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copyright Rachel Sanfordlyn Shreckengast of WedFrugal.com

Every couple who gets married has to deal with the question of who pays for what. There was a time when there were clearly defined answers to the question. The bride's parents financed certain things, the groom's parent's would finance certain things and the bride and groom were responsible for personal items.

Of course, a lot has changed since then. It is no longer supposed that a bride's place is in the home or that she will be living with her parents (and being taken care of by them) until she is of marrying age. The groom and his parents are no longer expected to produce a house and furnishings for the young couple. In fact, the two people marrying may not be a bride and groom at all.

Couples are now focusing on their careers or their education. Many of them are marrying at older ages. Couples can be of one sex or of both. Weddings run the gamut from traditional ceremonies to commitment ceremonies. As a rule (though it still occurs), couples are no longer marrying immediately upon leaving their parents home. In essence, most couples who marry are independant from their parents...and have been for some time.

As times have changed, so have the rules. The issue is no longer as clear-cut as it once was, and the answer to the question of "who pays for what" is no longer set in stone. Below you will find a number of answers to this question.

The primary financial responsibility now falls to the couple. Many couples pay for the entire wedding themselves. The wedding attendants (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) are expected to pay for their clothing, travel and accessory costs. The parents of the couple are responsible for their clothing and their travel (air travel, gas to get to the ceremony site) costs. Parental financial contributions towards the costs of the wedding are entirely voluntary and are no longer a requirement. Those are the very basic answers to the question of "who pays for what". Of course, it is often more complicated than it appears on the surface.

Though many couples do pay for the wedding themselves, many parents do contribute to the costs of the wedding. Those parents that can't afford to contribute finacially will often contribute in other ways (time, talents, etc.). While attendants are expected to cover their clothing, travel and accessory costs, some couples opt to cover part of the costs for these things...and they often use this as the gift that they give the attendants for being in the wedding. In the most common cases, the couples will provide the accessories (jewelry, makeup/hair, etc) while the attendants take care of the attire (bridesmaid dresses, tuxedo rentals) and their travel.

Of course, this barely scratches the surface. The answer to the question of "who pays for what" can vary with situation and/or family tradition. Below you will find some of the most common ways that the issue is resolved.

* The couple pays for all expenses associated with the wedding. This is very rare, but happens occasionally.

* The couple pays for expenses associated with the wedding and pays for a portion of the costs (or a specific item) that are associated with being an attendant. The attendants pay for other costs associated with being an attendant. Parents of the couple pay for their personal travel, their clothing and their accessories.

* The couple pays for expenses associated with the ceremony and reception. The attendants pay for their personal travel, attire and accessories. The parents of the couple pay for their personal travel, their clothing and their accessories.

*The couple pays for part of the expenses of the wedding and both sets of parents contribute a set amount towards the wedding. The attendants are responsible for costs associated with being an attendant.

*The couple pays for part of the expenses of the wedding. One set of parents contributes a monetary amount towards the costs of the wedding and the other set contributes in a non-financial manner (time, talents, etc.). The attendants are responsible for costs associated with being an attendant.

*The couple pays for part of the expenses of the wedding. Both sets of parents contribute in a non-financial manner (time, talents, etc.). The attendants are responsible for costs associated with being an attendant.

*The couple pays for most of the expenses of the wedding. Each set of parents contributes by covering the costs of one item (rehearsal dinner, band/dj, food, etc.). The attendants are responsible for costs associated with being an attendant.

* One or both set/s of parents offer the option of helping to pay for the wedding or helping to pay for something else. In most cases this is a house down payment, but it may also be a contribution towards college costs or something similar. The attendants are responsible for costs associated with being an attendant.

* The parents cover most of the costs associated with the wedding. The attendants are responsible for costs associated with being an attendant. The couple covers the costs of personal items (such as gifts for the attendants, hair/makeup, accessories, etc.).

Each and every scenario mentioned above is valid under various circumstances (and as long as it is agreed upon by all parties). The important things to remember never change though. It is the responsibility of the couple to cover the costs of their own wedding. It is the responsibility of the attendants to cover their costs for being in the wedding. Contributions by the parents towards the costs of the wedding are entirely voluntary and there should be no guilt involved if they can not make a monetary contribution. Enough said.

 

 


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