After the champagne has been popped and a new engagement celebrated, reality slowly creeps in as all parties begin to wonder: “who is responsible for paying for this wedding?” Traditionally, the bride’s family has picked up the full tab. However, that is not always the case in modern society. A budget meeting between families is the first step, and one of the main goals is to avoid awkward conversation. Often you will find that opinions vary between families and it can be helpful for parents of the groom and bride to have an idea of how other families approach this delicate topic.

One way to divide and conquer is by splitting up the responsibilities. The bride’s family pays for the flowers, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, and so on. There are plenty of articles you can read from websites such as The Knot or The Bridal Guide that will happily provide an opinion on who should pay for what. However, these etiquette guides can become confusing rather quickly and are subject to vast interpretation and opinion.

Another approach is to let each party (bride’s family, groom’s family, and the engaged couple) determine the amount each can responsibly contribute to the costs. Depending on a myriad of factors, the average cost of a wedding in Colorado is $31,435. In reality, you can truly spend any amount you would like on a wedding, from under $10,000 to easily over $100,000. Anyone who has planned a wedding can tell you how quickly the dollars add up.

According to an article by Family Education, “some modern options for paying for a wedding include:

  • The bride and groom pay for the entire wedding
  • Expenses are divided evenly between the couple, the bride’s family, and the groom’s family
  • Each family covers the cost for the number of guests it invites
  • The bride’s family and groom’s family split the expenses evenly”

So what is really happening? A 2014 study indicates that on average, the bride’s parents contribute 43% to the cost, the engaged couple contributes 43%, and the groom’s parents contribute 12% (others account for the remaining 2%). Only 12% of couples pay for the wedding entirely by themselves.

The Huffington Post offers one last critical piece of advice for parents: “If the couple seeks your opinion on certain aspects of the day, consider yourself blessed. But don’t regard your contribution as a way to buy influence over what happens at the wedding—the day is truly about celebrating the couple, and it should be the one day that is theirs.”

If you would like help in making responsible decisions on contributing to celebration costs without hindering your own successful financial future, please call Sharkey, Howes & Javer at 303-639-5100 for a complimentary consultation.

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