knowing what budget you have to work with or you may end up blowing money you didn’t have to start with! One exception to this rule is hiring a wedding planner because our services include setting a realistic budget and facilitating those hard-to-have conversations.

Below is the “traditional” breakdown of who pays for what. Please keep in mind that in modern times, there are more modern situations and it’s important to use your common sense. Consider the personal and financial situations of your family, friends, and bridal party. You may want to pick up some of the costs, such as paying for the bridesmaids’ shoes if you want to be sure they all wear the same kitten heels, or hosting the engagement party if you want it larger than what the groom’s parents can afford.


  • Couple’s personal stationery and thank-you notes
  • Wedding programs and guest book
  • Gifts for bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Lodging for bridesmaids


  • Bride’s engagement ring
  • Marriage license
  • Officiant’s fee or gratuity
  • Rental or purchase of his formal wear
  • Gifts for the groomsmen and ring bearer
  • Lodging for groomsmen

Bride and Groom

  • The wedding bands
  • The honeymoon (in traditional families, this is still considered the groom’s expense)

Bride’s Family

  • Engagement and wedding pictures
  • Wedding invitations
  • Wedding planner
  • Bridal attire
  • Ceremony fees (including rental of synagogue or chapel, chuppah, aisle carpets, and other decorating items)
  • Flowers (arrangements for ceremony and reception, as well as all bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres)
  • Reception (site fees, caterer, food, bar, gratuities, decorations)
  • Music (ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception)
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon
  • Transportation for bridal party to ceremony and reception

Groom’s Family

  • Rehearsal dinner (or any other expense they elect, such as all beverage and liquor service, limousines, music for the reception, or photography and/or videography)


  • Bridal shower
  • Bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes
  • Bachelorette party
  • Any traveling expenses


  • Bachelor party
  • Rental of formal wear
  • Any traveling expenses

Flower Girl’s and Ring Bearer’s Parents

  • Attire for flower girl and ring bearer


  • Traveling and lodging expenses (even if you’re having a destination wedding, guests pay their own way).

One Response to “I’m Not Paying For That?!”

  1. Melissa Shoemaker December 22, 2010 at 10:02 am #

    As the Sister of the Groom I wanted to get them something special as a contribution to their day, they are both students and couldn’t afford a grand event. I offered to pay for a planner, and the bride couldn’t be happier…. she considered it a “luxury” but I see it as less stress for my brother and her and a beautiful wedding on what they could afford.

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