So, Regarding Weddings….Who Pays for What?

Posted by on Mar 30, 2012 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So, Regarding Weddings….Who Pays for What?
Beautiful bridal bouquet provided by the goom’s family

Dear Engaged Couple—

Today I want to initiate a discussion which I hope you will continue with each other and with your respective families.   The discussion is about who pays for what regarding your approaching wedding.   Several years ago, an acquaintance of mine’s son was getting married.  My acquaintance and her husband live in Virginia but their son’s wedding would be taking place in St. Petersburg, Florida.  They had not met their soon-to-be daughter-in-law’s family, but they were excited by the prospect.  They would be meeting the in-laws when they arrived in Florida a few days before the wedding.  We can imagine that they entertained visions of a dinner out together, where they would get to know the “other side” better—sharing stories of little Amy’s forays into mudpie making, and Kevin’s stunning abilities as a peewee soccer player. 

 Sadly, when they arrived in St. Petersburg, and actually were introduced to the bride’s parents, right away, the mother of the bride (MOB) wanted to know about their plans for the rehearsal dinner.  “What rehearsal dinner?” querried my acquaintance. And in her retelling to me she continued,  “Really!  THEY expected US to be in charge of the rehearsal dinner.  Isn’t the wedding supposed to be the responsibility of the bride’s family from start to finish?” The scene that followed was not nice.  The upshot of it all was that the MOB and FOB forked over the money and did all the planning for the rehearsal dinner (in TWO DAYS, NO LESS) .  We can only imagine what kind of stress was involved for the bride’s parents—finding a venue at the last minute, perhaps engaging a caterer and a florist.  Just so you know, the rehearsal dinner generally DOES in fact fall to the groom’s parents.  Sad to say the couple has since divorced.  I sometimes wonder, did the stress over the rehearsal dinner have anything to do with the breakup?

This, my friends, is a cautionary tale.  It is wise to have a sit down talk with all parties involved in the wedding planning—that is, the families on both sides, and yes, that includes steps. 

I did some reading in preparation for writing this blog.  It is safe to say that tradition still rules—so that the majority of the expenses involved in a wedding are still the responsibility of the bride’s family.  That is not set in stone, certainly though.  Since couples are waiting later to marry (usually living together first) and therefore often have a sizable income, they often contribute to the cost. And if Mom and Dad can’t pay for something (say that expensive, $2,000 wedding dress that makes you look like you stepped out of a wedding magazine) than for sure, it should be your right to make up the difference between the cost and what Mom and Dad are willing to pay. 

Below, I have outlined who has TRADITIONALLY been responsible for which wedding costs.  Brides, you may want to prepare your folks for what follows: 


Ceremony:  church or synagogue space rental, flowers for same, organist, sexton

Clothes: bride’s full wedding attire

Flowers:   flowers for flower girl, bridesmaids

Photography and/or Videography

Parties:  Bridesmaid luncheon; wedding reception

Ring:  Groom’s wedding band

Stationery:  Save the date cards; announcements, invitations, programs or bulletins

Transportation:  Limousine for bride and groom; for bridal party


Ceremony:  marriage license, officiant’s fee

Clothes:  Groom’s attire

Flowers:  The bridal bouquet, corsages for the MOB, MOG, and GMOB and GMOG; boutonnieres for groomsmen


Parties: Rehearsal dinner

Rings:  The engagement ring and the bride’s wedding band

So, as you can see, the bride’s family has responsibility for paying most of the expenses.   However, there ARE ways to cut costs.  I’ll be mentioning some of these in upcoming blogs.  In the meantime, blessings to you as you continue making plans for your big day!  Gay Lee, Wedding Preacher for Hire

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