Who Pays For The Bridesmaids Outfits?

This week we’re looking at who pays for the bridesmaids outfits. It’s a tricky one but we will try to help you to figure it out! As always I have been surfing the net to try to find the answer to the question as to who pays for the bridesmaids outfits. There are of course several different viewpoints. In my Budget Calculator which you can access through a previous blog post I allowed for Attendants Outfits, however that’s not set in stone.


The days of the brides parents being expected to pay for the whole shebang are on their way out, or already out. Wealthy fathers paid for absolutely everything and the number of attendants rose depending on the wealth of the brides family. Couples nowadays are either contributing heavily or paying for all of their nuptials. I have seen lots of different comments on various forums about who pays for what. It seems to vary depending on the answers to the following questions:

Are you insisting on a certain dress?

If the answer to this is ‘yes’ then you should be footing the bill. If you’re a bit more relaxed about the style and colour then maybe they could be asked to contribute. Do you want them all to match or are you more relaxed?

who pays for the bridesmaids outfits

Are the dresses likely to be worn again by the bridesmaid after the wedding?

If ‘no’ is the answer here then you should pay for it. Some BMs dresses would be suitable for being worn afterwards and some aren’t. Certainly the ones my BMs wore at my first wedding wouldn’t have been suitable really to wear afterwards so we hired them and they were paid for by my parents. BMs dresses then were much more formal and BM dressy if you know what I mean! If the answer is ‘yes’ then perhaps they could contribute or pay for the whole thing.

Who Pays For The Bridesmaids Outfits

Can they be sold afterwards?

If you could sell them as a set or individually on ebay (other online auction site are available!) after the wedding then you should be paying. You may end up losing a bit but you’ll recoup most of your costs.


If you’re set on the actual shoes that your BMs wear then you should foot the bill (pun intended!). If not then perhaps they have suitable shoes already or can buy their own that can be worn afterwards. You may have your heart set on certain shoes, but PLEASE remember that not everyone can wear, for example, 4″ stilletoes! As above with the dress, if you can sell them on afterwards and the BMs don’t want to keep them then you should pay.

Hair & Makeup

Same goes for hair and makeup if you’re insisting on everyone having a certain style. Have you seen the program Don’t Tell The Bride? One thing the grooms often forget is the hair and makeup.  First time I got married my sister-in-law (who was a hairdresser) did my hair but I did my own makeup. It was about 150 years ago and things have moved on since then! Now the whole preparation process is a lovely bonding experience and it’s nice to have it paid for if you’re a BM.

Can’t afford to pay for everything for everyone? Find out how much a MUA is going to cost for all of you, decide what you can contribute and then talk to your BMs. Splitting the cost might be an option. Those who can’t afford to contribute could do their own. When I was a bridesmaid, quite a few years ago, I was rather shocked to be presented with a bill at the hairdressers. The appointment had been booked for me and I had (wrongly) assumed that the cost was covered. Live & learn!

Beauty Treatments

If you want all your BMs to have spray tans and a matching mani/pedi then this is again going to be down to you. Unless they are all in agreement and can afford to pay for their own. Maybe you could make it a girls spa day a few days before the wedding and part of the hen do.


Want everything matching? Then stump up! This is a slightly tricky one as some people suit gold toned jewellery and some silver. Why not buy their accessories as a gift for being your BM?


So, you set your budget at the beginning of the planning process. You did, right? If you’ve budgeted a certain amount for the BMs outfits then you have a couple of choices. A) You pay for the dresses you want, if you’re insistent on what they wear, either hiring or buying. Or B) You give your BMs a budget and a colour and they go and choose the dress that they want if you’re more relaxed about what they wear. If they want something that is over and above your budget then it’s reasonable for them to pay the additional cost.

Broaching the subject

Being asked to be a BM is an honour. Personally I think that when you ask someone to be a BM is the time to mention the cost involved. Be upfront. If you can’t afford to pay for everything for your BMs give them the choice. Being upfront will avoid conflict later on. And if they say that they can’t afford to be a bridesmaid then don’t be offended. And if neither of you can afford to pay then accept that you can’t have the attendants you want and cut back on the wedding party. Or ditch the idea of having everyone in the same colour dresses and go for mismatched BMs. Most of us either have a suitable dress to wear to a wedding or would go and buy something for the day anyway. I guess it all boils down to what is more important to you – the look of the bridal party or having your BFFs with you on the day.



If you can afford it then the answer to who pays for the bridesmaids outfits is easy, you do. If you can’t then communication is key here. Don’t dump the bill on your BMs at the time without prior warning!