What the Bridal Party Should and Shouldn’t Pay For

An Indian bride and groom surrounded by their bridal party dressed in orange and red colors.

Being in a wedding is quite an honor, as the bride and groom ask only their closest friends and family to stand up with them on this big day in their life. With that said, being a bridesmaid or groomsman can become a hefty expense. To counter that, planning and throwing a wedding can be quite an expense for a couple, so are they really expected to pay for everything? There are common misconceptions surrounding what a bridal party should be paying for, so we clear that up below.

Bridal Shower

A commonly questioned expense specifically for bridesmaids surrounds the bridal shower. This expense really depends on who is officially hosting the shower. In some cases, the bridesmaids may decide to collectively host the event. If so, the shower expenses would be split between the women. However, in many cases, there are alternate hosts from the mother of the bride or the mother of the groom to a family friend, in which case the bridesmaids are not expected to pay for the shower and would attend as regular guests.

Bachelorette and Bachelor Party Expenses

Four women drinking champagne on a rooftop at a bachelorette party.

It’s commonly questioned what the bridesmaids and groomsmen are to pay for when it comes to bachelorette and bachelor parties. This can be tricky as it depends on what type of party it is. Each person, regardless of the type of party, should pay for their own necessary travel and expenses for the party. If the celebration is local, it’s customary for the bridal party to pitch in to cover the bride’s or groom’s expenses for the party. However, if the party is a destination affair that lasts several days, the bridal party should collectively choose one night to cover the bride’s or groom’s tab, rather than doing so for the entire vacation.

Bridal Party Attire

Bridesmaids and groomsmen are obviously required to wear a specific type of outfit for the big day. While these dresses and suits certainly range in price points, they’re typically something the bridal party is expected to pay for themselves. As the couple getting married, be sure to take price into consideration when selecting what your bridal party will wear. It’s common courtesy to choose clothing that’s within a comfortable price range for your bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Shoes and Accessories

Groomsmen sitting on a brick wall and showing off their neon socks.

Other expenses that the bridal party is expected to pay for include shoes and accessories to go with the wedding day outfits. It’s standard for brides or grooms to give general direction on accessories to help make the bridal party look cohesive, but if the bride and/or groom are dictating exactly what jewelry or accessory to wear, such as a statement necklace or tie, it’s common to give the item as a gift to each person.

Bridesmaid Hair and Makeup

Whether or not bridesmaids should pay for their own hair and makeup is another commonly debated expense. This is another instance, however, that can be conditional. If the bride is giving her bridal party the option to have professional hair and makeup done, the maids should pay for their own services (unless it’s a gift from the bride). However, if the bride is requiring her bridesmaids to have their hair and makeup done, it’s expected that the bride pay for or at least chip in for this.

Bouquets and Boutonnieres

Groomsmen wearing dark suits and boutonnieres made with greenery.

It’s also commonly questioned who pays for those beautiful bridal party florals, including bouquets and boutonnieres. This is paid for by whoever is footing the florist bill. Bridal party florals are not a standard expense that falls on bridesmaids or groomsmen.

Travel Expenses and Hotel Rooms

Travel, a hotel stay, or both is something that the bridal party is expected to pay for themselves, just like every other wedding guest. While in some cases the bride and groom have their entire wedding party stay with them or offer rooms at someone’s house to crash, that is definitely the exception rather than the rule.

Bridesmaid “Getting Ready” Attire

Bridesmaids getting ready before a wedding wearing matching robes and applying makeup.

It’s quite common these days for the bride and her bridesmaids to get ready together on the day of the wedding with the photographer present to capture the fun moment. For that reason, many brides like for their gals to wear matching outfits. If this is the case, it’s encouraged that the bride gift her friends the outfit she’d like each of them to wear for that occasion, whether it’s matching robes or other cute loungewear.


Bridesmaids and groomsmen may wonder if they should still give the couple a gift on their wedding day after spending an abundance of money to participate in the wedding itself. The answer to that question is: Yes! Even if you can’t spend much on a wedding gift, at the least give a greeting card and small gift that’s customary and polite.
Being in a wedding and throwing a wedding cost quite a bit of money. Know what you’re getting into budget-wise from each side so that you can be well prepared for this venture.
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