A General Guideline for Sharing the Wedding Cost

Working out a budget for your wedding is one of the first things that should be done. And deciding who pays for what can be one of the most stressful parts. But take a deep breath; we’ve got you covered. Below is a traditional breakdown of wedding expenses shared by the family and the wedding party.

Wedding Attire

  • Bride and family pay for bride’s wedding dress and accessories.
  • Groom and family pay for groom’s wedding attire.
  • All bridal party (bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, and ring bearer) pay for their own clothing and accessories.


  • Bride pays for groom’s wedding ring.
  • Groom pays for bride’s engagement ring and wedding ring.


  • Bride and family pay for wedding ceremony costs, including rental fees and decorations.
  • Groom and family pay for marriage license and fee for the officiant.


  • Bride and family pay for wedding reception costs (e.g., site fees, food, cake, bar, gratuities, and decorations).

Music and Entertainment

  • Bride and family pay for music for the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.


  • Bride and family pay for flowers and decorations for the ceremony and reception, plus bridesmaids’ bouquets and groom’s boutonniere.
  • Groom and family pay for bride’s bouquet, corsages for mothers, and boutonnieres for fathers and groomsmen.

Photography and Videography

  • Bride and family pay for wedding photography and videography.

Wedding Stationery

  • Bride and family pay for wedding invitations and RSVPs, announcements, save the date, wedding programs, guestbook, and other paper goods.

Rehearsal Dinner

  • Groom and family pay for all rehearsal dinner costs.


  • Groom and family pay for the honeymoon.


  • Bride and family pay for wedding transportation of bridal party to the ceremony and reception.

Wedding Planner

  • Bride and family pay for the cost of a wedding planner.


  • Bride pays for gifts for the bridesmaids and flower girl.
  • Groom pays for gifts for the groomsmen and ring bearer.

Pre-wedding Parties

  • Traditionally, the parents of the bride host engagement party.
  • Groom’s family hosts the rehearsal dinner.
  • Bride hosts bridesmaids’ luncheon.
  • Groom hosts bachelors’ dinner.
  • Maid of honor and bridesmaids host bridal shower and bachelorette party.
  • Best man and groomsmen host bachelor party.

Photography: Erin Lassahn

Floral Design: Edge Floral

Event Design and Coordination: Evoke DC