6 Expenses The Maid of Honor Should Expect to Pay For

Discussing finances is both the most awkward and important part of being a maid of honor or bridesmaid. While there are certainly some expenses that you are expected to cover, it’s up to you to set an overall budget that you’re comfortable spending. 

Before doing so, you need to be able to answer the question that most are too embarrassed to ask: what does the maid of honor pay for?

But hey, don’t sweat it. We’re here to break down the nitty-gritty of what your wallet is up against, from the glitz and glam of attire to the final toast at the wedding. 

This guide is your golden ticket to understanding the financial ins and outs of your role. We’ll walk you through the expenses typically covered by the bridal party—think dresses, gifts, and those unforgettable pre-wedding events. But it’s not all on you, we’ll also highlight what the bride is expected to cover, ensuring no one’s caught off guard. 

Remember, every wedding is a unique affair, and the financial expectations can vary wildly. That’s why it’s crucial for the bride to share her vision and expectations early on, paving the way for a celebration that’s memorable for all the right reasons and free from any money-related misunderstandings.

What Does the Maid of Honor Pay For?

Before we break down the key expenses, it’s worth noting that the contribution that the maid of honor and bridesmaids make to the wedding goes far beyond the monetary expense. Your presence is critical in supporting the bride in all aspects of the wedding and is invaluable. So while it may seem that these costs add up quickly, your role can’t just be condensed into a list of expenses.

1. Wedding and Pre-Wedding Event Attire

The maid of honor (or matron of honor or man of honor!), along with the rest of the bridal party, is expected to cover all wedding attire costs. This includes the dress (plus any necessary alterations), shoes, and any jewelry you’ll be wearing the day of. Occasionally, the bride will gift her bridesmaids with whatever accessories she wants them to wear, or will offer to subsidize the cost of the dress if she has her heart set on a pricey or designer option.

Also don’t forget any personal essentials for the wedding day – it’s helpful to prepare a small emergency kit with essentials like bobby pins, safety pins, a mini sewing kit, and blister plasters to handle any unexpected issues.

We all know that it’s easy to blow our budget when it comes to our wardrobe, so don’t shy away from embracing budget-friendly strategies. Searching for sales, considering dress rentals, or opting for pre-loved outfits are all ways to keep costs down while still looking fabulous. 

Or maybe the bride can embrace the trend of mix-and-match bridesmaid dresses? This allows the bridal party to express their individual styles within a specified color palette, ensuring everyone feels confident and comfortable, but can also allow bridesmaids to work within their budget. 

And you shouldn’t discount the attire that may be needed for the other pre-wedding events. Will you want some new outfits for the shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner? If you’re wardrobe doesn’t already have a huge selection, you may need to budget for some new clothes to get you through.

2. Bridal Shower

When it comes to the bridal shower, it’s the responsibility of the maid of honor to split the expenses with the rest of the bridal party. This includes the cost of all decorations, activities/games, food and beverages – which can add up quickly if left unchecked. 

That being said, it is perfectly acceptable to ask for contributions from both the mothers of the bride and groom or any other close family members if they’re not hosting the shower.

And there are plenty of other creative ways to keep your wallets happy. In an age where our phones are practically glued to our hands, why not leverage technology to save some green? Swap out traditional paper invites for sleek digital ones. Not only does this slash costs, but it also makes managing RSVPs a breeze. Similarly, you can opt for free printable games instead of other expensive activity options.

When it comes to budgeting for the shower, transparency and planning are key. Have an honest chat with the bridal squad about what everyone’s comfortable spending. Apps and spreadsheets can be lifesavers, helping you track expenses so you can focus more on celebrating and less on stressing. Remember, the goal is to shower the bride-to-be with love, not to shower yourselves in debt.

3. Bachelorette Party

For destination bachelorette parties, each bridesmaid is expected to cover their own travel expenses. The entire bridal party should split the bill for accommodations (this includes covering the bride’s portion as well) and any additional accessory costs (think cute decorations and bride tribe tees, etc.). 

Make sure to discuss beforehand if you and your fellow bridesmaids will be splitting the bride’s portion on all, or any, food and drink bills.

But let’s keep it real: if the wedding’s already maxing out your credit cards, maybe skip the passport stamps and extra expenses. There’s no shame in dialing it back to dodge debt!

We’re talking about things like matching swimsuits for a beach day or custom jackets for a night out. They’re Instagram gold but remember, it’s all optional. Before you all say “yes” to another expense, have a frank chat about what’s actually reasonable. 

For those looking to keep the cash flow in check, look into other bachelorette ideas. Why not opt for a spa day where everyone can relax and rejuvenate? Or hit up a local beach with a DIY picnic. Even a glam night in your city, hopping from one spot to another, can make for an unforgettable celebration. 

Just be sure to have a heart-to-heart with the bride if she’s expecting a lavish destination affair but the rest of the squad can’t swing it. Remember, it’s all about making memories, not accumulating bills. 

4. Wedding-related Gifts

As the MoH, you’re expected to give both a bridal shower and wedding gift. Because you’re already spending plenty of money on other maid of honor expenses, don’t feel obligated to go overboard or over budget. Etiquette is on your side here, and the bride won’t expect you to spend another fortune on an expensive gift.

