wedding buffetEven though manners and elaborate displays of etiquette have pretty much gone out of style in 21st Century American, the wedding is one area of our culture where etiquette is not only still in style but absolutely essential to having a happy, classy affair. For instance, the family that is issuing the wedding invitation is the one that is paying for the wedding. So of course, that set of parents, which is usually the bride’s parents, should have their names on the invitation. This point is long established tradition, so violate it at your peril.

Because a big, formal wedding is so expensive, the question of who pays for what is a major consideration. To avoid hurt feelings, these points of wedding etiquette should also be followed according to tradition. Here is a partial breakdown of who pays for what. When it comes to the bride’s gown, headpiece and bridal accessories, the bride’s family should pay. Of course, the groom is the one who should pay for the wedding ring. Tradition (or the jewelry industry) insists that the groom should pay no less than a month’s salary for the ring, though if he has a friend in the jewelry business who can get him the ring at wholesale, that leaves him with a few extra coins in his pocket to lavish on his new bride, with no one the wiser. Tradition dictates that the groom is also on the hook for buying the bride’s bouquet, a wedding gift for his bride, and whatever he gives as groomsmen gifts. He’s also supposed to pay for the marriage license, his own medical exam, including the blood tests that some states require. It’s also expected that the groom pay the minister, justice of the peace, or other officiant who performs the wedding ceremony.  In addition, the groom should pay for the limo and all of the honeymoon expenses.

Now that probably sounds like the groom is responsible for a lot, but taking on a new bride is a lot of responsibility, but the bride’s family is responsible for the lion’s share of the expenses, including paying for the bridesmaids’ bouquets, flowers for the reception and ceremony, renting a canopy and wedding carpet. And in addition to paying for the invitations, the bride’s family should also pay for wedding programs, special napkins, matches, and any other printed items. Plus, the bride’s family is obligated to pay the church fee or rent a hall, pay for the band or DJ for the reception, the photographer, and all the costs for the reception. If you follow these guidelines of wedding etiquette, everything should run smoothly.