It’s engagement season – which means brides will soon be diving into planning & assembling their ‘bride tribe.’ The bridal gang is notorious for matching t-shirts, dick straws and (money) drama. Since the bridesmaid issue of who pays for what has come up a lot lately, I’m going to address the general rules that I acknowledge & pass on to my clients:
When it comes to the bridal shower, first determine who is hosting it. The host of the bridal shower should pay for it – including food, drink & décor. Oftentimes, this is an aunt or mother of the bride. If it’s a family member hosting the bridal shower, bridesmaids are encouraged to ask how they can help/chip in. If your bridesmaids are throwing you a bridal shower, then they all should share the party costs equally.
The bachelorette party can be a bit tricky, because it could be one big night out or an entire weekend. If it’s one big night out on the town, I'd encourage the bridesmaids to share the food, drink & décor costs equally – naturally including the bride’s expenditures in that shared amount.
If, however, you’re spending the weekend in Nashville, the bride can be responsible for her travel and respective meal costs, while the bridesmaids do the same – splitting everything equally as if it were any other girls night out. However, on the Friday or Saturday ‘big night out,' I’d encourage bridesmaids to cover the bride’s dinner and drinks all night.
Day-of wedding costs:
The dress is kind of a big ‘buy-in’ to the official bridesmaid role, so 100% of bridesmaid dress costs should be taken care of by each individual. However, if the bride has specific shoe requirements, i.e. this silver pump from Aldo, then the bride should buy those specific shoes for her bridesmaids.
Oftentimes, I see brides simply asking her bridesmaids to choose a nude/black/silver shoe of their liking to wear on the day. If this is the case, the bridesmaids are in charge of choosing an appropriate shoe from their closets, or buying a pair themselves.
The same goes for wedding day jewelry. If the bride wants everyone in a gold necklace of their choosing, she doesn’t need to buy her bridesmaids all gold necklaces. However, if she requires a gold bracelet from Kate Spade’s wedding collection, then she should buy that bracelet for all her bridesmaids. Obviously, wedding day jewelry makes for perfect bridesmaid gifts.
The big problem-cost that I hear of most is usually wedding day hair & makeup-related. Here’s the etiquette that I follow (and you’ll notice a pattern): if the bride requires all bridesmaids get their hair and makeup professionally done, then she should provide the artists and pay for each bridesmaid’s service (tip included). If professional hair and makeup for the bridesmaids is optional, then each individual should pay for whichever service she chooses to do. Again, brides, this is always a nice opportunity to treat your bridesmaids to a professional hair or makeup service as a gift.
Lastly, each bridesmaid should always cover wedding weekend travel & lodging costs, as if she were any other wedding guest. The only (kind of) exception here is if there’s a ‘getting ready’ suite or family house that the girls are getting dressed in together. Then, that space may be paid for/provided by the bride/bride’s family; and/or if it's the newlywed room that the couple will stay in at the end of the night.
Hopefully these few guidelines will help to avoid any unnecessary bridal tribe drama. Keep it classy, ladies.