For the bridal shower gift, pick one or two budget-friendly things off the registry and for the wedding gift, cash (or check) is definitely considered acceptable. Or if you have the time and ability, the bride would surely appreciate a meaningful DIY gift. Thoughtfulness trumps lavishness, so consider:

  • Put together a date-at-home basket, with some personalized treats and a gift card for a streaming movie
  • Make a cookbook filled with meaningful and favorite recipes
  • Etch your own glass gifts for them with Armor Etch 

Or here’s another pro tip: team up with the rest of the bridal party for the wedding gift. Pooling your resources allows you to nab something really wow-worthy from the couple’s wish list without leaving your bank account in tears. Plus, it’s a great way to ensure you’re all in this together, sharing the love and the load.

5. Wedding Day Hotel and Travel

The entire bridal party should expect to pay for any travel to and from the wedding weekend as well as their overnight accommodations. Typically the bride will ask her bridesmaids to stay with her the night before the wedding in her bridal suite, so you may only need to cover the cost of one night’s stay. Make sure to clarify this with the bride early to allow you to make proper arrangements.

Of course, if the bride and groom are having a destination wedding, the travel costs will be a lot higher. The bride should be able to give you an estimate of these costs before you agree to be in the wedding. If it turns out that the final costs are out of your budget, have a chat with the bride, and don’t be afraid to say no to being in the bridal party.

That being said, there are ways to reduce these costs: booking early often leads to some sweet deals, and don’t forget about group discounts – hotels love wedding crowds! Airbnbs can be cheaper than hotels, and you can also look to team up with other members of the wedding party or guests to split a larger rental, dialing down the cost but upping the fun! 

A little research and savvy planning can go a long way. 

6. Hair and Makeup

This is always a controversial cost to discuss. For most of the weddings we’ve been in, we’ve been responsible for covering the cost of professional hair and makeup, including tips. That being said, many brides will choose this as their ‘gift’ to their bridal party, especially if there’s a certain look they want to achieve. 

However, not every bride can (or wants to) cover the cost for the entire bridal party. If that’s the case, the bride may give her squad the green light to handle their own beauty game. Offering the option to DIY or find a stylist within their budget can keep everyone looking fab and fierce without the financial strain. The bride just has to have a chat about the desired look to ensure a cohesive look. 

Either way, you should factor in this cost when determining your budget, as you may not know until closer to the wedding what the bride will be covering.

Expenses The Maid of Honor is Not Expected to Cover

Let’s go over a few things the maid of honor usually doesn’t have to worry about paying for. It’s all about knowing where your responsibilities end and the couple’s begin:

  • Day-Of Transportation: The couple generally arranges and covers transportation for the bridal party on the wedding day. This includes getting from the ceremony to the reception and any venue stops in between for those all-important photos.
  • Meals on the Wedding Day: No need to pack a lunchbox, the couple should have catering covered for the entire bridal party throughout the day. From breakfast to late-night snacks, you’ll be well-fed and ready to celebrate. And be sure to take advantage of those so any drinks don’t go straight to your head! You need to be of sound mind to get the bride through the day!
  • Bouquets and Floral Accessories: The beautiful flowers or bouquet alternatives you’ll be carrying or wearing? Those are typically provided by the couple as part of the overall wedding decor, so you can leave these costs out of your budget.
  • Accommodations the Night Before the Wedding: If the bride wants her besties close by the night before the wedding, especially in a hotel or rented space, she should cover this expense. It’s a way to ensure everyone’s together and ready for the big day without any added stress.
  • Getting Ready Outfits: If the bride wants fun, matching attire for the morning preparations (think bride squad robes or I-Do Crew pajamas), she’ll often treat this as a gift to her bridal party. It’s a small token of appreciation for being part of her special journey.

Understanding these details helps keep everyone on the same page and ensures that the focus remains on enjoying the celebration, not worrying about unexpected bridesmaid expenses.

Tips for Talking about Maid of Honor Expenses

Figuring out all of these wedding prep costs doesn’t have to be a solo journey. Here are some friendly pointers on how to talk about and manage the financial burden:

  • Budgeting Tips: Start by laying out all expected expenses. From there, see where you can cut costs without cutting corners. Maybe it’s hunting for a gently used dress or opting for a more modest bridal shower. Every little bit saved helps in the long run.
  • Offer Alternatives and Flexibility: Not everyone can swing the cost of professional hair and makeup. If that’s the case, have a chat with the bride about other options. Maybe a talented friend can help out, or there are tutorials to follow online. The key is finding a solution that works for everyone.
  • Encourage Inclusivity and Understanding: Remember, everyone’s financial situation is different. If possible, consider setting up a shared fund to help cover costs for those who might be struggling. It’s all about supporting each other and making sure no one feels left out because of money.

In general, open and honest communication is your best friend here. Talk about financial expectations and responsibilities early on – the bride-to-be may be up to her eyeballs in wedding planning but needs to make the time for this. This way, everyone knows what’s coming and can plan accordingly. It’s all about making the experience joyful and stress-free for everyone involved.

Final Thoughts …

And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to answer the question: what does the maid of honor pay for? We’ve navigated the sometimes choppy waters of bridesmaid and maid of honor expenses and come out the other side. Remember, while it’s all about celebrating love and friendship, keeping an eye on the financial side of things ensures that everyone can focus on the fun, not the funds.

Maid of Honor Planner

Packed full of detailed checklists, worksheets, and budget trackers, our exclusive maid of honor planner covers everything you need to know (and more) as a maid of honor!

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