It is difficult to define what the traditional standards for payment of a wedding are, as they seem to be so far removed from our current society and the norms we have come to expect; those of financial equality and independence. However, there is definitely still some sort of expectation regarding which of the families pay for what, and what their contribution should be. In modern times, women are generally afforded more responsibilities than in our parents’ days and generally hold higher positions within organisation with more financial responsibilities than in days past. As a result, in a society where the bride’s family was traditionally expected to foot most of the wedding bill, this financial onus has now moved to being largely that of the couple themselves.

Traditionally, the bride and her family are expected to pay for her prospective husband’s ring and gift, the entire reception (including food, décor and drinks for the wedding party and guests), photographers / videographers, invitations, and decorative flowers. The groom and his family would be responsible for her engagement- and wedding rings, and fees associated with the wedding ceremony, the bridal party’s corsages and bouquets, suit hire / purchase for the wedding party, and the honeymoon.

Together with their families, they would decide who would pay for general requirements, such as the bridesmaid dresses and the respective hen and stag nights for the bridal couple. The bride and groom would then be solely responsible for purchasing the gifts for the bridal party, including bridesmaids, flowergirls, groomsmen and parents.

Nowadays, the bride and groom tend to share financial responsibilities. Together, they will pay for the wedding rings, gifts for the wedding party, suit hire for the groom and groomsmen, ceremony fees, bouquets and corsages, invitations, photographer / videographer, décor, wedding cake, and the honeymoon.

Her family usually opts to pay for the reception venue (including food) and the decorative flowers, while his family is generally responsible for drinks at the reception and gifts for the bride and groom. They are often given the option to select any other incidental expenses they may wish to cover. Both families would decide who would share costs of the dresses of the bridesmaids and flowergirls, and the pre-wedding parties held for the bride and groom.

Planning a wedding can generally be quite a stressful experience, especially with the prospect of merging two families successfully, as well as all the coordination involved. Financial issues are best settled when discussed openly and honestly, taking into account the financial abilities of all the parties involved. Once these lines of communication are opened it is likely that future issues are similarly discussed in a candid air of honesty. This lays an important foundation for the years ahead, so make sure you start to practice this right at the beginning, when discussing the various financial commitments of the families.

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