(Closed) Paying for hair and makeup. Is it tacky?

posted 6 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
1511 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 2013

@jcl12:  It’s definitely not tacky to pay for one thing and let your bridesmaids pay for the rest (at least not in my opinion)!

I think most bridesmaids appreciate anything that is provided for them, but I can’t imagine that they’d assume you’d foot the bill for all costs.  I mean, if you can afford to do that and want to do that, go for it … I’m sure they’d love it!  But realistically most people can’t afford to pay for a bunch of extra stuff for their wedding parties (especially if they’re paying for their wedding from their own pockets, saving for a home, etc.), and I can’t imagine a bridesmaid going nuts over the fact that her hair, makeup, dress, shoes, accessories, and travel expenses (if applicable) weren’t completely covered by the bride!

My plan for my bridesmaids and man of honor is to pay for their hotel rooms and write a check for part of the cost of their plane tickets to fly in for my wedding.  (They all live far away, and a plane ticket will cost somewhere between $250 and $420 depending on which airport they choose to fly out of and when they purchase their ticket.)  I wasn’t really planning to pay for their dresses/tux or anything else, but I might consider paying for something else if my budget allows.

Post # 4
3141 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I let my bm know they didn’t have to have their hair done professionally but if they wanted to they would have to pay for it themselves. My sister offered to do their make up for free as she is a Mary Kay consultant. My bms paid to have their hair done and they were fine with it

Post # 5
196 posts
Blushing bee


I’m not really the greatest with etiquette, but I think you’d be fine just paying for things that you are sure you will be picky about (specific dress, specific makeup style, etc).  If your guidelines are very loose (“No chignons, but everything else is fine,” or, “No updos, please,” etc) I think the bridesmaids will be fine fending for themselves. 

Paying for their dresses is already pretty generous (and usually the greater chunk of the average bridesmaid’s expenses).

Post # 6
395 posts
Helper bee

Paying for the dress is generous. As long as you don’t tell them exactly how to do their hair and make up, I don’t see a problem with not paying for it.


Post # 7
3092 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I’d maybe offer to have a hair stylist and Makeup artist come out for anyone who is interested in purchasing their services.  If the gals seem interested and say they want to book and pay then you can just let them cover their own costs.  If they say they’re interested but can’t afford you can see if your budget will allow for one or both of the services to be gifted.  And if not, just have your ladies do their own hair and make-up.  All seem like reasonable options to me.

Post # 8
1733 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Paying for the dress is very generous. My bridesmaids bought their own dress, and I said I’d split the cost of a hair appointment with them IF THEY WANTED IT and whatever they wanted, and they all said yes.

Here’s the thing. I think that you can pay for hair and say that you’d like them to have something nice done with it (or even say “up-do of your choice”). But it gets to be a little controlling to tell them to do their hair all in the same way. And I think that you can offer to pay for makeup…but unless you’re going for a very specific look for everyone OR want to prevent someone from going overboard with weirdo makeup, I wouldn’t bother making the makeup mandatory, even if you’re paying for it.

Two reasons:

Some people are going to be a bit miffed to be told that they have to do their makeup in a special way. Some people just hate wearing makeup in any form, or don’t like other people messing with their faces!

Unless you’re going for a theme that is makeup heavy…you really, really, will not notice your bridesmaids’ makeup. My girls all “did their own” — ie some put some on and some didn’t, and you really can’t tell, and they all look beautiful.

If it’s important to you, I’d make the offer to pay — you know your girls, maybe they’re all dying to have pro makeup done! But I wouldn’t make it mandatory.

Post # 9
145 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I’m pretty much following what yumiyumi said about paying for anything I’m picky about. I’m paying for their makeup since I want to make sure everyone has natural looking makeup and that they’re wearing products that will photograph well. I’m not paying for hair though since I don’t care how to they have as long as it isn’t in an updo but I will offer them the option of booking the stylist too if they want. If there’s room in the budget I’d also like to try to offset some of the hotel costs but we’ll see what happens closer to the wedding.

I agree that it is better to pay for makeup if you’re only paying for one and you’re not demanding an elaborate hairstyle. Most people can manage to get their hair into some sort of presentable look without too much effort but good makeup that will last all day, photograph well, and be applied properly is a lot more challenging. 



Post # 11
526 posts
Busy bee

If you pay for their dress, I think it perfectly fine to have them pay for their own hair/makeup.  🙂

Post # 12
13294 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I wanted all my girls to have their hair done professionally, so I opted to pay for tha.t  I asked them if they wanted makeup done, but mentioned they had to cover that cost; if they  didn’t want to pay, they could do it themselves.

If you require something be done, I think it’s only polite to pay for it. 

Post # 13
2052 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@jcl12:  I think you’re being very generous and don’t find it tacky at all. I gave my girls the option of my gifting their hair or makeup and they both opted for hair and to do their own makeup. They looked great and I’m glad they choose hair come to think of it, as it had a bigger impact on their overall appearance than their makeup in terms of photos and overall look. They each chose and paid for their own dress so they would be happy with it and to wear it again. I gave them some guidelines on the color and style but they found it, checked in with me, and were very happy with my flexibility on it. Shoes were whatever style they wanted as long as they were gold. Matching jewelry was gifted to them as well as a gift card to the spa for each of them to enjoy anytime for all their help. Hope this helps you work it out!



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