How much is too much to demand or ask of bridesmaids

posted 12 months ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
276 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2017

I think the makeup/hair/nails thing depends on if you are paying. If you aren’t, I think it’s okay to tell them the look you are going for, but you can’t get upset if someone can’t afford the nails and hairdo you want. If you’re paying, I think it’s fine to ask the hairdresser to have them all done the same way, or to say you want pink nails for instance. Makeup seems a bit more personal and I just wouldn’t ask them to do something they were terribly uncomforable with. Such as asking for heavy makeup if they don’t normally wear any. I didn’t have any hen nights because I was long distance, so I can’t comment there. But I do think it’s normal for the bridesmaids to do the bulk of the planning. 

Post # 3
5872 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: July 2018

Personally I think dictating nails, makeup and even hair is almost taking it a step too far. Everyone feels comfortable with different types of hairstyles or levels of makeup and I just don’t see what difference it makes to the wedding overall. 

I gave my bridesmaids a vague colour scheme for dresses and then bought whatever one they liked. I gave them the option of professional hair or makeup, they all picked makeup and they will tell the MUA what look they want, they can all style their hair however they like, wear whatever shoes they like, be tan or pale etc. Basically I want them to all look like themselves. They are used to brides dictating everything so they keep asking me how I want their hair, how they should do their names, what shoes and I keep having to tell them honestly whatever you love is cool. 

My expectations of bridesmaids was to plan my hen with help from me (typical in the uk) although in the end they made it all a surprise and did everything themselves. I also expected them to be interested and invested in the wedding, chat to me about wedding things when I need a sounding board etc but the actual planning was all on me and my fiancé.  

Post # 4
926 posts
Busy bee

Unless you are paying for it, you cannot expect them to have their hair/nails/makeup all the same, the way you want it.

As for the bachelorette party, you are not entitled to one, and if no one throws you one, oh well. However, usually the bridesmaids plan it with input from you about what you want to do.

Post # 5
734 posts
Busy bee

As PP stated, if you’re paying for hair and nails then you can have them look which way you want. If they are paying, they get to choose.

I’m a bridesmaid in my FSIL/Brother’s wedding and we are paying for our own makeup and hair so we are choosing the hair we want. Nails she didn’t say so we are doing them on our own.

The bridesmaids and mother of the bride planned the entire bridal shower. She had no say (but of course we know her and she had a great time!). The bachelorette (I’m in the U.S. so same thing as your ‘hen’), was the same thing. She had no idea, and we planned it all for her. She didn’t pay for anything. However, this party was a trip up to a location which was only 1.5 hours away and the hotel and strip club was cheap. Obviously if you’re doing a more extravagent hen, then she can help plan and pay.

We have all been very involved and invested as we all love the bride! We have a group chat and she will bounce ideas off us and we have helped her with whatever she needed.

Post # 6
10 posts
  • Wedding: City, State

I think you’d be fine with demanding what you wrote out, so long as your bridesmaids are not put into an awkward position financially.


Fairly controversial opinion, but I’ll stand by it. Anything that is temporary for the wedding is fair game for the bride to demand of her bridesmaids, if you’re paying for it. Bride’s can’t demand that their bridesmaids cut or dye hair for the wedding, or lose weight. But I think it’s completely fair for the bride to expect her ‘maids to wear their hair in a certain way, or wear their makeup in a certain way. I think it’s fine for a bride to demand that their bridesmaids gets tattooes covered up, or requires spray tans for the bridal party.


It is just for one day. The last wedding I was a bridesmaid in, we all had to get our nails done to match the dress, and one of the bridesmaids shaved her armpits for the occasion. All my bridesmaids will be getting spray tans for my wedding as well, and I’m picking out the hairstyles that they will wear.

Post # 7
2611 posts
Sugar bee

I paid for hair and makeup and let them choose their own look.  Pretty much, all I asked of them was to purchase their dresses and show up.  Shoes, jewelry, accessories etc…I bought for them.

I didn’t want or expect a bachelorette or shower but they got together and planned a spa day/dinner for me anyway…

Post # 8
1826 posts
Buzzing bee

Personally I’d expect them to wear a dress I choose, or at least all the same color scheme. If the dresses I choose were more than $70 dollars I’d pay for them myself. Anything else I don’t care. 

