How much $$$ are you expecting your bridesmaids to spend?

posted 2 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
320 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

My MOH will spend $0

Post # 3
8720 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

JustMe12182:  I only “expected” my bridesmaids to buy their dresses. However, I asked them all what their budgets were before I actually expected any dollar amount for the dresses. Their dresses were $200 each and that included alterations.

I don’t think it should matter what we say. I think you should discuss with all of them what they can spend on dresses. I don’t know if I would want to spend over $100 for a dress for someone’s backyard unless there will be a tent, dance floor, etc and it’s more formal. 

Post # 4
1377 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

I covered $150 for their dresses each. FI and I are still trying to decide if we’ll also cover their hotel rooms (probably just get a big one and offer it to them if they want to share, and if they don’t, it’s on them). 

What I am for sure expecting them to get:

Shoes (or wear their own) 

Makeup (if they want it)

Hair (if they want it) 

Transport to venue/dress place (about a 2 hr drive each time)

Jewelery (if they’re wearing any) 

Remainder of dress cost and any alterations


I’d expect all of that to maybe get to $150. I’m pretty sure two of the three will do their own shoes, jewelery, and makeup. The third will do her own makeup and probably jewelery, debatable on hair and shoes. 


My MOH has asked if she should do a bachelorette and/or shower. My aunt is actually volunteering for shower duties, and has stated already that she doesn’t expect the BMs to contribute anything but help setting up. I told my MOH that a nice dinner out or some low key event would be perfectly fine – no giant event please! So I don’t expect that to be expensive either. 


If you throw in transport to venue, transport for dresses, cost of bachelorette, etc etc….I would hope they wouldn’t spend more than $250. A lot is up to them, so for a good part of it they are determining costs, which makes estimating anything a bit difficult. I didn’t want to force them to pay any large amount, which is why I put up $150/dress. The dresses ended up costing them anywhere from $30 to $70 (but that BM needed to order a longer dress as she’s tall and likes to wear high heels). They were very surprised that I was paying for part of their costs and tried to not let me because they all said that they were expecting to pay a decent amount as a part of the wedding. 

Post # 5
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I’m trying to make this as reasonable as possible for my girls

Dresses: all were under $200 and only a few needed alterations

Shoes: I asked them to wear nude pumps but they can be any brand

Hair: They’re on their own but they don’t need it to be done at a salon

Makeup: My mom is covering this

Shower: My mom is doing my shower

Bachelorette Party: I just want one night away and within driving distance of home

Jewelry: Asking the girls to wear gold but they can wear whatever jewelry they want so nothing needs to be purchased

Transportation: I’m getting the limo for us

Hotel: They’re welcome to get a room (price is $96 for the night) but that definitely isn’t required

I think that’s it! I hope I’m being fair enough!

Post # 6
1043 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I am actually doing serious research for my girls so that I dont stress anyone about $ I want everyone to enjoy the day… If you tell me what it is you are after price/color/shape/material I will keep an eye as I go and post back 


Post # 7
7292 posts
Busy Beekeeper

My BM’s paid $0. My party, my dime.

Post # 8
8680 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

My girls had very slight expenses. I paid for everything such as attire, shoes, jewelry, hair/makeup, and I would have covered alterations but they wouldn’t let me. Each girl spend about $30 to have their dress altered.

Post # 9
918 posts
Busy bee

My bridesmaids won’t be paying anything.

Post # 10
7936 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

I would ask them what’s reasonable. That sounds pretty normal to me. My girls will be spending lots considering they’re flying in. How far away is your wedding? You can totally get nice dresses around 100 if you shop at the right time. Like Black Friday online deals maybe? Or February lots of things are on sale. 

I bought expensive dresses from a dept store (250 on sale from 370) so I was splitting the cost with them. Then Ive been slowly replacing them with ebay new with tags of the same dress… And now we’re getting them for under 100 each. Boom. Wedding Jedi. Returning the dept store ones. 

I’m not choosing matchy shoes and am supplying all accessories as gifts. Prob throw in a nail trip too. 

Bottom line is most people know there are expenses involved in being a BM so just ask them if XXX is okay for a dress.

Post # 11
374 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015 - Surrey, BC, Canada

I would have loved to pay everything for my bridesmaids, but that is just not possible on our very small budget.

My bridesmaids paid for their own dresses (I let them choose their own styles – they all picked dresses ranging from $110-$170). So far that’s all that has been bought, but I also want them to wear black heels (can wear ones they have already if they have some), and I want them to get their hair and makeup done (which around here is $120 per person for both) but I am struggling with how to ask that of them – so far I haven’t said “you have to do this” but I am really hoping they do.

