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Figure out who pays what

Traditionally, the bride's family pays for the bulk of the wedding and reception expenses, with the groom's family picking up the tab for smaller details. Today, however, 'anything goes' is becoming more the rule than the exception. Often, wedding expenses are shared evenly by both families.

Sometimes the bride and groom may even pay for everything themselves, particularly if they are older or established. The smartest plan includes a candid discussion between the bride, groom, and both sets of parents to determine a realistic budget and who will be responsible for which expenses.

Remember, when the going gets tough, keep talking. Communication at all stages of the game will help avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings later on. If everyone involved agrees on paying for the wedding in the traditional way, you can use the following list as a starting point for your plans.

Otherwise, you can modify the list by divvying up expenses in a way that suits you and your new family:

The bride pays for:
• The groom's ring
• Wedding gift for the groom
• Gifts for bridal attendants
• Personal stationery
• Accommodations for her out-of-town attendants
• Her physical exam

The bride's parents pay for:
• Press announcements
• The printing and mailing of wedding invitations
• Flowers and decorations for the ceremony
• Flowers for bride's attendants
• The reception
• Photographers' and videographer expenses
• The bride's wedding gown and accessories
• Transportation to ceremony and reception
• Wedding cake
• All wedding stationery

The groom pays for:
• The bride's rings
• Marriage license
• Wedding gift for bride
• Clergy or judge's fees
• Flowers for the bride; corsages for both mothers; and boutonnieresfor himself, the best man, groomsmen and both fathers
• Gifts for the best man and groomsmen
• Accommodations for out-of-town ushers or best man
• His own wedding attire
• Honeymoon expenses

The groom's family pays for:
• Their clothes for the wedding
• Their traveling expenses and/or hotel bills;
• Wedding gift for bride and groom
• Rehearsal dinner or other expenses they choose to assume which sometimes includes formalwear rentals

The bridesmaids pay for:
• Their own gowns and accessories although the bride may opt to contribute

Other attendants pay for:
• Their own wedding attire and traveling expenses

Guests pay for:
• Their own traveling expenses

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