Who Pays For What?

As with everything, there are exceptions to all rules. This is especially true when it comes to who pays for what throughout the wedding process. The general rule of thumb is that the bride’s family pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner. Now, unless you have one heck of a rehearsal dinner, the numbers are far from even; which is why many people have begun tacking on a few of the smaller expenses to the groom’s side’s tab. Below is a breakdown of modern-day “Who Pays For What?”

Bride’s Family

  • Save-the-Dates, invitations and “thank you” card stationery
  • Wedding venue (church, garden, park, etc.)
  • Music during the ceremony (organist, string quartet, etc.)
  • Bride’s attire throughout the day
  • Flowers for the ceremony (including bouquets for bridesmaids)
  • Flowers and centerpieces for the reception
  • Photographer
  • Cake
  • Reception venue, food and all professional services associated with the reception
  • Transportation

Groom’s Family

  • Rehearsal dinner and all it entails (invitations, alcohol, decorations, etc.)
  • Groom’s attire
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Groomsmen’s boutonnières
  • Corsages for special guests like mothers and grandmothers
  • Honeymoon expenses

Bride OR Groom’s Family

  • Officiant
  • Liquor/alcohol at the reception
  • DJ or band at the reception


  • Attire, shoes and accessories
  • Pre-wedding parties for the bride including bridal shower(s) and bachelorette party


  • Attire and shoes
  • Bachelor party

Friends of the Couple

  • Engagement party for the couple
  • Additional showers/parties

While the responsibilities of some of these expenses can get a little blurred, it is important that all conversations about wedding expenses leave everyone on the same page. Because, generally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding and the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, that can give you a basis for everything and avoid uncomfortable conversations.

There are definitely gray areas where some families have decided to divvy up the responsibilities a little more, and that is great! It is also important to note that no matter how big or small your wedding is or how much it costs, at the end of your beautiful day, you will be just as married as everyone else. Try not to let the small details of your wedding cloud the reason why you are getting married in the first place.

Enjoy the planning process!