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Bridal Party Hair and Makeup: Who Foots the Bill?

Understanding Who Pays for Bridal Party Hair and Makeup

When it comes to who pays for bridal party hair and makeup, the answer isn't set in stone. Here are the most common scenarios:

  • Bride pays for the entire bridal party

  • Bridesmaids cover their own costs

  • Costs are split between the bride and bridesmaids

Wedding planning is complex with various expenses, and beauty services are no exception. Deciding who should pay for hair and makeup in the bridal party can be tricky. The financial situations of the bride and bridesmaids play a key role in making this decision.

I'm Rachel Voss. I started as a hairstylist and now own VOSS Salon. With years of experience, I'll guide you through who usually pays for bridal party hair and makeup. Let’s dive right in.

Who Pays for Bridal Party Hair and Makeup?

Bride Pays for Hair and Makeup

Traditionally, the bride covers the cost of hair and makeup for her bridal party. This approach gives the bride more control over the overall look and ensures everyone is on the same page. It also allows the bridal party to spend more time together getting ready, which can be a fun and memorable experience.

However, this option can be expensive. According to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average cost of wedding hair and makeup services is $130 and $120, respectively. For a large bridal party, these costs add up quickly.

Bridesmaids Pay for Hair and Makeup

Another option is for the bridesmaids to pay for their own hair and makeup. This approach is often more cost-effective for the bride, especially if she’s on a tight budget. It also gives bridesmaids the freedom to choose their own stylists and looks, which can be more comfortable for them.

However, this can be a financial burden for the bridesmaids. Being part of a wedding already involves numerous expenses, including dresses, travel, and gifts. Adding hair and makeup costs can be overwhelming, especially if the bride prefers high-end services.

Split Costs for Hair and Makeup

A great compromise is to split the costs between the bride and the bridesmaids. For example, the bride could cover the hair services while the bridesmaids pay for their makeup, or vice versa. This approach balances the financial responsibility and makes it more manageable for everyone involved.

Another way to split costs is to go 50/50 on both hair and makeup. This method allows the bride to have some control over the look while also considering the bridesmaids' budgets. It's an excellent way to ensure that no single person bears the full financial burden.

Financial considerations are crucial when deciding who pays for bridal party hair and makeup. The bride’s budget, the bridesmaids' financial situations, and the overall wedding budget all play a role in this decision.

Whichever option you choose, clear communication is key. Make sure everyone knows what to expect well in advance to avoid any surprises.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Who Pays

When deciding who pays for bridal party hair and makeup, several factors come into play. These include the financial situation of both the bride and bridesmaids, the overall wedding budget, the size of the bridal party, and the wedding location. Let's break these down.

Financial Situation

Financial situation is a significant factor. Weddings are expensive, and the bride’s budget might already be stretched thin. If the bride can afford it, covering the cost of hair and makeup can be a generous gesture. However, if the bride is struggling with expenses, it’s reasonable to ask bridesmaids to pitch in.

For bridesmaids, costs can add up quickly. They often pay for gowns, parties, and travel. Adding hair and makeup costs might be too much for some. In such cases, cost-sharing or opting for more budget-friendly options can help.

Wedding Budget

The overall wedding budget also influences this decision. Weddings involve numerous expenses, from the venue to the caterer. Prioritizing these costs is essential. If hair and makeup are a high priority, allocate more budget to it. Otherwise, consider more cost-effective alternatives.

Budget allocation should reflect the importance of each element. For instance, if having professional hair and makeup is crucial for the bride, it might be worth cutting costs elsewhere.

Bridal Party Size

The size of the bridal party can significantly impact costs. A larger bridal party means more people needing hair and makeup services, which can quickly become expensive.

Coordination challenges also arise with larger groups. Scheduling everyone for hair and makeup can be tricky, especially if different people are paying separately.

Wedding Location

Wedding location plays a role in deciding who pays. For destination weddings, travel expenses can already be high for bridesmaids. Asking them to cover hair and makeup might be too much. In such cases, the bride might consider covering these costs or opting for a simpler, DIY approach.

For local weddings, travel expenses are less of an issue. However, the cost of living in the area can affect hair and makeup prices. In more expensive cities, services will cost more, impacting the overall budget.

Navigating these factors can help you make a fair decision about who pays for bridal party hair and makeup. Clear communication and early planning are essential to avoid misunderstandings and ensure everyone is on the same page.

How to Communicate Payment Expectations

Setting Clear Expectations

Transparency is key when discussing who pays for bridal party hair and makeup. Start by creating a group chat with all your bridesmaids. This allows you to share information quickly and ensures everyone is in the loop.

Early communication is crucial. Inform your bridesmaids about your expectations as soon as possible. This helps them plan their budgets and avoid last-minute surprises.

Provide a detailed breakdown of costs. Share price quotes from hair and makeup professionals. This way, everyone knows what to expect financially. You can use a simple table like this:


Estimated Cost

Hair Styling

$50 - $100


$60 - $120


$30 - $50

If you're working with a wedding planner, lean on them for assistance. They can help coordinate everyone's glam services and keep track of bookings.