Around here that is pretty common. Also around here it is common for the bridal party to pay for the bride for a bachelorette, etc, but I told them I do not expect that and I am happy to pay my own way whatever we end up doing (my MOH is planning it).

I also do not expect them to get me gifts for a shower (if I even have one), or for the wedding itself. Is that normal, or should I tell them not to get us gifts?

Post # 12
49 posts
  • Wedding: May 2016

JustMe12182:  I’m in a similar boat. I absolutely cannot pay for all of my bridesmaids expenses. I’m on a tight budget already, graduating college in 19 days, & job searching. I don’t want them spending a lot as 2 are still in high school (my little sister & soon to be little sister) & the other 2 are in college or graduating college. So far, I have fell in love with a dress that costs $174. I’m hoping that isn’t too much. I can definitely find them some cheap shoes. I’ll buy their jewelry. Since we have more than a year left, I think I’ll have plenty of time to catch dresses on sale & such. I still feel bad asking them to spend money. I wish I could afford it all!

Post # 13
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

My wedding in July will be my 8th wedding, but first as a bride. I have never signed onto a wedding as a bridesmaid without knowing I would at least incur some sort of (potentially high) cost being in the wedding party.

The first wedding I was in was my best friend from grade school. I was her only attendant and her mom paid for everything. My dress came from Dillard’s (it was a clearance prom dress that we ended up getting for $50. They also paid for my shoes but I did my hair and makeup on my own.) This is the only wedding where I had everything paid for. In another wedding, each of the 4 bridesmaids were given $100 from the bride to put towards our dresses and anything over that we had to pay but we were all able to pick out what style in a specific color we wanted from DB (I will probably be doing something similar with my girls). In my brother’s wedding, our bridesmaid dresses had a $298 price tag, which I was pissed about but I got my dad to pay since it was my brother’s wedding and my fiance was ALSO in that wedding so we had to pay for his tux too (but somehow I convinced my parents to also cover his tux). Sidenote: that was the only wedding he’s been in (our wedding will be his 7th!) that he has had to pay for a tux as the groom’s family has always come up with the funds in every other wedding we’ve been in (my parents didn’t cover the tuxes because my brother didn’t want to ask them for help – he knew they’d be spending a lot on my wedding in the near future). In one wedding, the mother of the bride made all of our dresses (her sewing skills were on point!) so we didn’t have to pay for anything but our shoes which were $20 from Payless. We were also given a very EASY (anyone could do it) hairstyle that she requested so we could do it ourselves instead of going to the salon. In most weddings, we’ve been gifted the jewelry we were expected to wear; in another I was allowed to accessorize with whatever I wanted to show my personal style outside of the dress.

There are a lot of options for you – you can even take them dress shopping and that way the girls will have to “pick their own budget” if you have a specific style in mind. Also, if you’re looking for a low cost dress, consider the alternative opportunities that you may have looking dresses for them too – Renttherunway, ModCloth, Asos, etc. Don’t give them specifics for shoes unless there’s a low cost pair you want them all to wear (Target/Payless/etc). Allow them to do their own hair and makeup (this better represents them, and as grown women, I’d hope we can all do these things by now)… Instead of a trip to the salon for manicures, pick a universal color of nail polish that will go well with your wedding and tell them what brand/color name and have them purchase it at the drug store (or put it in their gift bags)…

I hope some of these suggestions helped… These are all things I’ve experienced as a bridesmaid and I was A-OK with every single one of them… the only time I disagreed with anything was that $298 dress (but it was my brother’s wedding, what else could I do?)

In planning my wedding, my girls will be able to pick out whatever dress they want within a particular style/color set so they have a bit of freedom and they’ll all be coming from online and are unlikely to need alterations. I have 9 bridesmaids but it’s still undecided what all we will be able to cover. Just be clear about your potential expectations for them; they will understand and talking to them about it will also help you come up with solutions you can all agree on. 🙂


Post # 14
1437 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

My bridesmaids bought thier own dresses. However, they could choose any brand they liked, so long as it was chiffon and knee length. I just asked that they each choose a gem-tone shade (dark blue, dark green, dark purple, etc). Their dresses ranged in price from $60-$200 depending on what they chose.

That was the only “required” expense if my memory serves. I paid for their wedding day hair and make-up, lunch and drinks before the ceremony, and picked up the tab on my out-of-town maid’s hotel accommodations. Bridesmaids are guests too and I wanted them to be able to enjoy the day with me rather than worry about mounting expenses.

Post # 15
732 posts
Busy bee

My girls spent  $120 on their dresses and then I believe it was 40 on hair. I paid for their shoes and jewlery. It really depends on what is common in your area. Here brides don’t always even cover the jewlery.

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