(Closed) How much is expected for a BM to pay to be in a wedding party?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
3400 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@becca83:  I think the majority of the cost of you being in this wedding is the travel & accomodations, as well as the clothing for every member of your small family & not just yourself.

My maids of honor (I had 2 & no bridesmaids) spent $200 per plane ticket, $100 per person for hotel accomodations (4 shared the room for 4 days), $90 for the dress & they didn’t need alterations, $10 for their shoes, & $40 for their hair (I did their makeup).

They loved their dresses & planned to wear them in the future, so I bought them a tube top for the dresses & also a hair comb that matches as their gifts ($60 per girl)

So a total of $400 for each girl. I think it was reasonable since they had to travel. I would totally pay that to be in their weddings.

Post # 33
3361 posts
Sugar bee

Who cares if they don’t like that you aren’t staying in their accomodation.  If they were paying they would get a say, but he who pays, says. 

I would opt out of doing hair and makeup, and do my own, or go to a MAC makeup counter for significatnly less.

Try to get your spouse a cheaper shirt/tie for husband?  Or at least shirt if the tie is to match other attendants.

Can you drop out of being a BM? 

Skip the rehersal?

I would skip the rental car, yeah it would be easier, but you can’t afford it.  You could take  cabs all over the place for less then $150.

At the end of the day, if you can’t pay for it, you can’t pay for it.  You can’t make magic money appear.  If feelings are hurt because you can’t make magic money what can you do about that?  I don’t think it’s worth stressing yourself out. 

It seems to me you have more of a husband problem then a family problem.  He is the one that insists on things being a certain way (gift, staying in their accomodations, etc) so I’d leave it for him to work the overtime that is required to be able to pay those items.

Post # 34
9947 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Etiquette Snob here… lol

I don’t know where you live but the custom in North America is slightly different from other places (here the Bridal Party pay for their attire)

I feel for you… being in the Bridal Party is not cheap.

BUT I also get really upset when I read these types of posts (you are not alone)… because more than anything the Bride (or Groom) having been communicating with their Attendants about what role they are expected to play… and in particular WHO pays for what

In traditonal etiquette (vs modern)… the expenses would be offset a bit more fairly IMO

For whatever reason, people don’t seem to be doing this anymore… which IMO is a HUGE SHAME.  It is rather imposing IMO for the couple to ask someone to be in their Bridal Party and give up so much in exchange for soooo little.  Highly unfair.

Based on your list…

* Members of the Bridal Party in NA are responsible for their overall outfits (ie Dress, Shoes, Hair, Make Up etc)

* If the Bride or Groom want something special & specific beyond the Dress / Suit then they’d pay for that item (ie specific shoes, hair done a particular way, shirt & tie)

* More often than not in exchange for the kind use of any children for the Bridal Party, the Couple picks up all costs for said children (clothing)… as it is understood that children don’t travel alone… and just like any other member of the Bridal Party the child’s accommodations etc are also covered (see below)

* Travel to the Wedding Location (town) is the reponsibility of the Bridal Party

* BUT transportation from the Accommodations to the Wedding Ceremony Site and the Reception and back to the Accommodations are the responsibiility of the Couple

* Accommodations for the Bridal Party are on the Couple (usually 2 Nights… one Before the Wedding / Rehearsal and the one of the Day / Night of the Wedding)

* The member of the Bridal Party is expected to participate in as many Pre-Wedding Events as possible… maybe even Host a Shower in lieu of a Gift to the Bride (if they don’t host a shower, then the Bridesmaids give a joint gift to the Bride… Groomsmen & Ushers do the same for the Groom)

* Members of the Bridal Party are still expected to give a Wedding Gift to the Couple

* The Couple invite the Bridal Party (and a Plus One) to all Wedding Weekend events… such as the Rehearsal Dinner – Ceremony – and Reception

* The Bride typically throws a “Thank You” Event for her Bridesmaids, and presents them with their Thank You Gifts which she has hand chosen for each girl (and her personality… Thank You Gifts are not meant to be all matchy-matchy).  The Groom does similar for his guys.

— — —

Anyhow, that is how “Traditonal Etiquette” would go.

Which means IN YOUR PARTICULAR CASE… you and your Hubby would be looking at the following expenses only:

  • The wedding is out of state and airfare tickets costs us about $1000 for the 3 of us..


