Do Brides Pay for Bridesmaid Hair and Makeup? Unraveling Wedding Etiquette

When planning for a wedding, one question that often arises is whether the bride is expected to pay for the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup. Traditionally, bridal party etiquette has varied on this matter, leaving it open to personal preference and specific circumstances. It’s an aspect of wedding planning that requires considering both expectations and budgets, and may differ greatly from one wedding to the next.

Bridesmaids' hair and makeup being done for a wedding

If you’re a bride, it’s essential to communicate with your bridesmaids early about your expectations for their appearance on your wedding day. Whether you decide to bear the cost of hair and makeup services or expect your bridesmaids to pay for their own glam, clear communication can prevent misunderstandings. Amidst the joyous chaos of wedding planning, determining who pays for these services can play a significant role in your bridesmaids’ overall expenses and affect how you allocate your budget.

Key Takeaways

  • The bride may or may not pay for the bridesmaids’ hair and makeup, depending on tradition and personal preference.
  • Communication is key in establishing who covers the beauty expenses within the bridal party.
  • Budgeting for the wedding should factor in potential beauty costs for the bridal party.

Traditions and Expectations

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When it comes to weddings, tradition often plays a key role in deciding financial responsibilities. Understanding the typical roles within the bridal party and who usually pays for what can help you navigate the planning process more smoothly.

Bridal Party Roles

Your bridal party is more than just a group of friends dressed similarly standing beside you on your big day. Each member, especially your bridesmaids, has an array of responsibilities. Typically, they assist with wedding planning tasks, throw a bridal shower, support you emotionally, and make sure your wedding day goes off without a hitch. These contributions are a blend of custom and practical support.

Who Pays for What

The answer to who pays for bridesmaid hair and makeup can vary. Historically, it was common for bridesmaids to cover their own wedding day expenses, including hair and makeup. This has changed for many, as the bride pay for these services has become more prevalent to ensure a cohesive look. Some brides view providing this as a thank you for their bridesmaids’ time and involvement.

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all rule, and some brides still follow the tradition of having the bridesmaid finance their own beauty services. It’s not unusual to see the costs being split in different ways, or for family members to step in and contribute.

To better understand your expectations, consider these common scenarios:

  • Bride Pays: Regarded as a gift, many brides opt to cover the cost of hair and makeup for their bridesmaids.

  • Bridesmaids Pay: If bridesmaids are paying, they usually select their own service providers and styles within the bride’s guidelines.

  • Shared Cost: A compromise approach, where costs are divided among the bride and bridesmaids, or family members may pitch in.

Communication is essential. You’ll want to have an open discussion with your bridal party about your vision for the wedding and any financial expectations early in the planning process.

Planning the Bridal Party Budget

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When creating your wedding budget, a thoughtful provision for the bridal party’s appearance can ensure a harmonious aesthetic on your special day. Let’s look at the specifics of budgeting for these expenses, finding cost-saving strategies, and determining situations where the bride might absorb these costs.

Budgeting for Beauty

You know that your bridal party’s look is key for your wedding photos, but paying for everyone’s hair and makeup can add up. On average, bridesmaid hair and makeup costs can run anywhere from $50 to $150 per person. Whether you’re planning to cover these costs or expect your bridesmaids to pay, it’s essential to communicate expectations early. This ensures everyone is on the same page, avoiding any last-minute financial misunderstandings.

  • Average Hair Styling Cost: $75
  • Average Makeup Cost: $50-100

Cost-Saving Tips

Planning doesn’t have to mean skimping on quality. Look for beauty schools or upcoming makeup artists and hair stylists that offer lower rates. Consider having a makeup lesson and turning it into a fun bridal party activity, where everyone learns how to do their look for the day. Another option could be selecting a less complex hairstyle or makeup look that could reduce the time and cost involved.

  • Enlist talented friends
  • Consider less complex hairstyles
  • Bundle services for a group discount

When the Bride Covers Costs

Traditionally, the bridal party pays for their own hair and makeup, but today, many brides choose to cover these expenses as a gesture of gratitude. If your wedding budget allows for this, be transparent with your wedding planner or the stylists about your spending limit. Sometimes, brides will cover one service (like makeup) and have the bridal party take care of the other (hair). If you’re picking up the tab, you might have more say in the styling choices, thus ensuring a cohesive look.

  • Bride pays for makeup, bridesmaids for hair
  • Bride sets spending limit for beauty services

Remember, it’s your day, and there’s flexibility in how these traditions are handled. Communicating with your bridal party early about their finances and your own will lead to a smoother, more enjoyable wedding experience for everyone involved.

