Who Should Pay for Your Wedding?

We're breaking down your options.
by The Knot

News flash: Weddings aren't cheap, and there's no hard-and-fast rule anymore as to who's supposed to pick up the tab for them. But you do have plenty of options—and we've broken them down below. Keep in mind that a combination of them may be how you end up getting your dream wedding paid for. 

Option 1: The Bride's Parents Pay

This is the traditional (and still pretty popular) way of paying for the wedding. And while it definitely has its pros—you don't have to dip into your own funds to cover expenses—it might mean you'll have to compromise on some things. For instance, if you only want 100 guests but your parents want 250 (in order to include every distant relative and person in their extended social circles), you might have to bend to them a little bit since they're the ones opening their wallets.

Option 2: You and Your Future Spouse Pay for Everything

This is slowly becoming the norm. As more brides and grooms marry later in life (and become increasingly financially stable from saving), more to-be-weds are in a good position to foot the entire wedding bill themselves. The best part about paying for your own wedding is you have total creative control over every aspect of it. Even if your mom hates the idea of a barn wedding, she can't really dictate what happens if she's not the one dishing out the cash. 

Obviously, there are some downsides. You could majorly deplete your savings and rack up debt if you charge your credit card to pay for it. If your parents offer to pay and you refuse their financial help, you could also run the risk of offending them. If that's the case, choose to accept a nominal sum from them instead, or let them pay for something you don't have strong opinions about (say, the flowers). Either way, make sure not to shut your parents out of the wedding planning process. Encourage their input—odds are, they'll have a good idea or two—and try to compromise where you can while still sticking to your guns on the things that are important. (Maybe your mom still hates the idea of a barn, but you can at least let her help pick some of the décor.)

Option 3: Everyone Chips In

A super contemporary and effective way to take care of wedding expenses? Split the cost between yourselves, your family and your future spouse's family. You can take the whole cost of the wedding and divide it three ways, or dole out specific things to pay for. Ask each set of parents what they're comfortable giving and throw it into the pot. But the key to making it work is negotation and compromise—just because one family provides four times more money doesn't mean they can get four times more say. By pooling your resources, you should be able to afford the kind of wedding you want without emptying your savings account. And since everyone is contributing, you're not likely to make one side or the other feel left out. 

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