Google+ Ask SW: Who Pays for the Wedding? - Southern Weddings

Southern Weddings

Last week we tackled one of the trickiest (and most common) wedding planning questions when we asked “how much does a wedding cost?” This week, we’re moving on to the next logical step: who ponies up the money? :) Read on for our thoughts on who pays what in the wedding!

See more from this engagement session by Elle Danielle on Facebook Friday!

According to Emily Post, “The days when the bride’s parents were expected to bear all the expenses of the wedding and reception are over. It’s now more common for engaged couples, especially those who are established wage earners, to pay all or most of the costs or at least to share some of the expense with their parents. The groom’s family may also make a substantial contribution.”

We tend to agree, as does the data! From a survey of 16,000 couples married in 2014, Splendid Insights found that 80% of respondents contributed to their wedding. 62% had parents who contributed to the wedding, and 35% had a partner whose parents contributed.

This pattern of a community coming together to pay for the wedding seems to hold true in the Southern Weddings office, as well. Marissa and Lisa reported to me that they, their parents, and their husbands’ parents all contributed or are contributing to their wedding budgets. Same goes for my household, except my grandmother was added into the mix, too! For all of us, the money all seemed to go into one pot, though the tradition of the groom’s parents paying for the rehearsal dinner seems to have some staying power.

Of course, while you might hope your parents will contribute, unless they make the first move, you still need to ask them! We’d recommend going into the conversation with a grateful heart and without expectations, being thankful for any contribution they’re willing and able to make. I’d also recommend taking the lead with your parents, and letting your fiance do the same with his.

Not all parents are willing or able to contribute financially, but they (or other friends!) might be pleased as punch to contribute in other ways on or before the wedding day: sewing napkins, stuffing envelopes, assembling favors, playing music, setting up your reception space, scouting vintage china, lending centerpiece vessels, addressing invitations, brewing beer, or baking desserts are all places to start! Graciously take people up on their kind offers whenever possible – not only will it help cut down on costs, but it can give your wedding a beautiful sense of community. In our experience, loved ones love being asked to play a role in the big day!

Finally, don’t despair if you’re financing your celebration on your own. Start saving as early as you can (just $5 a day over one year adds up to $1800!), and prioritize the parts of the wedding that matter most to you. And when all as fails, keep in mind that the quickest (though not the least painful) way to cut your overall budget is to lower your guest count.

Friends, I’d love to hear: who is paying for your wedding? You and your fiance? Some combination of your parents? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. More of our best budgeting advice.

We’ll be sharing a quick and simple piece of wedding planning advice based on our most frequently asked questions once a week! Feel free to email us with your own question, or pick up a copy of the Southern Weddings Planner for all of our best resources in one place!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Anna reply

    My husband and I were so grateful that both of our parents were able to help contribute some to our wedding. After sitting down to talk with them and learn what they were gifting us, we supplemented the rest of our budget with our own savings. It was so important for us to do this before we started planning to have realistic expectations of what we would be able to afford for our big day!

  2. avatar Jen reply

    My parents decided on a set budget, and anything over that my fiancé and I will cover ourselves. It works out because we are blessed with funds to cover all of the basics, but we have the option to add a few more things if we’d like!

  3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    I love the idea of a self-sufficient couple paying for their own celebration. With that said, I think graciously accepting any gift to help with your day is wonderful, too. It doesn’t take a huge budget to make a dream day!

  4. avatar Abby reply

    My parents wanted to go a very traditional route and paid for our wedding. They gave me a budget to stick to and we were able to plan the wedding we all wanted within that. I think my fiancee’s parents would have been happy to contribute but my parents actually refused. They have 4 sons and I am their only child so I think in their minds at the end of the day they were probably all spending the same on weddings in our lifetime. It was such a blessing to have that financial support, we would not have had the same wedding if it were left to us to pay for on our own and is giving us the ability to put our money towards a house in the future.

  5. avatar Samantha reply


    Our 27 year old daughter met a 61 year old man 2 months ago and is now engaged planning a wedding!

    This is her first marriage and his 4th.

    She wants to sit down and talk about the wedding.

    What can her father and I expect to have to pay for?

    It just seems to me that the advanced age of her fiance’ would say that he should be paying for this wedding!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Mom and Dad

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