Wedding Expense Etiquette: Expenses Paid by Family of Bride
Origin of Expense Etiquette Tradition
Although many of today's wedding trends are changing, it is important to be aware of long-lasting trends, especially those in the area of wedding financing.
Traditionally, the parents of the bride-to-be have financed their daughter's weddings. This trend presumably originated from the ancient tradition of paying a large dowry to attract a good husband.
Over the years, this tradition transformed into a more "updated" version, but the concept remained- the bride's parents paid for the wedding. Today, only 27 percent of weddings are funded entirely by the parents of the bride.
Considering the rising cost of today's weddings, that is an encouraging trend for the bride's parents! Still, it is important to be mindful of wedding expense etiquette.
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Wedding Expenses Traditionally Covered by Bride's Family
Here is a list of wedding costs customarily paid by the bride's parents:
All reception costs
This usually includes things such as room rental, food and beverages for the meal, wedding favors, furniture rental, tent rental (if applicable), catering, dj and so forth.
This usually includes wedding invitations and envelopes, response cards, reception cards, thank you notes, and the likes.
Flowers for the ceremony and reception are traditionally paid for by the bride's parents. In addition to this, the bridesmaid's bouquets should also be included. (Check out this interesting article on flower etiquette.)
Wedding gift/s for engaged couple
Often the financial coverage provided for the wedding is "counted" as their gift. In light of today's wedding costs, that's pretty sufficient! Still, the bride's parents sometimes want to give a separate gift apart from their financial gift toward the wedding.
Gratuities for bartenders/waiters
This is an often overlooked expense.
Bride's wedding dress and accessories
Bridal consultant/Wedding planner
Wedding photographer and/or videographer
After paying for most of the wedding, here's the role the parent's typically play in the ceremony (8 second wedding video):
How This Trend is Changing
Today's engaged couples are more capable of assisting financially with their weddings. It used to be that the parents of the bride would pay for a majority of the wedding but because couples today are making more money than they used to (and are getting married later in life than they used to), paying for the wedding has become easier.
A recent study by the wedding report dot com has shown that the average marrying age for a person who has never been married before is 27.3. That same study states that the average age for a person marrying for a second time (or more) is 33.4. Hypothetically, the older the couple is when married, the more income they have.
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Proper Etiquette for Discussing Wedding Finances
The discussion of wedding finances absolutely should happen, whether you're the bride, groom or parents of either. Of course, the form of those conversations will vary depending on your culture and circumstances, and only you know them both, so keep that in mind.
Generally speaking, it is the responsibility of the bride's parents (and the groom's parents too if they plan to contribute) to bring up the topic of financially helping. Proper wedding etiquette typically doesn't allow for the bride or groom to ask parents about their plan to financially contribute to the wedding. This is seen as tacky and can sometimes lead to damaged relationships. If the topic is not brought up, the couple should expect to pay for the wedding without help from parents.
Therefore, if you are the parents of the bride (or groom), it is your responsibility to initiate conversation surrounding wedding finances. Even if you don't plan on contributing or are unable to contribute, you should still discuss this with your son and/or daughter so that they can budget their wedding accordingly.
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