Weddings in the 90s – Who Pays?


Who pays for the wedding these days? You may have noticed that, in the 90s, this is becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer.

By now, the excitement of your engagement is probably over and you will be looking ahead to the arduous task of planning your entire wedding day. Naturally, there are hundreds of decisions you will have to make. Will the wedding be large or small? Inside or outside? Formal or informal? Before you get too confused, pause for a moment and ask yourself these questions – who will be paying, and how much money can I spend?

The traditional responsibilities of paying for a wedding are laid out in any standard wedding or etiquette book. However, these rules do not take into account the many different family situations that people have today! These days, it is common to see weddings paid for by both the bride and groom’s parents, or by the bride’s parents with some help from the bride and groom. One example of this is the new trend of the groom’s parents paying for the drinks at the wedding reception. As you can imagine, this can add up to quite a lot of money! Another new trend is that couples who have been living together for a number of years often opt to pay for the entire wedding themselves.

You will notice in the list below that, traditionally, the bride’s parents are responsible for most of the wedding expenses. This can be extremely expensive, especially considering the average wedding costs around $15,000. Because this is a considerable sum of money, finding out who will pay for what will be the first big step in planning your wedding. You will need to decide this sum very early on and keep these figures in mind throughout your planning. To make your budgeting easier, it is essential that you, the groom and both sets of parents decide on three things:

  • who will be paying for the wedding;
  • how much money you want to, and can afford to spend on your wedding;
  • what aspects of the wedding are most important to you (you should allocate more money toward these areas).

Following is a traditional breakdown of wedding expenses. However, do remember that these are not set rules that must be followed. Every bride’s situation is different and it is always best to work out what is right for you.


The bride’s family:

  • Engagement notice and any other press announcements
  • Engagement party
  • Reception costs (venue, food, beverages, entertainment)
  • Wedding cake
  • Decorating of ceremony and reception venues
  • Wedding stationery (printing and mailing)
  • Wedding photography and videography
  • Wedding dress and accessories
  • Transportation to the ceremony and reception venues (for mother of the bride, bride and bridesmaids only)
  • Any other ceremony or reception expenses
The bride:

  • Groom’s wedding ring and wedding gift
  • Stationery for thank you notes
  • Guest book for the reception
  • Bridesmaid’s party
The groom’s family:

  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Wedding outfits
  • Gift for the bride and groom
  • Travelling expenses
The groom:

  • Engagement ring
  • Bride’s wedding ring and wedding gift
  • Gifts for the groom’s attendants
  • Bride’s bouquet
  • Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
  • Boutonnieres for attendants, fathers, grandfathers and grrom
  • Gifts for the bridesmaids
  • Officiant’s fee
  • Wedding outfit
  • Honeymoon
  • The attendants:
  • Wedding outfits
  • Travelling expenses
  • Gift for the bride and groom

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