Bridesmaid Expenses Beyond Beauty

Bridesmaids sit in a row, facing a mirror. A makeup artist applies makeup while a hairstylist works on their hair. Makeup and hair products are neatly arranged on a table

When you’re a bridesmaid, there’s more to consider than just hair and makeup costs. Your role often includes several financial responsibilities that can add up quickly. Here’s what you’ll need to budget for.

Dresses and Accessories

Your bridesmaid outfit typically involves purchasing a dress selected by the bride. Costs can vary wildly depending on the style and brand. Shoes and accessories like jewelry or a matching clutch might also be on your list. While the bride may sometimes cover the cost of your bouquet, it’s best to confirm this in advance.

Bachelorette Party and Showers

The bachelorette party and pre-wedding showers can be significant expenses. From themed decorations to activities and gifts, these parties often require a pooled budget from all attendants. For bachelorette trips, this could include travel, lodging, and entertainment.

Travel and Accommodations

Don’t forget to factor in travel and lodging for the actual wedding, especially if it’s a destination event. Flight tickets, accommodations, and ground transportation need to be booked well in advance to avoid price hikes. Sharing a room or car rental with fellow bridesmaids can help save on costs.

Remember, being a bridesmaid is an honor, but it’s also okay to communicate with the bride about your budget constraints. Open conversation can often lead to a happy medium for everyone.

Managing Expectations and Communication

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When it comes to your big day, effective communication with your bridal party is crucial to manage expectations regarding hair and makeup. How you approach this aspect of wedding planning can greatly influence the harmony and schedule of your event.

Discussions with the Wedding Party

Begin by scheduling a casual meeting or a group chat with your wedding party to discuss the professional glam details. Be clear about what you envision for the final look but also stay open to their input. Here is an effective way to communicate:

  • State Your Expectations: Explain the look you’re aiming for and why it’s important to you.
  • Consider Their Opinions: Your bridesmaids might have valuable insights or concerns regarding budget or style.

The Final Look

Maintaining control over the final look means being respectful of the boundaries of your wedding party’s comfort and budgets. It’s pivotal to decide early on if you will be covering the cost or if they will need to pay for their own hair and makeup. The Knot highlights the traditional approach where the bride pays, offering more control over the aesthetic.


  • Maintain Communication: Continuously check-in with your party to ensure there are no last-minute surprises.
  • Clarify the Schedule: Organize hair and makeup timings to complement the day’s schedule, allowing everyone to be ready without rush.

By attentively managing both expectations and communication, you’ll help set the stage for a smooth and enjoyable wedding experience for everyone involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

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When it comes to wedding preparations, managing the costs and understanding the proper etiquette can often be complex. Below are some answers to common questions about managing hair and makeup costs for your bridesmaids.

What are the typical costs a bride might expect for bridesmaid hair and makeup?

The costs for bridesmaid hair and makeup services can vary widely depending on location, salon prestige, and the complexity of the desired styles. You might expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $150+ per person for hair, and a similar range for makeup services.

What is the proper etiquette regarding bridesmaids’ hair and makeup expenses?

Proper etiquette suggests that if you have a specific look in mind for your bridesmaids and require professional styling, it’s gracious for you to cover these costs. If budgets are tight, consider discussing cost-sharing options with your bridal party or giving them the freedom to style their own hair and makeup.

How can a bride ask her bridesmaids to contribute to hair and makeup costs?

If you’re considering asking your bridesmaids to contribute to hair and makeup costs, approach the topic gently and well in advance. Be transparent about the expected costs and ensure that your requests are reasonable based on their individual financial situations.

Is it common for bridesmaids to cover their own hair and makeup for the wedding?

Yes, it’s quite common for bridesmaids to cover their own hair and makeup costs, especially if the bride is flexible about the styling choices. Some bridesmaids may even prefer this option as it allows them to decide on a look that fits their budget and comfort level.

Should the bride cover the cost of hair and makeup for her bridesmaids?

While traditionally the bride may pay for hair and makeup as a gesture of appreciation, it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. It ultimately depends on your wedding budget and preferences, as well as what is customary in your social circle or family tradition.

What expenses are typically covered by the bride for her bridesmaids?

Typically, the bride might cover expenses related to the bridesmaids’ attire such as bouquets, special jewelry, or accessories required for the wedding day. Depending on your budget and wedding style, you may also choose to cover additional costs like lodging or transportation.

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