What should (and shouldn’t) my bridesmaids have to pay for?

There’s plenty to consider when you’re choosing your bridal party, and money is inevitably on your mind throughout the process. The expense of dresses, accessories, hair styling, makeup, hen parties etc. is going to add up, so working out who pays for what is something you should have planned out for your bridesmaids from the very beginning. After all, the last thing you want is any awkwardness over money between you and your girls. Here are a couple of straight bridesmaid rules to solve your uncertainties!




The dresses

Traditionally, bridesmaids tend to purchase their own dresses. You go to fittings together, choose a style you all agree on (although the bride gets the last word on the final attire) and the dresses, along with any alterations, will usually be paid for by the bridesmaids.

The bouquets

The bouquets are normally for the bride to provide. It’s a generous gesture to arrange for your party to have fitting bouquets – and to throw yours in their direction after the ceremony to decide who will be next down the aisle!

The hen party

Hen parties are down to the maid of honour to organise and the whole party to chip in for. They can be as minimalistic or as extreme as you like in this day and age. Some people go for a quiet afternoon tea date and others prefer a wild weekend in Marbella!

The accommodation

If your bridesmaids are from out of town, they’ll need somewhere to stay for the night. This is a cost traditionally covered by the bride. Whether they stay at the venue (if this is an option) or elsewhere if a more affordable alternative is found, your bridesmaids have made the effort to be part of your day so, as general protocol, it is courteous for the bride to pay for this for them.

The hair and makeup

If you require your bridesmaids’¬†hair and makeup to be done professionally, it is common courtesy for you to pay. If it’s optional though, your bridesmaids can pay should they choose to have it done. Money can be tight these days and a lot of the time the bridal party will be happy to doll themselves up rather than paying a professional.

The travel

Depending on the size of wedding party and the length of the journey, the bride or her family will be expected to pay for transport. It is general wedding etiquette to cover these kinds of costs, but it is up to the bride whether she wishes to ask her bridesmaids to help and cover it themselves.

The gifts

While it is not absolutely essential that you exchange gifts, it is generally something that’s done at weddings. A thank you gift for your bridesmaids would be a lovely touch. And although you won’t discuss this, they will most likely get a wedding gift for you and your hubby too.


One thing to take from all of this is that – although these guidelines are in place – this is YOUR day. So whatever you feel comfortable with doing is most certainly the way to go.

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