Wedding Budget Q&As

Answers to who traditionally pays for what, who pays for whom, and other issues of wedding finances.

Q: Help! My future in-laws are insisting that I plan a very traditional (and somewhat expensive) wedding but are refusing to help pay for anything. Is there an official list of financial responsibilities for the groom's parents?

A: You may be surprised to discover that a "list" of monetary obligations for the groom's parents does not exist simply because, traditionally, they were only expected to pay for the rehearsal dinner. The bride's parents paid for the majority of the expenses, including all ceremony and reception costs (food, liquor, wedding cake, music, photos, flowers), the wedding invitations and related expenses, and the bride's attire and trousseau. The groom himself picked up the costs of the marriage license, the bride's engagement and wedding rings, the bride's bouquet, corsages for the mothers, the boutonnieres, the ceremony officiant's fee, and the honeymoon.

However, with the costs of weddings growing and many couples marrying later (when they are more likely to have careers and incomes of their own), more and more brides and grooms are contributing to - or even picking up entirely — the costs of their weddings. If this is your situation, then you are certainly entitled to spend your money as you see best in order to stay within your budget. Explain to your future in-laws that as much as you might want to include several traditional aspects in the wedding, you must limit your expenses and would greatly appreciate their understanding. Ask them if they have any suggestions or advice so that they realize how sincere and concerned you are. After all, you do not want to disappoint or antagonize them but you and your groom-to-be must be realistic about your financial situation and goals for the wedding.

Most importantly, be sure that your fiancé fully supports you in this decision and that you together present a united front. Even if his parents are contributing to the costs in some way, you are not obligated to heed their every wish. In this case, though, you might give them the option of putting their money toward those elements that mean the most to them.

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My question is: if renting a house for the brides family are we expected to pay for the grooms family? One 6 bedroom house will take care of our family, the grooms family would require another another 4 bedroom and then his attendants, or do they pay for their own????? Help! If I could get a response ASAP that would be awesome.