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Wedding Etiquette: Who Pays for What?


So you're engaged to the love of your life, you have a Pinterest board full of ideas and you can’t wait to get planning. But what comes next?

One of the questions we get asked a lot when it comes to wedding planning is 'Who pays for what?'. It's rare that people will tell you how much they spent on their big day, so it's not surprising that when it comes to budgeting, most couples don't know where to start. With the average wedding costing over £30,000, many brides-to-be can be overwhelmed at the thought of having to save enough to fund their pinterest-perfect day. Whilst not all parents can afford to help, it's not uncommon for families to offer to provide financial support to newly engaged couples - so how do you avoid any disagreements and allocate the money properly?


Traditionally, the bride's family would pay for wedding reception - everything from invitations to decor to catering. However, this rarely applies nowadays, and with costs rising and trends ever-changing, most couples don't expect the bride’s family to foot the bill. However, if you are lucky enough to get some money from the bride's family, here's what you should expect to spend it on:

  • The engagement party

  • The dress

  • Invitations and stationery

  • Photography & videography

  • Transportation and accomodation

  • Flowers and decor

  • Wedding Cake

If the groom's family also want to contribute, there's a few things that traditionally they would pay for:

  • The ceremony

  • DJ/Band

  • Drinks for the reception

What should we expect to pay for?

Even if you’ve been lucky enough to have some financial help with your wedding day, there’s some things you should consider arranging yourselves.

  • Hen and stag parties

  • Presents for each other

  • Hair and makeup

  • Your own accommodation (if not included)

  • Wedding insurance

  • Gifts for parents


But what if our parents want to help us plan the day?

Want our honest advice? If you feel uncomfortable receiving money or if you think it will have any influence on what you can or can't do on your dream day, think twice. You as the couple should have the final say on every detail for your wedding day, so if the contribution comes with any stipulation or control, address this as early as possible. Many parents will have big ideas for how a wedding should or shouldn't be, and it can be hard to say no once you've already received the money.

Should I ask my parents for financial support?

Most parents will be overjoyed with the news of your engagement, and often you’ll find they will offer to contribute without you asking. However, if they don’t, you shouldn’t be upset. Your family shouldn’t be obliged to help you and you may not know their full financial situation so, if you do decide to ask, be mindful of this. Our recommendation is that you ask for them to purchase one specific thing for you as this will be less of a commitment – this could perhaps be your dress or the venue.


Going it alone

With non-traditional weddings becoming more prevalent, many couples decide to go it alone and pay for the whole day themselves. This gives them complete freedom with what they want to do and who they want to invite.

While you might like the idea of being able to pay for your own day without help from parents, it's important to be realistic. Research the costs and plan accordingly - there's no point setting a super low budget if you know you can't make it work in reality! Unfortunately weddings are always more expensive than you originally thought. Think about the number of guests and the style of wedding you imagine - both of which will have a huge impact on the overall fee. We never encourage any of our couples to start their married life in debt - you have your whole life ahead of you, and there are ways to be creative in order to have the day of your dreams.

But what about the honeymoon?

It's not uncommon for couples to ask for a contribution to their honeymoon from guests. With most couples now living together before marriage, asking for wedding gifts can feel awkward and unnecessary; asking for money towards the 'honeymoon fund' can be the perfect solution.

Ultimately, when it comes to wedding finances, the key is to be realistic and transparent. Discuss what you want to achieve, be open about how people can help (if they want to) and whilst it’s important to be thankful for any gestures people decide to make, every decision should be yours.

If you still need a hand budgeting for your big day, our expert team would love to help. We know all the tricks when it comes to planning your dream wedding.

Wedding Etiquette - Who Should Pay for What?

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