– Wedding Etiquette Question – What Costs Should the Bride Cover for Her Bridesmaids?

Being asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend’s wedding is exciting. But when the questions of travel, lodging, the bachelorette party, and the wedding day itself arise, the bridesmaid may wonder, “Am I supposed to pay for that?” Money conversations are always awkward, but before you say yes to the honor of being a bridesmaid, it’s important to understand what expenses each party is expected to pay.

Traditionally, bridesmaids are expected to pay for the following:

  • Wedding attire and accessories. This includes the dress, alterations, shoes, and other adornments.
  • Transportation to and from the wedding town or city
  • Gift for the bride and groom (can purchase individually or contribute to a group gift)
  • Share in the cost of a bridesmaid’s gift to the bride (optional)
  • Bachelorette party attendance cost (optional)

Check out Bridesmaid Budgeting for additional details about these expenses.

These are the costs that the bride should cover for her bridesmaids:

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

Brides- read this post to make sure your bridesmaids are still your friends when the wedding is over!

However, there are a few items on this list that may need further discussion.

Hair and makeup: In the past, bridesmaids would fix their own hair and makeup and then meet the bride to help her finish getting ready. With wedding photographs becoming more important and costly, many brides want their attendants’ hair and makeup to be professionally done. If the bride wishes for the bridesmaids to cover this cost, it should be presented as an option, not a requirement. The bridesmaid can then choose to do her own hair and makeup. If it’s something the bride requires, then the bride should pick up the tab.

Matching accessories: If a bride wants her bridesmaids to have matching accessories, then she should purchase those also.

Accommodations for the bride’s attendants: Traditionally, the bride’s family provides accommodations for her out-of-town attendants, whether in a hotel or arranging for them to stay with family or friends. With the popularity of destination weddings, and many unmarried friends having live-in significant others, this tradition seems to be evolving and is one area in which experts do not agree. For a destination wedding, we feel the bride should cover the accommodations for her attendants if possible. If the attendant wishes to share a room with her significant other, the bride might offer to pay for half the room cost.

The bride should consider her friends’ financial situation when selecting the dress and shoes. The bride may even discretely offer financial assistance if she knows that someone may not be able to bear the entire financial burden. Above all, the bride and her attendants should discuss the costs, expectations, and budget openly, so there are no surprises.

When accepting the honor of being a bridesmaid, knowing your financial obligation is important. Be sure you can fulfill your role without becoming resentful. The bride is counting on her bridesmaids to help with planning, give emotional support, greet guests, and mingle. The duties and costs of being a bridesmaid may seem overwhelming, but remember that the best job a bridesmaid has is sharing in the friendship and memories that will last a lifetime.

If you have questions or comments about this post or gift giving, bridal showers, baby showers, or wedding etiquette, please comment below or email [email protected].

Cheryl Seidel is an etiquette writer and the founder of RegistryFinder.com, an intuitive search engine that helps gift givers quickly and easily find online registries for weddings, baby showers, graduations, and more.

Image courtesy of Joy Lyn Photography– offering wedding and newborn lifestyle photography in Chicago, IL.

4 thoughts on “Wedding Etiquette Question: What Costs Should the Bride Cover for Her Bridesmaids?

  1. This is actually really helpful. I’m glad that you wrote this because there seems to be conflicting info out there.

  2. Thanks, I’ve been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve found so far.

  3. I spent a lot of time trying to find something like this. Thanks!

  4. […] more details about who pays for what, check out: “What Costs Should the Bride Cover for Her Bridesmaids?“ To answer your question fully I need to back up a bit — Etiquette suggests that […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected

Keep up with our latest news, tips and advice. Sign up today!
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.