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Wedding Attendants: Who Pays for What?

Jan 19, 2008
Every wedding needs attendants. For most of us a wedding without attendants is more than unthinkable, it undermines the idea of a wedding celebration in the first place. Truly, a nuptial ceremony needs wedding attendants and guests at the minimum along with the bride, groom, and officiate to truly qualify for what most would call a wedding celebration. Short of that and most would assume that the couple simply slipped off and got married to save on the costs associated with a wedding.

So if a wedding ceremony needs wedding attendants the obvious question of the cost involved arrives. And more than that, who is expected to pay for what?

Of course anything can be negotiated. This includes how much you pay of your wedding attendants costs. However, you do so at the risk of looking cheap at best and manipulative at worst. As a general rule, then, it is usually wise to budget for the items that tradition has determined are the areas of responsibility of the couple that are getting married and then if one or more of your attendants offers to cover more of the cost you will have money left over with no hard feelings among attendants who feel taken advantage of.

Traditionally this seems to be the normal expectation:

The attendants cover the cost of:
Travel expenses
Clothing (i.e. Tux, dress, etc.)

The bride and groom cover the cost of:
Transportation to and from the ceremony (often attendants from out of town either do not have transportation or don't know their way around town - making certain they are taken care of saves a lot of time.)
Accommodations for the wedding party (hotel, rooms in relatives homes, etc.)
Gifts to the Attendants
Bouquets / Boutonnieres

Bottom line: Your attendants are granting you a service based on their love for you. It is not, however, a blank check. Respect them by respecting their checkbook.

Consider their financial situation before you choose who to invite as a part of your wedding party. If their financial situation is such that it being a part of the party would put undue pressure on them consider whether you might be able to afford to quietly cover some of their expenses. Or perhaps you might choose to spend a little less on some other aspect of your wedding such as the catering so that you can cover a larger portion of all of your attendants costs associated with being a part of your wedding.

Either way, speak openly with them about the financial aspects of being a wedding attendant when you ask them to join your wedding party. Give them all the information they need up front to make an knowledgeable assessment about their capability of being a part of your wedding. This will give them a gracious way out if they just can not afford the cost - and almost all of us have been there at one time or another.

Ultimately, your wedding day is about celebrating your new marriage with your friends and family. A wise couple will find a way to make sure that the costs associated with having wedding attendants will not spoil the party. Do so and your attendants will be a great part of your wedding memories.
About the Author
Jeanette Shinn is a wedding professional committed to helping the wedding dreams of the twenty-first century brides come alive. Find tips and accessories from crystal wedding cake jewelry to unique wedding favors at http://www.ExcitingWeddingFavors.com.
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