The Traditional Breakdown of Whose Family Pays for What

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Photo: Matt Andrews Photography

The line of who pays for what for weddings these days is definitely blurred. But if you or your parents want to stick to tradition (or just want to know the way it used to go for reference), there are very strict delineations for who should pay for what. Here, our etiquette experts outline exactly who should front what bill, according to age-old customs. Please keep in mind, though, that this all depends on your particular financial and family situation.

Traditionally, the bride's family foots the majority of the bill. Of course, this rarely applies these days, but it's interesting to note all of the costs that the bride and her family were once held responsible for. They include obvious things like the wedding dress and accessories and the bride's gifts to her bridesmaids and groom. A lot of big-ticket items fall on that list too, like the wedding planner or coordinator, invitations and all it corresponding stationery, the majority of the flowers, total reception costs, all photography and videography expenses, the groom's wedding ring, music for the church and the reception, any rentals, the bridesmaids' luncheon, accommodation for all bridesmaids, and, last, all transportation needed for the big day.

As for the groom and his family's traditional expenses, they're a bit less of a burden. Costs include the bride's engagement ring and wedding rings, the groom's attire, the groom's gift to his groomsmen and, if he wants, their attire too, his gift to the bride, all of the boutonnieres and corsages for appropriate wedding party and family members, the officiant's fee, plus accommodation and transportation if he or she needs to travel to the wedding, the marriage license, rehearsal-dinner costs, lodging for the groomsmen, and transportation and lodging for the groom's family and groomsmen.

This article was written by Lauren Frankort for

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