(Closed) Bridesmaid gifts & who pays for what??

posted 7 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
122 posts
Blushing bee

All the times I’ve been a bridesmaid I have always paid for my own dress shoes and hair. The gift idea is cute and you could get them all matching jewelry. 

Post # 4
1632 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I’ve noticed American BMs  expect to pay for their dresses and shoes. It was news to me that UK and other Western brides pick up the clothing costs. Are you American? if so you’re good to go.


If you require a specific hair and make up look then the cost for pro hair ans make up is yours to bear. Otherwise let your girls come as they please and getting ready costs is on them.


Is the jewelry meant to be worn on your wedding day? If so, then it’s not really a no-strings-attached gift IMO. Same thing as the robe. Nice gifts, but you are expecting them to use in the course of your wedding day.


I don’t think anyone signs up as a Bridesmaid or Best Man for a bunch of swag. A personalized note on the back of a photo of just us two and a nice frame (not with a saying on it) would mean the world to me. As would a day of pampering if you could swing it 😉


Post # 5
3679 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

In my opinion, I’d let the bridesmaids choose. If they want to do their own hair/makeup, let them. If they want professional hair/makeup, they can pay for it. The only exception is if you ask for something specific, and then you should pay for it. In my area, it’s traditional that the bridesmaids pay for their dresses. In other places, the bride pays. It all depends on how things are done where you live. As far as the bridesmaids gifts, you’re getting them something to say thank you for standing next to you on your wedding day. It should be a gift to them, not something specifically for your wedding. Think of it as a thank you gift.

Post # 6
47439 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@chelseajean: Whether or not the BM’s pay for their dresses depends on where you live. In the USA and Canada, most often the BM’s pay for their own dresses unless the bride is able to afford to be super generous and pay for them herself.

Remember to keep their budgets in mind. This is a conversation best held with them individually so you do not place them in an awkward position in front of another Bridesmaid or Best Man. Simply ask each of them what budget they would like to have for their dress. That sends the message that your expectation is that they will be paying for their own dress.

If you want to be considerate of their budget, figures  and style preference, you can tell them color,fabric and length and have them choose their own dress.

The robes are cute but they really are a prop for your pics. Whatever you do, don’t get them embroidered  with Maid of Honor, Bridesmaid etc.

If the jewelry is classic like a simple necklace, diamond or pearl earrings, then I think it can be considered a gift, otherwise it too is a prop for your wedding pics.

Post # 6
92 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I don’t what the proper protocol is but I have been a Bridesmaid or Best Man in four weddings, and always paid for my dress.

Post # 7
731 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

View original reply
chelseajean:  my girls are paying for their stuff but as part of their gift we paid half their deposit

Post # 8
381 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

It is custom in the US for the girls to pay for their own dresses.  Before we finalized a choice I made sure all the girls were okay with the price.  For hair and makeup I sent them all a message tsit said something along the lines of: hey I am booking hair and makeup for the wedding.  Hair is x amount makeup is x amount.  Do you want me to book either one for you?  I agree with everyone else, it is expected you buy a dress when accept a bridesmaid position.  

Post # 9
2330 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

My girls paid for the dress but I’m paying for their hair and make up.

The make up will be their gift because I’m getting them a 50 dollars gift card to MAC. With a 50 dollar card you can get your make up done for free. So they will buy all the make up they want on the colors they want, and then get their make up done for free for my wedding (of course not using the products they just bought, using the artists make up). It is a win win and they are going to look great. 


Post # 10
2153 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’ve always paid for my own dress, shoes, hair and makeuP. the bride just registers for the dresses and we are instructed by when/ where to go order/get fitted and usually at the time of order thw nurses maid pays for the dress or a portion of it per the stores policy. Usually jewelry or keepsakes or something is gifted tI the bridesmaids. 

Ibalways apprexiatw when when the bride is careful not to chose dresses much more than 100 dollars, and if she also takes care to set up affordable makeup and hair. The last wedding I was in the bride enlisted two friends who were makeup and hair artists to come to the wedding site to do our makeup. The makeup lady charged 45 but the hair lady was free but I tipped her just as I would for your average updo. Some of the bridesmaids chose to get their hair and makeup done elsewhere or to donor themselves so make sure they know their options. 

