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Wedding Planning and Budget Basics

Splitting the Wedding Tab

A guideline for divvying up the costs of the big day.

Figurines of bride, groom, parents and in-laws on a wedding cakeGemma Comas

Below is a traditional breakdown of expenses shared by the family and the bridal party. However, given modern wedding protocol, the bride and the groom need not be so hung up on who should pay for what. Consider the personal and financial situations of your family, friends, and bridal party. You may want to pick up some of the costs, such as paying for the bridesmaids’ shoes if you want to be sure they all wear the same kitten heels, or hosting the engagement party if you want it larger than what the groom’s parents can afford.


  • Couple’s personal stationery and thank-you notes
  • Wedding programs and guest book
  • Gifts for bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Lodging for bridesmaids



  • Bride’s engagement ring
  • Marriage license
  • Officiant’s fee
  • Rental or purchase of his formal wear
  • Gifts for the groomsmen and ring bearer
  • Lodging for groomsmen


Bride and Groom

  • The wedding bands
  • The honeymoon (in traditional families, this is still considered the groom's expense)  


Bride’s Family

  • Engagement and wedding pictures
  • Wedding invitations
  • Wedding planner
  • Bridal attire
  • Ceremony fees (including rental of synagogue or chapel, chuppah, aisle carpets, and other decorating items)
  • Flowers (arrangements for ceremony and reception, as well as all bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres)
  • Reception (site fees, caterer, food, bar, gratuities, decorations)
  • Music (ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception)
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon
  • Transportation for bridal party to ceremony and reception  


Groom's Family

  • Rehearsal dinner (or any other expense they elect, such as all beverage and liquor service, limousines, music for the reception, or photography and/or videography)


  • Bridal shower
  • Bridesmaids’ dresses and shoes
  • Bachelorette party
  • Any traveling expenses  



  • Bachelor party
  • Rental of formal wear
  • Any traveling expenses

Flower Girl’s and Ring Bearer’s Parents

  • Attire for flower girl and ring bearer  



  • Traveling and lodging expenses (even if you’re having a destination wedding, guests pay their own way)
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Quick Tip


Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.