Dresses, makeup: What your bridal party should and shouldn't pay for on your wedding day

Weddings can be extremely pricey - even if you're not the one getting married.
Weddings can be extremely pricey - even if you're not the one getting married. Photo credit: Getty.

Wedding season is firmly upon us, with wineries and wedding venues around the country booked for the next few months for happy couples to tie the knot. 

But as everyone who has had a wedding of their own or been a part of someone else's knows, it can be a costly process. 

If you're in the wedding party, it can raise awkward questions over what you're supposed to buy yourself, and what the bride and groom should provide for you. 

Bridesmaids have told horror stories in the past of being made to pay for dresses, shoes, jewellery, bridal showers, hen's parties - and then being expected to give a gift! This can all rack up to over $1000 - a high price to pay for someone else's love, even if it is a special honour. 

So what should brides cover and what should a bridesmaid be forking out for - and how much should they be spending? 


According to an article from the experts at Wedshed, there shouldn’t be any set-in-stone rules when it comes to who should pay for what for bridesmaids - instead it's down to the flexibility of the bride. 

Dresses and shoes are a "grey area", but if a bride has her heart set on a particular style of dress and shoes for her bridesmaids, she might want to pay for these – or at least pitch in financially. This is especially the case if it's a dress that may be tough for the bridesmaid to wear again, or sell on. 

But if the bride is happy for her bridesmaids to just choose an outfit that fits within a certain colour scheme, "there’s probably less obligation for the bride to offer to pay because the bridesmaids can shop to their own budget, and they can choose something they can wear again", the Wedshed website reads.

Hair and makeup 

For anything beauty related requested by the bride - we're talking hair, makeup, manicures and tans -  there's an expectation the bride and groom will pay for it.

If bridesmaids are given a bit more free rein they might choose to purchase a lippie for touch-ups throughout the day. 

Hot tip: A nice perfume is a great gift for bridesmaids, and means that whenever they spritz it on, they'll remember your wedding day! 

Bridal shower/Bachelorette party

Bad news if you expected your labour to be the gift in the leadup to the wedding - according to Brides.com, bridesmaids are expected to bring gifts to the bridal shower, as well as cover the cost of the event itself. "If the bridal party is hosting, they should split the cost themselves," the site reads. 

"If a relative of the bride, such as a grandmother or aunt, offers to serve as hostess, she will take on the costs—but bridesmaids should offer to chip in in some way, whether that is with money or by helping to cook or set up."

If you're organising a big night out for the hen's do, it's expected that all guests should split the cost, with the bride not paying for anything.