Wedding Traditions for Parents: Who Pays For What?

So, your child is getting married? That is great news – now it’s time to get up to speed on the various wedding traditions that you’ll need to follow!

With the cost of weddings, it's important to know who is going to pay and for what

After the joy & excitment of your daughter’s or son’s engagement, as the mother of the bride or groom you’ll soon find yourself pondering the wedding budget – specifically, just how much is this likely to cost you!?

Of course, much has changed in the years since you got married, and although many of the old school wedding traditions remain, it can be harder to clarify just whose responsibility it is to pay for everything from the limo and photographer to the wedding reception and the drinks.

Wedding Traditions

For many years, it was traditional for the bride’s parents to pay and organize pretty much all aspects of the wedding day.

However, this is one of those wedding traditions that seems to be going the way of the typewriter, as increasingly both sets of parents offer to help financially, due to the considerable costs involved in planning your special day.

For young couples, this can be a great help and relief, rather than bearing the costs themselves. Some couples prefer to pay for everything themselves, not asking mom or dad to contribute much financially.

Planning The Wedding Budget

With few guidelines to help you, here’s a guide to who traditionally pays for what – which may at least serve as a starting point for discussions about just what your contribution as parents should be.

You can find a more comprehensive list of wedding planning activities by clicking the link.

Wedding Traditions for Parents of the Bride

Parents traditionally pay for :-Floral arrangements in the church

  • wedding invitations
  • the bride’s wedding gown, veil, shoes & accessories
  • wedding transportation
  • the reception or wedding breakfast, including the venue, food & drink and cake
  • wedding bouquets and flowers, including floral arrangements for the church and reception

Wedding Traditions for the Groom

The groom traditionally pays for:-

  • the rings (engagement & wedding band)
  • wedding flowers, including bridal bouquet, buttonholes & corsages
  • church fees
  • wedding gifts for best men, bridesmaids and ushers
  • and, of course, the honeymoon

The only cost the bride would usually have expected to pay is to buy her future husband his wedding ring as well as a wedding day gift for the groom.

Planning Who Will Pay For What

With these wedding traditions as a basis, it’s a good start if both sets of parents have an opportunity to meet (try and do this soon after the engagement). 

Once the future “Mr. & Mrs.” have started to work out their wedding budget, you may wish to chat or negotiate about what you’re prepared to pay for.

It can be helpful to set exact limits – for example, don’t just say you’re happy to pay for the dress, give a top budget of the maximum amount you are willing to pay.

Rather than specify what you will and won’t pay for, some parents opt to simply give a cash donation towards wedding costs, letting the future bride and groom make the decisions about how they will spend it in relation to their preexisting wedding budget. 

This has the advantage that you know exactly what you’re committed to, with no last-minute surprises as the wedding day approaches.

As you can see, although your are not limited by old school wedding traditions, it’s still helpful to consider them as a baseline. Best wishes for a wonderful, happy day!  


Speak Your Mind