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Keep Track Of Your Wedding Budget

Who pays for what?

Traditional etiquette dictates that the bride’s parents pay for most of the wedding expenses, while the groom’s parents contribute towards some of the costs. However, with the cost of weddings skyrocketing, whatever the contribution from parents, should be considered a gift, rather than a right.It is wise to know exactly how much parents are able to spend before you start planning a prince and princess wedding at the palace. Couples whose parental contribution falls short of their expectations, can still have the wedding of their dreams, but only if they are prepared to be responsible for some of the expenses.

When couples have established careers, many pay for their own weddings and any parental contribution is a bonus to be used for luxurious touches, like a fully draped venue, a crystal beaded wedding dress, flowers in abundance and mountainous seafood platters. No matter who pays, family members do not buy the right to impose their weddings plans on the couple. It is the bride and groom’s wedding and all the choices should be theirs.

Here are ‘traditional’ expense guidelines which, these days, are not set in stone allowing you to change to suit your circumstances. Good idea: Have one person to keep track of budget, like a wedding coordinator.

Traditional expenses of the bride’s family …..
  • Wedding gown and trousseau.
  • Cost of wedding coordinator.
  • Wedding invitations, announcements, ceremony programme and all other printed materials.
  • Venue hire of ceremony and reception sites
  • Minister or marriage officer’s fee.
  • Decoration of both sites, including flowers.
  • Bouquets for bride and bridesmaids, corsages for the mother of the bride and mother of the groom, (groom or groom’s parents may pay for all the men’s buttonhole flowers, unless the bride’s parents opt to do so).
  • Fees for musicians.
  • Transportation of the bridesmaids to the ceremony and reception.
  • Entire cost of the reception including the cake, food and caterer’s fee, gratuities, and
  • Drinks. If the groom would like his future in-laws to smile upon him, it is considered a generous gesture if the drinks are paid for by him or his parents.
  • All photography and videography, unless the couple prefer to be responsible for this.
  • Accommodation for all out of town bridesmaids and bride’s close relatives.
  • Groom’s wedding ring and wedding gift from the bride, or the bride may do so.
Traditional expenses of the groom’s family …..
  • The bride’s rings
  • The marriage licence.
  • The ceremony officiant’s fee.
  • Rehearsal or pre wedding dinner/party.
  • Groom’s wedding outfit.
  • Accommodation for the out-of-town groomsmen and groom’s relatives.
  • Gifts for the best man, groomsmen, and ushers.
  • Boutonnieres (buttonhole flowers) for the groom, best man etc.
  • Bride’s bouquet and corsage for bride’s going away outfit.
  • Corsages for both mothers and all grandmothers.
  • The honeymoon.
Traditional expenses of the bridal attendants …..

It is wise to discuss money matters at the same time you ask somebody to be your bridesmaid or matron of honour, because they may not be aware or unable to afford the expenses the honour carries. If they don’t have money, these expenses will become the bride’s responsibility. If one attendant has money while the other doesn’t, this could cause ill feeling, so don’t leave this matter in the hope it will resolve itself.

  • Their own outfits
  • Transportation to and from the town or city where the wedding is to take place.
  • Shared expenses for the kitchen tea/bridal shower/hen’s party.
  • Gifts for the kitchen tea and wedding – could be joint presents.
Traditional expenses of the groom’s attendants …..

Discuss money matters at the same time you ask somebody to be your best man or attendant so that there are no surprises.

  • Their own outfits
  • Transportation to and from the city where the wedding will take place.
  • Best man and other groomsmen share expenses of the bachelor party.
  • Joint wedding gift.
Tipping …..

Tipping is an expected reward for excellent service. Make provision in your budget for tipping waiters and kitchen staff. You might want to tip the DJ or band members, too. It is a personal choice. On your wedding day you might want to hand an envelope of cash to a trusted person to be used for tips.

Reference for this information:

Diane Warner’s Contemporary Guide for Wedding Etiquette,
published by New Page Books, a division or The Career Press, Inc.
ISBN 1-56414-761-4 (pbk.)