I hear that's how it is in American culture...but I think a man should be a provider. I am from India. My cousins parents said "Why should we pay for a guy who is basically going to sleep with our daughter everyday?", they paid for their sons wedding but not for their daughters, and they have good income, they aren't poor. I heard someone in the family didn't get married because the guy couldn't afford everything the girl wanted. I know marriage is about love, but if you can't afford a nice wedding don't expect much from the marriage.
Wow, I can tell you are from a different culture. My first wedding was big and expensive, didn't last. This time around, hardly spent anything (got married at csa almost 10 years ago) and I'm much happier. Nowadays, alot of couples pay for their own weddings, at least it should be that way imo. It really is about love isn't it?
To begin with, your title question asks about whether the bride should pay, but it seems that you're really asking if the bride's parents should pay. In years past, it was traditional in the U.S. for the bride's parents to pay for the wedding and the groom's parents to pay for the alcohol and the rehearsal dinner. As weddings have become more expensive, there has been a tendency to both sets of parents to pay for the wedding.
More prevalent, today, however, at least in my experience, is for the bride and groom themselves to pay for the wedding. With the age at which people enter into marriage increasing, most people have been on their own and have their own careers and homes before they marry. There's no reason for parents to pay for a party for their grown adult children.
Your last sentence, ". . . if you can't afford a nice wedding don't expect much from the marriage" is ridiculous. Your wedding is ONE DAY; your marriage, on the other hand, is for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! You should spend much more time talking about and planning your marriage and less time planning the wedding. You're mistaken if you think that the grandeur of a wedding will be indicative of the quality of the marriage. Anyone who thinks this might not yet be mature enough to marry.
I know everything, and I'm always right (just ask my husband).