New vs. Old Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays for What?
These days, the rules of who pays for what when it comes to a wedding are a little more in the grey-area than in years past … for quick and easy reference, we have provided a short and sweet list of new wedding etiquette so you know what to expect from whom!
Old Wedding Etiquette Rules: Wedding and reception expenses for a first marriage were traditionally the sole responsibility of the bride’s family. When paying, they get to determine the size and style of the wedding and reception. The groom’s family may offer to share in the cost of the reception and the bride’s family may accept in order to accommodate a larger wedding.
New Wedding Etiquette Rules: Both families may divide the expenses as their budget allows, or each family can contribute a set amount to the total expenses. And not all couples are brides and grooms! This applies to brides and brides, grooms and grooms and couples who want to be labeled as neither. As the average age of couples has risen for marriage, many modern duos host and pay for their entire wedding and celebration themselves and send the invitation for their personalized wedding on their own. For encore weddings, the couple is always responsible for the costs. An encore wedding is a marriage in which the one or both people have been married before.
Traditionally, the Bride’s Family Pays for:
- Church and reception site rental
- Cake, catering and beverages for the reception
- Invitations, announcements and stationary
- Services of a wedding consultant
- The bridal attire and trousseau
- Photography for the engagements, wedding portraits, ceremony and reception
- Flowers for the ceremony, reception and wedding party
- Corsages for special wedding participants/guests of honor
- Music at the ceremony and reception
- Lodging for out-of-town guests
- Security and insurance
- Wedding favors
Traditionally, the Groom’s Family Pays for:
- Engagement and wedding rings
- Marriage license
- Officiant’s fee and travel expenses
- The Bride’s bouquet and going-away corsage
- Corsages for the mothers and grandmothers
- Boutonnieres and ties for the men of the wedding party
- Wedding gift for the bride
- Getaway car expense
- Wedding night accommodations
- Honeymoon trip
- Gifts for the best man and groomsmen
- Shipment of wedding gifts to the couple’s home
- Rehearsal dinner
- Wedding rings
- Wedding day gifts
- Gifts for the couple’s attendants
- Thank you gift for parents
- Bridesmaid’s luncheon (optional event)
Other Expenses to Consider:
- Engagement parties may be hosted by each set of parents or friends
- Engaged couple may co-host or host the entire wedding event
- Bachelor dinner or party
- Bachelorette dinner or party
- Bridal Shower
- Welcome party
- Post-wedding brunch
Who pays for what for a wedding might be just the first of many questions that come up when planning your day. Peruse our BLOG for other advice columns, and of course, lots of inspirational eye-candy!
If you are getting married in NC, we’d also love for you to check out our Preferred Vendors. Heart of NC Weddings has been the trusted wedding planning resource for our region for 35 years and has the most extensive VENUE GUIDE spanning from the NC Triad, Greater Triangle-area, the coast and the mountains. Our state has great options for DESTINATION WEDDINGS too!