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Bridal party dilemma

Ashley, on June 7, 2021 at 2:07 PM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 10
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I’ve chosen my bridal party and I couldn’t be more excited. However, I’ve heard horror stories of how bridesmaids and brides can clash when it comes to the commitment. I thought it would be fair for me to pay for their hair and makeup and then have them pay for travel and their dress (keeping it in mind to make the dress budget friendly).


My bridal party is spread out since they consist of both college and high school friends so if they live over an hour away, they’re not obligated to make every trip and go wedding dress shopping since we all work, have other commitments, etc.
However, I hear some people say that the bride should pay for everything such as travel, hair and makeup and the dress.
I’m new to wedding planning so I’m curious. What have you guys done and do you have any suggestions?

10 Comments

Latest activity by Jacks, on June 8, 2021 at 12:39 AM
  • Rebelle Fleur
    Rockstar July 2021
    Rebelle Fleur ·
    • Flag
    The bride is only obligated to pay for make up and hair if she is requiring it to be professionally done. Your ladies can pay for their own dresses. Paying for (the dresses) is a courtesy but you should be respective of everyone’s budget if you aren’t paying. I tried to stay around 100-150$. Since your girls are spread out you can tell them a specific color you want from a specific company so it’s the same shade (if you want to same shade) and then have them just order their own size. Azzazie is amazing for this. They have a ton of styles and colors for all body types. Their return policy is very good also.


    They are absolutely not obligated to do anything but show up on the wedding day in their dress and support you. Everything else is a courtesy.
    • Reply
  • A
    Super December 2020
    Anais ·
    • Flag
    I think what really matters is always being considerate. What they need to buy is the dress, but you should be considerate about the cost. If you have the means to pay for a dress or you’re dead set on an expensive one, you can always pay for it or participate in the cost.
    Same thing for any accessory or hair/makeup. Be considerate and allow them to choose which shoes to get, which jewelry (if any) to wear and how to do their hair/makeup. If you have a particular vision that requires added costs, you should be covering those and also keep the requirements to something reasonable (like don’t ask someone to wear insanely high heels if they’re not comfortable, even if you’d pay for the shoes).
    I think issues in a bridal party arise when either the bride or the bridesmaid isn’t considerate.
    • Reply
  • M
    Just Said Yes August 2021
    Michelle ·
    • Flag

    My wedding party members are from all over too. Personally, I think it really depends on how relaxed you are about what you want them to wear. If you have a very specific look in mind for hair and makeup and feel they have to match, then you should provide the service to make it easy on them. If you don't care if they match, I think it's fair to either tell them they can hire/pay for whatever makeup/hair artist they want, or tell them it will cost x amount to get services from someone you might be hiring for yourself. I've always understood it to be that the bridesmaid pays for their own dress unless there's a circumstance in which you know they can't (they're a kid/teenager, they share a personal financial struggle with you, etc.) I feel travel is in the same vein - it's on them unless there's a circumstance in which they absolutely cannot go because of the expense (it wouldn't be on you if they were a guest, right? That's kind of my thinking.)

    TLDR: cost for attire, hair/makeup, and travel are on the wedding party UNLESS that cost is so high it's a barrier to them being able to be part of it (if you want something incredibly specific, they have extenuating circumstances, etc.)

    I went about it this way: Since not all of the bridesmaids were in the area to try them on, I went to the store with the bridesmiads who could make it and let them decide the dress itself after I picked the color. That seemed to work out, they picked something affordable and nobody seemed upset about the choice (at least not vocally or to me). They can do whatever they want for hair and make-up. I'm also not going to be a stickler about "extras" (a sash for the dress, a shawl for the church) matching in case someone has trouble finding something, and I made jewelry part of their thank-you gifts from me. For me, it's most important to just have everyone there in person, especially after the year we've all had. I was very lucky to find a dress they could all match in!

    • Reply
  • Courtney
    Expert September 2022
    Courtney ·
    • Flag

    You've got to remain a friend first and bride second. No matter what expectations you may have for them the only thing they need to do is show up in the dress and mostly sober for your ceremony.

    It's great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and be just as excited as you, but its not required.

    Often the excitement wears down for bridesmaids because it's all the bride wants to talk about.

