You’re getting married—congratulations!
You’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid—yay!
To the bride and her bridesmaids, the hard part’s over now. The bride has chosen which of her besties will assemble on the Big Day to march down the aisle, take their place beside her, and witness her dedicating her undying, unconditional love to the man of her dreams.
Now comes the hard part.
The part you never like to talk about:
We know you never like to talk about the down and dirty details of money and who pays for what, ladies—this is why you
- Get separate checks even when you’ve ordered the same exact meal (salad with goat cheese crumbles and a cup of soup followed by a slice of peanut butter pie—oh, that sounds good, I’ll have the same exact thing!).
- Fake argue about whose turn it is to treat and then fawn all over the one who paid (thank you so much, sweetie! You didn’t have to treat me. Lunch was delicious, I loved spending time with you, and I’ll treat you next time. No, really, you have to let me treat you next time. You didn’t have to ad nauseam.)
- Replay the same scenarios every time you grab a bite with a gal pal.
So, guess what? We’ve made the awkward, uncomfortable who-pays-for-what-for-the-wedding conversation super easy and streamlined for all of you. Scroll down to find out what you need to shell out for and what you don’t, along with some handy tips for handling the grey areas.
Bride pays for:
- Attendant gifts—these can be anything from a beautiful picture frame to a spa treatment to a lovely shawl or scarf they could wear on the wedding day and for years to come.
- Your own hair and makeup and any other beauty regimen
- The corsages and bouquets for your bridesmaids (whoever is paying the florist will pay for these)
- Transportation to the wedding (that is if you’re planning on having all of the girls show up in a limo, town cars, or even the trolley!)
- Any part of the bridesmaids’ attire that requires uniformity—except for the dress. For instance, if you’re asking the girls to have their makeup done professionally, you need to foot that bill. The same goes for instances where you want them to all have the same exact up-do, or an identical jewellery set, or specially ordered shoes from the bridal boutique. (Asking for black pumps or a metallic sandal isn’t the same—those could be purchased at Payless! We’re talking about the dyed-to-match-the-dress shoes and the like here.)
Tips for brides:
- If you are happy to pay for a service (e.g. nails or hair), then let your bridesmaids know! Keep them in the loops. A simple, “Hey girls, I’m getting a French pedicure and would love for your toes to look just as cute on the wedding day! I’m happy to spring for you to have one, too, as long as you let me know that you want that appointment” will do the trick.
- If you know that one of your best friends is experiencing a financial hardship that might otherwise prevent her from participating in your wedding party and you can’t bear the thought of her not standing with you, talk with your fiancé and see what you can do to lighten the load for this friend. Maybe that’s buying her dress, letting her stay with friends or family in town so she won’t have to pay for a hotel—maybe it’s just putting gas in the car. It might be all of those things. Consider how you can help on the q.t. and let her know that you want her there!
- Consider gifting the bridesmaids their wedding day jewellery as their attendant gift.
Bridesmaid pays for:
- Your own hotel and travel expenses
- Your dress, shoes, and jewellery (unless the bride gifts you the jewellery, see above)
- Bridal shower costs (typically split among the ‘maids)—even though the maid of honour will be the main event planner for this event, you’re part of her team, and that means you need to show up and chip in. If your current wallet is a bit thin or you’re simply on a tight budget, speak up and have no shame in your game—ask if you can brainstorm ways to make the shower more affordable for everyone, and if she doesn’t budge, just contribute what you can.
- A bridal shower gift
Tips for bridesmaids:
- Consider sharing a hotel room with other members of the bridal party to help lessen the oftentimes-extreme costs of being a bridesmaid—better yet, see if you can split an affordable rental (like an AirBnB) with some of the girls for an even greater savings.
- Splitting costs is the name of the bridesmaid game. Share when you can: go in on a gift together, carpool to events, potluck the bridal shower if it’s going to be something like a tea or a cocktail party.
- Speak up early on in the wedding planning process if money’s tight. Imagine that the wedding is in April and you tell the bride that you’re essentially dropping out of the wedding on St. Patrick’s Day. That is devastating news for her—she’s counted on you all this time, and she chose you specifically as one of her tribe! Clear communication from the get-go makes the path down the aisle for you and for her so much easier.
Written by C. Farley for The Wedding Planning Store