Wondering what bridesmaids pay for in the wedding? We’ll help you! Today we’re talking about that moment when you’re crunching the numbers, figuring out your max wedding budget, and a wave of panic sets in and you think, oh my gosh, who pays for bridesmaid dresses? Do I pay for hair and makeup? Do I foot the bill for everyone?! We’re helping to clarify what bridesmaids pay for in a wedding so you know proper bridesmaid etiquette.
So, what do bridesmaids pay for in a wedding, who pays for bridesmaid dresses, and do you really have to pay for my bridesmaids’ hair and makeup? Let’s discuss!
This post was inspired by a recent question submitted to us by bride-to-be, Renee. She asks,
Emmaline, I am getting married next August and I just asked my bridesmaids to be a part of my big day. Everyone said yes and I want to make sure I understand exactly who pays for what. What do bridesmaids pay for in a wedding? Who pays for bridesmaid dresses? Thanks for your help!
So, do you know the answers? Here’s your guide!
THE GUIDE: What Do Bridesmaids Pay For
Let’s start with the most-asked question: who pays for the bridesmaid dress?
WHO PAYS FOR BRIDESMAID DRESS?
This one is pretty standard; bridesmaids pay for their own bridesmaid dress. The cost of the dress is not the responsibility of the bride, but falls on the bridesmaid’s to-do list. HOWEVER, the bride does have some say in how expensive the dress is going to be; always pick a dress you would love to wear and doesn’t cost too much. Your bridesmaids will be happier for it.
by atom attire
DO BRIDESMAIDS PAY FOR THEIR OWN BOUQUET?
Nope! Bridesmaids are given a bouquet to carry down the aisle and keep, provided by the bride. If you opt for something as an alternate — i.e. clutches instead of bouquets (love!), lanterns down the aisle (again, love!), or brooch bouquets for everyone — the cost falls on the bride.
DO BRIDESMAIDS PAY FOR THEIR OWN SHOES?
If the shoes are supposed to be a general color (black, navy, grey, silver, gold, etc.), most likely the bridesmaids will already own a pair they can wear. If not, bridesmaids need to pay for their own shoes. But if the bride wants everyone to wear these, be casual in a pair of these, or parade around in these, then the bride must pay for bridesmaids shoes.
Want your bride tribe to match but can’t foot the bill of those Badgley Mishkas (hey, we don’t blame ya!) — you can opt for something cute, comfy, and totally re-usable, like these foldable flats for bridesmaids to wear. They’re only $14 each, ULTRA comfy (I own a pair and love ’em!), and so helpful to have. I pack mine for every single wedding because they are the only shoes I want to dance in. By Cinderollies.
DOES THE BRIDE PAY FOR BRIDESMAIDS’ HAIR AND MAKEUP?
No. If bridesmaids want to get hair and makeup done, it is up to their own discretion (and they foot the bill). HOWEVER — and this one’s important — if the bride is requiring bridesmaids to have professional hair and makeup services done (i.e. everyone needs an updo) then the bride must cover the cost of hair and makeup.
These days with getting ready before the wedding being such a big (and fun!) to-do — and a real part of the entire day’s celebration — brides are chipping in for bridesmaids’ hair and makeup more often. Sometimes, brides give hair and makeup services as part of their bridesmaids gifts. Other times, they cover the entire cost of hair and makeup as a kind gesture. If you don’t want to / can’t pay for bridesmaids’ hair and makeup, then don’t. It’s really not a big deal if bridesmaids do their own hair and makeup, or decide to pay for it themselves.
DO BRIDESMAIDS HAVE TO PAY FOR THE BRIDAL SHOWER?
Bridesmaids are expected to help plan and chip in with the bridal shower, given the host wishes. If the bride’s mom, for example, is planning a bridal shower, bridesmaids should find out if she needs any help planning, decorating, paying for, or assisting with duties leading up to and including the day of the bridal shower.
by soap savant
Chipping in to the luncheon is a nice gesture, too, and should be offered to the host of the shower.
And, don’t worry — if you’re tight on funds, be honest and offer to help out in other ways (as outlined above).
DO BRIDESMAIDS PAY FOR THE BACHELORETTE PARTY?
Yes — the entire bridal party including bridesmaids and the Maid of Honor all contribute to the bride’s bachelorette party. The Maid of Honor typically sees to it that everyone’s costs are split evenly and that everyone is on board with the plan (i.e. a night of bar-hopping locally, a trip to Vegas, or a relaxing spa or beach bachelorette party).
DO BRIDESMAIDS GIVE A WEDDING GIFT?
Yes, bridesmaids give a gift for the bridal shower and bring a gift to the wedding (i.e. from the registry or a gift of money).
And that’s it! If you have any questions about what the bridesmaids pay for, let us know in the comments below!
P.S. Wondering who pays for the flower girl dress? Read this!