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Here's What You'll Actually Pay for as a Bridesmaid

SMP Contributor

With so many different etiquette rules to follow, it can be difficult to keep track of what you're supposed to pay for as a bridesmaid. We've put together this fool-proof guide so you know what you'll have to pay for out of pocket versus what the bride has covered.

Bridal shower

Who pays: The maid of honor or the host

Traditionally, the maid of honor throws the bridal shower, however, in a lot of cases, family members such as the bride's mom or aunt may take over the hosting duties. In that case, whoever is organizing the shower is responsible for the cost; the bridesmaids shouldn't be expected to contribute money to the event.

If you're the maid of honor and the cost is becoming a bit much to take on, talk to the bride's mother or another family member and let them know you'd appreciate their help to make the event special.

Bachelorette party

Who pays: Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids should expect to pay their way to the bachelorette party. Depending on the bride's wishes or what the maid of honor has planned, you may be asked to also pay some or all of the bride's cost as well.

Whether it's paying for a nice dinner, buying decorations, or splurging for a hotel upgrade, 'maids should be prepared to not only pay for themselves, but a little extra to cover the bride's experience as well.

Bridesmaid dresses

Who pays: Bridesmaids

Unless the bride just won the lottery, it is typically the bridesmaid's responsibility to buy her gown and pay for alterations (plan on needing them). Depending on what the bride wants you to wear, you may have some wiggle room in deciding which dress to purchase. A lot of brides opt for mix-and-match gowns, giving her girls the option to pick out a gown that works best for her. There are also brides who go the more traditional route and want every 'maid in the same gown.

As a bride, try to be mindful of the amount you're asking the bridesmaids to pay. Remember, they also have other costs (see below), so try to be respectful of their wallets.


Who pays: The bride

The bouquets are not the responsibility of the bridesmaids. If the bride wants you to hold a floral arrangement while walking down the aisle, it is her responsibility to organize and finance that aspect.


Who pays: it depends

If a bride has a very specific necklace or pair of earrings she wants the bridesmaids to wear, like a specific color and brand, then she should buy it for everyone as a gift. If the bride is requesting something more generic, like gold earrings or a pearl necklace, those are typically things that can be found in a jewelry box at home, so that becomes the bridesmaid's responsibility.

If you're still unsure, just ask! You don't want to show up to the wedding unprepared because of a miscommunication.

Hair and makeup

Who pays: It depends

This depends on how important glam is to the bride. If she is requiring everyone to have their hair and makeup done for the big event then it becomes her responsibility to pay for it. If the bride doesn't care one way or the other and is giving 'maids the option to have hair and make-up done, then the cost will likely fall to the bridesmaid.

Some brides also give hair styling on the day of the wedding as a gift, and then have makeup artists there as an option (or vice versa) if the girls choose they want to pay for that service on their own. There's no right or wrong way to do it, but the bottom line is, if a bride is requiring her bridal party to be fully glammed up, then she should foot the bill.

Hotel and flight arrangements

Who pays: Bridesmaids

Yup, this one's on the 'maids. It's your responsibility to get yourself to the wedding and book a place to stay. The bride has enough financially to worry about so don't expect her to cover your travel arrangements.

Style Me Pretty Contributor – Sarah Title is a travel & wedding writer and editor living in Washington D.C. She also works part-time at a bridal salon in Georgetown helping women find the perfect dress. When she isn't working, you can find her at the closest oyster bar enjoying a glass of rose or catching up on the latest celebrity gossip.