  •  We are renting a car because it will be easier to get around with  my son and car seat which is about $150…. (possibly… altho if your little guy is the Ring Bearer, I’d be either paying for this as the Couple, or at least half of it)


  •  The bridesmaids dresses chosen is about $200 excluding alterations,


  • And the Wedding Present $ 200


And that would be it for you … aprox $ 1550

The rest would be on the couple

Unfortunately… very few couples follow these more “considerate” guidelines these days… and more and more Bridal Parties are feeling the pinch, as well as being ABUSED by the modern day Bride & Groom IMO



Post # 35
8434 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

@becca83:  I think it just dependson the couple.  The only thing my bridesmaids had to pay for was their travel.  Everything else was either something they already had (dresses) or it was taken care of by us.  We also requested that they not give us a wedding present since they were traveling across country to be there.

Post # 36
1667 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I have never heard of bridesmaids having to pay for their own hair and makeup unless they want it. The bride should pay if she requires it. If the bride offers it as an option where you are free to decline, that is also ok. But the bride should never say that paying for hair and makeup is required.

Honestly, bridesmaids are usually only responsible for their travel costs to the wedding and their dresses. We’re paying for our bridal party’s hotel rooms as well as hiring a transportation company so nobody from out of town has to rent a car, but I know that isn’t always an option. 

I would find somewhere cheaper to stay as well if that is possible. 

I would also cut way back on the gift. You are coming to her wedding at great expense. 200 dollars is excessive. Get her something smaller that you know she really needs and a really heartfelt card and call it a day. I would never expect anyone who had to shell out big bucks to travel to my wedding to show up with some showy gift. 

Post # 37
10 posts
  • Wedding: July 2014

I really feel sorry for you, if this was my own brothers wedding I would seriously have to consider not attending if these were the costs involved.

I am from the UK and I have to say that here, from my understanding, there is no expectation whatsoever on the bridal party to pay for their own outfits, hair, make up etc. I have been a bridesmaid once, and only paid for my own shoes, which I was allowed to choose myself as long as they were the right colour. I am only having one bridesmaid and wouldn’t dream of asking her to pay for her own dress or anything. The only cost to her is, and in my opinion should be anyway, the cost of travel and accomodation, which if she was attending as a guest she would have to cover anyway.

I know you say you tried to talk to your brother, but could you try again or try reaching out to your parents or other family who may be able to discreetly and nicely say as much as you are looking forward to sharing the day, the costs involved are terrifying?

Post # 38
604 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

Sorry, that sucks.  But I think the costs are pretty standard, except for the hair/makeup and a shirt/tie for DH.  From my understanding, hair and makeup should be optional or paid for by the bride/groom and ushers don’t have to wear anything special.  We’re just giving our ushers boutineers.  They can wear whatever they want. 

Can you ask if they can be flexibile in those costs?  Also, you don’t have to give a gift.  I wouldn’t feel obligated to when you’re spending so much to be a part of the wedding.

Post # 39
129 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 1993

@becca83:  When is the wedding?  Do you HAVE to be a bridesmaid?  It sounds like that would take a great load off of you — and to me you definitely shouldn’t have to pay for a tuxedo for your son, either — especially since kids tend to HATE those things.  My brother is expecting us to pay $600 in room charges for his wedding, which I am outraged about…but having never been a bridesmaid, and living within driving distance of the wedding location, I can see I have it VERY easy!

Post # 40
424 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

I am having my wedding oversea and I can understand the situation. It costs a lot to attend the wedding, let alone being a Bridesmaid or Best Man. As a bride, I feel very honored that someone is spending $1k for an air ticket to attend my wedding. Therefore, we try to cut cost for our guests as much as possible: provide hair & makeup for Bridesmaid or Best Man (I only have 4), provide 2 night hotel for traveling guests, provide Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses. And I also told them that I don’t expect any gifts from them considering they have to fly 18 hours to my wedding. 


Post # 45
1530 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Weddings you have to travel for cost a lot.  Besides the shoes, everything seems to be reasonabley priced.  I would ask to do your own make-up.  You will not feel left out by not getting your make-up done.

Also, get them a gift that retails for $200.  Use coupons and shop sales to get it for a much lower price.   

How old is your son?  Shop online sites – and get him an outfit for cheaper.


Post # 46
2211 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

So frustrating.  🙁  Travel costs cannot be avoided, but asking you to pay $130 for a pair of shoes and $150 for hair and makeup (if I read that right – $75 for each, right?) is just…not right.  Your brother and his Fiance should be paying for that $280 if it’s required.  Appearance-wise, you should only be paying for your dress.  If I were you, I would let them know you can’t afford that extra almost $300 for these niceties.  Even if it does stress your bro out, you don’t have the funds for it.  You shouldn’t have to go into debt to be included on his big day.

I would give them a smaller gift if I were you, too.  You’re already paying so much!

Also, you can find lil’ guy tuxes on Ebay for like $30.  Not sure if that would be acceptable to the bride, though – she sounds a bit high maintenance!

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