Bride's Ask : Who pays for bridal party hair + makeup?

The Knot Says - "Though there's no traditional protocol to follow here, if you want your attendants to have their hair and makeup professionally done, it's a nice gesture to offer to pay for these services on the morning of the wedding. Think about it: The girls are already paying for their dresses, and, if they don't live in the city where the wedding is happening, they're covering for travel and accommodations too. Should they really be expected to pay for professional hair and makeup as well? If you can't afford to do this, or hair and makeup aren't a big deal to you (your friends manage to look pretty gorgeous on their own, don't they?), trust everyone to primp on their own. The results are sure to be fabulous whether you bring in a pro or don't."

Being asked to be a bridesmaid for a friend's wedding is exciting. But when the questions of travel, lodging, the bachelorette party and the wedding day itself arise, the bridesmaid may wonder, "Am I supposed to pay for that?" Money conversations are always awkward, but before you say yes to the honor of being a bridesmaid, it's important to understand what expenses each party is expected to pay.

Traditionally, bridesmaids are expected to pay for the following:


  • Wedding attire and accessories. This includes the dress (which will most likely be picked by the bride), alterations, shoes and other adornments.
  • Transportation to and from the wedding town or city
  • Gift for the couple (can purchase individually or contribute to a group gift)
  • Share in the cost of a bridesmaids' gift to the bride (optional)
  • Bachelorette party attendance cost (optional)


These are the costs that the bride should cover for her bridesmaids:


  • Bridesmaid's flowers
  • Lodging for out-of-town attendants
  • Transportation for the bridal party to ceremony and reception
  • Thank you gift to her attendants
  • Bridesmaids' luncheon, tea, or party (if hosted by bride)
  • Hair and makeup (if bride requires it be professionally done)


However, there are a few items on this list that may need further discussion.

Hair and makeup is an area that often comes into question. In the past, bridesmaids would fix their own hair and makeup and then meet the bride to help her finish getting ready. With wedding photographs becoming more important and costly, many brides want their attendants' hair and makeup to be professionally done. If the bride wishes for the bridesmaids to cover this cost, then it should be presented as an option, not a requirement. The bridesmaid can then choose to do her own hair and makeup. If it's something the bride requires, then the bride should pick up the tab.