Wedding Budgets – Who Pays For What?

NicoleMaui Photography

Wedding Budgets – Who Pays For What?


Over time, wedding budgets and who pays for what has changed as times have changed. Many years ago and still practiced today in some countries, is the old tradition of the bridal dowry. A bridal dowry means that traditionally the bride’s parents would pay for everything that had to do with the wedding. In today’s society, it is becoming a lot more common for the bride and groom to pay for most, if not all, of the wedding costs or by dividing it between the two families.


There are different reasons for this change in the modern wedding. Such reasons may include:


-Living Together. Couples are now choosing to live together before they get married to see if they are compatible and thus the wedding becomes a mere formality.


-Waiting to Marry. People are simply getting married later in life than they use to. Perhaps it’s because life spans are longer and thus people want to have some fun first, or they want a solid career, or it’s just their choice. In many other cases, it could be due to a second or third marriage for either party.


-Working Women. More than ever before, women are working rather than staying at home to raise their kids, so women are better equipped financially to help pay for the wedding costs.


-Rising Costs. The cost of living alone has caused the cost of a wedding to drastically rise. In addition is the influence we see from celebrity weddings that we want to emulate. Another influence is that everyone simply wants to outdo the other. So unless you’re wealthy, people just can’t afford that lavish dream wedding anymore.


Newly engaged couples should really consider sitting down with their parents and discuss a wedding budget. Otherwise engaged couples have a tendency to go overboard with their wedding plans without considering what their parents can actually afford without going in to debt.


There is a general rule in modern society as to who is responsible for what, such as:


Bride’s Family:

– Wedding Location Reservation

– Wedding Permit (may be required in some locations such as certain beaches or parks)

– Wedding Dress and Accessories (veil, gloves, necklace, etc)

– Photography and Videographer

– Invitations and Announcements

– Bridal Party’s Transportation to and from the wedding

– All decorations for the wedding ceremony

– All flowers for both the wedding and the reception

– Wedding Bouquet, Corsages, Boutonnieres, and any particular flowers designed to go to the parents or grandparents

– Flowers to be used by the flower girl

– Wedding Cake

– Bride’s make-up/hair


Groom’s Family:

– Wedding Reception, which includes location, decoration, food and drink, music (whether it is a band or a DJ)

– Groom’s Cake

– Engagement Party (if one is planned)

– Rehearsal Dinner

– Marriage License (this may be paid for by the bride and groom themselves)

– The Officiate


Bride and Groom:

– Wedding and Engagement Rings

– Gifts for bridesmaids, groomsmen and parents

– Marriage License (unless the groom’s parents agreed to pay for it)


Bridesmaids and Groomsmen:

– Any travel cost

– Tuxedo rentals

– Bridesmaid dresses, accessories and make-up/hair

– Bachelor and Bachelorette parties

– Maid of Honor usually pays for the bridal shower



Maui Wedding Photographer- Nicole Sanchez