What does the bridal party pay for and what do I pay for for them?

posted 4 months ago in Money
Post # 2
764 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2019

cbix :  I’m in Australia, and this seems to be the norm for my circle:

Bridesmaids pay for dress and shoes – i’ve let my girls decide what dresses they want, and in what price range, so long as the colour is right. THat’s their only expense. We are paying for hair/makeup and accessories, transport etc.

Groomsmen are hiring their own suits, paying for their own shoes. But we’re buying their ties.

Each member of our bridal party is paying about $200-$250 each. If any of them struggled with that cost (which no one does), then we will help them out.

The wedding is local, so no need for a hotel.

This seems to be pretty standard here

Post # 3
1186 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2018 - Location

Usually they pay for their dress. Hair and makeup kinda depends/optional. They also often contribute to the cost if you’re doing a bachelorette party.

That being said…these are your guests of honour, and they are not OBLIGED or required to pay for anything. The role of a BM/GM is to stand with you on your wedding day. 

Post # 4
6029 posts
Bee Keeper

cbix :  It appears you are in the US? You’ve asked about “bridesmaids dresses, hair and makeup, hotel accommodations, and the bachelorette party (we are doing a weekend trip to Chicago).”

Wedding party typically pays for their dresses/tuxes/suits within an agreed upon budget though many brides and grooms these days are picking up/subsidizing some or all of those costs, especially if they want something beyond their party’s budgets. 

Hair and makeup are optional expenses. If the bride requires them, the bride pays but still shouldn’t dictate too much. 

I’ve seen hotel accommodations go both ways in the US. Basically, try to be aware that your party’s budgets can be just as strained as yours.

Destination bachelorette?  Who planned this? If the bridal party planned an event they decided they could afford that’s one thing. If the bride dictated the destination and events it’s another. You pay for the parties you plan. Others may host events at their discretion based upon their budgets. 

Post # 5
155 posts
Blushing bee

I think it’s common to have the bridal party be responsible for their own attire. You need to see what dollar amount they’re comfortable with. No one wants to spend $300 or $400 on a dress they’ll never wear again. Don’t make them get matching shoes.

If you’re booking hair and makeup and want your attendants to take part, you should pay.

Don’t assume everyone wants to pay to go to your destination party. They might not be able to afford it or want to take the time off work. And you shouldn’t be planning your bachelorette party.

Post # 6
198 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We paid for dresses, hair, makeup and jewellery for the girls and suit hire, ties and cuff links for the guys and travel to and from the wedding. 

All they had to pay for was hotel room and shoes and the guys already owned theirs and the girls just had to be a particular colour.

no shower and the bachelorette was low key cruise and everyone paid for themselves and split my portion amongst all the girls.

however I let them know up front what they would be responsible for when I asked them.


Post # 7
47137 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

There is no one correct answer. Customs and practice depend on where you live. In the US and Canada wedding party members most often pay for their own attire. If the bride requires professional hair and makeup, the bride pays.

Showers and bachelorette parties are optional, planned in the bride’s honor and usually paid for by the bridesmaids if they are hosting. Sometimes the bride’s mother bears the burden of expenses for the shower, hosted with the bridesmaids.

Traditional etiquette dictated that the couple pay for accommodation of out of town wedding party members, but I rarely see that anymore. If they were attending as guests, they would pay their own anyway.

Choosing to have a wedding party of 20 people should be a conscious decision knowing the expenses that decision entails, and not an excuse or reason for not doing so.

Post # 8
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2019


I’m probably of the minority but I don’t think bridal parties should pay for anything except some entertainment (like drinks) on a Bach party. 

I’d rather pay for any stipulations like particular dresses or suits, or they could wear whatever they like or already own (yep I wouldn’t even care about the photos!) 

I’d also be really open about their choice to say no regarding out of town parties or if they couldn’t be in the wedding if they couldn’t afford accommodation or the travel there and back. We’re actually paying for accomodation and those that are coming, saying that the travel cost (the drive) is their gift to us and to please not give a gift if they are travelling 

But that’s just me – I could never enforce or ask a cost of my nearest and dearest. Them standing with us on the day would be the only important part and what it’s actually only about. 


Post # 9
6867 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Typically the bridal party is responsible for their individual costs associated with the wedding. Attire, hair//make, accommodations, etc. 

