How to Avoid Always Footing the Bill as Maid of Honor

Pay Up, 'Maids!

Updated 11/16/19

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Dear maid of honor: When it comes to the bridesmaids, you oftentimes can’t live with 'em, and can’t live without 'em. Any way you slice it, they’re a key part of almost every wedding, but even the most carefully chosen 'maids can be hard to wrangle sometimes—and that’s if you’re the bride-to-be! When you’re her maid of honor, it can be even more difficult to keep track of the other bridesmaids, especially when it’s time for them to pay for their share of the pre-wedding preparations. We asked our experts to share a few ideas that will keep the MOH from getting stuck with the check.

The best way to avoid being stuck footing the bill any time you and the bridesmaids have to pay for something is to prepare in advance. As you start working on things like the bridal shower and bachelorette party, talk to the 'maids about how much they’d be open to spending and draw up a total estimate. Then divide it between all of you and ask each bridesmaid to pay up. Sites and apps like Venmo and Paypal.me make it easy to request and send money without worrying about mailing and depositing checks, and getting the cash in advance will enable you to start making reservations and paying deposits without watching your own account balance dwindle.

When you’re in the thick of it, encourage bridesmaids to carry cash if they don’t use one of the above apps. This way, you can quickly split the bill at dinner or cover a round of drinks on the fly. Hoping to put everything on one card and have the 'maids pay you back? Decide in advance how you’ll split the bill (especially at a restaurant if you’re not having a prix-fixe menu). That could be an even split between everyone, or it might mean you’re itemizing what each person ordered—know which you’ll do in advance! Then designate someone (probably you, sorry...) to divide up the bill (including tip) and let each gal know what she owes.

Did you get stuck paying extra because someone forgot her wallet or didn’t have change? Take a picture of the receipt or make a note on your phone so you don’t forget, then shoot her a text or email so you’ve both got a record of what she owes you. If you find yourself trying to chase her down for payment, call her on the phone instead of communicating via text. Chances are, she’s simply forgetful, and texts and emails are easy to miss or lose in a thread. By making a call, you can make a plan for payment that works for both of you.

If you’re really stuck, call for backup. Try not to bring too much drama to the bride, but if every single 'maid owes you money for that dinner you put on your credit card or paid for in advance, ask her to remind them that they do, in fact, have to pay you back. And if it keeps happening, stop offering up your card and let someone else sign their name next time.

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