For those without a planner, consider delegating this task to an organized bridesmaid. This helps streamline the process and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

Handling Disagreements

When it comes to money, disagreements can happen. Approach these conversations with respectful discussions. Listen to your bridesmaids' concerns and be open to their feedback.

If a bridesmaid can't afford the services, find a compromise solution. Maybe you can split the costs or offer to cover part of the expense. The goal is to find a middle ground that works for everyone.

Maintaining relationships is more important than any specific look. No picture is worth damaging friendships over. Be flexible and understanding, and your bridal party will appreciate your consideration.

By setting clear expectations and handling disagreements with care, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for everyone involved.

Tips for Saving Money on Hair and Makeup

Weddings can be expensive, but there are ways to cut costs without sacrificing beauty. Here are some practical tips to save on bridal party hair and makeup:

DIY Hair and Makeup

Doing your own hair and makeup can save a lot of money. This approach is perfect if you and your bridesmaids are comfortable with your beauty skills.

  • Cost-saving: No professional fees mean more money in your pocket.

  • Personal touch: DIY allows everyone to showcase their unique style.

  • Tutorials: Plenty of online tutorials can help you achieve professional looks. YouTube and beauty blogs are great resources.

Local Salons and Stylists

If DIY isn't your thing, consider local salons and stylists. They often offer more affordable options than high-end vendors.

  • Affordable options: Local salons usually have competitive prices.

  • Recommendations: Ask friends or check online reviews to find reliable local pros.

  • Advance bookings: Book early to lock in lower rates and ensure availability.

Stylist Assistants

Hiring stylist assistants can be a cost-effective way to get professional help without breaking the bank.

  • Lower rates: Assistants typically charge less than lead stylists.

  • Partial services: Opt for just hair or makeup, not both, to cut costs.

  • Cost-effective: You get professional results without the hefty price tag.

These tips can help you manage your budget while ensuring everyone looks their best. Up next, we'll address common questions about who pays for bridal party hair and makeup.

Frequently Asked Questions about Who Pays for Bridal Party Hair and Makeup

Should the bride pay for the bridesmaids' hair and makeup?

It depends. Traditionally, the bride covers these costs if she wants a specific look for her bridal party. This allows the bride to have more control over the appearance of her bridesmaids, ensuring a cohesive look for photos and the event.

However, if the bride is on a tight budget, it might make more sense for the bridesmaids to pay for their own hair and makeup. In such cases, clear communication is essential. For example, you can let them know the cost and give them the option to opt-in or do their own.

Pro Tip: Some brides opt to subsidize the cost. For instance, the bride might ask bridesmaids to contribute a small amount, like $30, while she covers the rest. This can be a good compromise.

Can bridesmaids do their own hair and makeup?

Absolutely! Bridesmaids can always choose to do their own hair and makeup, especially if they are skilled in these areas or want to save money. This option offers them the flexibility to use products they are comfortable with and create a look they love.

Consider This: If the bride prefers a uniform look, she can provide guidelines or inspiration photos. Some brides even create a "glam moodboard" on Pinterest to help their bridal party achieve a cohesive look without professional help.

What if a bridesmaid can't afford hair and makeup services?

Financial constraints are common, so it's important to handle this situation with sensitivity. If a bridesmaid can't afford professional services, there are several options:

  • DIY: Encourage her to do her own hair and makeup. There are plenty of online tutorials that can help.

  • Subsidize: As mentioned earlier, the bride can cover part of the cost to make it more affordable.

  • Local Salons: Recommend affordable local salons or stylists who offer good services at lower rates.

Remember: The goal is to make everyone feel comfortable and beautiful without causing financial stress. Open, respectful communication is key to finding a solution that works for everyone.

These FAQs should help clarify some common concerns about who pays for bridal party hair and makeup. Up next, we'll wrap up with a summary and some final thoughts on managing wedding beauty costs.


Planning a wedding involves many details, and deciding who pays for bridal party hair and makeup is an important one. Whether the bride covers the cost, the bridesmaids pay, or the expenses are split, transparency and early communication are key.

At Voss Salon, we understand the importance of looking and feeling your best on your special day. Our premium beauty services are designed to give you and your bridal party a luxurious experience without breaking the bank.

Why Choose Voss Salon?

  • Expert Stylists: Our team is trained in the latest beauty techniques to ensure you look stunning.

  • Custom Packages: We offer customizable packages to fit your budget and needs.

  • Convenient Locations: With three beautiful locations, we make it easy for you to access top-notch beauty services.

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Follow us on Instagram to get $25 off your first service. It's our way of saying thank you for choosing Voss Salon to be part of your special day.

We hope this guide helps you navigate the complexities of wedding beauty costs. The most important thing is to celebrate your love and enjoy the day with your loved ones.

For more information on our services or to book an appointment, visit our service page today.

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