What Your Bridal Party Should and Shouldn't Pay For

What Bridesmaids Should Pay For

Photos: Ingalls Photo

Being a bridesmaid is a big responsibility, especially because a wedding is so much more than one big party. With a bachelorette party, bridal shower, bridesmaid dresses, and day-of makeup and hair leading up to the big day, being in a friend or family member's bridal party can get costly. To avoid any awkward moments or confusion follow these hard-and-fast rules to figure out who should pay for what.

What: Bridesmaids' attire
Who pays: Bridesmaids. (But if you require them to wear a particular accessory, like shoes, it's on you.)
How much: $100 and up, plus alterations, which can range from $30 to $100.

What: The shower
Who pays: Your MOH and 'maids, unless there's a rich aunt who can subsidize.
How much: Varies. And bridesmaids are expected to bring shower gifts too (not the same as wedding gifts, FYI).

What: Hair and makeup for the wedding
Who pays: Bridesmaids if it's optional; the bride if it's not.
How much: $100 to $200 per bridesmaid.

What: The bachelorette bash
Who pays: Entire bridal party. The MOH should see that drinks, food, entertainment, and travel costs are split evenly.
How much: $200 to $1,000-plus, depending on whether it's a night out on the town or a weekend away. (Note: Price does not include singles for the male stripper.)

And, most of all, don't forget to be gracious!

In ancient Rome, bridesmaids were invented to protect the bride from evil spirits. Today, they do pretty much the same thing. (Modern-day demons: demanding in-laws, cold feet.) Repay their devotion with kindness: Tell your broke 'maids that you don't expect a gift. If they're far-flung, do your shower and bachelorette on the same weekend, and if someone can't make it, no guilt trips! If you have a bridesmaidzilla on your hands, decide whether she's truly impeding your happiness. If so, you can fire her, but know that that's likely the end of the relationship. If she's simply high maintenance, just demote her to watching the junior attendants.

—Amanda MacMillan

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