Wedding Planning: Splitting Wedding Costs

It often surprises newly engaged couples how formidable a social event their wedding will become. Wedding costs can be shocking. There are so many wedding ideas to consider, including the planning and organization, and, most importantly, who will pay for what.

For many, it’s the first time they’ve ever been intricately involved in a project this large. Even the smallest, most quickly designed wedding requires planning and expenditure. After all, you intend for it to be a once-in-a-lifetime event: One of your first decisions needs to be about wedding essential costs.

How you parcel out this financial load often is based not just on available resources and affordability, but on tradition. In times past, a bride’s parents paid for the lion’s share of the wedding. Today, however, the bridal couple, often with help from the groom’s parents, can share the cost. It’s also common for bridal couples to shoulder the entire burden of their celebrations.

When a groom’s parents contribute to the wedding essential costs, they become co-hosts. This means your wedding invitations should carry their names, too. If the couple pays their own way, “ownership” of the event is theirs and the inclusion of parents on invitations becomes a courtesy or sign of affection and respect.

What’s important is communication. You and your fiance should look realistically at your resources and set a workable budget. Ask yourselves what your priorities are. Discuss which aspects of this multi-faceted event carry the most meaning for you. And which ones you can do without, if it’s financially necessary.

Once you’ve set a realistic wedding essentials budget, decide who should be responsible for what. This early communication sets the stage for everything else and, hopefully, avoids pain and misunderstanding. Issues relating to wedding planning have ended more engagements than any other thing, so the better you communicate, the more likely you are to have the wedding of your dreams.

For help with organizing a wedding budget, seating chart and guest list see our Planning Tools.