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!
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!