Weddings are expensive for all of those involved, including your bridal party. From the attire to the accessories, showers, bachelorettes, luncheons, accommodations, transportation, and more the average bridesmaid invests about $2,000 being in a single wedding. But, what of those expenses should your bridal party be responsible for and what should you cover? We’re breaking it down below.

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Dress, Shoes + Accessories: When it comes to attire and shoes, I have a general rule. Any costs up to $200 is covered by the bridesmaid and everything above that should be covered by the couple (unless all bridesmaids are okay with the increased cost). There is an amazing selection of bridesmaid gowns from any number of retailers for less than $200, with the average dress costing around $150. Asking a bridesmaid to spend more than that on a dress that they will only wear once is a push. If you have your heart set on something more expensive, allocate room in your budget and offer to cover the increased cost for your girls. When it comes to accessories (earrings, necklaces, bracelets, etc.), if you have something specific you want everyone to wear, consider making it their bridesmaid gift.

Engagement Parties, Wedding/Bridal Showers + Bachelorettes: The expense of hosting or gift giving at these events is obviously on the bridesmaid. Additionally, all of your expenses should be covered at the bachelorette as well.

Accommodations: Traditional wedding etiquette states that the bride’s family covers wedding weekend accommodations for bridesmaids. However, it’s much more common for bridesmaids to be responsible for their own accommodations in today’s time. When it comes to making the decision for your wedding, consider how much each girl has already invested and her other travel expenses. If it’s in your budget, offer to cover the cost for one night. If not, that’s okay.

Transportation: If the location where you’re getting ready, the ceremony and reception take place at different locations you should cover the transportation cost for your bridal party. In addition, if no public transportation option (Uber, Lyft, cab, etc.) is available in your area, I always encourage couples to rent a small bus to get bridal party members back to the hotel after the reception.

Hair, Make-up + Nails: This will vary by situation. My general advice is that if you have a specific look for your bridesmaids hair, make-up and nails then you should cover the expense. If their overall beauty look is up to them, then you can offer the service and let each girl know what the expense will be to have the professional do it. This way, she can make the decision that’s right for her and her budget.

Bridesmaid Luncheon: A bridesmaid luncheon is less common today than in years past. It typically occurs the day before or the day of the wedding and serves as a thank you to your girls for all of their help in planning the big day. Traditionally it is hosted by a member of the bride’s family and bears no expense to your girls.

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