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Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays for What?

Bride and groom kissing

You've just probably shared the news about your engagement, and you're ready to make your dream wedding come into reality. But of course, that's easier said than done. Going beyond the basics, people are left with the question, "How do you get things started? Who pays for what?"

When it comes to weddings, there's no specific answer. Of course, there are no written rules that couples ought to follow. Traditions are still alive and kicking, but this shouldn't limit you from talking to your partner to make decisions together. Here are some wedding etiquette tips that'll help everything get started.

Wedding Etiquette: Considering Traditions

The Bride:

  • Groom's wedding band

  • Gifts for the groom, bridesmaids, and parents

  • Bridal hair and makeup

The Bride's Family:

  • Engagement party

  • Wedding dress and accessories

  • Wedding planning and arrangement

  • Wedding photography and videography

  • Wedding invitations and giveaways

  • Pre-wedding parties (like bridal showers)

  • Accommodation and transportation for bridesmaids

  • Wedding ceremony and reception venue

  • Wedding decor and bridal accessories

  • Wedding menu (including the cake)

  • Post-wedding parties

The Groom:

  • Bride's engagement ring and wedding band

  • Honeymoon

The Groom's Family:

  • Marriage license and officiant fee

  • Rehearsal dinner

  • Bride's bouquet, boutonnieres, and corsages

  • Accommodation and transportation for groomsmen

  • Wedding reception (drinks and entertainment)

Wedding Etiquette: Getting Started

Bride and groom facing each other

While it's ideal to pay for your own wedding, this doesn't work for everyone. High upfront costs and other debts keep couples stay within a tight budget in their 20s and 30s.

Of course, if you and your partner have the means to pay for the wedding, then go for it. Otherwise, you can shoulder most of the expenses and seek financial support from parents to chip in.

Are you still skeptical? Then don't hesitate to talk things over in private. Set a budget for the wedding. List everything you need. Share your wedding ideas and take note of rough estimates. All of these things will help in making a decision.

So again, it will depend on what you and your partner want. But for most couples, splitting the bill with the help of parents is the way to go. This is because weddings can cost thousands and more. It's not best to spend most (if not all) of your savings on a once-in-a-lifetime event like weddings.

The Real Challenge

Now what happens when you allow parents to chip in? There are a lot of possibilities. For a start, you can ask them if they're willing to help. Their approval is much more important than your decision to seek financial help.

And if they already gave you the go-ahead, ask them about how much are they willing to pay. Ask about their expectations and what they don't or can't shoulder.

And this is where it gets tricky and even more challenging. If parents are shouldering most of the wedding expenses, they likely have a say in where should things be put, and how money should be spent.

Say they'll want you to wear this dress, or prefer this location over something else. At some point, they might also include food in the menu that you don't really like, or recommend hiring a wedding planner that they know instead of going for your choice. If they're insisting on their way rather than yours, it's time to reconsider things.

You can consider cutting down some expenses so you can have the wedding you're dreaming of on your terms.

Overall, there's no right and wrong here. What matters is that you're open to communicating with your partner and your parents. Although inevitable, misunderstandings should not take place in planning a wedding. Talk and consider different options. Respect and accept others' decisions. Most importantly, if you have the means to pay for everything, go ahead with it. It's your wedding, not theirs.

Wedding Etiquette Tip: Show Appreciation

Bride, Groom and guests releasing balloons

Source: Álvaro CvG

"Thank you" is merely a two-word acknowledgment, but it goes a long way.

If parents are paying for the wedding, it goes without saying that you have to express your gratitude to them. They'll likely get pleased if they know that you appreciate their part in the event.

So, is it really as simple as saying "thank you"? Well, you can go farther than that. For instance, think of your wedding invitations. Instead of placing your name with your partner first, make it your parents'.

It should be, "John and Mary Smith and Jack and Ava Williams are cordially inviting you to celebrate with their children Will and Amy..." This is applicable if both parties are splitting the bill. But if parents are wholly paying for the big day, you'll only write parents' names.

Wedding Etiquette Tip: Setting the Perfect Budget

Bride and groom holding hands while raised

The main takeaway has to do with setting the right wedding budget. It can take time to come up with a specific figure, but it can make the planning process quicker and easier.

This conversation should start within you and your partner. There are several factors to consider, like the venue and guest list, and you should make a priority list where you rank each of them. When your budget falls short, consider cutting down costs or open the subject with family members.


Bride leaning to the grooms' arm

Photographer: Shuwei Zhang, Alegna Weddings

Alegna Weddings understand how challenging and daunting it is to plan a wedding.

Once you're ready to look for a wedding photographer and a videographer, our team will be more than happy to capture your special day. It's our passion and this is how we give back to the community!

Got questions? Call Angie at 1300 54 58 77 or email, and we'll get back to you ASAP!


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