She has said "yes" and you have picked a date; now what? The next and probably most important step of wedding planning is deciding on a budget. Coming from two different financial backgrounds, you and your spouse may have separate ideas about financial responsibility and priorities when it comes to wedding expenses. Beyond speaking with your spouse about money, asking each set of parents to contribute to the wedding can be an uncomfortable conversation. Before asking for financial assistance with your wedding, consider the party you are asking, if a contribution to your wedding is going to cause hardship, don’t ask because you won’t feel good accepting it. When asking for money, be straightforward and polite, you are asking for a gift and not a loan.

Some couples have parents who are willing and able to pay for the whole wedding and every event related to it, other couples pay for parts of the festivities and some must pay for the big day in its entirety. Regardless of who is footing the bill, in an effort to offer some guidance, here is a little breakdown of traditionally who is responsible for what.

The Bride’s family is responsible for:

  • the engagement party
  • the formal announcement of the engagement
  • all fees associated with planning the wedding
  • the Bride’s attire: dress, veil, shoes and accessories
  • transportation on the wedding day
  • the photographer or videographer
  • the officiant
  • all floral arrangements
  • all expenses associated with the reception

The Bride herself is responsible for:

  • gifts and flowers for her attendants
  • the Groom’s ring
  • a gift for the groom

The Groom’s family is responsible for:

  • the rehearsal dinner
  • the corsages and boutonnières for groomsmen and family members

The Groom himself is responsible for:

  • the engagement ring
  • the marriage license
  • the Bride’s bouquet
  • a gift for the Bride

As I mentioned before, these are traditional guidelines. Many of the Edmonton couples that I work with who are fortunate enough to have contributions from their families still break down expenses in this way, but with the groom’s family taking on all floral expenses and purchasing the alcohol for the reception.

No matter who ends up paying for what, the key is to not to step outside what everybody can comfortably afford. Once you’ve made a budget stick to it.