wedding budget

{ $$ who’s paying for this wedding anyway $$ }

Monday, August 13th, 2012 | etiquette, Q&A | No Comments

One of our new clients mentioned that they were really stressed about figuring out who is supposed to pay for what at the wedding. This is a question that clients used to ask me ALL the time – but in the last 5 or 6 years it actually hasn’t come up very often, or only in regards to the rehearsal dinner or one small detail.
A good portion of our clients are paying for the wedding themselves so if their parents contribute any money it’s just a nice bonus, but when an engaged couple is counting on their families to pay for most or all of the wedding it can be a sticky topic for a number of reasons.
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It’s rarely the case that both families have similar financial circumstances, and some families wish to stick to a very traditional division of costs where other families don’t have the slightest idea who is supposed to pay for what. All of these elements can conspire to cause the couple a lot of stress – even just bringing up the subject of the financial obligations can cause even the calmest couple some sleepless nights.
Traditionally, of course, the bride’s family assumed the burden of most wedding costs – probably a vestige of the practice of providing a large dowry to attract a good husband (!!). However, these days only about 25% of weddings are paid for solely by the bride’s parents.
Today, almost 70% of weddings are paid for either by the couple or by some combination of both sets of parents. It’s now VERY common for both families to share the costs equally, or for the bride and groom to pay for all of the expenses themselves.
If you do want financial help from your families to pay for the wedding, you must keep in mind you must be wiling to compromise on some of your wishes for your wedding. Although it can be a difficult subject to broach this subject with your parents – do your best to keep the conversation calm & dignified…it’s amazing how grievances that arise during the engagement can linger far past the actual wedding…whatever happens, whoever pays…just remember these people are going to be your family for the rest of your life so tread lightly!
If age-old tradition is ruling the financial structure of your wedding, here is the TRADITIONAL DIVISION OF COSTS from Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette:
The Bride & Her Family:
• services of a wedding consultant
• invitations, enclosures, announcements
• bride’s wedding gown & accessories
• floral decorations for ceremony & reception
• bridesmaids’ flowers
• bride’s bouquet
• formal wedding photos
• videographer
• music for church & reception
• transportation of bridal party to & from ceremony
• all reception expenses
• bride’s gifts to her attendants
• bride’s gift to groom
• groom’s wedding ring
• ceremony rentals
• cost of soloists
• transportation of bridal party to reception
• accommodations for bride’s attendants
• bridesmaids’ luncheon

The Groom & His Family:
• bride’s engagement ring
• bride’s wedding ring
• gifts for groom’s attendants
• ties for groom’s attendants if not part of rental package
• bride’s bouquet (in regions where this is the custom)
• bride’s going-away corsage
• boutonnieres for groom’s attendants
• corsages for immediate members of both families
• officiant’s fee or church donation
• transportation & lodging expenses for the officiant if required & invited to officiate by groom’s family
• marriage license
• transportation for groom and best man to ceremony
• honeymoon
• all costs of rehearsal dinner
• accommodations for groom’s attendants
• bachelor dinner (if groom wishes to have one)
• transportation and lodging for groom’s immediate family*

Bridesmaids/Honour Attendants:
• purchase of apparel and all accessories
• transportation to and from city where wedding takes place
• a contribution to a gift from bridesmaids to bride
• individual gift to couple (if being in the wedding is not the gift)
• shower/luncheon for bride

Ushers/Groomsmen/Best Man:
• rental/purchase of wedding attire
• transportation to and from city where wedding takes place
• a contribution to a gift from groomsmen to groom
• individual gift to couple (if being in the wedding is not the gift)
• bachelor party for groom

Out-of-town guests:
• transportation to & from wedding
• lodging expenses
• wedding gift

* just as a total aside – it always makes me crazy when I watch “Father of the Bride” and Diane Keaton tells Steve Martin they have to pay for all of the groom’s family to fly in from Denmark…NO!!! No you don’t!! Whether you’re following old traditions or new – or none for that matter – unless you happen to own an airlines…that would be just stupid…but artistic license I guess :)

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