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Who pays? Traditional breakdowns for who pays which wedding expenses

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A wedding consists of a million details, most with a price tag. Who pays those expenses? The answer likely is a combination of the couples' parents and the couple, but here are traditional guidelines for divvying up the costs.


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Bride's Family pays for:

Wedding gown, shoes and accessories

Engagement party (generally hosted by mother of the bride)

Groom's wedding ring

Wedding announcements, invitations, reception cards

Ceremony site fee (if separate from reception)

Reception (including venue fees, food, liquor and decorations)

Guest gifts (gift bags, mementos, etc.) at the reception or at hotels where they are staying; these are optional

Flowers for ceremony and reception, including attendants' bouquets and boutonnieres for the bride's father and grandfather

Photography and videography

Music at ceremony and reception

Transportation (if the couple leaves the reception in a limousine or if transportation is provided for guests between the ceremony and reception or from a central site such as a hotel)

Housing for bridesmaids. The bride's family should provide a place to stay for bridesmaids who don't have family in town, either in their own home or the home of a friend or relative. If a bridesmaid opts to stay in a hotel instead, she should pay for her own lodging. If alternate housing options aren't available, the family traditionally pays lodging costs.

Groom's wedding gift


PHOTO BY OMURDEN CENGIZ
  • Photo by OmUrden Cengiz

Groom's Family pays for:

Bride's engagement and wedding rings

Rehearsal dinner

Honeymoon

Marriage license

Wedding officiant's fee

Bride's bouquet, corsages for mothers and grandmothers, boutonnieres for the groom, his attendants, ushers, groom's father and grandfather

Housing for groomsmen (see note regarding bridesmaids' housing)

Gifts for groom's attendants and ushers

Bride's wedding gift


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Bridesmaids pay for:

Bridesmaid dresses and accessories

Bridal shower and shower gift

Bachelorette party

Travel expenses to wedding and pre-wedding events

Wedding gift


Groom's Attendants and ushers pay for:

Tuxedos or suits for wedding

Bachelor party

Travel expenses

Wedding gift


Gratuities

Don't forget to include tips in the budget. Who gets tipped?

Banquet captain (oversees food and beverage service), tip $1-$5 per guest

Wait staff, 15-20 percent of food bill, or $10-$20 per server (check the catering contract to determine whether this fee was paid in advance)

Bartenders, $50-$100 each

Restroom, coat check or parking attendants (pay ahead of time, $1-$2 per guest and ask attendants not to accept tips from guests)

Delivery/set-up staff, $5-$20 each

Makeup/hair, 15-20 percent of total bill


PHOTO BY RUSLAN LEFREMOV
  • Photo by Ruslan Lefremov

The following generally are paid a flat fee or have gratuities included in their contracts, but you can add tips for exceptional service:

Caterers and reception site managers

Wedding planner ($50 to $500)

Limousine drivers

Entertainers ($50-$200)

Officiant ($50-$200)

Florists (15 percent)

Bakers (15 percent)

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