Making the Split

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Who Pays for the Tuxes and Gowns?

According to, “Today, most people believe the couple should pay for their own wedding.”

We’re not sure who Martha’s staff polled to make that statement, but we respectfully disagree.

In our experience, most families still want to contribute to their children’s weddings, and they turn to tradition to help determine how to divvy up the expenses.

Traditionally, the bride and her family pay for her dress, veil and accessories. The groom and his family pay for the groom’s outfit. And all attendants pay for their own outfits.

Today, though, weddings (like everything) are more expensive than ever. The Wedding Report, an industry publication, says that the average U.S. wedding costs $29,000. As a result, more people are sharing the expenses more equitably. The groom’s family, especially, is pitching in more than in the past. And yes, Martha, the couple is contributing, too.

In fact, it’s not unusual for the couple, the groom’s family and the bride’s family to split the total cost into thirds.

One group that’s getting some help is the bridal party. Bridesmaid dresses can be challenging for some attendants to pay for, so the bride’s family may help offset the cost. Or, the bride will tell the bridesmaids that their dresses will be considered their wedding gifts.  That sounds pretty sweet to us!

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