Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My fiancé and I recently got engaged. Her family is looking into venues, flowers and so forth. Recently, they reached out to my parents and asked them to help pay for the wedding reception venue. I’m not sure my fiancé knows about her family asking mine for financial help, and I thought the groom’s family was only responsible for the rehearsal dinner. Is it ever OK for the bride’s family to ask the groom’s family for financial assistance?

Answer: Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. This is an exciting and, yes, stressful time. You are correct that traditionally, the groom’s family pays for the rehearsal dinner, but according to the Emily Post Institute, the authority on etiquette, it doesn’t begin and end with the rehearsal dinner. Here’s the Institute’s list of the traditional expenses of the groom and his family:

  • Bride’s engagement and wedding rings
  • Groom’s attire
  • Ties and gloves for the groomsmen, if not part of their clothing rental package
  • Accommodations for the groom’s attendants
  • Accommodations for the groom’s parents and siblings
  • Bachelor dinner, if the groom wishes to give one
  • All costs for the rehearsal dinner
  • Officiant’s fee or donation
  • Transportation and lodging expenses for the officiant, if from another town and if invited to officiate by the groom’s family
  • The marriage license
  • Transportation for the groom and best man to the ceremony
  • The bride’s bouquet (when it is local custom for the groom to pay for it)
  • The bride’s going away corsage, if wearing one
  • Boutonnieres for groom’s attendants
  • Corsages for immediate members of both families (unless the bride has included them in her florist’s order)
  • The officiant’s fee or donation
  • Groom’s gift to bride
  • Gifts for groom’s attendants
  • Honeymoon expenses

As you can see, the venue isn’t on the menu. It would be good for both families to schedule time for a planning meeting. This would be a good time for your family to discuss plans for covering all of the above, in lieu of the venue expenses, which may even out the overall budget for your bride-to-be’s parents. For reference, here’s a link to the list of responsibilities for all of the parties. To answer your question about it being OK to ask, typically it’s not advisable. But, that ship has sailed and since both families generally do contribute financially, it’s time to make the best of it and get things started off on the right foot.



Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.


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