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What should your Bridesmaids Pay For

What Should your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Pay For? Wedding Party Expenses

Being able to ask your closest friends and even family to be your bridesmaids and groomsmen for your big day is so exciting, and such an honour for them. They will be so flattered and excited to be included for a celebration that is so important to you both, and you will forever look back on having them by your side. However, whether you’ve chosen your wedding party already, or you’re considering who to ask, you may have a niggling little question in your side.


What should your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Pay for?

Money can still feel like a touchy subject to broach, and even the closest of friends may not know what each other earns or spends their money on – for some it’s a totally ‘taboo’ subject. However, when you’re planning your wedding and involving your bridesmaids and groomsmen in those plans, it’s a topic you really need to give some thought to. It’s also something you may wish to talk about with them early on – they too may be wondering what they will be expected to pay for.

Tradition vs Reality – What should your Wedding Party pay for, according to tradition?

According to tradition, your bridesmaids should pay for the following:

  • Their wedding attire and accessories. This includes the dress (which will most likely be picked by the bride), alterations, shoes and other adornments.
  • Transportation to and from the wedding town or city
  • An Engagement Gift and later a Wedding Present for the couple (purchased individually or contributed to by the wedding party as a group)
  • Bridal Shower and/or Bachelorette/Hens party

Conversely, the couple traditionally covers the cost of:

  • Bridesmaids’ flowers
  • Accommodation for out-of-town attendants (optional)
  • Transportation for the wedding party to ceremony and reception
  • Thank you gift to their attendants
  • Bridesmaids’ luncheon, tea, or party (if hosted by bride)
  • Hair and makeup (if bride requires it be professionally done)

Should your bridesmaids really pay for their own dress? Is that a reasonable request?

The best thing is you could shorten it and wear it again!

Familiar with 27 dresses..? If you’re a bride or bridesmaid, you should be…

Brides, if you find yourself saying those four little words “You’ll wear it again” to your bride tribe, you might want to question your motive. Justifying the price tag by assuring the bridesmaids they’ll wear it again won’t make it any cheaper…
Most bridemaids accept that upon accepting the honour of being in your crew, that they may have to buy their own dress and shoes – but is that really fair?
Though it’s the ‘custom’, I suggest you really consider how much you’re asking of your bridesmaids to do so. Anything more than $100, if she is genuinely not going to “wear it again” may not be an affordable expense for some, especially considering the general cost to attend a wedding, and that it is even more-so for a bridesmaid. Of course, if you buy them, you can keep them after the wedding and sell them as a set to another bride-to-be, while it’s much harder for each individual bridesmaid to sell theirs.
Brides, it’s up to you to choose the dress, and choose who pays for it, so if you’re asking them to foot the bill, try to keep it under $100. Alternatively, if you give the bridesmaids a general colour palette to comply with, it’s acceptable to ask them to pay for it. You could set guidelines (e.g. baby blue, mid-length) and ask the girls to run their dress choices by you before purchasing – saving you valuable wedding planning time too! Either way, Asos is incredible for cheaper options. If you really want your bridesmaids to buy their own dresses of your choosing, have an open discussion early on, and be open to flexibility – covering half the cost, for example.
Personally, I thought it would be in bad taste for me to spend so much on my wedding dress, to not pay for theirs.

Should your Groomsmen have to Buy or Rent a Suit?

Traditionally, groomsmen are responsible for buying or renting their own suits. However, if you are asking your groomsmen to purchase something they are unlikely to wear again, it is unfair to expect them to pay for it. If they are hiring suits, I personally also think the couple should pay, as this is an expense only for the wedding day, and the groomsmen shouldn’t be expected to pay, though my opinion is not traditional in this sense!

If you as a couple are requiring the groomsmen to buy the suits and the groomsmen will keep them, then I would still offer to make a small contribution, on the basis that they are going to get lots of wear out of it in future. For instance, buying a tuxedo can actually be more cost-effective than renting one, if the groomsmen will wear it two or more times, possibly even in another wedding, or to any black-tie event. In my experience, the average price of a suit rental comes in at somewhere between $150 and $180. And, for a one-time-wear, that is generally the better option. Once again, it’s a personal decision, and one to consider when you are choosing your wedding party, because you should consider the ability of anybody you ask to shoulder some of the financial burden.

Hair & Makeup: Who Pays?

Like the dress, it’s up to the couple (or the bride) whether or not she wants the bridesmaids to have consistent and professional hair and makeup. If the bride chooses for the bridesmaids to do so, the bride should pay. If your bridesmaids aren’t confident in doing their own hair or make-up, it may be a sensible expense to take on. Spray tans and manicures are optional, but if the bride insists on her ‘maids undertaking these little extras, the bride should pay for these too.

Party Planning! Bridal Shower/Bachelorette & Hens Parties!

Planning the hens party is usually a surprise for the bride organised by her bridesmaids – their treat. So long as the bride is willing to surrender all control to the maid of honour and her crew, she isn’t usually expected to pay for it herself. Sometimes the bridesmaids ask the other attendees to split the cost of the bride’s day, or that of a hotel room, for example. Bridesmaids, keep in mind the costs of attending the bachelorette party for the other guests too. If there is a “bridal shower” it is often hosted by one of the couple’s parents, rather than the bridesmaids.

Should the bridesmaids pays for their Travel and Transportation?

For many, attending a wedding is a huge enough expense, and the additional cost of being in the wedding party can be eye-watering. While those attending your wedding accept that paying for their own travel and transportation, you might like to help your wedding party out if you know the costs are piling up due to their being there to help you.
Often, the couple ask the wedding party to help out for a couple of days prior to the wedding, in which case it may be more fair for her to pay for their accommodation, or at least offer to contribute.

Bridesmaids’ Gifts / Bride’s Gifts?

As a token of gratitude and appreciation, it is most common for the bride to give a gift to each of her bridesmaids. Often this is jewellery or bridesmaids’ robes, or something more personal, such as monogrammed accessories, or something thoughtful to remember the wedding day by. It doesn’t need to be expensive – the best gifts are from the heart.
Brides shouldn’t be upset if, on top of all the other outlays, a bridesmaid doesn’t also buy them a gift – chances are they’ve spent a lot along the way to your big day.

Bride’s Maid?

However you allocate and manage who pays for what, and who does who, don’t lose sight of the reason you chose these girls to stand by your side. It’s not uncommon for weddings to lead to fall-out between family and friends, and some research shows  32 percent of newlywed women have fallen out with at least one of their bridesmaids.
Whether minor disputes over whether the bridesmaids should pay for a dress not of their choosing, how they are to wear their hair on the day, or how much time is expected of them, it’s not worth falling out with your best friends. Weddings can be very stressful times, take care of your relationships as well as your bank balance.
What do you think bridesmaids should have to pay for themselves?

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