There used to be rules about who paid for what at a wedding. The bride and groom’s families each paid for certain parts of the wedding, and let’s be honest: Most of the cost fell to the bride’s family.
These days, those rules have been thrown out the window. According to the etiquette experts at The Emily Post Institute, only about a quarter of weddings are paid for by the bride’s family. Seventy percent of weddings are paid for by the couple or by the couple with the help of both families, and it’s becoming increasingly common for the couple to pay for the whole thing themselves.
If you’d like your parents to help pay for your wedding, you need to be honest and upfront. (That goes for you, too, Mom and Dad.) Let them know what you need from them, and be understanding when they tell you what they can or cannot afford. It’s best to have this conversation early, before you start visiting venues, trying on dresses, or making plans.
If you or your parents are traditionalists, here is the traditional breakdown of wedding costs and who pays for them:
Bride and her family: Church, ceremony music, church flowers, bride’s dress and accessories, trousseau, bridesmaid and flower girl flowers, photographer, the groom’s ring, the bridesmaids’ luncheon, the first engagement party (if there’s more than one), all stationery (invitations, announcements, programs, etc.), and everything to do with the reception (hall rental, entertainment, decorations, food, favors, etc.)
Groom and his family: Groom’s clothing and accessories, bride’s ring, bride’s bouquet, officiant’s fee, marriage license, rehearsal dinner, and honeymoon.
Attendants: Clothing, accessories, and travel expenses.