Setting your budget is one of the first steps a couple needs to take before they can start planning their wedding but before that can happen - you have to figure out who can and will be paying for the wedding! There are two routes to take when deciding who will be financially contributing to your wedding day - Old School Etiquette vs New-Age Etiquette between families and even the couple themselves! It is important to know the traditional budget etiquette especially if you are dealing with family members that may prefer to keep things “proper” or to use them as a point of reference for when you are breaking down the costs between both families.
When it comes to your wedding budget the bride’s family may want to follow tradition and pay for the majority of the expenses, or they may happily agree to work together with the groom’s family to determine the total amount of money that can be spent by agreeing to contribute however much their personal finances allows for. The biggest thing to remember is to be honest about how much each family and even you as the newlywed’s-to-be can realistically contribute towards the ever growing wedding budget. After you decide who will be paying for what on your wedding day - be sure to check out our blog post on How to Plan Your Wedding Without Breaking the Bank.
With traditional or old school etiquette, the idea is that the bride’s family basically pays for the entire wedding, while the groom's family pays for the alcohol to be served at the reception. In some cases the groom’s family would also pay for some of the flowers for the wedding day, as well as, the rehearsal dinner. Wedding and reception expenses are mostly expected to be covered solely by the bride's family; as long as it is the first marriage for the bride. This means that the bride’s family financial status would ultimately set the total budget amount that could be spent for the wedding. Therefore, they would get to have the final say when it came to deciding on the size of the wedding (number of guests invited), along with a majority of the wedding details.
The groom’s family, when discussing the traditional wedding budget etiquette, would pay for all of the alcohol to be served at the reception along with the bride’s bouquet, boutonnieres, and corsages. In some instances, the groom's family may offer to help pay for the cost of the reception to allow for a larger wedding and more guests - but would ultimately be up to the bride’s family if they wanted to accept this financial contribution or not.
Today, many couples are using the traditional or old school wedding budget etiquette as more of a starting point on figuring out who should or can pay for what rather than using it is as “Wedding Law” (Warning: Your older relatives or parents may not like this new age nonsense but stand firm in your decision to break from tradition!) There are a ton of ways to divide things up between both families and even the couple themselves may end up contributing the majority of money used for the overall budget. There is no wrong answer or way of breaking the costs apart.
We always say “Team-Work makes the Dream-Work” and I couldn’t agree more with this statement especially when it comes to covering the ever growing costs of a wedding. The goal here is to make sure that you and your fiance are able to have your dream wedding within you and your families pre-determined and agreed upon budget. So who cares if your whacky Aunt Linda thinks it's outrageous for both families to split the cost evenly, regardless of what others consider “proper wedding budget etiquette” - it doesn’t matter how you achieve the end goal of your dream wedding so long as you and your fiance are happy!