The Wedding Guild Series: The Traditional Division of Wedding Expenses


Are you planning a wedding and asking yourself "who pays for what?!" Knowing how to divide wedding expenses can, at times, seem vague and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. Today we're sharing our simple and easy-to-follow guide for the traditional division of wedding expenses according to Emily Post (the queen of etiquette herself). 

Q: What do the parents of the bride pay for?

A: Traditionally, the parents of the bride take care of the bulk of the wedding expenses, including:

  • Wedding dress, jewelry, shoes, and veil
  • Wedding and reception venue
  • Ceremony and Reception décor
  • Floral for ceremony, reception, and bridesmaids bouquets
  • Food expenses for wedding day
  • Invitations, announcements, thank you cards
  • Photographer, wedding photographs and albums
  • Videography and finished DVD
  • Bridesmaid luncheon, if hosted by the bride or her family
  • Gifts for the bridesmaids
  • Bride’s gift to the groom
  • Groom’s wedding ring
  • Ceremony music
  • Transportation of the wedding party to the ceremony and reception
  • Wedding signage and paper goods
    • Menus
    • Place cards
    • Table numbers

Q: What do the parents of the groom pay for?

A: Traditionally, the parents of the groom take care of a few of the expenses, including:

  • Marriage License and cost of officiant fees
  • Wedding party flowers
    • Boutonnieres for men
    • Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
  • DJ or Band
  • Liquor
  • Tux for groom and fathers (or suits and ties)
  • Bride’s ring
  • Groom’s gift to the bride
  • Gifts for the groomsmen
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Bachelor dinner if groom wishes to have one
  • Honeymoon

Q: What are the Maid of Honor’s/Bridesmaid's Expenses?

  • Purchase of apparel and all accessories
  • A contribution to a gift from all the bridesmaids to the bride
  • An individual or group gift from the attendants to the couple
  • Optional: a shower, luncheon or bachelorette party for the bride

Q: What are the Best Man’s/Groomsmen’s Expenses?

  • Rental or purchase of wedding attire
  • A bachelor dinner, if given by groom’s attendants
  • A contribution to a gift from all of the groomsmen to the groom
  • An individual or group gift from the attendants to the couple

Q: What type of pre-wedding parties to have and who pays?

A: Engagement parties, the rehearsal dinner, bachelorette and bachelor parties are all different types of pre-wedding events that may take place prior to the wedding day.

  • The bride or groom’s family plans and hosts engagement party; if there is more than one, the bride’s family hosts the first one
  • The maid of honor and bridesmaids host the bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • The groom’s family plans, hosts, and pays for the rehearsal dinner
  • The best man and groomsmen host the bachelor party
  • Friends may throw additional engagement parties or showers
EducationEmily Driggs