Wedding Ideas

Bridal Party Hair & Makeup: Who Pays For What?

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Susan Brierly Bush


Let’s get a handle right now on beauty etiquette, because you don’t want your besties to go broke or battles to break out. In a perfect world, you and your bridal party would have scads of money and would be fighting for the privilege to pay for bridal hair and makeup. But that’s not quite how it goes.

The reality is that some girls are asked to be bridal attendants in two, three or more weddings a year, sometimes in addition to their own. You can imagine the costs involved if each wedding includes an engagement party, shower, bachelorette party and wedding, especially if any are out-of-town events.

     So, generally speaking, there are three hair and makeup scenarios:

1. The bride pays for hair and makeup services as a gift to all of her maids, with either the bride or the maids tipping the hair and makeup artists.

2. The bride provides a hair and makeup artist, but the maids pay all costs involved.

3. The bridesmaids schedule their own hair and makeup services, on their dime. Basically, they show up at the appointed time, ready to go with their own hair and makeup done.

There is no correct way to do this, and we often hear on Facebook and in beauty salons mixed responses defending each scenario. But there is one rule you must follow: You need to communicate your wishes directly and early on in your wedding planning process so that your maids know what they’re responsible for financially and can budget for it accordingly. There’s nothing worse than your bffs whispering among themselves the morning of your wedding, wondering if their hair and makeup services are free or if they have to pay.

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Ashley Sigmund of Maywood is providing it for her bridesmaids. “I’m paying for hair and makeup for my maids because it’s a better gift than a bag, cup, cheap jewelry or other bridesmaid paraphernalia that would be thrown into a drawer,” she explains.

Whereas Dana Ewings of Bloomfield gave her maids the option to have their hair and makeup done by her beauty team, to do it on their own or to use someone else. “They all went with my team and paid for it, but I covered the tip,” she says.

While some brides “tell” their maids their appointment times and the cost of their services—with the implication that the maids have to pay for it in order to be in the wedding—other brides are not comfortable with this scenario.

“If the bride requires her bridal party to get their hair and makeup done professionally, it should be on her to pay for it,” says Marisa Sanfilippo of Red Bank.  “I gave my girls the option to use my team if they want to have it done—two of them opted to do so, and one is handling her own hair and makeup.”

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Ultimately, everything boils down to budget—for both you and your maids. If your grandmother insists on paying for your entire wedding and wants you to splurge, go for it. But if you and your future husband are footing the bill on a tight budget, wedding experts agree that it’s better to talk about finances before you expect a close friend to say yes to your bridesmaid proposal. Sometimes you just have to think creatively, as in, “If you wouldn’t mind covering the cost of your hair and makeup, that would be the best wedding gift you could possibly give me, and I wouldn’t expect anything else.” 

Whichever route you choose, be sure to properly communicate it to your maids. The whole topic of expenses can really put a strain on friendships if not handled properly. In the long run, it’s always best to have an honest chat early on so that everyone is on the same page.

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