Weddings are expensive! Etiquette about the division of wedding expenses is important, given the high price of the event. Of course, like all wedding traditions, there is always room for flexibility based on your personal circumstances and preferences. Learning about the traditions of who covers which expenses can give you a place to begin.

Long-standing tradition dictates that the bride’s family covers the majority of the wedding costs. The bridal gown, reception site, centerpieces, entertainment, and meals are part of this list. Grooms do, however, pay for the bridal bouquet and perhaps something sparkly for the bride to wear. Traditionally, the bride did not really pay for much of anything, other than the bridesmaid wedding jewelry gifts and the wedding ring for her groom.

Couples should feel free to revise the division of expenses in a manner that makes sense for them. Some of the old traditions definitely still make sense – obviously the bride’s father should not pay for gifts of wedding jewelry from the groom – but in many families, the old rules no longer work so well. When the bride and groom are older and established in their careers, it is natural that they would help to pick up the tab for at least some of the wedding expenses. These days, the groom’s parents will often step in and offer to split the cost of the wedding or pay for a specific part of it like the flowers.

The groom has certain customary wedding expenses of his own, although they are nothing compared to what his future in-laws may have to spend. The groom is naturally responsible for paying for his own attire, whether it is rented or purchased. Two things the groom should always pay for are a gift of wedding jewelry for the bride and her bouquet. Grooms, remember that you should also give thank you presents to your attendants. The honeymoon is the one major expense that is traditionally the groom’s responsibility. Realistically, the bride and groom often pay for the honeymoon as a couple.

In the old customs, the parents of the groom get off fairly easy when it comes to wedding expenses. Traditionally, they did not have to do anything more than purchase the appropriate attire and show up at the appointed time. The only significant expense customarily assigned to the groom’s parents is the rehearsal dinner. The groom’s family gets to determine the style of the rehearsal dinner if they are picking up the tab. Of course the groom’s parents should absolutely offer to pick up some of the wedding day costs if they are so inclined. The groom’s mom might also wish to contribute her time to the wedding. Perhaps she can make the favors or take the bride shopping for wedding jewelry gifts for her attendants.

Let’s not forget about the bridal party. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are expected to pay for all of their own attire and accessories, their transportation, and their hotel. The parents of the bride pay for the bouquets, but the bride should pick up the tab for sets of bridesmaid jewelry as presents. The bridesmaids will be grateful if the bride helps pay for their dresses or a finds them somewhere to stay with a friend. Allow your own personal situation to guide how you split up the wedding costs.

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