Traditional Wedding Expenses Checklist

You must first decide how big or small your wedding will be and to realistically budget within those boundaries. Traditionally the bride and her family absorb all or the majority of wedding expenses. This tradition is no longer valid considering the escalating costs of producing a wedding.

The cost of an average American wedding is $16,000 to $20,000. This is too great a financial burden for a single family to bear. Today it is not unusual for the couple to pay for all wedding expenses or to have their parents and relatives equally contribute.

The Bride and Her Family Pay for

  • Wedding consultant, if necessary
  • Invitations and announcements
  • Music for the wedding ceremony, including the organist or choir fee
  • Flowers for church and reception
  • Bouquets for the bride and bridesmaids
  • Transportation of the bridal party to the church/synagogue and reception
  • Bride’s gift to groom (optional)
  • Bride’s present to her bridesmaids
  • Groom’s wedding ring
  • Church fee
  • Lodging accommodations for out-of-town bridesmaids (optional)
  • Expenses related to the reception

The Groom and His Family Pay for

  • Bride’s rings; engagement and wedding
  • Boutonniere for the groom and ushers
  • Groom’s present to bride (optional)
  • Groom’s presents to ushers and best man
  • Ties and gloves for the ushers
  • Clergy member’s cost
  • Corsages for the immediate members of both families; also the bride’s going away corsage
  • Bachelor dinner (optional, and usually given by best man or ushers)
  • Rehearsal dinner (optional, but is usual)
  • Accommodations for out-of-town ushers
  • The honeymoon

The Bridesmaids Pay for

  • Dress and accessories
  • Transportation to and from wedding, regardless of out-of-town expenses
  • Gift to the wedding couple
  • Contribution to a gift from all the bridesmaids to the bride

The Ushers Pay for

  • Rental or purchase of wedding attire
  • Transportation to and from wedding, regardless of out-of-town expenses
  • Gift to the wedding couple
  • Contribution to a gift from all the ushers to the groom
  • Bachelor dinner (optional, and usually given by the best man)

The Out-of-town Guests Pay for

  • Transportation and lodging accommodations (on rare occasions, the bride’s family pays for this)
  • Gift to wedding couple