One of the most stressful aspects of organising a wedding is working out how you are going to pay for it. This is not surprising given weddings these days can quite literally cost the same as a house deposit! In 2013, the average Australian wedding had a price tag of $48,296 quite likely the most money a couple will ever spend on a single event in their entire lives. Now in case your mind is stuck on that figure (mine certainly was the first time I read it!) here is the breakdown of how that money was spent according to IBISWorld:
- Food 31% of costs
- Flowers, stationary and other expenses 25.6%
- Venue 20.6%
- Wedding dress, clothing and accessories 11.8%
- Photography and film production 11%
Given the amount of money being talked about, it is understandable that one of the first areas that gets discussed during the wedding planning is who will pay for what?
The Traditional Wedding
In days of old, the majority of wedding costs were paid for by the bride’s parents. Whilst the groom and his family had some costs, it was largely the bride and her family that bore the most financial burden. Typically, some of the costs were separated like this:
Bride and her Family
- The engagement party
- Reception costs food, music, decorations, venue hire, entertainment etc
- Bride’s wedding dress, accessories, hair, makeup and beauty treatments
- Invitations, mailing costs, newspaper announcements
- The groom’s wedding ring and present
- Gifts for bridesmaids
- Wedding cake
- Transportation on the wedding day
Groom and his Family
- The rehearsal dinner
- The bride’s wedding and engagement rings
- The honeymoon
- Gifts for the groomsmen
- Fee for the officiant
- Bridal bouquet, corsages for mothers and boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party
- Gift for the bride
Today, many couples are in their 30’s by the time they marry and already living together so often choose to pay for the majority, if not all of the wedding costs, themselves. The sharing of costs between both sides is common and acceptable these days depending on the families financial situations. Some of the ways that modern day wedding costs are split up include:
- The bride and groom pay for it all.
- Each family gives a contribution or gift, with the bride and groom paying for the rest
- Splitting the costs in three equal parts between the bride’s parents, groom’s parents and the bride and groom
- The wedding costs (either all the costs or just the reception costs) being split up into a per head cost with each family paying for their guests.
Regardless of the way you choose to go, having an open discussion about wedding costs with your partner (and his/her parents) as early as possible is the way to go.