Money Matters 17th July 2023

Bridesmaid and Groomsmen Wedding Costs - Who Pays For What?

As with all wedding-related costs, there is often the traditional way to do things and the more modern way, and it’s entirely up to you which route you choose to go. Bridesmaid and groomsmen costs are no different, and are often dictated by what the couple would like to do and ultimately what they can afford. 

Below we’ve broken down what traditionally gets paid for by whom, how modern couples tend to do things, and a few things to consider. 

With all money-related matters, it can often be a tricky one to approach so it’s important that you’re upfront with your bridal party from the beginning about what you’re expecting them to pay for, and what you’ll be covering too. 


Traditionally, bridesmaids will pay for the following: 

- Their bridesmaid dress, which will be chosen by the bride along with any accessories such as shoes, jewellery and hair accessories. This will also include the cost of any alterations too. 

- Their own transportation to the location of the wedding. 

- Their participation in the hen party and the cost of the bride to attend. 

The couple traditionally covers:

- Flowers for the bridesmaids

- Accommodation for anyone who doesn’t live locally 

- Transport to the ceremony and onwards to the reception 

- Thank you gifts 

- The cost of hosting a bridesmaid lunch, tea or party (if you choose to have one)

- Hair and make-up for all their bridesmaids 

So what do most couples tend to do today? 

Bridesmaid Dresses 

Nowadays we find this is more of an equal split of the couple paying and the bridesmaid paying. Typically if the couple can afford to cover the cost of the dresses then they will, choosing dresses suitable to their budget. However if it would like your bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses, just be mindful of the price of the ones you’re choosing and ideally keep it to under £100 per dress so that it’s affordable everyone. If you can, consider covering their costs of alterations and accessories to help balance out the spend. 

Another route we see a lot of brides going is purely paying for their bridesmaids’ dresses and choosing an overall style for accessories and letting the bridesmaids acquire these themselves, whether that be wearing something they already have or buying something new. 

Make up 

Typically if you’d really like a specific hairstyle and make-up look for all your bridesmaids and you’d like it created professionally, this a cost that most brides take on themselves. Alternatively, some brides often are having their hair and make-up professionally done and will see if any bridesmaids would also like to make use of the service, but it’s a cost they’ll need cover themselves. If they’d rather not, they can then take care of doing their own hair and make-up. 

Lots of brides will often set an overall ‘theme’ for hair and make up and then let their bridesmaids decide how they’ll go about achieving it, either by doing it themselves, heading to their hairdresser or making the most of the hair and make up artists there on the day. 


Typically we find that most bridesmaids will cover their own costs of getting to the wedding location, however the couple will likely cover the costs of transporting the bridesmaids to the ceremony and onwards to the reception. 


It is still very common that the bridesmaids (and other hen party attendees) organise and cover the cost of themselves attending the hen party. Typically the cost of the bride attending the hen will also be distributed across the attendees too. 

If you’re feeling flush, by all means you’re welcome to try and pay for a particular element of the hen or bring along a token of your appreciation like champagne, but we can’t promise you that your hens will let you pay for much more than that! 

Bridesmaid Gifts

There’s not one rule fits all for this and bridesmaid gifts are definitely a ‘nice to have’ rather than an expectation. Some brides will gift the bridesmaid dress or the on the day accessories to their bridesmaids, or perhaps some cute pyjamas to get ready in. You really don’t need to spend much if you do choose to buy gifts, as it’s the thought that really counts in this situation! Even a simple, heartfelt letter for each bridesmaid is more than enough. 


Traditionally groomsmen will pay for the following:

- Buying or renting their own suits, plus any accessories such as cufflinks, shoes, ties and pocket squares

- Their own transportation to the location of the wedding. 

- Their participation in the stag do and the cost of the groom to attend.

The couple traditionally covers:

- Grooming such as beard trims and any hair styling 

- Gifts for the groomsmen 

So what do most couples tend to do today?


Similarly to the bridesmaid dresses, many couples choose to cover the cost of hiring or buying their groomsmen’s suits nowadays but this isn’t quite as common as the bridesmaid dress costs being covered. This sometimes comes down to who is covering the cost of the wedding. If it’s the parents of the bride then this isn’t typically a cost that they’d be expected to cover, so this one is a little more up to your discretion. Hiring is typically much cheaper, so a good option regardless of who’s footing the bill, but if you do choose to buy it’s a wise idea to get something that your groomsmen will likely use again. 

If you’re more laid back about things and budget is a little tight, consider giving your groomsmen a colour scheme like navy suits with a pink tie, or a tux and leaving them to either wear a suit they already own or buy something new. 


Usually it’s expected that each groomsmen will cover the cost of getting to the wedding location and to and from the ceremony and reception. 

Stag do

As with the hen, this is usually something that all participants cover the cost of themselves to attend, along with splitting the cost of the groom too. 


Treating your groomsmen to a little beard trim before the wedding is still considered quite the treat, and would probably fall more into the ‘gift’ category than a given cost that the groom will cover. 


Again, this isn’t something all grooms do and is definitely more of a ‘nice to have’ than something that is in any way expected.