Who pays for what when planning a wedding?


Here at Matthew Oliver we are gearing up for an incredibly busy month of Weddings from London to Loire (Valley) and a few places in between! But before we jump into full on planner mode I wanted to tick this off my ‘to-do’ list and write a few (hundred) words to you lovely people!

We like to ask the hard questions here at Matthew Oliver and the question of who pays for what at a wedding is undoubtedly a hard one! Being the quintessentially English folk we are! That being said, ambiguity in this area doesn’t do anyone any favours, so it is (however difficult) something that you need to ensure everyone is on the same page with. So let’s see if I can help point you in the right direction for what’s expected!

Tradition dictates parents of the bride pay for the wedding, which while lovely for grooms parents, wholly unfair for the bride’s parents, making it a pretty ridiculous tradition! These days it tends to be much more sensible, with both sets of parents wanting to help out their children and there’s nothing wrong with that, but watch out for any potential pitfalls and caveats! All to often, and I imagine mostly unintentionally, that ‘contribution’ ends up with them believing they have bought the right to a say at your wedding. This needs to be avoided at all costs, as although we all love our parents, it is your day and should be what you and your other half have dreamt up, no one else. This includes all aspects of the day, but most specifically the guest list; have who you want at your wedding, the faces you want to have smiling at you whilst you stroll down the aisle and waltz your first dance. Now I know it’s all well and good me writing this (sat in bed whilst being harassed by an Irish Setter), because money is money and weddings are expensive, but sit down with your parents and have a serious chat about what the money means and whether it is unconditional. Should the conversation not go the way you want, then you and your partner need to have a serious chat about whether you want to accept the money with the potential stress it brings, or whether you can do without it. Either way make sure you have this conversation as you could regret it later on.

Hmmm getting a bit serious here aren’t we! Rest assured this certainly isn’t the norm! But it is something to think about.

The other day I got asked the question about Groomsmen attire and who pays for it, an excellent question as to be fair it often is a grey area, but let’s see if we can shed some light! First off, simply, if you have the money within the wedding budget to buy your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen’s outfits, then do so! Makes things easier and you’ll be a hero (high fives all round!). If (and this is more likely) the budget is a bit tighter and requires further thought on whether the budget can be made to stretch that little bit further, maybe these two points can help you make the decision:

  • If you want your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen to wear one specific outfit, which you have picked for each of them because it fits with your wedding theme, then I would expect you to buy this outfit for them.
  • If you have a rough idea of what you would like them to wear, but do not mind if it is something specific, such as all Bridesmaids in a pale blue dress and Grooms in a Navy suit, but you don’t mind shades or styles, then it would be acceptable for you to ask them to provide the outfit themselves. Though do be happy with whatever they turn up in!

Whatever your choice (click here for inspiration!), make sure to have the discussion with each member of the wedding party to ensure everyone is happy with the decision and is on the same page! It’s all about the communication!

Transport? Now that’s one I prepared earlier! Read here…

Honeymoon? Look I’ve got that one sorted also! Read here…

The last one I want to talk about can often see the Groomsmen turning into Divas! It is of course Wedding hair and makeup! Aha! In all seriousness it can sometimes cause a lot of wedding morning confusion in the Bridal camp and even delay the day, which cannot happen! If you are happy to pay for a number of the wedding party to get their hair and makeup done, that is great! Usually I would say the Bridesmaids and the Mothers would have their hair and makeup done, alongside the bride, with it all being paid for. The key part here is making sure everyone knows who is and who isn’t getting their hair and makeup done. Also making sure there is the right number of staff do those people in the time available. What you really have to avoid, is anyone not down to get theirs done, popping up on the day, causing a drama and a delay. Unacceptable.

Talking to your friends and family about money can be seen as a bit taboo, which is ridiculous as it is an important element to planning your wedding. Talking to them ensures there is no confusion, everyone knows where they stand and you hopefully achieve every wedding planners goal; A flawless wedding.

Right, I think that will do as my words of wisdom for the week! I’m off to harass the dog, have a wonderful day!

Love Bertie x