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What Do Bridesmaids Pay For? [& What They Shouldn’t]

Joining your friend to celebrate their wedding day as a bridesmaid is incredibly exciting. You get to revel in all the giggles and even some of the stresses, all while supporting someone you love. However, sometimes being a bridesmaid is more than putting on a pretty dress and walking down the aisle arm in arm with a member of the groom’s party. Sometimes, it can come with a bit of a financial whack. But how much exactly and what does the average bride need to pay for? Here is everything you are going to want to know and consider.

So, what do bridesmaids pay for? Bridesmaids typically pay for their own wedding outfits and share the costs of the bridal shower and bachelorette should they be planned and organized. That being said, every wedding is different. Some brides may have included these costs into their wedding budget, and the bridesmaids won’t be expected to help out. 

Making sure that you are aware of exactly what costs you will be responsible for is the number one thing you should do before even agreeing to take the role as a bridesmaid. 

Still, it’s always good to have a rough idea of what the bride may have in mind before this conversation arises. 

Read on to find out what you may be expected to pay, what you definitely should not pay for, and how expensive being a bridesmaid can be.

A Bridesmaids Financial Responsibilities

Being asked to pay for certain wedding-related things can feel awkward, don’t worry, it’s just as awkward for the bride. 

Weddings nowadays are heavily shying away from traditions which can make these conversations even more confusing. 

Whereas weddings of the 90s and back would all generally follow a very similar pattern, more modern weddings have a more loose and free blueprint and working out what you need to pay for can be a little trickier.

Having a good idea of what bills you may be asked to pay is always a good place to start and can help to take a little bit of the pressure off.

Wedding Day Outfit

Oftentimes, the bridesmaids are expected to fork out the dough for their entire wedding day outfits. 

So, this can include the dress itself, shoes, jewelry, and any other accessories.

The bride’s expectations can also send the dollars skyrocketing very quickly. There may be a color scheme, a specific aesthetic the bride wants, or even a full-on theme.

But with the shedding of tradition, many brides have begun to include these costs into their overall wedding budget – but don’t expect it; this is something that will usually be covered during first bridesmaid talks. 

You may even find that the bride wants to, at the very least, gift her bridal party their wedding jewelry. 

Such as a personalized necklace or bracelet that matches their dresses. 

Bridal Shower

Although traditionally, the bridal shower was the full responsibility of the maid of honor, as time has gone on, prices have gone up, and expectations have increased.

Now it’s more expected for the bridesmaids to also chip in and help with the costs. 

These costs generally include everything from venue hire, catering, decorations, and even entertainment if you decide to plan some. 

It’s not unheard of for the mother of the bride, and even the mother of the groom, to also foot some of the bills sometimes, but this isn’t always the case.

Hair & Makeup

This can be a bit of a controversial one.

If the bride specifically requests that you get your hair done by her chosen hair and makeup professional, she should be covering those wedding costs. 

However, it is usually the responsibility of the bridesmaid to cover these costs herself in most other circumstances. 

The bride may have already factored in these costs herself, but if not, you will have to dig deep and pay your own professional or do your hair and makeup yourself. 

If you are doing it yourself, it’s a great excuse to spoil yourself with some brand new make and hair products.

Read more: Does The Bride Pay For Bridesmaids Hair And Makeup?


With weddings come gifts. 

As a bridesmaid, you will have to purchase both a wedding gift and also a bridal shower gift. 

Most brides set up a gift registry, so this can be an excellent source of gift ideas if you are unsure of what the bride may actually like to receive. 

Some bridal showers incorporate a fun’ lingerie swap’ element, so the bridal shower gift may not have to be as pricey as you may think. 

When it comes to the wedding gift, you may have to spend a little more, especially if you decide to go with a gift from the registry. 

However, most registries will include gifts for a variety of price points.

So if you are a little strapped for cash, you shouldn’t have an issue finding something that actually suits your budget.

Bachelorette Party

Destination bachelorettes are becoming more and more popular, but they are more expensive than bachelorettes that are held closer to home. 

When it comes to the bachelorette, much like the bridal shower, you will be responsible for travel, accommodation, decorations, catering, restaurant bookings, and anything else you and the rest of the bridal party may plan. 

It’s usually the responsibility of the maid of honor to plan the majority of the bachelorette, but you will have to pay your own way, and also a little extra to cover the bride. 

However, gifts aren’t expected for the bachelorette party, just your presence for what should be a night of awesome fun and excitement.

What Should The Bridesmaids Not Pay For?

Things a bridesmaid should not pay for include any of the large wedding costs, including the photographer, the wedding day catering, and even the wedding decorations. 

If you are staying with the bride the night before the wedding in a bridal suite, then this expense should really be covered by the bride herself, and usually, the bride will also cover travel to the wedding itself, too.

There are a few things that you may not have to pay for depending on what the bride has budgeted for, such as the hair and makeup professionals.

If the bride specifically requests that you have your hair and makeup done by a professional, she really should cover this. 

However, if you are informed that she hasn’t got the budget to cover it, you should be able to either do it yourself or choose your own hair and makeup professional.

Do Bridesmaids Pay For Their Own Dresses?

Some bridesmaids will pay for their own dresses; others do not. It depends on the finances of the bride and groom or family members who may want to offer this as a gift. 

If the bride has big extravagant ideas for her bridal party’s attire, maybe she even has a specific designer or dress in mind already, then it should be her responsibility to cover the cost of the dress. 

This is more of common courtesy and is not always the way things go.

More often than not, the bridesmaids are expected to at least put a portion of money towards the dresses or foot the entire bill.

But in many cases, the bride will only have a color theme in mind and may like for you to run your chosen dress by her before you purchase just to make sure it will work well with all the other bridesmaids for things like the photos and any videos that may be taken.

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

Is Being A Bridesmaid Expensive?

Being a bridesmaid is generally considered a little expensive. Although, the total amount a bridesmaid is expected to pay can vary dramatically from wedding to wedding and depends on several factors. 

Your budget alone will dictate how much you can spend but also things like whether the bachelorette is a destination trip, the dress you decide upon, whether you do your hair yourself or pay a professional, and even the gifts you decide upon can alter how much it’s going to cost you.

You should first consider how much you can actually afford to spend on being a bridesmaid and then convey this to the bride. 

There’s no shame in not being able to afford the bride’s expectations; you just need to make sure this is a conversation you have very early on in the planning stages.

This way, if you decide not to be a bridesmaid because of cost reasons that the bride isn’t left hanging. 

She may even change her ideas for her bridesmaids if she realizes what she’s asking for is just too far out of her bridesmaid’s budget.

How Much Does It Cost To Be A Bridesmaid?

A good estimate would be around $1000-$1500 for all the costs involved in being a bridesmaid. However, as I said before, this could cost more or even far less depending on the type of wedding, bachelorette, and even bridal shower you are attending. Some brides even cut the bridal shower from their festivities altogether. 

I’m not going to lie; being a bridesmaid isn’t going to be dollar store cheap, but if you are on a budget, it can be easily done. 

Being a bridesmaid is all about having fun and supporting the bride through one of the most exciting times of her life. 

As long as conversations around finances are kept clear and had early on, you should be hit with any money-related surprises further down the line.

Are you wondering who else is expected to foot the bill? Then my other guides may be of interest: