Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
Our son is planning to marry in November. We are concerned about our share of the cost. What is the monetary responsibility of the groom's side? We want to plan accordingly for the upcoming expenses.
Wedding expenses are no longer the sole responsibility of the bride's family, and the cost is often shared with the groom's family.
According to the Bridal Association of America, 77% of weddings are paid for by the bride and groom (www.bridalassociationofamerica.com).
One way to share the expense is for both families to pay for half the total cost of the wedding. This works well if both sides are inviting similar numbers of guests. However, no family should contribute more than they can afford.
Wedding costs add up very quickly, and average weddings can cost between $25,000 to $35,000. The Bridal Association of America reports an average wedding cost of $30,860 (www.bridalassociationofamerica.com, 2009).
Now is the time to discuss the wedding expenses with your son, his fiance, and her family. It is important to make your financial limits clear so as to avoid misunderstandings later. For example, if neither family can contribute more than $5,000 towards the wedding, then the couple needs to make sure that the wedding costs do not exceed $10,000.
To keep the wedding costs under control, the couple and their families need to start planning early on and decide what aspects of the wedding are most important.
Also, if the engaged couple is older and have established jobs, then they can pay for their own wedding or contribute as much as they can afford.
Below is a list of the groom's expenses provided by EmilyPost.com and the Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette:
12 Traditional Wedding Expenses for the Groom and His Family:
1. Bride's rings (engagement and wedding)
2. Groom's attire
3. Marriage license
4. Accommodations: for own immediate family, out-of-town groomsmen, officiant if out-of-town and invited by the groom's family.
5. Gifts: groom's gift for the bride and groomsmen; family pays for wedding present for the couple.
6. Flowers: bride's bouquet, corsages for the mothers and grandmothers, bride going away corsage, boutonnieres for himself, groomsmen, fathers, grandfathers, ring bearers.
8. Transportation: for groom and best man to the ceremony and reception.
9. Officiant's fee
10. Rehearsal dinner
11. Ties and gloves for the groom's attendants, if included in their clothing rental package.
12. Bachelor dinner, if the groom gives one.
However, as previously stated, wedding expenses are often shared equally by both the bride and groom's families.