How to Determine Wedding Expenses (who traditionally covers which ones)
Traditionally, the bride’s parents were expected to bear all of the expenses of the wedding and reception, but the budget can look much different depending on what works for you and your family. Today, traditional budgeting often no longer makes sense, and it’s perfectly okay to look to other options to create a modern spending plan. It may take a mix of the families contributing different amounts to create a plan that’s right for your ideal wedding. What exactly that mix may look like doesn’t matter; what does matter is that everyone involved discusses the arrangements – and how you all plan on sharing the financial investment – as early in the planning process as possible.
The breakdown of expenses used to be very clear. The bride’s family paid for the groom’s ring, engagement party, the wedding and reception, and a brunch or luncheon for the wedding party the next day. The groom’s family paid for the rehearsal dinner, the officiant’s fee, and the marriage license. The groom paid for the bride’s engagement and wedding rings and the honeymoon.
Today, any combination of financing is appropriate. Some common resolutions today are for the couple to pay for everything, for the bride’s family to pay for half and the groom’s family for half, or, for the couple to pay one third and each side of the family fund another third. If another combination works best for you, then it’s the right one!
Many couples have also started choosing to ask for cash gifts rather than creating a wedding registry. This way you can have some extra funds for the honeymoon, or to help pay off any wedding expenses that weren’t covered in the original budget.
Any financial conversations should involve the couple, their parents, and any stepparents. Though depending on your family culture, you can also include siblings, grandparents, and other close relations who may also choose to help. The first and most important step is to find out who is willing to pay for what, and how much everyone is able to contribute, which will provide you with an overall spending limit to work with.
Hold Your Ground
As fiscal responsibilities have been established, no matter the size of the spending limit, new questions of who has the final say on certain wedding tasks may start. Parents need to remember that the wedding belongs to the couple, regardless of who is paying. Parents can make suggestions, but the specific choices of guests lists, colors, food, flowers, music, and design are up to the bride and groom. In turn, the couple needs to be respectful of any limits. Pushing the boundaries of any financial agreement can result in conflict.
Other wedding-expense traditions can still be in place. The wedding shower hosts normally pay for the shower. This can mean the bridesmaids and groomsmen split it among themselves, or a mix of close friends, siblings, cousins, or anyone except the couple themselves can throw the wedding shower. Additionally, bridesmaids and groomsmen pay for their clothing and shoes (renting, purchase, and alterations) and travel expenses to the wedding. Their flowers are covered as part of the overall wedding budget. Whether you stick with this tradition or come up with a new solution, discuss financial expectations with your wedding party early on, so your bridesmaids and groomsmen will know what they are signing up for.
Traditions make weddings special, and a planned wedding budget should be something that facilitates these traditions, not a burden! Just like in a marriage, communication is key.
Working with a wedding budget can be very stressful, but the best thing you can do is find people to help you and get your questions answered! Our wedding coordinators at Capt. Anderson’s Event Center are ready to help you make your day extra special with unparalleled services and amenities within your budget. If you are looking for available wedding venues, contact us to tour our extraordinary banquet halls and floor plans in Panama City Beach, Florida. Our waterfront views are sure to make your celebration that much more spectacular. You can also view our venue on The Knot and WeddingWire!