When it comes to wedding etiquette and budget, should Mums and Dads still pick up the big day bill? Should the bride and groom pay for the big day? We look at the options facing couples when planning their wedding budget.

father and bride wedding etiquette who should pay

Wedding Etiquette – Who should pay for what?

There’s was much speculation around the three royal weddings in the past decade. The speculation being around who will pay for what. Luckily most couples don’t face the same scrutiny over their wedding plans. However, who picks up the tab can cause disagreements or, sometimes, worse.

These days it’s not too hard to get your wedding etiquette right, as long as you know how you’re going to manage it up front.

Today, the average cost of a wedding is around £30,000 which is beyond the reach of most couples. Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for the wedding reception (including the venue, 
food and drink) while the groom pays for the honeymoon. However, there’s transport and the church or ceremony fees, hen parties and plenty of other costs to factor in. These days, few couples play by the traditional wedding budget rules.

So, What Happens These Days?

Some go it alone completely and don’t get any help from their parents, others pay most of the costs themselves but are happy for parents to chip in. Kelly Chandler of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners says that as couples take more control over thir wedding.  They also tend to stump up more of the cash.

“Most couples can’t afford to pay everything, there’s often a trade-off. This is between accepting financial help from your parents and having the wedding you want.

“If parents are putting up a large amount of money towards the wedding budget they’ll have their own ideas on how it should be spent.”

If your parents pay for the reception you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll want to have a say in how many guests are invited. Parents often want to invite long-lost aunts, and other family members you’ve not seen for many years. If you and your fiancé are paying for the wedding you can have more of a say about who gets invited.

Debt dilemma

While you might like the idea of being able to pay for your own wedding, it’s not realistic for everyone. High deposits and student debts mean that money is tight for many couples in their 20s and 30s.

Lynsey and her husband Gareth got married two years ago and Lynsey knew they would only get limited financial help from their parents.

“My Mum and Dad had a wedding budget for me but it went on a deposit for my flat. In the end, my parents paid for my wedding dress. Gareth’s Dad paid for us to stay for a couple of nights in the hotel after our wedding.

“We paid for everything else except for the honeymoon which family members and friends chipped in for.”

watch and bouquet Wedding etiquette - Who should pay for what?

Helping hands

Kelly Chandler says that an increasing number of couples are getting friends or relatives to pay towards their honeymoon. Cash presents are becoming increasingly popular, something that was far less common in the past.

“Some people are happy to pay towards the honeymoon but others prefer to buy something tangible and not everyone likes the idea of giving cash. It’s something to be aware of.”

Nicola Neilson is another bride-to-be who’s turning her back on tradition. She and her husband are splitting the cost of the wedding. However, she says that saving for the big day has been quite a challenge.

“There always seems to be something else to spend your money on, like having to take the dog to the vets, so you have to be very disciplined. We found that paying for things like the wedding venue and invitations as soon as we had the money was the easiest way to do it.”

Guest list gripes

Nicola says that even though it’s been tough finding the money they need, she likes the fact that she and her fiancé can have the wedding they want.

“A lot of people have questioned why we’re paying for everything and we’ve said it’s what we want. The biggest thing was the guest list as people ask why they haven’t been invited. However, we can be honest and say it’s down to money.”

“If you and your parents have 
very different ideas about the 
wedding reception but they want 
to contribute, why not let them pay for something? This could be 
the wedding cake?” says Kelly Chandler.

“Most parents want to 
help with the cost of the wedding budget. One way to reduce the stress is 
to work out what you want 
your way and what you can compromise on. Then you can let them 
pay for that.”

If parents are putting up a large amount of money they’ll want a say on how it’s spent.

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