A Traditional Breakdown of Who Pays for Wedding Flowers

Use this itemized list as a starting point for your budget.
Samantha Iacia - The Knot wedding style expert
by
Samantha Iacia
  • Samantha writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a speciality in wedding decor, trends, and fashion
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Samantha was a features and weddings contributor for The Baltimore Sun
  • She is based in Washington, D.C. and holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism
Updated Jun 29, 2022

When you're in the thick of creating your wedding budget, you might quickly realize that there are a lot of old-fashioned "rules" around who pays for what at the wedding—and if you're feeling confused, you're not alone. It can be helpful to understand the traditional wedding etiquette for some of the major vendor categories, like who pays for wedding flowers, and use that as a starting point to ultimately find a solution that works best for you and your partner. If you're getting ready to hire a wedding florist but aren't sure how to split the cost between yourselves or your family members, we've got you. Use this outline to make a final decision about who's paying for your wedding flowers, even if you choose to skew tradition and rewrite your own rules for the big day.

Who Pays for Wedding Flowers?

For couples who identify as bride and groom, traditional wedding etiquette states that each family pays for certain wedding expenses—for example, the bride's family is supposed to pay for the church or wedding venue, while the groom's family pays for the marriage license. There's also etiquette that dictates who traditionally pays for wedding flowers, and your wedding planner or florist may even have given you a budget breakdown based on that.

By today's standards, a lot of the etiquette can feel outdated or irrelevant, especially because couples are more likely to split the total cost of the wedding with their parents. According to The Knot 2021 Real Weddings Study, newlywed couples paid for 48% of their own wedding expenses, with parents pitching in for the additional 52% of the budget. For wedding flowers, the average cost in 2021 was $2,300, although the number varies depending on your wedding location, the types of flowers you choose and how many flower arrangements you need.

The most important thing when you're deciding who will pay for your wedding flowers is to settle on something that's right for your situation. Maybe you've collectively decided that you and your partner will be responsible for the flower budget, or perhaps their parents are giving you a chunk of cash to spend specifically on blooms. You can pick and choose which guidelines you want to follow—just be sure to plan ahead if you're asking your parents to contribute money to your wedding. And if you really want to split the cost of flowers according to tradition, you can reference the breakdown below.

Traditional Wedding Flower Payment Etiquette

Engagement Party Flowers

Traditional etiquette states that the engagement party is hosted by the bride's family. Today, many couples choose to host their own engagement party, co-host with both families or leave the hosting duties to a close friend. In general, the engagement party flowers should be paid for by whoever is hosting the party—you can divvy up the cost accordingly if there are several people throwing the event. And unless you're going for specific theme, there's no need to go overboard with lavish arrangements for this prewedding bash. A few small-scale centerpieces are just enough to dress up cocktail tables or add color to the space.

Bridal Shower Flowers

The maid of honor is responsible for hosting the bridal shower, including the cost of flowers and other decorations. It's common for bridesmaids and close relatives of the bride to pitch in financially and help coordinate the event. The flower arrangements should match the bridal shower theme, but it doesn't need to be an extravagant affair if you're working with a limited budget.

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner Flowers

As an event that's traditionally hosted by the groom's parents, the rehearsal dinner flowers are typically supplied by that side of the family; however, if you're paying for your own wedding, or if both sets of parents are jointly funding the rehearsal dinner, you can split the cost in whichever way works best.

Themed rehearsal dinners have become especially popular during the last few years, with many couples using their rehearsal dinner as an unofficial party to kick off their wedding weekend (and even tapping their wedding photographer to capture snapshots of evening). The rehearsal dinner can be a fun opportunity to plan an intimate event for your closest friends and family—and it's a great way branch out with wedding flower trends or other decorative elements you aren't incorporating into your wedding day.

Wedding Ceremony Flowers

If you're following traditional etiquette of splitting wedding costs between the families of a couple who identify as bride and groom, the budget breakdown for ceremony flowers is a little technical. Here's who pays for what:

  • Bride's bouquet: The bridal bouquet is paid for by the groom or groom's family.
  • Bridesmaids' bouquets: The bride or bride's family pays for the bridesmaids' bouquets (and flower girl bouquet, if applicable).
  • Ceremony backdrop and decor: Decorative wedding ceremony flowers, including aisle markers, altar or chuppah embellishments or other flower arrangements, are paid for by the bride or bride's parents.
  • Corsages: Often worn by mothers and grandmothers on both sides of the family, corsages are paid for by the groom or groom's family members.
  • Floral hair accessories: Whether they're for the bride, bridesmaids or flower girl, items such as flower crowns and floral combs are paid for by the bride or her family.
  • Groom's boutonniere: The groom's boutonniere is paid for by the groom or groom's parents.
  • Groomsmen boutonnieres: Similar to the groom's boutonniere, the groom's family pays for the best man and groomsmen boutonnieres.

Wedding Reception Flowers

When it comes to the wedding reception decor and reception flowers, the bride's family traditionally foots the bill. This includes basic floral arrangements, like the wedding centerpieces, along with other wedding decorations and arrangements, such as the escort card or seating chart display, cocktail bar and wedding cake.

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