I paid for hair/makeup for my girls as a gift, because I knew they’d all choose to have it professionally done, and they were all super happy about that as opposed to typical bridesmaids gifts. My husband paid for his guys tux rentals. 

Post # 10
4128 posts
Honey bee

What is customary (in the U.S.) and I think it ought to be are two different things.

What is customary is they pay for their clothing for the wedding only (any accessories like jewelry, bouquets, hairpieces is on you as is any getting ready attire you may require…though don’t do that anyway). 

They pay for hair and makeup if you are not requiring that it be professionally done or done in a certain style (i.e. they have the option of doing their own), otherwise you pay.

They pay their way at any parties provided they had input or you are perfectly fine with them declining to attend. 

They pay for their own hotel if it is optional or they would have had to travel anyway (but if they have cheaper local options like home or a relative and you’re “requiring” them to stay in a hotel the night before, then that is on you).

You approach it by asking each person individually about their budget for X item and then you pick an item in the lowest budget.  Don’t ask in a group.  Don’t do a mass email or group text.  People may not feel comfortable discussing their finances in front of others or feel pressured to extend themselves beyond their means if they see they are the odd one out.


What I believe it ought to be is anything the bride or groom is requiring above and beyond normal costs incurred attending as a regular guest.  So if you are requiring specific attire you should pay (the wedding party doesn’t need to be matching cookie cutters – that’s an option and I think if selecting that option the person deciding it should incur the costs).  I know paying for attire is already customary in the UK.  I think couples would be a lot more realistic and a lot less ostentatious if they actually had to consider and potentially pay for the things that are often demanded of their wedding party.  

Post # 11
458 posts
Helper bee

I’m from Canada and what im doing is the bridesmaids pay for their own dress/shoes.  I’m paying for hair and makeup.  I’m getting them robes and slippers and a little gift day of.  They will be paying for their own accomodations, but i have hired transportation for all of us!


Groomsmen are paying for their own suit rental.  Theyre also paying for their own accomodations but we cover transportation for them too.  

As far as the bachelorette/bachelor partys go, I’m assuming they’ll cover most of it but i will offer to help

Post # 12
1061 posts
Bumble bee

In the UK the bride pays for bridesmaid dresses, shoes and any other required clothing. If the bride is dictating hair styles and makeup she pays. Bridesmaids pay for their own portion of the hen and associated costs and usually everyone on the hen clubs together to pay for the bride. Bridesmaids usually pay for extra details for the hen party like decorations. Accommodation for the wedding is paid for by the bridesmaids and with other guests , if they’re staying in the bridal suite or apartment etc with the bride the night before then the bride pays. 

Post # 13
11489 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Traditional etiquette sources, and even the current Emily Post, which is anything but, continue to list accomodations for out of town attendants as an traditional expense covered by the couple. To me it is ironic that this is relatively unusual these days considering how inappropriate expectations on the other side seem to have risen exponentially. 


There is no obligation to pay for hair and makeup services and they cannot be required even if you do pay. 

You pay for bridesmaids’ gifts. 

In the US, brides have some discretion and bridesmaids cover the cost of the dress, in consultation for budget and style. 

As for any pre-wedding parties, they are supposed to be low key and moderate in cost, which usually leaves out multi-day destination extravaganzas. Attending and hosting are always optional and voluntary. Participants should discuss and agree on budget and plans, not have them imposed upon them. 

Post # 14
1941 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2017 - Pearson Convention Centre

We paid for everything that had to do with our wedding, the dress, accessories, hair, makeup, manicures and pedicures.

Post # 15
3738 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

cbix :  I am in the northeast.  In my circle, the bridal party pays for their own dresses and the bachelorette party (though if the bride wants matching outfits or accessories, she should pay for that for everyone).  The bride should cover any jewelry she wants her girls to wear for the wedding and hair/makeup unless it is not required.  Hotel accomodations should be paid for by the person/couple/family staying in that room, unless bridesmaids are staying in the bridal suite, then the bride should pay. 

ETA: The bridal party should be consulted for their budgets on dresses and the attendees of the bachelorette should be consulted for their bugets, especially if a destination bachelorette is planned (this is the only type of bachelorette in my circle, and some have been OTT).  Family members tend to pay for the bridal showers in our circles, with the bridesmaids helping, usually with decor and games.  All of these parties should be legitimately optional. 

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