Should I pay?

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Nowadays, the cost of even the most modest wedding can be astronomical, but times are changing and often the family of the bride, the couple themselves and even the groom’s family…

Does the father of the bride still pick up all the wedding bills?

As father of the bride, your role is to support your daughter in every way. Usually, this also means financially! So what’s new?

Nowadays, the cost of even the most modest wedding can be astronomical, but times are changing (phew!) and often the family of the bride, the couple themselves and even the groom’s family can contribute to costs. 

Best advice is to use the list below as a kick off point, and discuss who will pay for (and do) what, as soon as your daughter and her fiancé have set a date.

Traditionally, the bride’s family pays for:

  • engagement and wedding press announcements
  • the bride’s and bridesmaids’ dresses
  • outfits for the mother and father of the bride
  • flowers for the church and reception (groom pays for bouquets and buttonholes)
  • photography/video
  • most of the transport
  • wedding stationery (invitations and orders of service) 
  • the reception and all its trimmings (usually the big cost)

A wise father will set his budget as early as possible and advise the couple as to what he is able, and prepared, to spend. Then there can be no misunderstandings and the couple are able to budget accordingly and decide where their priorities lie.

Sharing it out

Most people are only too well aware of the expense involved in a wedding and both sets of parents may wish to share the cost between them. In this case it’s best to make sure you have a good working relationship between you and not try to co‐ordinate everything via the bride and groom. Make a list of who’s paying for what to avoid any misunderstandings. You’ll find more useful advice on handling wedding finances in our Budget section.

If you’re not doing a 50:50 split, one common solution is that the groom’s family provides the wedding cake and pays for any food at the evening reception. 

Some parents like to give a sum of money to be spent as the happy couple wish, others prefer to contribute specific items. If you choose the second option, make sure you confer with your daughter ‐‐ you don’t want to surprise her with a seven tier pink iced confection of a wedding cake if she’s chosen a burgundy and gold colour scheme.

Words of wisdom

Sensible fathers realise that paying for a part or a whole of their daughter’s wedding means just that ‐‐ it’s her wedding. If you want a comfortable life, don’t try to influence her choices unless she asks for help or advice.

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