Wedding Planning

Ask a Wedding Expert: What Costs Should a Bride Cover for Her Bridesmaids?

Wedding planner and "Bitchless Bride" blogger Deborah DeFrancesco has the answer.


Welcome to Ask a Wedding Expert, a series where local pros answer your most pressing wedding-planning questions. Have one of your own? Email rkashdan@bostonmagazine.com.

bridesmaid costs

Photo via iStock.com/TriggerPhoto

In this edition of “Ask the Expert,” we consulted Deborah DeFrancesco, a wedding planner and the creator of the local wedding blog Bitchless Bride. With 15 years of experience, DeFrancesco uses her supportive (but not at all sugar-coated) posts to teach brides how to keep wedding planning drama-free. Or, as she puts it, “how to plan a wedding without being a bitch.” This week’s topic? Bridal party expenses. Read on for DeFrancesco’s take on who should pay for everything from bouquets to alterations and more.

The Question:

What costs should a bride cover for her bridesmaids, and what should bridesmaids expect to pay for themselves?

DeFrancesco’s Answer:

Congratulations! You’re getting married! Now that you’ve asked some of your favorite peeps to be in your wedding, it’s time to decipher what’s your responsibility and what falls on your ’maids.

You should cover the cost of the bridesmaids’ bouquets, or whatever fabulous ornament they’ll be carrying down the aisle. And because you want your bridesmaids to look good with those bouquets, you should also cover their hair and makeup. There’s quite a bit of conversation around this particular perk (as in, whose pocket it should come out of). However, because how your bridesmaids look will affect your photographs, it should be your responsibility to make sure they look stunning. You also want to make sure your bridesmaids arrive at the wedding on time, so their transportation to and from the venue will be a cost you absorb, too.

Things I consider gravy? Any contribution towards the bridesmaid dresses. If you’ve knowingly selected an expensive dress, you may choose to cover the total cost of the dress or a portion thereof. And odds are, your bridesmaid gift will be something bridesmaids can wear as an accessory. Gravy on top of gravy? Sharing your bridal suite with your ’maids the night before the wedding. Amazing! That definitely won’t go on their tab.

So, bridesmaids, what’s your responsibility, aside from being a cheerleader, therapist, and wingwoman? The cost of your bridesmaid dress and any alterations. This can add up quickly, so plan accordingly. You’ll also need to save money for the bridal shower and bachelorette party, which you’re responsible for throwing, enjoying, and covering. Not to mention the shower gift and wedding gift. Oh my!

All of these expenses can pile up for both the bride and her ’maids, so remember to ditch the drama and support each other, bitchlessly!

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