Sarah
Just Said Yes January 2022

Pay for bridesmaid dress vs. hair/makeup?

Sarah, on April 15, 2021 at 12:36 AM Posted in Etiquette and Advice 0 12
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I can budget for either a dress or hair/makeup for my bridesmaids.

If I am paying for the dress, I want them to select from some options. If not, I don't care if they get their own dress as long as they clear it with me so it matches the others.

If I am paying for the hair/makeup, I want to make an appointment for them so I have some control over costs. If not, they can do whatever (do their own or get it done professionally somewhere else). I should note that I'm planning on having my hair/makeup done on my own at my stylist's home where there is not room for other people.

Should I offer them the choice of which they'd like me to cover, or does this make things confusing? Which is the better one to pay for-dress or hair/makeup?


12 Comments

Latest activity by Grace, on April 15, 2021 at 1:55 PM
  • Catherine
    Expert March 2023
    Catherine ·
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    Usually part of being a bridesmaid is paying for the dress the bride picks out and showing up. So paying for the dress is already sort of implied as a bridesmaid thing. I would offer to pay for everyone’s make up. That would be incredibly kind of you to do! And you can still tell them what dress to wear lol
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  • mrswinteriscoming
    Rockstar December 2021
    mrswinteriscoming ·
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    I second this.

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  • K
    Savvy August 2020
    Kres ·
    • Flag

    I am paying for dress and HMU. I want them to be comfortable so they're on their own for shoes, just as long as they go with the color I choose that matches their dress. This goes for jewelry, too.

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  • J
    Expert May 2021
    Jaime ·
    • Flag

    I decided to pay for hair and makeup and they will be getting services from HMU's who will be coming to the getting ready room. I am not a stickler for it, but everyone loved the idea of getting it done that morning so I decided to treat. As for dresses, I did not pay but I let them pick any style they wanted in a range of colors (we are doing shades of blue). That way everyone got to pick what they felt comfortable in. I didn't require any specific shoes or jewelry and encouraged them to use what they have if it works.

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  • Sarah
    Master September 2019
    Sarah Online ·
    • Flag
    Between the two I would choose hair and makeup, but I do think it would be a little odd to control where they go for hair and makeup but not get yours done with them. Could you find an average for your area and offer to put that much toward their hair and makeup and if they choose someone more expensive they’ll cover the additional cost?
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  • SHY
    Master January 2022
    SHY ·
    • Flag

    I would offer to pay for the hair and makeup. Wedding party members tend to go in with the assumption that they'll be paying for their outfit, so offering to pay for hair and makeup is a better idea!

    What I did was send a link to my ladies of the hair and mua I wanted to use. They all agreed that they liked their prices and the overall quality of their work, then I got a tally of who all wanted hair done and who all wanted makeup done. I got lucky with my sweet ladies because they refused when I offered to pay lol. But I suggest searching for hair and mua in your area and sending them to your bridal party to see what they think! The easiest thing to do would be for them to vote on which one they like the best, that way you don't have several different vendors for just one service.

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  • Ava
    VIP May 2022
    Ava ·
    • Flag
    I am going to go against the grain here, and say I would pay for the dress! Since you are not requiring professional hair and make up to be done, your girls will probably just opt to do their own, which means they wouldn’t have anything paid for by you, or they will have a service paid for by you that they were not planning on getting. Whereas you know for sure every girl will need to purchase a dress. I would purchase the item you know for sure everyone will have to pay for, and let them decide if they would like to pay for professional HMU or just do their own. Not only will that be easier for you (you get a say in the dress you are paying for, so you know you will like them. And you don’t have to shop around for affordable HMUAs and make appointments for the BMs, and either front of the cost of the deposit or have to worry about collecting money from them to cover it). Plus, this put you in the position of graciously not requiring your bridesmaids to pay for anything to be in your wedding (since paying for HMU would be optional), which I think is always the proper thing to do since they are your guests of honor and are being forced to purchase a dress strictly for your event.
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  • L
    Lady ·
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    I agree with this. I would 100% pay for the dress, especially if you're not going to get your hair and makeup done with them. IMO, that's most of the fun - i don't really care about having that done if the bride doesn't but it would awesome to have the dress paid for even if I have fewer choices (sometimes that's way easier and less overwhelming anyway).

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  • A
    Expert June 2021
    Allie ·
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    I totally agree with Ava on this!! Just because it's "expected" or "assumed" that BMs are gonna have to pay for a BM dress to wear to the wedding....doesn't mean it should be like that (if it doesn't have to be / if the bride graciously offers to cover it). Also, Ava points out some really great logistical points I would not have considered!!

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  • M
    VIP January 2019
    Maggie ·
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    I'm just chiming in to second (fourth!) this vote. If I were your bridesmaid, this is what I would choose. I also think it would be simpler on you to just pay for dresses instead of HMU (easier logistically).

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  • Michelle
    Rockstar October 2022
    Michelle ·
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    I agree with this. Especially if you have anyone not familiar with the area and no clue where to go or how to get there. Just have the beauty team meet you in one location to do everyone together

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  • Grace
    Super February 2022
    Grace ·
    • Flag
    I would say pay for the dresses since you are OK with the girls doing their own hair and makeup. Simpler for you and the least amount of hassle involved for everyone. You don't have to fuss with finding HMU people in the area or appointment times and schedules. Either way, it is generous of you to help pay. Being a bridesmaid can get expensive sometimes and the bride doesn't always acknowledge that or take it into account when making plans.
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