In our modern world, the lines of who pays for what for a wedding are definitely blurred. Today, there is no official ruling regarding how the wedding budget breaks out, but it hasn’t always been this way.

Traditionally, the bride’s family would foot the majority of the bill, but that practice has mostly fallen by the wayside for a variety of different reasons. For one, couples are getting married later in life, so they often have established careers and are in financial positions to pay for some—if not all—of the celebration. Furthermore, the classic division doesn’t represent what all couples look like today and is not inclusive to LGBTQIA+ couples. What’s most common is one of three scenarios: Couples may ask their families split the bill, contribute a portion of their own money to the event, or pay for the entire party themselves.

When you’re ready to start planning, the most important thing to do is first determine a general estimate of how much your wedding will cost and how much you expect your families will be able willing and able to contribute.

Whether it’s their second marriage or they want independence from their parents, many couples are choosing to take on all wedding costs on their own. In some situations, it’s also possible that their parents simply aren’t in a place to financially contribute.  But if your families want to stick to tradition or you’re just interested in learning about classic wedding etiquette, read on to see exactly who should front which finances, according to age-old customs.

Expenses the Bride’s Family Is Traditionally Responsible For:

  • Engagement party
  • Wedding dress (including veil and any accessories)
  • Wedding planner or coordinator
  • Invitations, stationery, save the dates, and wedding programs
  • Photography and videography
  • Transportation and accommodation for bridesmaids
  • Pre-wedding parties
  • Ceremony venue
  • Reception venue
  • Flowers and décor
  • Wedding cake
  • Morning-after brunch

Expenses the Groom’s Family Is Traditionally Responsible For:

  • Honeymoon
  • Marriage license and officiant fee
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres, and corsages
  • Transportation and accommodation for groomsmen
  • DJ or band
  • Alcohol for wedding reception

Expenses the Bride Is Traditionally Responsible For:

  • Groom’s wedding band
  • Wedding gifts for bridesmaids, groom, and parents
  • Hair and makeup

Expenses the Groom Is Traditionally Responsible For:

  • Engagement ring and wedding band for the bride
  • Groom’s attire
  • Wedding gifts for groomsmen and the bride
  • Honeymoon (if not covered by the groom’s family)



Curled from Brides-By Jessie Mooney DiGiovanna and Shelby Wax