Photo via Flickr (sharisberries)

Photo via Flickr (sharisberries)


My fiancé (now hubby) and I were trying to plan for our wedding day budget when we first got engaged, so we took a serious look into wedding money traditions. We wanted to let our families know what we intended to pay for and what we hoped they would pay for. Indeed, everything went off without a hitch and both of our families came through with flying colors, creating the most beautiful day of our lives. Sometimes it can be tricky dealing with the topic of money, but with a few pointers, you, too, can have an amazing wedding and sort out all of the moolah involved in your special day.

Traditional Wedding Payment Expectations

In today's modern society, most people say you can do whatever you want to do when it comes to who pays for what. Some couples choose to split the cost of a wedding down the middle between the bride and groom, and some rely heavily on their families to help pay the costs. Some even rely on a one-time monetary gift from their parents before they decide on a wedding day budget that they will be responsible for themselves. There really are no rules for who pays for what unless you want to follow the traditions that have been in place for years and years.

Traditionally, there are rules that say that certain people pay for certain things when it comes to your entire wedding day. The bride's family is expected to pay for the invitations, the engagement party cost, the wedding ceremony coordinator, the bride's dress, the transportation for the bridal party to the wedding ceremony, the reception and all vendors, and their own wedding attire and gifts for the new couple. This may seem like quite a bit, since the groom's family is traditionally only expected to pay for the rehearsal dinner, any alcohol at the wedding reception, and their own wedding apparel and gifts for the couple.

The bride and groom don't get off easy, according to these traditions. The bride is expected to pay for the groom's ring and wedding day gift for him, her bridesmaids' gifts, and her luncheon for her bridal party. The groom, however, is expected to pay for much more than his bride-to-be: He is expected to pay for her engagement and wedding rings, his wedding day gift to his bride, his gifts for his groomsmen, their marriage license, the fee for the wedding officiant, his suit or tux for the ceremony, the entire honeymoon, boutonnieres for the groomsmen and other men involved in the ceremony, the bridal bouquet, and corsages for both his and her mothers and grandmothers.

Tipping Wedding Vendors

When it comes to tipping your vendors, first. make sure that the gratuity isn't already included in your prearranged price. Sometimes it is added into your contract, so make sure you aren't tipping twice. Also, as usual, it is normal to not tip the owner of a business. If the owner of the salon does your hair, it isn't necessary to tip them. If your vendor is self-employed, a 15% tip or a comparable gift would definitely show your appreciation. Also, it is important to reward the effort of those vendors who have gone above and beyond what is usual with a small gift or gift certificate. It is customary to give tips to appropriate people on the day of the wedding. It is acceptable to ask a close family member or a bridesmaid or best man to hand out the appropriate tips.

When it comes to how much is customary to tip, there are some appropriate amounts per vendor. Your hair and makeup professionals should be tipped at least 15-20% of the bill, as should your chauffeur or drivers for your wedding party members. Your musicians for the ceremony should be tipped between $25 and $50 each, while your reception band or DJ should receive the same amount. Your officiant should get $50 if they are a judge or a clerk, while most clergy do not take tips; however, a $100 offering or donation to their house of worship is an acceptable gift. As for photographers and videographers, they should be given between $100 and $200, while their assistants or second shooters should be given between $50 and $75. Your catering manager should be tipped at between $250 and $500, while the wait staff should get 15% of the total food bill. This should be given to the catering manager to be distributed among the wait staff. Bartenders usually get 10-15% of the bar bill, and this is split between the bartenders. In this case, they should not accept tips from wedding reception guests. All delivery people, such as your bakery, your chair/table rental company, the florist, and any other vendors should be tipped between $5 and $20 per person or more if they are doing a lot of heavy lifting.

Monetary Wedding Gifts

In some cultures, it is customary to give money to the bride and groom as a wedding gift. Even in the U.S., some couples have what they call the dollar dance, which is a type of game during their wedding reception when guests go up and give them money while they share a few dances together. Some simply have a purse or bag that guests put checks and cash into as they go around the reception and visit with people.

There is no specific dollar amount that is acceptable for a gift for the new couple, though many guests will aim to give a gift equivalent to the cost of their meal(s). Sometimes guests may not be able to give as much if they are traveling a longer distance and paying to stay in a hotel for the duration of the wedding weekend. If you would prefer to receive money rather than tangible gifts, you may ask family members and close friends to let people know that if anyone asks for suggestions for a gift, but it is considered rude for you to directly request cash yourself. But remember that many guests would rather give you an actual wrapped gift, so you should still complete a wedding registry to give them some ideas.