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The Budget

Your first step in planning your big day.

MoneyPartnership and cooperation are key components of planning your wedding. It's important to remember that both partners have ideas about what their "perfect day" would involve. Patience and compromise are vital at this stage of planning and the bride and groom need to clearly communicate their ideas and concerns.

The Theme

One of the first things you will want to do is develop a budget for your wedding. The first stage is choosing the theme of your wedding. Next you need to decide what services you'll need and how much each will cost. Choosing a theme first makes the rest of your selections easier because you'll already know what your goal is. Choosing a country theme over a waterside theme will help in deciding where the reception will be, what type of cake you will order, the type of music and what the ambiance should be. You will find it's easier to choose decorations like balloons, flowers, candles, center pieces, etc. because you will already know what you have in mind. Settling on a theme makes it much easier to stay within your budget.

Who Pays For What – The Traditional Arrangement

There are no absolute rules on who pays for what. Traditionally, the majority of the wedding expenses have been paid by the bride’s family. However, with the increased cost of weddings, the changes in traditional roles, and with many couples marrying later in life, this obligation depends on the individuals. It is best to discuss the budget with both families to work out the best solution for everyone

The Bride

The Groom

The Bride and Groom

  • Expenses of items desired which have exceeded the original budget.
  • Gifts of appreciation for parents or others who helped with your wedding.

The Bride's Family

  • A wedding gift for the couple.
  • Bride's wedding attire and accessories.
  • Bridesmaids' bouquets.
  • Bridesmaids' luncheon.
  • Ceremony cost: location, music, rentals, and all related expenses.
  • Engagement party (optional).
  • Entire cost of the reception: food, beverage, entertainment (live music or dj), rental items, decorations, and wedding cake.
  • Floral decorations.
  • Photographer (groom's parents may pay for the pictures they would like).
  • Personal wedding attire.
  • See to any outstanding accounts such as caterer, barman, band, DJ, coat-check, rest room and parking attendants, at the end of the reception.
  • Special item they may wish to purchase: toasting goblets, ring pillow, guest book and pen, etc.
  • Transportation for bridal party from bride's home to the site of ceremony.
  • Wedding Invitations, announcements, and mailing costs.

The Groom's Family

  • Any general expenses they may wish to contribute.
  • Personal wedding attire.
  • Rehearsal dinner party.
  • Special item they may wish to purchase: toasting goblets, ring pillow, etc.
  • Travel and accommodations for groom's family.
  • Wedding gift for the bride and groom.

The Attendants

  • Any travel expenses.
  • Bridesmaid pays for her own dress, shoes & accessories.
  • Bridesmaid pays for her transportation.
  • Bachelor party given by best man or ushers.
  • Showers given by maid of honor or bridesmaids.
  • Wedding attire for themselves
  • Wedding Gift for Bride and Groom

Some Alternative Ideas:

Including the Groom's Family

The more the groom’s family is contributing to various costs, the more input they should have in the planning or decisions made in those areas. The groom should be the one to approach his parents with regard to sharing expenses. Some grooms’ parents may offer to assist with hosting the wedding. The bride’s parents (or the couple, if they have planned to host the wedding themselves) will make the decision whether to accept this offer or not (realizing that this possibly means giving up some of the control).

When both sets of parents are hosting the celebration, you should include the groom's parents on the wedding invitation. Consider including family members in the ceremony traditions, or invite them to be part of the processional.

There are countless options, to be sure. The bride's bouquet, for example, can be included with the flowers her family buys. The mothers' and grandmothers' flowers, as well as the men's boutonnieres, can also be part of this package.

Dresses and tuxedos (or suits) worn by the bridesmaids and groomsmen are usually paid for by each attendant. The bride and groom, however, can offer to pay for all or part of them if they wish.

Remember, tradition does not always have to be followed. Whatever the source of the money, it is the bride and groom's wedding, and their wishes are to be considered the most important.


Items marked with a pink background are traditionally paid for by the Bride or Bride's Parents.
Items marked with a blue background are traditionally paid for by the Groom or Groom's Parents.
Items marked with a dark blue background are traditionally paid for by the both Bride & Groom.

Balance due
Ceremony – Approximately 5% of the budget
Site Fee
Officiant's Fee
Officiant's Gratuity
Guest Book, Pen & Holder
Ring Bearer Pillow
Flower Girl Basket
Ceremony Totals
Wedding Attire – Approximately 10% of the budget
Headpiece & Veil
Makeup Artist
Groom's Formalware
Attire Totals        
Photography – Approximately 5% of the budget
Bride/Groom Album
Parents' Albums
Extra Prints
Engagement Photograph
Formal Bridal Portrait
Photography Totals
Videography – Approximately 5% of the budget
Main Video
Extra Hours        
Photo Montage        
Love Story        
Extra Copies        
Videography Totals        
Stationery Approximately 4% of the budget
Response Cards        
Reception Cards        
Ceremony Cards        
Pew Cards
Seating/Place Cards
Rain Cards/Maps
Ceremony Programs        
Thank You Notes        
Napkins & Matches        
Stationery Totals        
Reception – Approximately 35% of total budget
Reception Site Fee        
Hors d'Oeuvres        
Main Meal/Caterer        
Bartenders/Bar Set-up Fee        
Corking Fee        
Coffee Pouring Fee        
Meal Service/Wait Staff Fee        
Party Favors        
Disposable Cameras & Developing        
Rose Petals/Rice        
Gift Attendant        
Parking/Valet Fees        
Reception Totals        
Entertainment – Approximately 5% of the budget
Ceremony Music        
Reception Entertainment -DJ or Live Band        
Entertainment Totals        
Bakery – Approximately 2% of the budget
Wedding Cake        
Groom's Cake        
Cake Delivery & Set-up Fee        
Cake Cutting Fee        
Cake Top & Cutting Knife        
Flowers – Approximately 6% of the budget
Bride's Bouquet        
Groom's Corsage        
Maid of Honor & Maids's Bouquet        
Best Man & Usher's Boutonniere        
Parent's Flowers        
Bride's Going Away Corsage        
Flower Girls Basket
Church/Ceremony Flowers        
Reception Flowers        
Head Table Centerpiece        
Tossing Bouquet        
Setup/Delivery Fees        
Flower Totals        
Decorations – Approximately 3% of the budget
Table Centerpieces        
Decoration Totals        
Transportation – Approximately 2% of the budget
Bride/Groom Limo        
Bridal Party Limo        
Parent's Limo        
Transportation Totals        
Rental Items – Approximately 3% of the budget
Bridal Slip        
Dance Floor        
Rental Items Totals        
Gifts – Approximately 3% of the budget
Bride's Gift        
Groom's Gift        
Bridal Party Gifts        
Parent's Gift        
Gifts Totals        
Parties – Approximately 4% of the budget
Bridesmaids' Luncheon        
Bachelor/Bachelorette Party        
Rehearsal Dinner        
Party Totals        
Miscellaneous– Approximately 4% of the budget
Marriage License        
Prenuptial Agreement        
Dance Lessons        
Gown Preservation        
Wedding Consultant        
Wedding Planner Software        
Wedding Web Site        
Miscellaneous Total





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