Oh you fancy, huh?
One of the highlights of the wedding day is getting glammed up the morning-of with your 'maids, free-flowing mimosas in hand. But the question is, who pays for the bridal party's hair and makeup? Is it the bride's responsibility, or should each bridesmaid cover their own cost?
There's no hard-and-fast rule here, but keep in mind that being in a wedding party can get downright expensive. Between bach parties, pricey attendant outfits, travel, lodging, and gifts, being a bridesmaid is a serious commitment of time and money.
The first rule of thumb is to consider your bridesmaids' financial situation. Above all else, you want to be respectful of their budgets. Remember, you love these people and you want your friendship to last after your wedding, too!
We recommend sitting down at the beginning of the planning process to determine the top 2–3 things you expect financially from your attendants. It's pretty standard for bridesmaids to buy their own dresses, but additional costs may include travel and accommodations for the wedding itself and any pre-wedding events, shoes, accessories, gifts, and, of course, hair and makeup.
Once you consider your bridal party's finances and have determined your priorities, ask yourself these two questions:
- Am I going to require that my bridesmaids have their hair and makeup done professionally?
- Am I going to require a super specific look or style that isn't necessarily easy to DIY?
If the answer to one or both questions is YES, then you should pick up the tab!
Most gals won't be able to pull off perfect vintage waves and 1920s glam makeup on their own...so if that's the look you're after, plan on footing the bill for these services. And your friends will likely expect you'll foot the bill if you're requiring them to have their hair and makeup professionally done.
If your budget is already tight, here are a few compromises:
- Pay for just one service (hair OR makeup), then give your girls the option to DIY the second service—or pay for it themselves.
- Pro Tip: If you give your bridesmaids the choice to purchase hair, makeup, or both services, your makeup artist and/or hairstylist will need to know in advance to ensure they'll have enough time. This isn't a decision that can be made the day-of!
- Give your 'maids the option to purchase the professional service(s) themselves, but cover their gratuities. Standard "salon visit" tip rules apply here, meaning you'll need to tip 15–20% of the cost of each beauty service.
- Ask a really talented friend to help. If you have a bridal party member or friend that's great with makeup or an expert French braider, ask them to assist any bridesmaid who's hair- or makeup-challenged, but doesn't have it in their budget to pay for professional services.
- Let everyone DIY. Chances are your girls know how to look put together, so trust them to do their own simple hair and makeup. Give them plenty of advance notice in case they need to purchase new hair tools or perfect a smokey eye!
- Pro Tip: It would be a nice gesture (and great preparation) to provide curling wands, flat irons, sprays, powders, etc. for your girls to use if they need to.
What it all comes down to is communication! Well-informed bridesmaids are happy bridesmaids. Decide early on whether you'll treat them to wedding-day hair and makeup, whether you'll give them the option to purchase one or both services, or if you'd like them to do their own hair and makeup. Setting expectations up front will give your gals sufficient time to plan, and will keep the drama to a minimum.
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