What Does the Groom Pay for in a Wedding?
Tradition dictates that the groom, or his family, should pay for certain wedding expenses. Read about who pays for what in a wedding.
April 28, 2022
A wedding in the United States costs around $28,000, on average.
Given the sky-high expenses, many couples divide the financial burden between both partners and their families.
But who pays for what in a wedding? On average, couples pay for around 47% of their wedding costs, while parents and family members pick up the rest of the tab.
Weddings are steeped in tradition. Traditional practices, like the bouquet toss and the exchanging of vows, have shaped the ways we get married.
How we pay for weddings is even influenced by tradition. There are certain wedding expenses that the groom’s family is expected to pay and others that the bride’s family traditionally covers.
Here we’ll cover the traditions when it comes to these questions: What does the groom’s family pay for, and what does the groom pay for in a wedding?
What does the groom pay for in a wedding?
Traditionally, the groom, or the groom’s parents, are expected to pay for some or all of the following wedding expenses:
Engagement ring & wedding rings
The groom will typically purchase the engagement ring in order to propose. For the wedding, the groom or his family has traditionally been responsible for purchasing the bride’s wedding ring, although many couples now share this expense.
Attire for the groomsmen
The groom’s family has traditionally paid for the groom’s suit or tuxedo, as well as the groomsmen’s wedding attire. Some couples now ask groomsmen to pay for their own outfits or to wear clothing they already own.
Gifts for the groomsmen
The tradition of giving gifts to groomsmen and the best man is usually funded by the groom or his family.
If a rehearsal dinner is held before the wedding day, the groom’s family traditionally foots the bill. This includes all the costs: venue, food, drinks, decor, etc.
In many cases, the rehearsal dinner can have a much different feel than the wedding itself and can serve as the groom’s family’s chance to put their own touch on the event.
Bridal bouquet and other flowers
It is traditionally the responsibility of the family of the groom to purchase the bridal bouquet, the boutonnieres, and potentially the rest of the flowers involved in the wedding ceremony.
The marriage license is the legal document that proves a couple’s married legal status. The costs vary by state with a range of $10 to $115.
Officiant fee or donation
The officiant of the wedding will either charge a fee or ask for a cash gift or donation. Traditionally, it’s up to the groom or his family to cover this expense.
Traditionally, the groom’s family has paid for a couple’s honeymoon expenses, including lodging, transportation and activities.
Tradition isn’t everything
There are certain traditions and expectations associated with weddings, including a list of what the groom pays for in a wedding. But the reality is that these traditions are just that — traditions.
These are not rules that are set in stone, and in the modern world, these traditions are not as commonly followed. With that said, some families subscribe to traditions more than others.
It’s a good idea to talk about wedding finances and expectations with both partners and their families. That way, everyone can be aware of each other’s preferences and expectations.
What about same-sex or non-binary marriages?
The terms “bride” and “groom” are gender-specific. Many couples in the LGBTQ+ community prefer to ditch these terms. Some get married as “partners,” while in other couples they may both prefer to be referred to as grooms or as brides.
When it comes to dividing wedding expenses, much of the “bride pays for X, groom pays for Y” traditions are not observed with LGBTQ+ weddings.
If you’re planning a same-sex marriage, or you or your partner are non-binary, it’s helpful to talk about wedding expenses and expectations with both partners and their families.
How to navigate sharing wedding expenses
Money is a famously taboo topic that makes many people uncomfortable. So, how do you talk about it with your families without making things awkward?
The first thing to remember is to consider individual family dynamics.Are your families very traditional? If so, they’re likely already aware of how expenses are typically split up.
If tradition isn’t as important in the family dynamic, some couples may choose to split expenses equally. In this case, the couple might manage the planning and pay for expenses, and each family contributes a set amount of money to fund all the various expenses.
It’s also important to be mindful of each family’s ability to pay. If one family is struggling financially, they may not be able to cover the expenses they traditionally would be expected to.
If it’s uncomfortable to have a financial conversation with one or both of the families, you can consider asking the wedding planner to handle the conversation.
Getting married without going into debt
Couples should do their best to avoid going into debt to finance their wedding. The last thing you want as a newly married couple is to be saddled with excessive debt.
If you do have to fund your wedding with credit cards or other loans, be sure to pay off that debt as soon as possible. If you receive any cash gifts at your wedding, that could be a good opportunity to pay down your debt.
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