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Budget Breakdown — a guide to who traditionally pays for what

Anyone planning a wedding learns quickly that wedding expenses add up. That's why budgeting how much to spend on each portion of the wedding, reception and honeymoon is so important. Unfortunately, it's also one of the least enjoyable, most difficult (and frustrating) things about planning a wedding.

As soon as possible after the engagement is announced, the bride, groom and whoever else may be paying for the wedding need to talk and establish monetary guidelines. Make a list of who agrees to pay for what and how much. Pledge to each other to stay within the budget and to consult others when needed as questions arise. Below is a list detailing how the financial responsibilities have traditionally been divided, but of course these can vary depending on your personal circumstances.

Click on any section below to reveal the list of expenses.

Bride
  • Personal stationery
  • Groom's wedding ring
  • Wedding gift for groom
  • Gifts for attendants
  • Bridesmaids' luncheon
  • Gifts for her parents
Bride's family
  • Travel expenses and hotel bills
  • Wedding gift for couple
  • Reception
  • Rental of wedding site
  • Bride's wedding attire and trousseau
  • Bride's parents' wedding attire
  • Invitations, announcements, thank you notes and postage
  • Wedding programs
  • Engagement and wedding photographs
  • Musicians/vocalists
  • Videographer
  • Aisle carpets and/or canopy and decorations
  • Bridesmaids bouquets
  • Flowers for flower girl
  • Flowers/plants for church
  • Flowers/plants for reception
  • Transportation for bridal party to and from ceremony and reception
  • Security and insurance for gifts
Bride's maid of honor and attendants
  • Bridal shower
  • Attire, including dress, shoes and hosiery
  • Lodging and travel expenses
Groom
  • Bride's rings
  • Honeymoon
  • Transportation to airport for honeymoon
  • Wedding gift for bride
  • Bridal bouquet and going-away corsage
  • Boutonnieres for all men in wedding party
  • Mothers' corsages
  • Gifts for best man, groomsmen and ushers
  • Marriage license
  • Fee for officiant
  • Gift for his parents
Groom's family
  • Travel expenses and hotel bills
  • Groom's personal stationery, thank you notes
  • Groom's wedding attire
  • Groom's parents' wedding attire
  • Rehearsal dinner
  • Wedding gift for couple
  • Shipment of wedding gifts to the couple's new home, if necessary
Groom's best man and attendants
  • Bachelor party
  • Formalwear rental
  • Lodging and travel expenses

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