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Wedding Expenses: Who Pays For What?

Inquiring minds want to know… what is the traditional breakdown of wedding expenses? Many families are searching for a way to equitably divide the costs. To help out, here is a general list of wedding expenses and who is (traditionally) supposed to pay for them!


  • Bride and family pay for ceremony location and musicians
  • Groom and family pay for marriage license and officiant’s fee


  • Bride and family pay for bride’s dress, veil, accessories, and trousseau (read: lingerie and honeymoon clothes)
  • Groom and family pay for groom’s outfit
  • All attendants pay for their own clothing (including shoes)


  • Bride and family pay for arrangements for church (including huppah if a Jewish wedding ceremony) and reception, plus bouquets and corsages for bridesmaids and flower girls
  • Groom and family pay for bride’s bouquet and going-away corsage, boutonnieres for men, and corsages for mothers and grandmothers


  • Groom and family pay for complete honeymoon


  • Bride and family pay for all wedding photos and video

Prewedding Parties

  • Bride or groom’s family plans and hosts engagement party; if there is more than one, bride’s family hosts the first one
  • Groom’s family plans and hosts the rehearsal dinner
  • Bride plans and hosts bridesmaids’ luncheon
  • Groom hosts and plans bachelors’ dinner
  • Maid of honor and bridesmaids host shower
  • Best man and ushers host bachelor party
  • Friends may throw additional engagement parties or showers


  • Bride and family pay for all professional services, including food, drink, decorations, and music


  • Bride and/or her family pay for groom’s ring
  • Groom and/or his family pay for both of the bride’s rings


  • Bride and family pay for invitations, announcements, and wedding programs.


When it comes down to it, it is best to have an open conversation before making any monetary commitments. Make sure everyone involved is willing and able to pay for their part, and that everyone agrees on the cost breakdown. Don’t force anyone to pay; this is never the right way to start relationships with your in-laws! 

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Bright ideas, wisdom and musings about weddings, celebrations, ceremonies and life in general, from Daria’s seventeen years of planning, coordinating and officiating.