Does The Bride Pay For Bridesmaid Dresses? [Or Other Expenses?]

Planning a wedding involves the consideration of quite a few costs. The venue, the catering, the wedding invitations, the floral arrangements – these are just some of the most obvious examples. For these, it is the bridal couple who will typically expect to cover it. But what about the bridesmaids and their dresses? Should the bride be covering these expenses? Upon researching the topic, here is what is recommended.

So, does the bride pay for bridesmaid dresses? Traditionally, the bride does not pay for her bridesmaid’s dresses. Instead, it is expected that the bridesmaids will cover their own costs here. However, some brides do pay for the dresses if they are cheaper, at her request of specific style, and if she can afford to. Alternatively, some brides will pay for other expenses, such as accessories or for her bridesmaids hair and makeup.

Costs and finances are always a tricky one.

Especially if they involve several other people and we are already asking quite a bit of them. Besides, its not just the wedding day attire we require from our bridal party.

In reality, its much more than that. And this extends just the financial too – with time and responsibility involved too.

Nevertheless, it is a great honor and should always be a role that is cherished by either party.

While there is certainly tradition and etiquette involved, thankfully times have changed. Nowadays, its much easier to set your own rules and expectations, especially if financials are a concern for you.

So in this article, we’ll help you figure out who pays for what when it comes to your bridal party, so that everyone can set their expectations, and be more comfortable with what they’re paying.

Who Pays For The Bridesmaid Dresses?

Most wedding experts will tell you that bridesmaids will generally need to pay for their own dresses, as well as any other accompanying accessories and shoes.

This is partly why it is such a big deal when you ask your closet girlfriends to be your bridesmaids.

Not only are you asking them to celebrate with you and be your closest confidants, but you are also asking them to make a big financial commitment.

The truth is, it’s a big investment to be in someone’s bridal party.

Since you – the bride – are the one picking the bridesmaid dresses, it shows your thoughtfulness if you opt for more affordable options.

And thankfully, there are so many ways that you can dress up a bridal party without asking your bridesmaids to spend hundreds of dollars on dresses that they will only wear once.

For example, you can just set a color code and ask your bridesmaids to buy dresses in that color.

This dress code will allow your bridesmaids to show their personalities as well as pick affordable options for their budgets, and your bridal party will still have a unique yet customary look on your wedding day.

If you want a uniform look, you can share a more specific inspiration of the dress you have in mind, perhaps an off-shoulder dusty pink gown, and ask your bridesmaids to buy dresses similar to your pick.

Nowadays, you can find a wide range of bridesmaid dresses at every price point, so it will not be difficult to ask your bridesmaids to match a specific look while still staying within their budget.

If you want to pick a dress design for everyone in your bridal party, knowing that it is particularly expensive, it’s thoughtful to offer to share the cost of the bridesmaid dresses.

This is not the norm nor is it expected.

Sometimes, not every bridesmaid will need this generosity.

So if this sounds like something you may want to do, it is best to offer your assistance in private to each bridesmaid. This will help to avoid any embarrassment and unnecessary drama.

But, this gesture should make sure that every bridesmaid will be able to comfortably be a part of the bridal party, and you will still achieve the dream look for your wedding photos.

Some brides even offer to pay for all of the bridesmaid dresses, adding this cost to their wedding budget.

This is an incredibly generous gesture that’s not commonly seen.

You should only do this if your budget allows, and you should not feel pressured to budget for it, since it is not expected of the bride.

If you are in the fortunate financial position to be able to cover the cost of the bridesmaid dresses, knowing that it will alleviate the financial strain on your bridesmaids and allow them to participate in your wedding, then it is worth considering.

If you have exhausted all options and cannot find a feasible solution to help your bridesmaids afford the costs of participating in your bridal party, perhaps it is best to reconsider the person’s role in your wedding all together.

Asking someone to be your bridesmaid is a big financial ask, so if a friend is not comfortable paying for all the costs that being a bridesmaid entails, you should privately discuss the issue and find a better role for her in your wedding.

This will ensure that your friends are not being pressured into a financial commitment that they cannot afford, and you can still honor them in different ways at your wedding.

How Much Do Bridesmaid Dresses Cost?

There are so many ways that you can approach picking your bridesmaid dresses, so the cost of the dresses may range from $75 to nearly $1,000 for each dress.

