Amidst the excitement and the overwhelm of planning a wedding, there’s one major question that takes precedence over every other detail: who pays for the wedding? The answer, when it comes down to it, usually depends on yours and your partner’s own personal expectations and financial situation.
The case for traditional vs conventional weddings
First of all, there’s no universal or official regulation when it comes to who pays for a wedding. Traditionally, it has been the bride’s family who footed most of the bill. This included the majority of the wedding ceremony and related expenses such as:
- Reception costs - including food, music, decorations, and entertainment
- Ceremony costs
- The brides wedding dress and accessories
- Invitations, announcements, and programs
- Wedding favours.
When it comes to the groom and his family, tradition held that they would contribute toward:
- The engagement party and engagement ring
- The wedding rings
- Gift for the bride, parents, best man, and ushers
- Bride’s bouquet
- Official’s fees
- The marriage licence
- The honeymoon.
Historically, the tradition of the bride’s family paying for the wedding was due to the social etiquette and propriety of the time. The bride’s family gave a dowry to the groom for assuming the ‘burden’ of the bride, since it was accepted that the husband was to work and make money to provide for the entire family. Nowadays, however, this is rarely the case, and personal finances and budgets of both the bride and the groom have become a bigger deciding factor when it comes to dividing expenses.
Conventional weddings are commonly decided on who can afford what; ensuring no party is expected to pay more than they can afford.
The average cost of a wedding
These days, couples prefer to have more control over the costs of their wedding. Some prefer to save up and do it all themselves, while others may accept financial help from both sets of parents – finding some sort of mutual agreement that allows them to ‘meet in the middle’.
On average, couples fork out a total of $53,168 for a wedding in Australia, with the most expensive end of the spectrum sitting at around $65,482. This is a huge amount of money to spend – particularly for young couples – and can make budgeting & saving very difficult.
Couples today are often faced with the dilemma of accepting financial help and having a wedding that they can afford, or by spending more money than they actually have in order to achieve the wedding that they really want.
How to decide who should pay for the wedding?
When the time arrives to determine who will pay for the wedding, couples should meet with their families and decide who can bear the various financial burdens. Couples who are seeking financial help from their parents should state a realistic and fair budget and make general decisions on who can pay for what. Some parents may offer to pay the majority of the costs, while others may agree to a small part of the wedding costs.
Couples may even encounter either or both sets of parents being financially unable to put anything toward the wedding. In this situation, couples can think of creative ways to save and accumulate the money needed to pay for their wedding.
It takes two
If your parents are unable to foot the bill, the bride and groom may opt to pay for the entire wedding themselves. Today, more couples are contributing to the full cost of their wedding. In fact, 68% of couples are funding the majority of their own wedding expenses. Depending on how financially sound a couple is, paying for your own wedding can be a good option, particularly when it allows you to call all the shots and be able to stick to your own budget.
Divide into thirds
The bride and groom can decide to split the budget evenly three ways with their families. In this scenario, the bride & groom, the bride’s parents, and the groom’s parents each pay for one-third of the budget. This is a fair and manageable solution to paying for a wedding, and it also lessens the burden on everyone.
Opt for a personal loan
Did you know that 60% of couples taking out a personal loan in order to pay for their own wedding in 2018? Or that the average loan amount from one personal loan provider for wedding expenditures was $1,284?
If a bride and groom are unable to pay for the wedding themselves, and if they are unable to receive financial assistance, then they have the option to take out a wedding loan. But if you do decide on this option, make sure you fully research the long term impact on your finances – as you may still be paying off the loan after the wedding is over!
Remember what’s most important
Traditionally, the bride’s family paid for the majority of the wedding cost. However, in today’s day and age really it’s up to you, your fiance, and your families as to who pays for what. And remember, at the end of the day it’s not about how much money you spend, it’s about celebrating your love for one another!
Who paid for the wedding when you got married?