“Whatever work we do, whatever sacrifices we perform, they are of little use in the absence of love.”
— Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Indian Spiritual leader)
Who Pays For What
The groom and/or his family have traditionally paid for:
- Marriage License
- Groom’s Cake
- Bride’s Wedding Band (to go with engagement ring)
- Gifts for Groomsmen
- Rehearsal Dinner
- Groom’s Wedding Attire
Now, instead of each side paying for certain items, it is common for the total wedding cost to be broken up into thirds. The bride and groom pay 1/3, the bride’s family pays a 1/3 and the groom’s family pays the remaining 1/3. If that’s not going to work for your families, then as soon as you have a good idea what the wedding will cost, sit down with both her parents and yours (separately) and share that number with them. Then, let each of them determine how much they feel comfortable giving. If they are pitching in, continually thank them. Take them out to dinner at least once during your engagement.
Use a budget building template in Google docs to help keep track of your spending. Using Google Docs is a great way for both of you to access and maintain one version of the budget and other important planning documents. Before you start, you may want to know the average cost for a wedding in your area.
Consider these ways to cut costs. Things add up quickly, so cutting as much as you can in the beginning should make things a lot easier.
If you want to be prepared for the unexpected, then wedding insurance may be a wise option to consider.
This is something we hope you don’t have to do, but if you are considering a wedding loan then take a look at what you need to know before moving forward.
Buy local and/or organic:
Pay attention to the paper.
Use recycled paper products wherever possible.
Reuse precious metals.
Personalize old family jewelry, or look to buy recycled gold.
Rethink the purpose of favors.
- Donate to a charity like Kiva on behalf of your guests
- Give guests something that lasts like flower bulbs
Use email, Evite, Facebook… to manage RSVPs for the engagement party, rehearsal dinner and other pre-wedding events. Use Animoto to create your own music video style Save-the-Date announcement (the actual wedding invitations should always be on quality paper and mailed).
Be specific with gifts.
Encourage your guests to give green gifts in environmentally friendly packaging. Gaiam and Vivaterra are good sites to find lots of great gift ideas.
Have a shuttle transport guests from your ceremony to the reception (if applicable).
Make up for pollution.
Learn how to offset the carbon footprint of traveling guests and your honeymoon travels at: Carbonfund.org.
Use less energy.
Have the ceremony and reception during the day to minimize use of electricity.
Reuse as much as possible.
Borrow, rent and buy used. A great site for buying and selling handmade items is Etsy.
Pick items that will last or be used again.
Use potted plants as center pieces, or don’t use flowers at all – just an assortment of candles.