    I had a huge falling out with a friend because she moved away, got back with an ex, and got engaged in a very short time frame. I wasn't as excited for her as she wanted, but the only time she'd talk to me she was never interested in my life. She would give very short responses when I asked how life was going, and it was basically like she was fishing/setting me up to ask how wedding planning was going so she could go into all the details.

    So just keep in mind that these are supposed to be the people you're closest to in life, and you want to keep your friendship alive for the next 30+ years.

    • Reply
  • L
    Lady ·
    • Flag

    I paid for dresses, hair and makeup. I would have paid for lodging had any of them needed it (they lived in the town the wedding was held in).

    If you don't pay for dresses you should ask each of them individually what their budget is before you pick one. "budget friendly" to you may not be the same as budget friendly to them!

    You don't have to pay for hair and makeup unless you're asking them to get it done.

    • Reply
  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag

    I picked the website and color of dress I wanted and let them pick the design. They're paying for their dress, and can wear whatever nude color shoes they want. I offered to pay for hair & makeup, but my ladies refused. (at the least, if you're requiring them to get it done professionally, offer to pay. At the most, pay for it). They're also paying for their hotel expense, and splitting bachelorette party costs.

    I basically got really lucky with my bridal party. Every time I've offered to pay for something, they've refused and have told me that they won't allow it lol. Although I do plan on paying for their drinks/dinner one night on the bach trip, and any ubers we have to take! (I won't tell them lol, because again...they'll pay me back or refuse).

    Just make sure you communicate well with everyone! I highly suggest a group message so that everyone receives the same message. Speak with each member to confirm what budget they feel the most comfortable with. Some people might be fine spending $100+ for a dress, other won't. Also keep in mind that no matter what, no one will be as excited about your big day as you. So don't feel bad or like they're being awful friends if they don't act as excited or invested as you think they should.

    • Reply
  • B
    Devoted August 2022
    Bride2Be ·
    • Flag
    They are making a commitment to be a part of your wedding and you are not obligated to pay for any of their things unless you just really want to. I’m not requiring my girls to pay to have their makeup done but I will be letting them know how much it would cost if they want to do it. And trust me they will want to do it so they will pay whatever you tell them. And if they don’t wanna pay for it then they will be responsible for doing their own or having it done elsewhere , but again, they will do it because they won’t want to be the only one not doing it and usually will have plenty of time to save up for whatever they will need to buy (dress, travel, hair/makeup, etc) most people know what it takes to be in a wedding party and even for my first one I just did whatever the bride told me to do and I appreciated the guidance and knowing it was exactly what she wanted! I hope this helps!
    • Reply
  • L
    Lisa ·
    • Flag
    The bridal party pays for their dress and should give you their budget for a dress. Go with the lowest dollar amount and choose a dress with this in mind. Shoes and accessories, if specific name brand dictated by the bride, should be paid for by the bride. Otherwise give a color and let them wear what’s comfortable. Accessories...no one will see it unless you’re super close to them. Either gift it or let them choose. Hair and makeup; if you’re dictating a certain style and makeup look, you coordinate with an artist and pay. Make it easy for all involved and let them do their own. If they want an artist, help coordinate and keep those wanting it in the loop. Those getting it done are responsible for all monies paid (if you are not requiring it). Travel/rental car/hotel are bridal party responsibilities. You pay for required looks, their bouquets, and any meals/beverages the day of ceremony (breakfast/lunch/snacks). If it’s within your budget, paying for their ride to/from airport and hotel room would be very thoughtful.
    • Reply
  • R
    Savvy June 2022
    Rebecca ·
    • Flag

    I think its fair to get the bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses, but you should keep their budget and finances in mind. Don't make a college student pay $1000 for her dress. If you are requiring them to have their hair and makeup done, you should offer to pay for that as well. Any jewelry or specific shoe should also be yours to pay.

    • Reply
  • Jacks
    Master November 2054
    Jacks ·
    • Flag

    Bridesmaids pay their dresses, within a previously arranged budget. If you're requiring formal hair and makeup that's up to you to pay. If it's truly their choice then they pay. If you want specific shoes or accessories then you will need to offer to pay.

    Wedding party members are not obliged to pay for anything else. Everything else ie showers, bachelorettes etc is optional and is a gift from them to you.

    Travel and accommodation is the responsibility of each guest.

    • Reply

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