Many designer dresses are quite costly,

So if you are picking a gown from an expensive designer, it can be quite a big financial burden on your bridesmaids.

Remember, you need to consider that your bridesmaids will likely only wear this dress once.

If you are choosing a design, and asking your bridesmaids to find a similar dress from different designers and outlets (that would match their body types and budgets), these types of dresses usually cost from $100 to $500.

If this is the case, your bridesmaids should share with you the dress they are picking before making the purchase.

This will make sure that these dresses are exactly what you have in mind and that your bridal party will achieve a uniform look.

Another great option for your bridal party is when you only have a color code for your bridal party – like pastel blue or dusty pink.

This way, the bridesmaids can choose a nice dress that they may already have or be able to get one much more cost effectively.

This option will potentially cost your bridesmaids very little, and it is perhaps the most versatile option for your bridal party.

If this is the case, do be sure to check with your bridesmaids about what they are wearing. You don’t want anything too casual, while still fitting with the overall theme of your wedding.

What Are Some Other Costs That Bridesmaids Will Have To Pay?

When we say that asking someone to be your bridesmaid is a big financial ask, we don’t just mean the cost of the bridesmaid dresses.

In addition to the dresses and the accompanying shoes, accessories, and jewelry, the bridesmaids are required to pay some additional expenses out of their own pocket if they commit to being in your bridal party.

Before your wedding day, your maid of honor is expected to plan and host your bridal shower and your bachelorette party, while your bridesmaids are expected to co-pay for the costs of these parties.

These parties can get expensive, especially if there are a venue and caterers involved. Of course, any shower gifts and wedding presents should be covered by them too. 

Your bridesmaids are also expected to pay for their own travel and accommodation if they have to travel to your wedding.

This cost may not be an issue if all of your bridesmaids live in the same city as you, but if a bridesmaid has to travel a long way, it can also be a substantial amount to pay.

What Does The Bride Pay For When It Comes To Bridesmaids?

As a bride, you are also expected to pay for a few things when it comes to your bridal party. This includes any corsages, bouquets, hair, and makeup.

Most of these requirements will ensure that your bridal party will have a uniform look, but they also are ways to show your appreciation and also help to make the logistics easier on your wedding day.

First of all, if you are requiring the bridesmaids to wear corsages or hold small bouquets, you are expected to buy them.

So, when you meet with the florist before your wedding to discuss the floral arrangements, you should also ask about corsages or bouquets for your bridesmaids too.

The bride is also expected to pay for the hair and makeup of their bridesmaids, especially if it is being done professionally.

Many brides go as far as requiring the same hairdo and makeup look for their bridesmaids, so it only makes sense for the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup to be done by the same hairstylist(s) and makeup artist(s).

Having a professional glam team is especially useful if some of your bridesmaids are not used to doing their own hair and makeup.

This step will also help to make sure that everyone looks in sync. Plus, being pampered with your girlfriends can be a fun bonding moment and help to build excitement in the morning!

However, this cost may be considered optional, especially if you don’t plan on hiring a professional glam team or you are already paying for other things (such as the dress).

Even the Duchess of Cambridge did her own hair and makeup for her wedding!

And here’s something else to consider; if your bridesmaids are doing their own hair and makeup, you will save a substantial amount on your wedding budget.

The night before the wedding, some brides opt to book a bridal suite at a hotel to spend time with their bridal party.

This arrangement is useful especially if you have to get up early in the morning to get hair and makeup ready, and it’s also super fun!

If you are booking the suite to share with your bridesmaids, you are expected to cover the cost for the night.

Depending on how casual or lavish your wedding is, these costs may vary greatly.

Finally

The cost of being someone’s bridesmaid can be a great financial burden, and as a bride, the cost of having a large bridal party can also cause some stress on the wedding budget.

Most brides opt to have three to seven bridesmaids in addition to the maid of honor, so depending on how big the bridal party is, you can budget these costs appropriately when you plan your wedding.

Financial stress is one of the greatest considerations when asking someone to be your bridesmaid, so you should weigh all of your options before popping the question to your closest friends.

If a friend is not in a financial standing to be your bridesmaid, you should not take it personally or pressure her.

Remember: what’s important is their presence at your wedding, whether or not they are in the bridal party.