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What Does The Maid Of Honor Pay For? [& What They Shouldn’t]

Being asked to be the Maid of Honor at your bestie’s wedding can be the best thing ever, but it can come at a little financial cost. Let’s be honest; those finance conversations with the bride can feel a little awkward. Sometimes, depending on the relationship you have with the bride, they can even feel fraught. But what is she expected to pay for, and where do her financial duties lie? Here is all you are going to want to know without the need for that challenging conversation. 

So, what does the maid of honor pay for? Generally, a maid of honor will be responsible for purchasing her outfit for the wedding day, sharing the bridal shower and bachelorette bill, any hotel stays or travel needed, and even their hair and makeup. It can vary from one wedding to the other and can depend on the financial position the bride and groom are in.

Accepting this position at a wedding, unless you are doing very well, can require a bit of thought before you agree. 

It’s essential that you can afford all the financial expectations your bride may have – without being unable to pay this month’s rent!

Let us delve now into the typical and traditional financial responsibilities of the maid of honor, so you know exactly what to expect. And plan for. 

The Maid Of Honors Financial Responsibilities 

Depending on the bride, her financial situation, and the actual design of the wedding, there are a few things you can expect to pay for as the maid of honor. 

Depending on the bride, some of these she may actually have accounted for in her wedding budget, but it’s a good idea to expect these costs so you are not surprised when some bill pops up that you thought the bride would pay for. 

Wedding Attire

Commonly, the maid of honor (and the rest of the bridal party) will usually be expected to purchase their own outfits for the big day. 

However, it’s not always as simple as purchasing a dress and skipping on your merry way. 

You will need to take into consideration the color themes and aesthetic desires the bride may have for her wedding.

The costs you may face when purchasing your wedding day outfit are:

  • Dress Purchase
  • Dress Alterations
  • Shoes
  • Accessories – Jewellery, Bags, etc.

Some brides may actually factor into their wedding budget the outfits for their maid of honor and bridal party, but it’s more common for the bride to gift an accessory or a piece of jewelry. This isn’t always the case, though.

In some weddings, the Maid of Honor may be additionally spoilt and may get something a little bit extra, but again, it is not to be expected. 

Bridal Shower

With the responsibility of being the maid of honor comes the bridal shower. 

You will be expected to split the cost of this event with the rest of the bridal shower. 

This will usually involve decoration costs, food costs, room hire, activities, and entertainment if you have that planned as well. 

The two most costly parts of a bridal shower are usually hiring a room or even an air b’n’b if you need more room for a large number of guests, and the entertainment can also be pricey. 

You’ll also want to consider how long the shower will last. 

If it’s only for a couple of hours, it may be cheaper to book a venue that does hourly rates rather than having to book out the venue for an entire day or even two if there are a lot of decorations that need to be put up the day before.

It’s completely fine to ask the mothers of the bride and groom if they wish to contribute also, but don’t expect to receive a yes. 

Also, be prepared for bridal party members who either don’t want to chip in or can’t afford to even if they would like to.

Bachelorette Party

For the bachelorette party, the bride won’t be expected to pay anything. 

This responsibility is solely on the maid of honor and the bridal party.

It’s the maid of honors job to arrange the bachelorette, and you will want to keep in mind the financial constraints of everyone else. 

If a destination bachelorette is planned, each individual bridal party member will be expected to cover their own costs and also a little extra to cover the bride. 

You’ll want to make sure that you’ve discussed how all bills will be split with the bridal party beforehand to avoid any uncomfortable situations when it is too late. 

Bachelorettes that are held much closer to home can be cheaper, but you may decide to book a holiday home or apartment to keep the fun going after the bars have closed. 

You will also need to factor in travel costs and whether you are planning a meal before hitting the town or if you are going straight into the drinking fun.


The maid of honor will be expected to bring a gift for both the bridal shower and the bachelorette unless, of course, the bride has already said she doesn’t want to receive anything. 

However, because you have already spent a lot of money, these gifts don’t have to be a pricey affair. 

Something small and thoughtful is always enough.

If your bride has a gift registry, you can use this if you have no idea what the bride would love to receive, and usually, there are gifts on the list to suit all budgets.

Hotel & Travel

This is another one that isn’t just on the maid of honors shoulders, but every member of the bridal party. 

You should expect to have to pay for any travel involved in the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and even the wedding. This can include overnight stay costs as well in some cases.

However, it is common for the bride to want her bridal party to stay in her bridal suite the night before the wedding so you can save a few dollars on this night’s stay, and it may mean you only need to account for one night stay if the events are extended past or even before the wedding day. 

Hair & Makeup

Unless the bride has gifted her bridal party their hair and makeup for the wedding day, you will be expected to pay for this yourself. 

Most brides will include these costs for professional hair and makeup for the bridal party in the actual wedding budget.

However, sometimes budgets are tight, and they can be stretched that far.

So, it’s always good to assume this is a cost you will have to foot, and then if it turns out that isn’t expected of you. 

Well, you’ve saved a little bit of money.

What Should The Maid Of Honor Not Pay For?

The Maid of Honor should not pay for any venue costs, decorations, or wedding day suppliers such as the photographer, videographer, or caterers.

Unless you have agreed with the bride beforehand or offered a little finical help, anything outside the list above is usually what the maid of honor should not be responsible for. 

The only exception to this is if you, as the maid of honor, have offered to pay for anything outside of a maid of honor’s typical financial responsibilities.

Such as paying for the photographer instead of giving gifts at the bridal shower or the bachelorette party. 

Is Being Maid Of Honor Expensive?

Being the maid of honor is generally expensive. How expensive will depend on a number of factors such as the expectations of the bride, the amount you are willing to spend, and how much everyone else will chip in when it comes to wedding events like the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. 

If you agree to be a maid of honor, it’s important to set realistic expectations between yourself and the bride. 

Find out what she wants and needs, and then be honest about how much you can afford to spend on the run-up and the big day itself. 

How Much Does It Cost To Be A Maid Of Honor?

The average cost to be a Maid of Honor is between $1,000-1,600. This is assuming that the typical wedding day traditions are followed.

Of course, there are so many factors that can decide how much it can cost to be a maid of honor, and it can range dramatically.

However, I suppose you want some real crunch-type numbers to at least get a rough idea.

Okay. Look at it this way, assuming that every responsibility on the list is yours, you can look at around $150 for your dress, $60 for your shoes, and say another $50 for accessories – so we’re at $260 already.

When it comes to the bridal shower, if you hold it in the bride’s home or even her mother’s house, you can save a fortune.

Conservatively you’re still looking at anywhere from $200 – $400.

Now for the bachelorette. If it’s a destination party, think Mexico or Barbados, this can easily amount to $1000.

If it’s local, it can still cost you quite a bit – even on local travel ($25-50), drinks ($25-$125), food ($25-$50), and perhaps even accommodation ($100-$200).

Wedding gifts can go from anywhere in the range of $20 to $300, depending on your budget and what you want to give to the bride.

So, as you can see. 

Even this conservative estimate brings you to anywhere around $1500, and that can be a real financial hit for some of us. 

These costs can really make or break for some of the bridal party members, so, as said before, it’s so important to have these discussions with the bride and bridal party before anything concrete is set. 

Being the maid of honor may be pricey at times, but it can be the most fantastic experience as well. 

As long as it doesn’t break the bank, however that may look for you, enjoy every moment. 

And if it does get too much, then you may just have to have that difficult conversation; or at least scale back a bit.

Besides, there’s come a time when enough is enough. The bride should respect that. 

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