Post # 11
2942 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

Dresses:  If you live in North America, its typical that the girls pay for their own dresses. 

Hair and makeup: If you let the girls do what ever they want, they pay for their own.  If you require them to get it done proffessionally, you should pay.  If you let them pick their own stylist, there is some wiggle room as to who pays, but if you are picking the stylist, you should pick up the bill. 


Post # 12
288 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

View original reply
chelseajean:  I let my girls chose.  I originally wanted cheap, mismatched bridesmaids dresses, but when the girls didn’t think they could find something they liked, we went shopping and ended up gettting $200 dresses.  But I let them choose, and thats the dress they wanted and they both looked so great in it. And I asked if it was too much, and they said they’ve spent more before and were fine with it. I think we were always under the understanding that the BMs pay for their own dresses.  I know I have when I was a Bridesmaid or Best Man.

Same with hair/makeup.  I knew I was getting mine done.  I asked if they wanted to come with me, or do their own, or use their own hairdresser and just meet up after.  Again, they were awesome and said they want us to be together so I booked us all in together.  Because of this, I also chose a cheaper makeup artist in our city (we have two big ones, and I picked the cheaper), as I did not want them paying $130 for make-up! 

I’m also spoiling my girls.  I’m taking us all out for manis and pedis the day before the wedding. And on top of that each girl will get a gift of about $100.   I don’t feel its right they host showers, bachelor parties, and buy a dress, shoes, etc. for your wedding and only receive a cheap gift.  I want to make sure I’ll appreciate them for all they do and have done!

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by  .
Post # 13
561 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

View original reply
chelseajean:  There are so many different etiquette questions surrounding weddings, it’s hard to keep it all straight. 🙂

It may vary by country, but in the US it is customary for the Bridesmaid or Best Man to pay for their dresses. As the bride, if you are picking out the dresses, it’s a good idea to keep your individual BM’s budgets in mind. If you know one of them can’t afford a $200+ dress, then it’s best to pick a less expensive dress.

Hair and makeup costs are a little less cut and dried, but I think a good rule of thumb is this:  if you schedule hair and makeup for your bridesmaids, then you should pay for it. If you’re not interested in covering that cost or if your budget doesn’t allow for it, then I think you should let your BMs know ahead of time that they will be on their own for hair and makeup. (Give them at least a month’s notice in case they’re not hair/makeup savvy and want to schedule their own appointments.) 

I think the gifts you have planned sound nice. My DH and I spent about $50 per bridesmaid/groomsmen. I think how much you spend is less important than the thoughtfulness behind the gifts. How much you spend also depends on your budget. 

Post # 14
1244 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - San Francisco, CA

If you’re going to require them to have professional hair and makeup then yes, you need to pay for it. If you’re just taking them all to the salon and they have the OPTION to have it done professionally (or not, as they see fit), then they pay.


Of all the bridesmaids dresses I’ve ever worn, every time someone has tried to tell me I’d wear it again, and every time (so far) it sat in my closet until I ended up donating it. Not saying this is the case with your wedding, but just be empathetic when asking them to buy a pricey dress, no matter how enthusiastic they seem.


“Getting ready” clothes are always a cute gift. I got a robe once and I still wear it (it just has my initials on it, not “Team Bridesmaid” or anything like that.)

Post # 15
2521 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Generally the bridesmaids pay for their own dress, but you should discuss with them what they can afford.  For hair and makeup the bride pays if she is requiring professional hair and makeup, and the bridesmaids pay if professional hair and makeup is optional.  Usually most bridesmaids will opt for at least hair done unless they are amazing at hair themselves or know someone who is.  Some do makeup to share in the getting ready time, but most people can do at least decent makeup themselves if they need to.  I ended up paying for hair, but not makeup (I’m not even getting pro makeup done), but that was only out of generousity and only having 3 bridesmaids (and I thought it would be fun to all be together).  If I had more I would have made it optional

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