Clare Frances Events is an exclusive event planning company that creates one of a kind events that will be remembered for being able to tell the creative and emotional stories of our couples. We limit the number of weddings per year so we can remain focused and passionate. This allows us to give each couple the attention and focus their love story deserves.
The tradition that the bride’s family pay for the wedding is derived from the notion of a dowry. In the past, when women weren’t allowed to live on their own, work outside the home, or own property, an unmarried daughter was a considerable burden, especially on families living at or near the subsistence level. To remove this burden, her family would pay a man to marry her. The money also helped cover the expenses of setting up the new home and helping the man become more productive so he could support an extra mouth with his labor.
Looked in that light, the tradition is at best irrelevant to life today and at worst offensive.
In 2016 how the costs of a wedding are divided among the couple and their families depends primarily on the financial situation of each family, and of the couple themselves. Circumstances and common sense—not tradition – dictate who will pay what for a wedding. If you are the parent, don’t assume if your child was asked to get married by their partner and you have the wherewithal that you have the responsibility (or the right) to pay for the wedding. As a parent, it is best to reach out to your child and their partner first to have a discussion of finances and then if appropriate the child’s soon to be new family and talk with them about the finances of the wedding. Our experience has shown that the sooner the two families and the couple sit down to discuss the finances of the wedding, the less chance for a miscommunication down the road.
At the first meeting, the first thing to do is figure out who is contributing to the wedding. Once it has been determined who is willing to contribute to the cost of the wedding is to decide who will pay for what. Both families (or all the families that apply) and the couple should then sit down together and have a frank discussion about what each party can afford to contribute. Some people are terribly uncomfortable discussing their finances in front of others, so we recommend that everyone be sensitive to that. Separate meetings are sometimes necessary, but it’s best if you can get everyone together at one time to brainstorm and share information. Once you calculate how much money there is to pay for a wedding, it will all come down to how to spend it. Clare Frances Events has developed a precise budget worksheet just for their clients to help with budgets and cash flow. These worksheets come with recommended percentages of what should be allocated to specific items for a wedding. Once a budget has been agreed upon by all parties then the first things to decide are the elements that are most important to the couple (A 10-piece band? Destination wedding?). Enter those figures into the budget worksheet first and then map out the rest of the budget around those big items.
Old Rules: Wedding and reception expenses for a first marriage were traditionally the sole responsibility of the primary family. The primary family got to determine the size and style of the wedding and reception. The secondary family on occasion may have offered to share in the cost of the reception if they wanted to add more guests to their assigned number of guests they were allowed, and the family solely responsible for the wedding may accept or decline the offer. The secondary family would traditionally pay for the rehearsal dinner and the bride’s bouquet.
With all this said, many primary family wish to take on the responsibility for the lion’s share of the wedding cost as has been tradition. If that is going to be the plan for your wedding we have shown a breakdown of each side’s responsibility from an etiquette perspective that is based on tradition. There would be no need to discuss finances with each side using this model but you want to be respectful of each other and try to have a mutually agreed upon tenor of the wedding.
The Primary Family:
- Church and reception site rental (including rental properties such as tents, audio and lighting)
- Decor for church, cocktail reception and dinner reception
- All rental properties necessary such as china, flatware, barware and table-scape decor
- Save-the-dates, wedding invitations or announcements
- Cake, catering and beverages for the reception
- Services of event planner for wedding ceremony, cocktail/dinner reception and after-party
- Transportation logistics for guests for destination wedding
- Photography for the engagements, bridal portraits, ceremony and reception
- Videographer for rehearsal dinner, day of wedding, ceremony and reception
- Attendants flowers (Maid of honor(s), attendants and flower girls)
- Flowers for the church, cocktail reception and dinner reception
- Music for the ceremony and reception
- Lodging for his/her chosen attendants, and transportation and lodging for his/her family
- Transportation for the wedding party and immediate families of both sides to the church, reception, after party and home
- Lodging for all vendors and sub-subcontractors traveling from out of town
- Security and certificates of insurance
- Wedding favors and/or donation cards
- Gratuities for all vendors and sub-contractors hired by primary family
- Luncheon for the attendants the day before the wedding including partner’s mother and sister(s)
Of all their duties, the primary parents’ role is host and hostess of the reception is foremost. This honor is theirs because traditionally they pay for part, if not all, of the festivities. They play a special role at the reception of making guests feel welcome and ensuring that everything runs smoothly.
As such, their names have historically gone at the top of the invitations. Wedding invitation wording etiquette is available at Clare Frances Events.
- Officiant’s fee and travel expenses
- Wedding attire and if desired for his/her attendants/ushers
- Rehearsal and welcome party invitations
- Rehearsal dinner and welcome reception
- Music for the rehearsal dinner and welcome reception
- Services of event planner for rehearsal dinner and welcome reception
- Lodging for his/her chosen attendants and lodging for his/her immediate family
- Photography for the rehearsal dinner
- Partner’s bouquet and going-away corsage
- Corsages for the mothers, step-mothers, grandmothers and step-grandmothers
- Boutonnieres and ties for the men of the wedding party including all fathers, step-fathers, and grandfathers
- Transportation for couple when leaving reception
- Requirements of the church – Retreats, Pre-Cana and marriage license
- Wedding rings
- Wedding gifts to each other
- Gifts for the wedding party
- Thank you gifts for anyone involved in paying toward the wedding
- Thank you notes for wedding gifts
- Wedding night accommodations
- Sunday brunch – Typically split with both families
Contact us for a free initial consultation to discuss your event and receive a customized estimate
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