July 09 2014 Wednesday at 12:00 AM

Budgeting your Wedding and Understanding Who is Responsible for What

Congratulations on finding the love of your life and embarking on one of life’s most exciting journeys.  Of course we’re talking about planning your wedding!  Wedding planning is one of life’s activities that is both so personal and also so ruled by etiquette and ceremony.  Part of the fun of planning a wedding is getting to plan and prepare for all of a wedding’s typical activities for yourself.  After all, you’ve been to countless weddings, and now it’s time for your special day.  You want it to be perfect, as stress-free as possible, and a moving and beautiful time for everyone.

But who is supposed to pay for what?  Who has the executive decision?  Is there any way to know?  Here is a helpful guide as to the traditional etiquette as a reference point.  Remember, there are no rights and wrongs anymore.  You can break these rules if you want.  It’s meant to be helpful in case you are in a lurch as to who is traditionally supposed to be responsible.

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The CEREMONY is the responsibility of the bride’s family.  Rental costs for the setting, whether it be a church or synagogue, or a lakeside retreat, and all the corresponding location-based costs like music and sexton.  However, the groom’s family shall pay for the marriage license and officiant’s fee. 

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As for the CLOTHING, logically the bride and her family are in charge of paying for the bridal gown, veil, accessories and after-ceremony clothing.  The groom and his family pay for his outfit.  Etiquette calls for attendants to pay for their own clothing, including coordinated bridesmaids outfits and groomsmen attire.  It’s part of the gift of being a part of the wedding party.

No wedding is complete without carefully thought out FLOWER arrangements.  Traditionally, the bride and family are charged with paying for the arrangements at the ceremonial location, including the huppah in traditional Jewish ceremonies.  The bride’s side is also responsible for the bouquets and corsages for bridesmaids and flower girls.  The groom’s family pays for the bride’s bouquet and the going-away corsage, the men’s boutonnieres, and motherly and grandmotherly corsages.  A good wedding will have copious amounts of beautiful flower arrangements.

While the bride pays for the ceremony, typically the groom’s family pays for the complete HONEYMOON.  This is probably the most-broken rule, as more and more the couples themselves are paying for the travel expenses and the honeymoon, but in old-fashioned scenarios, this cost has fallen to the groom’s family.

The bride and her family should be in charge of the wedding PHOTOGRAPHY, hiring the photographers and videographers.

The PREWEDDING PARTIES are such an important part of the modern wedding, and there are a lot of options that the bride and bridegroom have.  The engagement party can be hosted by either side, but if there are going to be more than one such parties, the bride-hosted party should be the first one.  The groom’s family is in charge of the rehearsal dinner and must play host.  As for bachelor parties and bridesmaids showers, these are typically the responsibility of close friends, and the best man and maid of honor.  There are no real rules as to location and breadth of celebration; that’s up to the individual parties to plan and decide.

The bride’s family is in charge of entertainment at the RECEPTION, including food, drink, band, and all decorations.  They are also in charge of wedding TRANSPORTATION to and from the ceremony, and the coordination of a travel caravan or shuttle/van services.

And then there are the RINGS.  As etiquette dictates, and as makes the most logical sense, each side of the couple is in charge or paying for the rings of the other, including both engagement ring and wedding ring when talking about the bride’s two rings. 

Times change, and these rules are made to be broken, but if you want to fall back on classic etiquette to either be traditional or to avoid potentially nasty arguments, these are the rules for wedding tradition.