Dreamlife Photos & Video

Dreamlife Photography

Making major decisions about your wedding is exciting, daunting, and depending on your relationship with the in-laws - potentially fraught with danger.

If you want to invite everyone from facebook friends to neighbours, work colleagues to long lost school mates you might want to plan a BBQ wedding followed by drinks at the local - at the guests' expense after the tab runs dry. If you have extravagant taste and want the full five-star fairytale, but want someone else to pay for it, you'd better start sweet talking now.

Who Picks & Who Pays

At least if you're going down the traditional route as to who picks and who pays, there's many years of history and convention to draw upon. If you're opting for modern, there are some pretty standard expectations in terms of shared costs. If you're hoping for some kind of combination of the two, be prepared to blaze your own trail - and to put out your own fires along the way.

It's your day so ultimately the key decisions should be left to the happy couple, but unless you're paying for everything out of your own pocket that's obviously easier said than done.

Some choices are obviously the exclusive domain of the bride and/or groom - choosing the dress, bridesmaids and groomsmen's outfits, picking engagement and wedding rings, organising the bridal registry and planning the honeymoon. Others are a little stickier - number of guests, menu, music.

Consider The Cost To Others

It's no secret that the happiest day of your life is likely to also be the most expensive and financial strain can impact your bank balance and family relations.

Of course that all depends on the style of do you've got in mind. If you're exchanging nose rings in a Buddhist ceremony on a Himalayan summit with local monks and wandering yak as your only guests - you'll only be up for airfares and sherpas.

If you're thinking more of along the lines of a sit-down three-course gourmet meal for 300 with Beyonce singing the bridal waltz you'd better plan on being neck deep in debt for a very long time - either to the bank or your (hopefully) cashed up parents.

Remember to think about everyone else's expenses too. Sure, weddings seem to bring out the big spender in everyone but plunging your bridesmaids or groomsmen into debt for the privilege of standing by your side isn't going to make for smiling sidekicks in the photos. If you want them in top to toe Lanvin and Louboutin you'd better be willing to pull out your plastic.

The Modern Approach

Fathers of girls everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief. The modern approach typically involves a shared cost arrangement.

The reception costs are the most considerable. One way of determining costs is to calculate a per head price and ask each side to pay for the guests they invite. The bride and groom pay for the friends they invite and each set of parents pay for those on their invite list.

Another idea is for the collective parents to share the cost of the wedding reception - and for the happy couple to pay for everything else.

The Traditional Approach

It's your wedding and you should make it your day, but for those keen to follow a more traditional path, we've put together a traditional guide to help you with the ins and outs of which decision belongs to whom - and who foots the bill for what.

Guest List Both families - usually 50% invited by the bride and groom, 25% each by the bride and groom's families Brides parents
Wedding Co-ordinator The Bride and her family Brides parents
 Personal Flowers (bouquets and ceremony flowers)
The Bride
Grooms parents
 Invitations and Wedding Stationery
The Bride and her family Brides parents
 Brides wedding transport
The Bride and her family Grooms parents
 Groom's wedding transport
The Groom and his family
Grooms parents
The Bride and Groom
Grooms parents
 Photography and videography
The Bride and Groom
Brides parents
 Wedding reception (including decorations)
The Bride and her family
Brides parents
 Wedding cake
The Bride and her family Brides parents
 Music and entertainment
The Bride and her family Brides parents
 Getaway car
The Groom
Grooms parents
 Wedding night accommodation
The Groom
Grooms parents
 Honeymoon The Groom
Grooms parents

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