Traditionally, a bride’s parents were responsible for footing the entire bill when it came down to paying for a wedding. However, in today’s day and age, more couples are beginning to split wedding costs up differently, depending on their unique circumstances.

While some couples get financial assistance from parents and in-laws, other couples choose to pay for their weddings completely on their own. In any case, brides and grooms-to-be should consider the following issues when they are deliberating over how to determine who pays for what while planning a wedding.

Uber traditional

If you and your future spouse want to go the uber traditional route, and if the bride’s parents have agreed to do so, you can allow them to pay for the entire wedding. There may be considerable advantages to going with this traditional route when it comes to financing your wedding. First and foremost, having the bride’s parents pay for the whole event means that the couple can continue to save for other big-ticket items (like a house).

However, there can be a number of drawbacks to this option. If the bride’s parents are limited in their funds, they bride may feel pressured to settle for less expensive options in order to fit their budgetary needs. Further, depending on your parents’ unique personalities, brides will likely find themselves compromising a great deal with their parents’ wishes.


Another semi-traditional (but slightly altered) method of paying for your wedding costs is by splitting the costs between the bride’s family and the groom’s family. However, keep in mind that dividing the overall costs can be rather tricky if you do not communicate with all parties involved.

In the past, many couples split the cost of certain items. In general, the bride’s family was responsible for announcements, invitations, the bridal gown, wedding-day transportation, and the full reception (including decor, flowers, and catering). If a bride’s parents were financially capable of doing so, many also paid for a professional wedding coordinator.

With these wedding costs taken care of, the groom’s family was typically responsible for paying for the officiant’s fees, the rehearsal dinner, the marriage license, and (if the couple was fortunate enough) the honeymoon.

Most couples today may continue to split their wedding costs between the bride’s and groom’s respective families, but it is completely appropriate to split the cost in a variety of alternative ways. If one family is more affluent than the other, they may offer to pay for a larger percentage of the overall cost.

Otherwise, couples, parents, and in-laws can come together and discuss an alternative method for dividing the wedding-related expenses. For example, if the bride’s family has a penchant for food and would rather splurge on the caterer, then this side of the family can foot the bill for the pricier menu. Similarly, if the groom’s parents are more concerned with the entertainment, they can cover the related fees.

Couples can also contribute to the overall wedding cost by offering to pay for a negotiated percentage or covering whatever costs their respective parents are not able to meet.

How you choose to divide the costs is ultimately up to you and your future spouse, your parents, and your in-laws. However, keep in mind that it may be much easier to simply make a list of all of the things that you will require in order to make your dream wedding come to life and then split the costs from there rather than allowing different sides of the family to pick and choose which expenses they would like to cover. This method ultimately eliminates the possibility of one side paying for more expensive items.


In the modern era, more and more couples are delaying marriage until later in life in an effort to pursue academic, professional, or personal goals. As a result, more couples are financially independent (and stable) when they make the decision to marry. Subsequently, today many couples getting married decide to pay for their entire weddings on their own.

While paying for the entire wedding allows a couple to retain full control over all wedding decisions, it can also leave a huge dent in their savings (prolonging the purchase of a house, for example), or leave them in debt. Nevertheless, modern-day couples have made getting married on a budget an art. So, if you do choose to pay for your wedding yourselves, then at least be sure you take adequate precautions and plan your budget to a T.

Overall, there is no standard set of rules that apply across the board when it comes to determining who pays for what aspects of a wedding. Whether your big day is paid for by your parents, your in-laws, yourselves, or a combination of all three, the most important thing is to remember that you at least have the courtesy to listen to everyone’s input, even if you do have the final say. Just be sure that whatever you decide is the best option for everyone involved.