Your Burning Bridesmaid Beauty Etiquette Questions, Answered!

Bridesmaids, Etiquette, Hair & Beauty
Short Navy Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids Dresses

Photo: Angie Silvy

Getting your bridesmaids ready for your big day goes way beyond dress shopping. One of the most important aspects of getting your girls dolled up for your wedding? Their hair and makeup, of course! So, who gets to dictate what their hair and makeup will look like, and, more importantly, who pays? Our etiquette experts are here to sort out all of your bridal party beauty woes.

Can I ask my bridesmaids to alter their appearance?
When you think about who you'd like to include in your bridal party, remember that you're choosing your friends as they are. You can't force people to adopt different grooming habits, such as shaving, tanning, cutting their hair or changing their hair color, just for your wedding day. It's equally unacceptable to ask bridesmaids and groomsmen to promise not to change personal aspects of themselves until after the wedding. Especially off-limits are private decisions they have made or will make about things such as tattoos, family planning or changes in their weight. These decisions can only be made by them, and only on their schedule, not yours.

Day-of decisions such as hair and make-up should be agreed on in advance. Even if you (or perhaps your mom) have offered to pay for these services, you can't insist that someone wear a hair or make-up style that's uncomfortable for them. And give your friends some credit, too. They know that this is an important day for you, and will undoubtedly want to look their best for you. Focus on what matters most-that your loved ones are there to stand beside you.

Who pays for the bridesmaids' hair and makeup?
There is no hard-and-fast rule for this, but if you prefer that your bridesmaids get their hair and makeup professionally done, then it is a nice gesture to offer to pay for these services. After all, your attendants have already paid for their bridesmaid dresses (not to mention the bridal shower and any kind of bachelorette party you have) and some have probably traveled quite a distance to be a part of the celebration, which means you should take into consideration their travel and accommodations costs, too. But if your budget doesn't allow for salon services — or if hair and makeup aren't really a big deal to you--trust your bridesmaids to primp and get wedding-ready on their own. Another idea: If you've got a talented friend who is a whiz at hair and makeup, ask if she wouldn't mind helping the morning of the wedding. Then give her a gift certificate (to Sephora, maybe?) as a thank you.

Who's responsibility is it to keep everyone on track for their appointments>
According to Florida Keys wedding planner Lynn D'Ascanio of, the maid of honor should receive a copy of the timeline and familiarize herself with the morning protocol, including hair and makeup appointments. That way, she can keep everyone on schedule and get them to the ceremony on time.

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