Inviting your closest friends to stand beside you on your big day is a fun part of wedding planning, but failing to consider and communicate expectations can quickly turn it into a source of stress for you and your bridesmaids.

In order to make your wedding day a truly happy event for you and your girls, it’s important to communicate your expectations upfront. Your friends will be coming alongside you not only to participate in your wedding day, but to be there for the preparation and events leading up to it as well. When you start to consider what it will cost them for travel and accommodations, pre-wedding festivities, and attire… there’s a lot your ladies are saying yes to!

Read on to learn what to expect from your bridesmaids and how you can make wedding planning fun and drama-free for all involved.

What Should I Expect from My Bridesmaids?

Traditionally, the bridesmaids are expected to

  • cover the cost for their attire: dress, shoes, and adornments. (Don’t forget possible alterations!)
  • help plan and pay for the bachelorette party.
  • take care of their transportation to and from the city where the wedding will take place.

Should bridesmaids pay for hair and makeup?

While it is completely acceptable to give your ‘maids an idea of what you want for their look when it comes to their hair and make-up, allow them the choice between using your preferred hairstylist or styling it on their own. Otherwise, consider covering the cost for them if you want all of your girls to have a particular romantic updo or to get their makeup done by a certain artist of your choice.

With all of that in mind, what can I expect my bridesmaids to pay for their dresses?

My brides typically try to keep the cost around $200 or less.

Your girls are really going out of their way to be there for you and celebrate with you, so when choosing a dress, make sure you are sensitive to each of their unique situations. Consider presenting two or three coordinating dresses that your ‘maids can choose from in varying price and style (for a range of body types and skin tones). That way, they can pick which dress they will be most comfortable in. You could also gift the shoes or jewelry of your choice to help cut down on their overall cost.

However, it’s your wedding! So ultimately, what you expect from your bridesmaids is totally up to you.

Perhaps you have your heart set on a very specific dress for your girls, but since they already have to fly out to your gorgeous destination wedding, you don’t feel right asking them to pay so much for their gowns. Why not buck tradition a bit, buy their dresses as a gift, and let them cover the cost for their shoes?

Whatever you decide, make sure you communicate with your ‘maids so that there are no surprise costs and they know how to plan. It’s really all about having your loved ones with you to celebrate together, so keep the relationship the priority, communicate your expectations early and clearly, and enjoy this special time with your girls.

If you’re getting ready to celebrate your big day, I’d love to hear from you! Do you have any special way you plan to say thank you to your bridesmaids? Maybe you plan to forego some traditions and get creative with your bridal party expectations?

And if making and communicating these decisions with your closest friends is stressing you out, click here to learn how you can contact me. I’d love to chat more about how I can help with those little details, so you and your girlfriends can relax and enjoy the journey to and down the aisle!