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Splitting the Bill: Who Pays for the Modern Wedding?

By HERWriter
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Splitting the Bill: Who's Paying for the Modern Wedding? Design Pics/PhotoSpin

Once upon a time, the financial strain of a wedding and all that it entailed was the sole responsibility of the parents of the bride.

Today, the extravagant nature of the event has shifted the burden of payment from the parents to the young couple.

The average wedding in the United States costs $25,200 according to Costofwedding.com. This number is greatly affected by extreme budgets as the website states that most couples still spend less than $10,000.

Theknot.com suggests that before wedding shopping begins, every person contributing to the wedding should sit down and work up a total budget for the event. This talk should take place before anyone has a chance to fall in love with something expensive like a gown or a venue.

Even with this style of collaborating over the budget, there are still a few expenses that tend to fall on specific individuals.

The groom, for example has traditionally paid for the bouquet, license fees, the engagement ring, and a gift for his bride according to CNN.com. While the bouquet and licensing fees may now be added into the overall budget, the modern groom still typically buys the ring and a gift.

The average engagement ring costs between $2,500 and $4,100 according to Costofwedding.com. Choosing a non-traditional ring without a diamond can significantly lower this price and, of course, there are grooms who choose to spend far more than average.

Typically, the groom gives his bride a gift on their wedding day. Groomsgroove.com suggests that nostalgic, meaningful gifts, like a memento from a date or an item to be used on the honeymoon, is now as acceptable as the traditional piece of jewelry that used to be given.

Likewise, the bride is often still responsible for purchasing the groom’s wedding band and a gift for him to be given on the day of the event.

According to Forbes, the average wedding band for a groom costs over $500. Price ranges vary depending on the groom’s preferences and styles. The bride can spend as much or as little as she likes on the groom's wedding day gift.

In the past, the bride’s family paid for the ceremony, dress, and reception and the groom’s family covered the cost of the engagement party and rehearsal dinner. It has become much more common for the parents to make a general contribution and let the couple decide how to spend the money.

“With the costs of weddings growing and many couples marrying later ... more brides and grooms are contributing to ... the wedding. And the parents of many grooms are also contributing more ... a popular option is to have the bride's family, the groom's family, and the couple each contribute one-third,” reported Bridalguide.com.

Being asked to stand up for a friend in a wedding is not only an honor, but also an expense. The wedding party incurs its own costs in attire, travel, and bachelor/bachelorette parties.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen are responsible for the cost of their dresses and tuxedos or suits.

Dressy.com reports that bridesmaids can expect to spend anywhere from $75 to $375 on a dress. The average price for a tuxedo rental, according to Weddingstats.com is between $150 and $215.

Bridesmaids also typically pay to have their hair done the morning of the wedding, which Costofwedding.com estimates between $50 and $80.

Bachelor and bachelorette parties are thrown by the wedding party, sometimes in place of a wedding shower.

Groom411.com reports that the average bachelor party costs around $1,000. Of course, the attendants can decide to rack up expenses by having the party in another town or by stretching it out over a weekend instead of an evening.

The couple, their parents, and their close friends all contribute in planning a wedding and a part of that contribution is financial. Clear communication between the bride and groom, family, and attendants can keep the wedding day a joyous and affordable event.


Average Cost of Weddings. Costofweddings.com Accessed 2/23/2015

Wedding Budget: Who Pays for What? Wedding.theknot.com Accessed 2/23/2015

Matrimony: Who Pays For What? Cnn.com. Accessed 2/23/2015

Groom Buys Gift for His Bride. Groomgroove.com Accessed 2/26/2015

Men Confess What I spent on My Wedding Ring. Forbes.com Accessed 2/26/2015

Who Pays for What. Bridalguide.com. Accessed 2/26/15

Brides Guide. Dressy.com. Accessed 2/26/2015

Average Cost of a Wedding Tuxedo. Weddingstats.org. Accessed 2/26/2015 http://www.weddingstats.org/average-cost-of-a-wedding-tuxedo.html

Bachelor Party. Groom411.com. Accessed 2/26/2015

Reviewed March 3, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

We are in same situation. Weddings are expensive and feel its only fair for us to pay for our wedding. Help and handouts are welcome, but it will take solid saving to fund it.

March 26, 2015 - 10:07am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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