One of the biggest challenges of planning a wedding is figuring out your budget. Before you can even begin to delve into how much you can spend on the big day, a crucial first step is to determine who is contributing funds. But who should pay for the wedding? The short answer: it depends. Some couples pay for the wedding entirely on their own while others have full or partial financial support from their families (and, in some cases, friends or guests).

Who Should Pay for a Wedding?

Etiquette surrounding who pays for a wedding has outgrown the traditional rule that state the bride’s family covers the wedding while the groom’s family covers the rehearsal and honeymoon. Like most aspects of the modern wedding, it’s up to you decide if you would like to pay for your wedding on your own or request the help of others. If you opt to ask for assistance covering the costs of your big day, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  1. Never assume that someone can or will contribute financially.
  2. Never pressure anyone to pay for your wedding.
  3. Always ask respectfully.
  4. Always let the other person decide how much (if anything) to contribute.

People Who Might Help Pay for a Wedding

You and Your Partner

  • What You Might Pay For: Until you speak with your family about whether or not they will be contributing financially, it’s always safe to assume that you will be responsible for all expenses (with the exception of a few things listed below).
  • What You Typically Aren’t Responsible For: Travel/accommodations for you guests, engagement parties, bachelorette/bachelor parties, bridal/wedding showers, and wedding party attire. However, you may chip in on these expenses, or fully cover them, depending on your preferences and budget.

Your Families

  • What They Might Pay For: All or partial wedding expenses.
    • If you’re a bride, traditional etiquette suggests that your parents cover most of the wedding day expenses. However, they typically do not pay for the the rehearsal dinner, honeymoon, the engagement ring, your wedding band, personal gifts to your partner and wedding party, travel/accommodations for your guests, bachelorette/bachelor parties, bridal/wedding showers, and groom/wedding party attire.
    • If you’re a groom, traditional etiquette suggests that your parents cover the rehearsal dinner, the honeymoon, your partner’s wedding band, and your attire.
  • How To Ask: Sit down with them and graciously ask if they would like to add any funds to the wedding budget. Remember: never assume that they will contribute, and don’t dictate amounts.

Your Wedding Party

  • What They Might Pay For: Their attire, their travel/accommodation costs (if applicable), bachelor/bachelorette parties, bridal/wedding showers, and gifts.
  • How To Ask: How you ask is up to you, but we have a few pieces of advice:
    1. Be upfront about your expectations and provide a ballpark price range for how much each member of the wedding party will likely contribute based on their role.
    2. Be considerate of the financial situation of everyone in your wedding party when communicating your desires surrounding wedding attire and pre-wedding celebrations (like bachelorette/bachelor parties and showers).
    3. Be understanding when someone shares that they are financially unable to participate, whether that means they cannot be in your wedding party at all or that they have to pass on activities or purchases that are outside of their budget.

Your Friends/Weddings Guests

  • What They Might Pay For: Small ticket wedding items, gifts, and their travel/accommodation costs (when applicable).
  • How To Ask: Request gifts and/or cash funds through your Wedding Registry. If you would like your guests to contribute toward an item specifically for the wedding, such as a photobooth or an ice cream truck, set up a group gift where guests can chip in the amount of their choosing towards the purchase.