What the Groom's Family Is Traditionally Expected to Pay For

Not sure what the parents of the groom are supposed to cover? Take a look at what's traditionally expected, then split the budget however works best for everyone.
Bride, groom and groom's family
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
by Maggie Seaver
maggie seaver the knot wedding planning expert
Maggie Seaver
Wedding Planning Expert
  • Maggie Seaver is an Associate Digital Editor at RealSimple.com.
  • Maggie writes about life, career, health, and more.
  • Maggie was an editor at The Knot from 2015 to 2019.
Updated Jul 20, 2020

Since talking through how to divvy up your wedding budget fairly between you two and your families, you may have tossed around the traditional way of splitting costs where the bride's family pays for the majority of expenses, from the engagement party to the rental linens covering the reception tables. First of all, you'd be far from the only couple to do so. The Knot 2017 Real Weddings Study revealed that tradition still rings pretty true in this department: On average, the bride's parents contribute 45 percent to the overall wedding budget, whereas the groom's parents contribute 13 percent—but what exactly is the groom's parents' responsibility?

Grooms' parents have typically been expected to chip in to cover a few expenses such as the marriage license, officiant fee, the bride's bouquet and reception music and entertainment. So exactly what do the groom's parents pay for? Although these are just suggestions based on past traditions, we've revealed some of the common aspects of the wedding that the groom's family typically covers.

Guide to What the Groom's Family Typically Pays For

Bride's engagement and wedding rings

If you're wondering what does the groom's family pay for, it's not uncommon to see them cover the cost of the engagement ring and perhaps even both wedding bands. Because engagement rings can vary in price, paying for the rings can help keep the financial burden off the couple.

Engagement party (optional)

Not every couple has an engagement party. In some cases, the groom's family likes to host a celebration in honor of the newly engaged couple. In this case, it would be the groom's parents' responsibility to cover the party's expenses.

Marriage license

Though it's not considered a huge expense, sometimes the groom's family will offer to cover the cost of the marriage license. It's a small gesture that goes a long way.

Officiant fee

The cost of hiring an officiant can range anywhere from $0 to $1,000. Oftentimes, the groom's family will insist on paying for it, as it is one contribution that can make a big difference for couples trying to save money on their wedding day.

Groom's attire and accessories

The groom's outfit will often fall under what the groom's family pays for if they are willing to contribute. This could include his tux, shoes, tie, socks and more.

Bride's bouquet

As far as tradition goes, many families of the groom are eager to chip in for the bride's bouquet.

Boutonnieres and Corsages

When it comes to the groom's parent's responsibility in terms of finances, it's customary for them to cover the cost of the flowers for the immediate family members, groom and groomsmen.

Rehearsal dinner

If you're looking to follow tradition, then the groom's family will host and pay for the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding. This party usually includes the wedding party, immediate family and close friends of the couple.

Reception entertainment

What else does the groom's parents pay for? Oftentimes, the wedding entertainment falls under the groom's parent's responsibility. This could mean a live band, DJ, and any other entertainment like a photo booth.

Reception alcohol

Along with covering the entertainment, the groom's family likely will offer to chip in for the alcohol at the reception. Open bar? Cheers to that!


For some lucky couples, the groom's parents will pay for their honeymoon. Whether it's their flight, hotel or other vacation expenses, their contribution can be a big financial help for the newlyweds.

That said, today there's less pressure than ever for couples and their families to abide by wedding budget conventions still around from the past few decades. If the groom's parents are into photography, let them take the reins to find an amazing wedding photographer. If the bride's parents want to gift the couple a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, they totally should (like they'd have to twist anyone's arm.) Many times, both sets of parents will share the burden equally, and the couple will often pitch in too (last year, to-be-weds who split wedding costs with their parents contributed an average of 41 percent to the overall budget). In the end, the amount of money everyone contributes depends on your respective financial situations. Don't be afraid to sit down and have an honest conversation about who's willing and able to pay for what.

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