The excitement of the engagement has kept you floating for a bit, but now it starts to get real, it is wedding planning time.

When it comes to pulling out the checkbook for wedding expenses, it can be confusing and awkward to know who pays for what. Although it can vary from wedding to wedding, hopefully, this will help remove the discomfort that may arise with this topic. While it is common that the majority of the wedding cost falls upon the bride’s family, today, couples are spending more of their own money, or both the bride’s and groom’s family are sharing the expenses.

Rehearsal Dinner

Cost, hosting, and planning of the rehearsal dinner customarily falls upon the groom’s family. This includes food & beverages, invitations, venue, etc. A rehearsal dinner can be as simple as a backyard picnic, or as elaborate as a banquet in a hotel or restaurant.

Personal Tip: This doesn’t follow along with the topic of cost; however, here is a tip for the rehearsal dinner. Games are a huge hit! My mom put together a game for my brother’s rehearsal dinner, and it went fantastic. Instead of doing the “Newlywed” Game, she put together a “Not So Newlywed” Game… we are still laughing about it many years later!

Bridal Party Attire

Wedding Dress: The cost of the wedding dress, veils, and accessories commonly fall onto the bride’s family.

Groom’s Attire: Often, renting or buying the groom’s attire is paid for by the groom or his family.

Groomsman & Bridesmaid’s Clothing: The bridal party themselves often purchase the groomsman’s and bridesmaid’s attire. Sometimes, the groom and bride will contribute some money towards the clothing. Now, this all varies between weddings. When I was a part of a bridal party, the bride’s parents purchased the dresses. While another time, I bought my dress, but they provided the shoes. It will all depend upon your budget, and also the number of people in the wedding’s bridal party.


The ceremony and reception costs are paid for by the bride’s family. This includes venue cost, music, decorations, photographers, and guest favors while the groom and his family pay for the marriage license and officiant fee.


Flowers for the ceremony, reception, bridesmaids, and flower girls are typically paid for by the bride’s family. Traditionally, the groom and his family will buy the boutonnieres and corsages for the wedding party and family members. By tradition, the groom and his family will also purchase the bride’s bouquet. Now again, this will vary between weddings. For my brother’s wedding, my now sister-in-law made all flower pieces (boutonnieres, centerpieces, bridesmaid’s bouquets, corsages, etc.), and all cost was paid for by her parents.

Wedding Party Gifts

For the bridesmaid’s gifts and the bride’s gifts to the groom, that cost is covered by the bride. Likewise, the cost of the groomsmen’s gifts and the groom’s gifts to the bride will be covered by the groom.


The groom and his family generally cover the honeymoon. However, today, most couples will pay for the honeymoon themselves. Another option that I have read about is setting up a “honeymoon fund” that your guests can put money towards. I haven’t seen this in action, but it could be a creative option.

I repeat … each wedding will vary. However, I hope this helped you get started on budgeting and wedding planning!

Resources: BridesThe KnotWedding Wire