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Wedding Etiquette-Who Pays For What?

Updated on July 11, 2016
Wedding Alter
Wedding Alter | Source

Wedding Budget Etiquette

One of the first things that you need to do when planning a wedding is set out the ground rules as to who pays for what. Traditionally the brides family carried the bulk of the responsibility of paying for weddings. Now, there are many different ways to go about how to decide who pays what.

With the age of the bride and groom becoming older when they take that first plunge, it becomes more of their responsibility to shoulder the expenses. Many newlyweds are older and have been out on their own. The parents, on both sides, may choose to help but the lines are more blurred as to who is responsible to pay for what.

Also, there are more people having formal weddings for second and third marriages. In a case like this it is almost a given that the ones responsible for the wedding bills will be the two getting married.

However, with the first time, starry-eyed brides and grooms, there is still an acceptable way of dividing up the costs. It used to be that the brides family carried the burden of the wedding expenditure, but that is not longer true. Now the grooms family has been included in the responsibly of paying. Nothing is set in stone but there is a general guideline as to who pays for what. As with anything else, it is perfectly acceptable to juggle the list according to your own personal circumstances.

Tipping is another concern for many brides and grooms. The question of who to tip and how much arises more than you might think. I have provided a pretty complete list of who you should tip and how to judge the amount you should tips.

Wedding invitation
Wedding invitation | Source

Expenses paid by Bride or Bride's Family

  • Wedding gown, Headpiece and Accessories
  • Ceremony rental fee
  • Wedding ring for the Groom
  • Wedding gift for the Groom
  • Bridesmaid gifts
  • Ceremony flowers and decor
  • Bridemaids bouquet
  • Flowergirl basket and flowers
  • Grandmothers corsages
  • Alter baskets
  • Canopy or carpet
  • Reception flowers and decor
  • Photographer
  • Videography
  • Kneeling benches
  • Candleabrahs
  • Any rented items for wedding
  • Any rented items for reception
  • Engagement party
  • Bridesmaid luncheon
  • Vendor services for reception: food, beverages, and entertainment
  • Wedding programs
  • Napkins, match, printed items
  • Wedding InvitationsChurch fee
  • Musician/soloist
  • Church janitor
  • Reception hall fee
  • Wedding cake
  • Wedding favors
  • Rice bags
  • Wedding breadfast
  • Father and Mother of the Bride formal wear
  • Transportation to and from ceremony and reception for bridal party
  • Accommodations for out of town guests

Wedding rings
Wedding rings | Source

Expenses Paid By Groom or Groom's Family

  • Wedding ring for the bride
  • Wedding gift for the bride
  • Groomsmen gift
  • Usher gifts
  • Ring Beareer gift
  • Brides Bouquet
  • Mothers Coursages
  • Grooms' boutonnieres
  • Groomsmen boutonnieres
  • Ushers Boutonnieres
  • Ring Beares boutonniere
  • Marriage license
  • Officient's fee
  • Grooms attire
  • Rehersal Dinner
  • Groom's cake
  • Bachelor's dinner
  • Gloves, ties, and ascots for attendants
  • Formal wear for Groom's mother and father
  • Honeymoon
  • Limouise service

Wedding cake
Wedding cake | Source

Other Expenditures

  •  Bachelor Party  -  Best Man/Groom's Attendants
  • Wedding attire for best man/groomsmen/ringbearer  - themselves
  • Gift for the bride and groom  - wedding attendants and guests
  • Bridal shower - bridal attendants
  • Travel expensese to the wedding - out-of-town attendant or family member

Wedding garter belt
Wedding garter belt | Source

Wedding Tipping

Tipping is a personal way of thanking someone for a job well done.  The answer to who do you tip, who does the tipping and how much do you tip has always been a bit cloudy. It's important to straighten out these questions before that all important day.

Caterers and their members:  Traditionally, gratuities are usually added into the final bill for the catering service and it's members.  The question is, "Is it proper to tip the servers, when a gratuity has already been included in the final price?"  "Yes, if you wish but usually for extra special services only".  Usually 15%.  Remember, this is only for very special extra service.  They tip is already included in the bill.  For an hostess or captain, the tipping range falls into the 1% to 2% range.

Coat Room Attendants: Customarily the tip is fifty cents per guest. You can arrange before hand to pay a flat tipping fee.

Limousine Driver: 15% of the total price is an appropriate amount to be given to your limo driver. Make sure that the tip has not already been included in the final bill.

Florists, Photographers, Bakers, Musicians:  This is entirely up to you.  If they did an outstanding job it is customary to give a tip up to 15%.

Civil Ceremony Officials: (Judge, Justice of the Peace, City Clerk)  These days a set fee is already in place.  However if they have to travel any distance a small tip is appreciated.

Clergymen, Rabbis, Priests: It is the norm to  give a $100 gratuity for the officiant. Traditionally the money is given to the best man before the ceremony so he can give it to the officiant after the ceremony.

Organist and Musician: Normally church organists and musicians are often paid from the church rental fee.  If not, the average was $50 for each person. 



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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      hot dorkage, thanks for the information. I believe the price changes from area to area. I do believe that the organist are paid less than they are worth.

    • hot dorkage profile image

      hot dorkage 

      6 years ago from Oregon, USA

      $50 is my absolute minimum as a church organist. That means no rehearsal, no working with other musicians, no music I don't already know. $50 will get me to the church and get the organ unlocked and maybe get you a Pachelbel canon or Prince of Denmark, or Gounod. If I have to put together an ensemble it's extra. If I have to work with musicians I don't know it's by the hour. That can be a total crapshoot. I absolutely won't work with "musicians" who are related to the wedding party unless I already know them. If I have to go to the rehearsal, that's extra. If I have to buy music that's extra. If I have to prepare something difficult, ... extra. I gotta eat. I usually end up charging about $150 for an uncomplicated wedding, and that includes one hour of music rehearsal in the church with soloists or whoever.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Dpetalssingapore, you are absolutely right. What I wrote was just a guide. If someone did a great job of course you would add some to the tip amount. Just the same as you would subtract from the tip amount if they did a poor job. Thanks for the comment.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from singapore

      I believe that Tipping is a personal way of thanking someone for a job well florist

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      mulberry1, congratulations to you both. Sometimes I think eloping is a good solution.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      7 years ago

      Good info! Me, I just eloped, but then we were in our early 40's when we both married for the first time!!!

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      K9, I consider myself lucky it's only two. My third daughter is already married or I'm sure she'd be joining the group.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      Very sweet! Congrats and, wait...holy heck, two daughters!? Sounds as if you have loads of planning ahead. You may well want to consider bribing both couples into that eloping idea!

      I wish you the best of luck KoffeKlatch~


    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks K9. This hub actually came about because I have two daughters who just became engaged.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      7 years ago from Northern, California

      What a wondeful list of information for getting the real facts on who pays for what Wedding etiquette! This would be a good hub to re-share around May-July! Super good job!


    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      dahoglund, with average cost of a wedding being $20,000 or more it is very hard to pay for. I'm beginning to think that eloping may be the way to go for some people

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I paid for my own wedding and my two children paid for their own.I contributed some money but I was not in a position to do more.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      CASE1WORKER, I can understand your father's feelings. I have 3 daughters. Maybe I should try that.

    • CASE1WORKER profile image


      7 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      argh! i have three children- my father used to offer 30 bob (£1.50) and a ladder if we would leave


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