Weddings can be expensive. In 2019, the average wedding cost was $33,900. For many couples, that amount is pretty hard shoulder without some help from family. But figuring out whose family should pay for what isn’t easy. There are questions about fairness but also traditional influences you may want to consider. If you’re trying to determine, “What does the groom’s family pay for in the wedding?” Here’s what you need to know.
Wedding Costs Traditionally Handled by the Groom’s Family
It’s no secret that many aspects of weddings are steeped in traditions. But you may be surprised to learn that the same goes for the handling of various wedding-related costs.
The groom’s family usually has well-defined possible responsibilities. Typically, they are far fewer (and substantially less expensive) than what the bride’s family is expected to cover. As a result, many couples still default to these as minimum costs for the groom’s side.
Here is a list of common expenses the groom’s family traditionally takes care of:
- Engagement ring
- Rehearsal dinner
- Bride’s wedding ring
- Marriage license fees
- Officiant fee and any officiant travel expenses
- Groom’s attire and related accessories
- Groomsmen’s attire and related accessories
- Best man and groomsmen gifts
- Boutonnieres for the wedding party (and possible the couple’s fathers and grandfathers)
- Bride’s bouquet
- Corsages for mothers and grandmothers
- Music for the reception
- Alcohol for the reception
Now, some of these expenses may be the responsibility of the groom himself. However, the groom’s family may opt to assist with them to reduce his burden.
Additionally, it’s important to note that abiding by convention is optional. There are certainly plenty of circumstances where deviating from the norm is acceptable, if not outright necessary.
Plus, there are certain costs that might not be traditionally assigned to anyone. Who picks up the tab for engagement parties, for example. It is a bit ambiguous. It may be determined more by which family wishes to host than convention. Which could cause it to be another expense the groom’s family shoulders if they choose to throw the event.
Other Approaches to Splitting Wedding Costs Between Families
While the breakdown above is highly traditional, it isn’t always viable. It’s highly reliant of the groom’s family having a suitable budget for addressing those costs, for one. For another, it may mean that the groom’s family has a degree of control over any choices in those categories. That might not make the bride or groom happy.
As a result, many couples are stepping away from wedding cost splitting traditions. An increasing number of couples actually pay for the full wedding themselves. That way, they can make any and all wedding-related decisions, ensuring they have their perfect ceremony and reception.
In cases where the bride’s and groom’s families contribute, it isn’t always along traditional lines. Some couples are happy with any assistance their families can provide, including if it isn’t enough to cover the traditionally handled expenses. Others may intentionally adjust what each family covers, altering the dollar amount based on factors like their parents’ income levels or degree of financial security.
How to Choose the Right Amount for the Groom’s Family to Pay
Most commonly, the bride and groom first figure out how much of the wedding they can handle alone. This gives them a baseline budget. Which may end up being the entire budget. It depends on whether their families can help.
Next, the couple will sit down with each of their families and have a discussion. They should talk about what their parents feel comfortable contributing. This allows the conversation to remain relatively private.
Ultimately, these discussions shouldn’t be about forcing each family to pay for specific costs. Instead, it’s about determining what they can reasonably afford, as well as, what they feel good about providing. Whatever that number is. That’s how much the groom’s and bride’s families should cover.
A Note About Second Marriages
If either the bride or the groom is heading toward their second marriage with this wedding, then the traditional rules usually don’t qualify. Typically, families aren’t expecting to contribute the second time around, however, if they provided a lot of financial assistance the first time.
Now, this doesn’t mean they won’t want to contribute. It’s just that it isn’t expected. However, the bride and groom should plan on having to cover more of the costs if it’s going to be either of their second marriages. Especially if both families can’t reasonably afford to help out.
How do you feel about the traditional wedding cost split? Do you think the groom’s family should pay more or less? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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