Wedding Etiquette for the Bride's Parents

Family image by Mat Hayward from

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, but before you can say "I do" there are expenses that need to be taken care of. Traditions and beliefs have changed over time; therefore obligations and responsibilities have also shifted. To minimize confusion, it is important to discuss your arrangements and expectations with your families. This will help to make the whole process smoother, with as few surprises as possible.

Traditional Roles

Traditionally, the bride's family has been responsible for the majority of the wedding expenses. These included the bride's gown, accessories, reception, ceremony, food, cake, bouquets, flowers, announcements, programs, invitations, musicians, photography/videographer, any rented items needed for the wedding and any other miscellaneous costs. Depending on religion and nationality, some of these expenses differed.

Modern Roles

Times have changed and roles are constantly continuing to alter, even into the 21st century. The bride's parents are no longer expected to cover all or even any of the expenses for their child's wedding. Approximately 27 percent of couples pay for their own wedding; only 19 percent of weddings are paid for solely by the bride's parents, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Because wedding costs are rising, the bride and groom should discuss their wedding costs together and with both families. It is not taboo any more for both sets of parents, or neither, not to help--it should be based on desire and ability to help with the costs, according to the Wedding Etiquette Adviser on the Martha Stewart Weddings website.

Engagement Party and Bridal Shower

Customarily, the bride's family had the obligation of hosting the engagement party for the couple. This was seen as a gesture to welcome the groom-to-be into their family and to make introductions to extended family and friends. However, the bride's parents and family should not be the ones to host her bridal shower; with some exceptions, this should usually be planned and hosted by members of the bridal party or the maid of honor.

Wedding Announcement

The wedding announcement should be placed and paid for by the bride's parents. This is the case even if the groom's family is not in the same local area. If this is the case, the bride's parents should also find out the name of his local newspaper and place an announcement there as well.


If the bride's parents are hosting the wedding, it is proper etiquette to place their names first on the wedding invitations, which are also an expense they will be covering. The groom's parents' names can follow his on the invitation.