I would also more want emotional support than physical. I’d want to be able to talk about the wedding, get excited about it with them, and bounce ideas off them for decorations or food stuff. But I’d keep it fun and light. I’d want a casual spa day like bachelorette party with lunch and drinks but that’s it. If I ended up doing diy stuff for the decorations I’d want their help putting it out on the wedding day maybe? 

Post # 9
7025 posts
Busy Beekeeper

First, I’d drop the word “demand”. 

I think it’s fine to request neutral nails or natural makeup, and to choose a dress within everyone’s budget that they feel comfortable in, and specify a shoe color. Hair is tough–my hair won’t stay in an updo for love or money and I honestly find super matchy-matchy bridesmaids kind of creepy. They are individuals and look better as individuals. If you want professional hair and makeup that’s on your dime.

Anyone can host a shower or bachelorette, it doesn’t have to be your bridesmaids, if anyone offers they will happen and if they don’t, you’ll still get married. 

Post # 10
47287 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

In the US and Canada, it is generally acceptable to choose the dress AFTER checking individually and privately with each Bridesmaid or Best Man about their budget.

Beyond that, for me, if you demand specific anything, including hair and makeup, you pay.

You used the term “hen’s night” though, which leads me to believe you live elsewhere. If we knew where you live, hopefully Bees who live here will have more pertinent advice.

Events like showers and bachelorettes are purely voluntary. No bride is owed either event. If someone wants to host, they will volunteer, you don’t ask.

Post # 11
727 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: London, UK

I think dictating hair, makeup and nails is acceptable (but still unnecessary and OTT) if you are paying for it. If you’re not paying for it then I don’t think it’s right to demand anything specific.

In terms of a hen do, it is different dependent on where you are in the world. In the UK it is normal and acceptable for the bride to have as much or as little input as she wants. I’ve been to a hen do totally planned by the bride and one that was totally planned by the maid of honour.

Regardless of where you are in the world, I personally dont think you can expect anyone to do anything with your hen. If they offer then great, but if they don’t offer then I don’t think it’s reasonable to request they plan it. If they don’t offer then in the UK it is totally fine to plan one yourself, but from these boards I get the impression that in the US if no one plans one for you then you just have to go without.

Post # 12
2737 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2018

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prettypia :  I wouldnt ask for a specific hair style, I HATE myself in an updo and would be a bit annoyed if my friend forced me into it (especially if she expected me to pay for it) knowing that I would feel self conscious in that style.

For all of the weddings I’ve been in, we were just told what type of dress to get, given the option of paying for our hair/makeup or doing it ourselves and that was pretty much it in regards to the “look”. 

I didn’t have a bridal party but had a few friends + mom and sister stand up with my at my courthouse wedding, they all asked me what they should wear and I asked that they wear something floral (my mom ended up wearing black lol).

As far as bachelorette party goes, I’ve been Maid/Matron of Honor twice and planned the parties both times with a little input from the bride (location, airbnb) but otherwise planned it with the other bridesmaids. 

I didn’t help plan my friends weddings other than throwing around ideas as to venue location, restaurants, etc and that’s what they did with me too. They expressed excitement and seemed genuinely interested to hear about how plannign was going, but that was about it.

Post # 13
924 posts
Busy bee

Lol no it’s definitely not ok to require your bridesmaids to get spray tans. You’re telling your friends that there is something undesirable about their skin color. Definitely not ok. 

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melmitchell :  

Post # 14
8750 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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prettypia :  do you want friends who are excited about your wedding and will stand up and support you? Or do you want pretty props? If you just care about photos I suggest you pay for everything and choose people who are ok with being a prop. 

Post # 15
405 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2019 - City, State

Be careful with this question here, ALOT of women in here tend to think a bridesmaid is only responsible for showing up on the wedding day as I have learned from some of my posts in the past, although I beg to differ completely!

However, I don’t think you should ‘Demand” anything as I find it easier to have bridesmaids the more lenient you are. For example: I made sure the dress I chose for mine was one they ALL agreed on look and price-wise. You gotta remember while they are your bridesmaids and should support you as much as they can, it is still not their wedding so you can’t ask too much. Just make sure everyone is able to afford the money, time, etc. for whatever you may decide on unless you are paying.

I’m leaving hair and makeup up to them because I moreso need them for emotional support than anything since all financial things my Fiance’ and I are dealing with.

Edit: I also must agree that you should not ask anyone to do anything that “changes” their identity just for your wedding.

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