Bridesmaid Budgeting 101: What You Do and Don't Pay For / by Kristen Bradley

It’s no secret that the costs of a wedding add up, and not just for the bride(s) and groom(s)!  It can be tough to ask your bridesmaids, or anyone in your wedding party for that matter, to pay for certain things, but in our experience as wedding planners, it’s far better for both parties to communicate and set expectations for what is and isn't covered from the beginning.  To get the conversation started, here are some of the major areas that you’ll want to consider with budgeting for your bridesmaids.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Here are all of the areas that your bridesmaids will typically cover.

Hotel and Travel

Traditionally, it’s up to your bridesmaids to get to your wedding, and cover their own accommodation.  With that said, this is usually the largest chunk of change that they will spend in one place, and they should feel comfortable discussing their financial needs with you.  One way that you can help your party is by reserving a hotel block in advance so that rooms are offered at a better price.  Another option is putting air miles on your registry and offering to book your out-of-towners' travel on points for those that really need the assistance.   

Wedding Day Ensemble

Everything that your bridesmaids wear on your wedding day, from their dress, shoes and accessories, are their responsibility.  When choosing your bridesmaid dresses, keep in mind that likely people will have varying budgets, and if you’re open to having variety in your bridesmaid dresses, it’s a good idea to choose a few options that range in price.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Bridal Shower

Often someone close to you, like your mom, your mother-in-law, your maid-of-honor, or bridesmaids will want to host your bridal shower.  The costs associated with the shower typically fall on those planning the shower, and can include all or some of your bridesmaids. Some of the things to consider when totaling up the cost of a shower include the venue if it is not held at someone’s home, the decor, activities, and of course food and beverage. 

Bachelorette Party

This is another event that is your crew’s responsibility.  This too will include the decor, activities,  food and drink. However, if you’re hoping to do a destination bachelorette party, you will want to consider the additional costs for a weekend getaway that you are asking of your bridesmaids.  If you are traveling, you should plan on paying for your own transportation and accommodation, and you may also want to chip in for some of the activities.

Wedding and Bridal Shower Gifts

Your bridesmaids are already paying for a lot to stand by your side on your wedding day, so don’t be surprised or offended if they don’t get you a gift for either occasion.  If they do plan on doing something, they can always go in on a gift together, or you can set up group buying on your registry so that they can give as much or as little is comfortable. 

Here are all of the areas that you and your fiancé will typically cover.

Bouquets, and All Floral Accessories

All floral should be covered by the couple, which includes not just the bridesmaid bouquets, but any hair pieces, corsages or crowns.  

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Hair and Makeup

Admittedly, hair and makeup can be a little trickier.  Generally as a rule of thumb, if you request your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup professionally done, or ask them to do either a particular way, then you should pay.  If, however, your bridal party’s look is flexible but they are particularly excited to use a glam squad, they can pay.  It’s also totally acceptable to split the bill on this one.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography 

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography 

Transportation

Transportation on wedding day is the last thing that you will want to plan last minute.  You and your fiancé should cover the transportation for your wedding party, and may also want to strongly consider covering this for guests as well.  Work with your wedding planner to have a solid transportation plan down so that every one has a ride in advance and isn’t scrambling to find a solution on the day of.

Accommodations the Night Before Your Wedding

It's a good idea to plan to pay for the accommodation the night before your wedding if you are hoping to bunk up with your crew.  Many of them will have already paid for accommodation for themselves and their plus-one for the duration of their stay, so they shouldn't have to pay for yet another night of hotel stay.

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

Photo by Andrew Jade Photography

With all of this said, it's always best to set expectations early in the planning process and to have clear communication about what is and isn't covered.  There are no hard rules, and you can choose to follow traditional guidelines or you can choose to go an alternative route.  Importantly, if you remain open, gracious and understanding in your communication, your friends will be too.  

At Sip and Twirl, we are pros at creating wedding budgets, at walking couples through these and other aspects of the wedding planning process.  Not to mention, we genuinely love every minute of it!  We are located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and would love to hear from you.  You can reach us at (480) 648-0663, or at info@sipandtwirl.com.