Who Pays For What? Bride Pays vs. Bridesmaids Pay

A Guide to Who Pays For What for Your Wedding- Bride or Bridesmaids?

You, the bride, aren’t the only one who said ‘Yes’ when committing to this marriage. Your besties did, too when they agreed to stand by your side as your bridesmaids! It’s a big job, with big responsibilities and that does come with a cost. So, before money becomes an issue, things get awkward with your friends and tempers flare – let’s dish on the details about who pays for what up front – that way no one’s confused! 

Bachelorette Party: Bridesmaids Pay

This is one of those wedding events where the bridesmaids shine, take the lead and throw an unforgettable party! Who wouldn’t love to do that? Don’t let this be a downer, embrace this role! Bottom line, whether it’s a fun night out on the town or a weekend get-away, this is a group activity so everyone will chip in! 

If you are traveling, you, as the bride, do not have to feel obligated that your friends should pay your way. Let them know you’re an equal when it comes to travel expenses and allow them to shower you with suggestive presents and cocktails! Just be open about your expectations and keep an open dialogue if anyone does have concerns. Remember, it’s your turn right now. That’s the beauty of life, soon enough, the roles will be reversed! 

bride and bridesmaids on morning of wedding day

Bridesmaid Dress: Bridesmaids Pay 

This shouldn’t come as a shocker to anyone. It’s pretty standard that the bridal party will pay for what they wear on your wedding day. The key here is, while you’re picking it out, make sure it’s somewhat affordable for everyone. Just because you’re not dishing out the money for it, doesn’t mean there’s an endless budget. No one should have to go broke to walk down an aisle.

BONUS: Just as budgets are different between friends, so are body types! To make sure bridesmaids of all budgets and styles are accounted for, you could go for a mismatched look and simply have each girl pick out their own dress following a specific color palette, of course. That way they can shop for brands and price ranges that they’re comfortable with, and you get a fashion-forward squad on your wedding day! 

bride's first look with her bridesmaids

Hair & Makeup: Depends… there are options 

This expense could really go either way. Obvi, your girls want to look their best (I mean, potentially hundreds of eyes could be on them!) but let’s face it, the stakes are higher for you! You want everyone to look picture perfect on your wedding day for… well… pictures! It’s not out of the norm to have your bridesmaids pay for the beauty work they want done but some brides opt to contribute or make certain things optional! There are a few different scenarios: 

  1. Require them to get hair & make up done, pay for a portion
  2. Require them to get hair done, makeup optional (on their dime)
  3. Pay for their hair, makeup optional (on their dime)
  4. Makeup & hair option, allow to do on their own 
bride and bridesmaids after getting hair and makeup done

Bouquets: Bride Pays

Chalk bouquets up to being a part of your total floral budget. Bottom line, is not an expense for your bridal party. Their bouquets are part tradition, part style statement and will not only compliment your bouquet but floral arrangements that will fill your reception venue. Consider them an extension of your decor, therefore, it’s on you to pay.

With that being said, you don’t have to break the bank. Ask your florist to make your bridesmaids’ bouquets simpler, smaller, more greenery-heavy versions of your own, which won’t cut down on texture or interest, but will trim the price tag. And of course, think long and hard about how many ladies you want standing by your side—the more you have, the higher the bottom line!

bride and bridesmaids throwing bouquets

Hotel Accommodations: Bridesmaids Pay (Most of the time)

Can you say ‘discounted rate’? That’s your life saver! Most hotels will offer a couple a block of rooms priced at a special rate during weddings because they want as many guests as possible, right? So, right away you don’t have to feel guilt about your guests or members of your bridal party hanging out late night because those discounts are typically significant. Even if you’re having a destination wedding, yes, it would be nice to treat your girls to an all-expenses-paid getaway during your wedding weekend  but everyone (hopefully) understands that you and your partner have a big enough tab to pick up. 

Wedding Day Transportation: Bride Pays

You may be able to get away with everyone pitching in on a limo for the bachelorette party but when it comes to the wedding day, the ‘day of’ transportation is on the bride and groom. Depending on how your wedding day plays out, you may not need the limo for very long anyway! You can always ask friends to bring drinks of their choice, but make sure it’s stocked with ice, champagne and snacks to keep your bridal party fueled throughout the day. 

bride and bridesmaids at meadow brook hall


As the bride, you’ll be getting tokens of appreciation for a lot of people you love, thanking them for their help along the way, bridesmaids included. Be thoughtful and generous when it comes to picking out these presents, you want this to be a momento your bridesmaids will cherish from your special day. Put as much heart into picking out these presents as you put into picking out anything else for your wedding and they’ll never think twice about who spent what on your big day, because they’ll just be too busy being glad they were there to share it with you!


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