USA Wedding Etiquette FAQs


If the groom’s parents are not married to each other and there are 2 sets of parents, who pays for the rehearsal dinner? what should the father and stepmother of the groom pay for?

Since traditionally both the birth Father and mother of the groom pay for the rehearsal dinner, neither side is off the hook in this case. The birth father is still the groom’s father, and the birth mother is still the groom’s mom, whether they are together or not. This is a matter of who can contribute? Both sets of parents need to discuss this matter between themselves and decide who can contribute, and how much. Perhaps one couple may be able to contribute more financially. The other couple may be able to contribute more of their time to aid in the planning. I urge you to discuss this matter with each set of parents separately, and then you can perhaps act as the middleman (middlewoman). Be sure to make them not feel guilty if for some reason they may not be able to contribute much financially. Help them develop a budget. This will give them peace of mind and a good start. Between the two couples, you should be able to find a means to have a great rehearsal dinner. I hope this helps.

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What exactly are the groom’s parents expected to pay for in a wedding? I am aware that the rehearsal dinner is one area, but have been told the groom’s parents are also supposed to pay for the rental of the tuxedos.

Below I am listing the things that are traditionally NOT paid for by the bride or her family. The groom or his family/party traditionally should pay for the following:

  1. Rehearsal Dinner (paid for by groom’s family) 
  2. Bride’s Bouquet (paid for by groom)
  3. Mother’s Corsages (paid for by groom)
  4. Boutonnieres for the groom, groomsmen, and ushers (paid for by groom)
  5. Marriage License (groom pays)
  6. Officiant Fee (groom pays)
  7. Groom’s Cake (paid for by groom’s family)
  8. Formal attire for best man, groomsmen, and ushers (they each traditionally should pay for their own)
  9. Gloves/Ties/Ascots for Attendants (groom pays)
  10. Father of Groom Formal Wear (Groom’s family pays)
  11. The Limousine Services (groom pays)
  12. Honeymoon Arrangements (groom pays) I hope this helps you.

I have been together with my husband-to-be for 6 years. We have lived together in that time and have 2 children together. Needless to say, we already have an established home. I’m looking for an appropriate way to ask/tell my invited guests that we would prefer money for the honeymoon instead of gift items that we probably already have in our home. Any suggestions?

Hello, Thank you for your question. When it comes to gifts I must remind readers that gifts are always optional for weddings. Your situation however is common. Most people do not like to feel as if they are being told what to give, but there is a gentle way to approach this. On your invitations, you may choose to include; “Gifts are optional. For your convenience, a money tree will be available at the reception for those of you who wish to contribute to our honeymoon.” The old-fashioned money tree has been a popular tradition for as long as I can remember. It’s rare today, but I see that it will slowly make its return. Many couples also provide money gift mailboxes, but these are less obvious than a tree with money pinned all over its branches. A money tree is an open invitation (without saying a word) for guests to contribute monetary gifts. It’s often more productive than the “dollar dance” that is so popular today. I hope this helps you, and I wish you all the best.

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