What should your Bridesmaids Pay For?

They’re the first girls you ring with your big news, and the last to see you off before you walk down the aisle. You can’t wait to share your special day, and so many occasions with them, in the lead up to your wedding, but you’ve also got a niggling little question… What should your bridesmaids pay for?

What should your Bridesmaids Pay for?

Money is a touchy subject for many, and even the closest of friends may not know what each other earns or spends their money on – for some it’s a totally ‘taboo’ subject. However, when you’re planning your wedding and involving your bridesmaids in those plans, it’s a topic you really need to give some thought to. It’s also something you may wish to talk to the girls about early on – they too may be wondering what the bridesmaids are expected to pay for. Read on now, so that you feel comfortable speaking up.

Tradition vs Reality – What should your Bridesmaids pay for, according to tradition?

According to tradition, your bridesmaids should pay for the following:

  • Wedding attire and accessories. This includes the dress (which will most likely be picked by the bride), alterations, shoes and other adornments.
  • Transportation to and from the wedding town or city
  • An Engagement Present and later a Wedding Gift for the couple (purchased individually or contributed to by the bridal party as a group)
  • Bridal Shower and/or Bachelorette/Hens party

Conversely, the bride traditionally covers her bridesmaids for:

  • Bridesmaids’ flowers
  • Accommodation for out-of-town attendants (optional)
  • Transportation for the bridal party to ceremony and reception
  • Thank you gift to her attendants
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon, tea, or party (if hosted by bride)
  • Hair and makeup (if bride requires it be professionally done)

Should your bridesmaids really pay for their own dress? Is that a reasonable request?

The best thing is you could shorten it and wear it again!

Familiar with 27 dresses..? If you’re a bride or bridesmaid, you should be…

And the best thing is you could shorten it and wear it again

Brides, if you find yourself saying those four little words “You’ll wear it again” to your bride tribe, you might want to question your motive. Justifying the price tag by assuring the bridesmaids they’ll wear it again won’t make it any cheaper…

Most bridemaids accept that upon accepting the honour of being in your crew, that they may have to buy their own dress and shoes – but is that really fair?

Though it’s the ‘custom’, I suggest you really consider how much you’re asking of your bridesmaids to do so. Anything more than $100, if she is genuinely not going to “wear it again” may not be an affordable expense for some, especially considering the general cost to attend a wedding, and that it is even more-so for a bridesmaid. Of course, if you buy them, you can keep them after the wedding and sell them as a set to another bride-to-be, while it’s much harder for each individual bridesmaid to sell theirs.

Brides, it’s up to you to choose the dress, and choose who pays for it, so if you’re asking them to foot the bill, try to keep it under $100. Alternatively, if you give the bridesmaids a general colour palette to comply with, it’s acceptable to ask them to pay for it. You could set guidelines (e.g. baby blue, mid-length) and ask the girls to run their dress choices by you before purchasing – saving you valuable wedding planning time too! Either way, Asos & The Iconic are great for cheap options. If you really want your bridesmaids to buy their own dresses of your choosing, have an open discussion early on, and be open to flexibility – covering half the cost, for example.

Personally, I thought it would be in bad taste for me to spend so much on my wedding dress, to not pay for theirs.

Hair & Makeup: Who Pays?

Like the dress, it’s up to the bride whether or not she wants the bridesmaids to have consistent and professional hair and makeup. If the bride chooses for the bridesmaids to do so, the bride should pay. If your bridesmaids aren’t confident in doing their own hair or make-up, it may be a sensible expense to take on.

Spray tans and manicures are optional, but if the bride insists on her ‘maids undertaking these little extras, the bride should pay for these too.

Party Planning! Bridal Shower/Bachelorette & Hens Parties!

Planning the hens party is usually a surprise for the bride organised by her bridesmaids – their treat. So long as the bride is willing to surrender all control to the maid of honour and her crew, she isn’t usually expected to pay for it herself. Sometimes the bridesmaids ask the other attendees to split the cost of the bride’s day, or that of a hotel room, for example. Bridesmaids, keep in mind the costs of attending the bachelorette party for the other guests too. The bridal shower is often hosted by the bride or groom’s parents, rather than the bridesmaids.

Should the bridesmaids pays for their Travel and Transportation?

For many, attending a wedding is a huge enough expense, and the additional cost of being in the bridal party can be eye-watering. While those attending your wedding accept that paying for their own travel and transportation, you might like to help your bridal party out if you know the costs are piling up due to their being there to help you.

Often, the bride asks the bridal party to help out for a couple of days prior to the wedding, in which case it may be more fair for her to pay for their accommodation, or at least offer to contribute.

Bridesmaids’ Gifts / Bride’s Gifts?

As a token of gratitude and appreciation, it is most common for the bride to give a gift to each of her bridesmaids. Often this is jewellery or bridesmaids’ robes, or something more personal, such as monogrammed accessories, or something thoughtful to remember the wedding day by. It doesn’t need to be expensive – the best gifts are from the heart.

Brides shouldn’t be upset if, on top of all the other outlays, a bridesmaid doesn’t also buy them a gift – chances are they’ve spent a lot along the way to your big day.

Bride’s Maid?

However you allocate and manage who pays for what, and who does who, don’t lose sight of the reason you chose these girls to stand by your side. It’s not uncommon for weddings to lead to fall-out between family and friends, and some research shows  32 percent of newlywed women have fallen out with at least one of their bridesmaids.

Whether minor disputes over whether the bridesmaids should pay for a dress not of their choosing, how they are to wear their hair on the day, or how much time is expected of them, it’s not worth falling out with your best friends. Weddings can be very stressful times, take care of your relationships as well as your bank balance.

What do you think bridesmaids should have to pay for themselves?