According to an annual survey published at, the average cost of a wedding in 2012 was $28,427. Although this isn’t quite as expensive as $29,334 back in 2008, it’s still a slight increase from 2011. Seeing the average cost of a wedding is enough to turn some devoted couples away from matrimony, but the good news is that you can oftentimes find financial help through family members. In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the traditional etiquette of who pays for what in a wedding.

Let me first start off by saying every family is different. While some families may follow the strict etiquette of traditional weddings, others may not. Don’t be afraid to sit down and discuss your financial situation with family members to see if they are willing to help. Your wedding is arguably the single most important day of your life, so chances are they will be more than happy to help.

Bride’s Family

Traditionally speaking, the bride’s family pays for a large portion of the wedding, including the ceremony, reception rental, food, beverages, music, wedding cake, photography, invitations, floral arrangements, and the bride’s dress. Typically, these items are paid for by the groom’s mother and father, but there are always exceptions to this rule of etiquette.


Guests attending the wedding should bring a wrapped gift for the newlywed couple. Some couples may register for gifts at a local department store, so guests should check with them beforehand.

Groom’s Family

Of course, the groom’s family still pays for certain items as well. The biggest expense billed to the groom’s family is the rehearsal dinner. When the bride, groom, and their two respective families come together for the rehearsal, there’s usually a dinner afterward. This dinner is paid for by the groom’s family. In addition to the rehearsal dinner, the groom’s family may also pay for the soon-to-be newlyweds’ transportation.

Bride and Groom

So, what do the bride and groom have to pay for on their big day? Following the traditional etiquette listed here, the only costs they are responsible for are rings for each other along with thank you cards to each of the guests.

Traditionally, the bride is responsible for purchasing the groom’s ring, while the groom is responsible for purchasing the bride’s ring. There’s really no specific etiquette regarding how the rings are chosen. Some couples want to give their input on a ring, while others want it to be a complete surprise.