What the Groom's Parents (Traditionally) Pay For

Read our guide to know how to split expenses between families.
chapelle johnson the knot assistant editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot assistant editor
Chapelle Johnson
Assistant Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Mar 01, 2022

So, you just got engaged (congrats!) and have a few questions during your wedding planning process. One of the most important concerns you may have while planning is the cost and overall wedding budget—namely, how to split expenses and what the groom's parents pay for. If wedding finances are top of mind for you, you aren't alone! According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, 61% of couples said cost or budget was the most important to them while planning their wedding. For couples who identify as a bride and a groom, there are traditional guidelines to help families decide who is in charge of each wedding-related expense. But not all couples identify that way or choose to follow those particular wedding budget guidelines. Splitting wedding costs equally between the couple and their families is becoming more common across the board: The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study found that couples pay approximately 49% of their wedding costs, with their families covering the rest at 51%.

Remember, there's no right way to decide financial responsibility, so discuss what works best for you, your partner and each family. No matter if you're following tradition or looking for suggestions, you may want to know what the groom's parents pay for. Here, we outline the common wedding expenses that fall under the groom's parents' responsibility.

What Do the Groom's Parents Pay For?

Bride's engagement and wedding ring

It's typical for the groom to have already bought the bride-to-be an engagement ring, but it's not uncommon to see the groom's parents cover the cost of the engagement ring and the wedding ring. Some parents of the groom pay for the ring(s) to 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.

Groom's attire and accessories

The groom and groomsmen's outfits will often be another expense the groom's family pays for if they are willing to contribute. These items could include the tux, shoes, tie, socks and more. Keep in mind: Groomsmen are expected to cover the cost of their attire.

Groomsmen's gifts

As a way to show their appreciation to their wedding party, many couples give gifts to their wedding party members. Helping buy the groomsmen's gifts is another way the groom's parents can contribute to the wedding.

Marriage license

The marriage license fee varies state by state. Although 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.

Rehearsal dinner

If you're looking to follow tradition, then it's the groom's parents' responsibility to host and pay for the rehearsal dinner. Some party expenses include drinks, food and venue rental fees. Since the groom's family is paying for the rehearsal dinner, they control how it's organized. The rehearsal dinner is an opportunity for the groom's parents to celebrate the couple and mingle with the bride's family and friends ahead of the wedding.

Officiant

According to our company data, couples put an average of $250 toward hiring a wedding officiant. If you hire a religious wedding officiant, they usually don't require a fee. Instead, a religious officiant may ask for a donation or their wedding night stay to be covered. The amount the groom's parents donate is up to them.

Flowers

The groom's family pays for some of the floral expenses associated with the wedding party. That includes the bride's bouquet, the boutonnieres of the groom and groomsmen, and the corsages for honored guests.

Reception entertainment

What else do the groom's parents pay for? Oftentimes, 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

Sometimes the groom's family will offer to chip in for the alcohol at the reception. Based on data from the Real Wedding Study, couples spent an average of $2,300 on alcohol for their wedding, so any financial help the groom's family can provide will greatly decrease reception costs.

Honeymoon

Traditionally, the groom's parents pay for the entire cost of the honeymoon. Honeymoon costs include flights, hotels and fun vacation activities. Note: More modern couples are saving for their honeymoon together or requesting their wedding guests to pay for some parts of the honeymoon as a wedding gift.

3 Tips for Asking Parents or In-Laws Help Pay for the Wedding

1. Be direct.

    We know talking about wedding expenses with your family can be intimidating or even awkward, but it's important to be open and honest when asking parents or in-laws to pitch in financially. Come to the conversation prepared with a (realistic) wishlist of ways they could contribute, and be open to discussion. By being straightforward, there's less room for miscommunication.

    2. Be polite.

      Any money that your family can put towards the wedding is very beneficial, so don't go into the conversation expecting a certain amount. During wedding expense conversations, you might find that your family can't give you money for your wedding but they may still want to help out. Families can contribute other than by giving financially, like mailing invitations, getting quotes from vendors or assembling wedding favors.

      3. Keep your parents or future in-laws involved.

        One wedding etiquette rule that hasn't changed is that whoever provides money for the wedding is also allowed to share their opinion about the specific service they're contributing to. So, if your parents are helping pay for your wedding, be considerate and listen to their suggestions. If everyone is willing to compromise, you and your family can plan a beautiful and memorable wedding.

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