As wedding etiquette goes, deciding who pays for what is a real minefield. Traditionally it’s the bride’s family that pays for most of the wedding, this includes the engagement party and official announcements, wedding stationery, dress, transport, ceremony, and reception.
But as the years went by, times have changed, and it’s the couple who now foots the bill for the vast majority of wedding expenses.
Cash strapped couples or those looking to share the financial burden, however, request that members of their wedding party and both sets of parents pay for some items.
These days it’s also not uncommon for wedding guests to give cash gifts, rather than wedding presents, to help the couple recoup money or pay for their honeymoon.
Bridesmaids are a vital part of the wedding party, so if you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid, what costs are you expected to cover?
One of the more expensive items on a bride’s wedding planning to-do list will be kitting out all her bridesmaids in their wedding day attire.
Modern-day brides usually ask their bridesmaids to pay for all or part of their bridesmaid dresses, and covering the cost can have unexpected benefits for both the bride and bridesmaids. Here Rachel Avery from You and Your Wedding explains more:
“Being a bridesmaid now comes with a world of opportunity. Sequins, splits, and even white gowns are totally acceptable forms of wedding attire for bridesmaids these days. So why wouldn’t your girls rather pay for their own outfits and get a say in what they wear?
In fact, mismatched bridesmaids are increasingly popular, so you could even send them off to choose their own (goodbye, stressful shopping trips).”
There’s more to creating the bridesmaid ensemble than just the dress. Your bride will want to complete the look with the right wedding footwear, hair accessories, and jewellery, but who pays for that?
If you’re not paying for the dress or only paying for part of it, paying for the accompanying accessories is a nice gesture.
With each bridesmaid covering the cost of their own accessories, the bride will save a small fortune, and these funds can be dedicated to another part of her special day.
Bouquets or any floral accessories, hair, and makeup are usually costs covered by the bride, however.
Accommodation and travel
If you plan to stay overnight either the night before the wedding, the night of the wedding or both, then you should cover the cost.
By paying for this yourself, you have the power to choose accommodation and travel that suits your needs and budget. You could even share accommodation or travel with the other bridesmaids to keep costs to a minimum.
If you’re spending the night before the big day with the bride in a shared suite, the bride will usually pay for this privilege. Your wedding day transportation should also be covered by the couple.
As a rule of thumb, the bride shouldn’t be expected to pay for her hen celebrations. Each member of the hen party will also be expected to chip in to cover the cost of the bride too.
Even though your role as a bridesmaid is surely gift enough for the happy couple, turning up at the wedding empty-handed is a big no-no.
Make sure you come along with a gift, whether it’s fun or thoughtful, just a token will be appreciated. You can also collaborate with the rest of the bridesmaids to get the bride and groom something extra special and keep costs down.
Being the best bridesmaid isn’t just about handing over cash, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you’re supporting the bride in your life to the best of your abilities.
Read our essential guide to bridesmaid duties right here.