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Historically, the bride and/or her family have assumed the majority of the wedding-related expense. The more modern approach allows for division of costs between the couple and/or both sets of parents.  Following are some of the more traditional guidelines that you can adopt or modify to suit your particular needs.

Meet to discuss who pays for what at the beginning of your planning to determine a realistic budget and exactly who will be responsible for which expenses so there are no misunderstandings or hard feelings later.

The question of who pays for what really boils down to who is most willing and able.  Remember, nothing is absolute as to who pays what expenses.

The Bride:
  • Wedding ring for the groom.
  • Wedding gift for the groom.
  • Gifts for bridal attendants.
  • Bridesmaid's luncheon.
  • Stationery for thank you notes and personal notes.
  • Wedding guest book/alternative.
  • Accommodations for her out-of-town attendants (optional).

The Groom:
  • Engagement and wedding ring for the bride.
  • Wedding gift for the bride.
  • Groom's wedding attire.
  • Premarital class.
  • The marriage license.
  • Flowers for bride's bouquet.
  • Bride's bouquet and going-away corsage
  • Corsages for all female honored guests (including both mothers, grandmothers, etc. but not including bridesmaids).
  • Boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party (himself, the male attendants, and the fathers).
  • Gifts for the best man and ushers.
  • Fee for the officiant.
  • Accessories (Gloves, ties or ascots) for the men in the wedding party (if not included in tuxedo rental fee).
  • The honeymoon.
  • Accommodations for out-of-town ushers and/or best man (optional).
  • Bachelor's dinner (optional--may be assumed by best man and ushers).

The Bride's Family:
  • Invitations, announcements and mailing costs.
  • Bride's wedding attire (gown, veil and accessories).
  • Bride's lingerie/trousseau.
  • Bridesmaids' bouquets.
  • Bridesmaids' luncheon.
  • Wedding consultant’s fee.
  • Engagement and wedding photographs and video.
  • Ceremony, including rental of sanctuary/ceremony site, fees for organist, soloist or choir, and sexton (sometimes included in charge for premises, but if not, these people have set fees) flowers, aisle carpets and/or canopy and any other additional costs for decorations.
  • Transportation for bridal party to the wedding ceremony and from ceremony to reception.
  • The reception, including food, wedding cake, beverages, favors, gratuities for the bartenders and waiters, decorations, music and flowers.
  • Gratuities to those directing traffic as well as parking costs and coat-check fees.
  • Wedding gift for the couple.
  • Rehearsal dinner (optional).
  • Accommodations for the bride's out-of-town guests (optional).
  • Security and insurance for gift display (optional)

The Groom’s Family:
  • Their wedding attire.
  • Any travel expenses and hotel bills they incur.
  • Wedding gift for the couple,
  • Rehearsal dinner (optional).
  • Alcohol/Bar at Reception.
  • Accommodations for the groom's out-of-town guests (optional).
  • Shipment of wedding gifts to the bridal couple's new home.
  • Other expenses they elect to assume.

Bridal Attendants/Ushers:
  • Gowns or tuxedo rental, shoes.
  • Travel expenses.
  • Wedding gift for the couple.
  • Bachelor and/or Bachelorette Party.

The Guests:
  • Traveling expenses.
  • Wedding gift for the couple.
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