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There is a general rule that the bridesmaid pays for her own dress, although some brides choose not to stick to this, but when it comes to bridesmaids’ accessories and extras such as hair and make up, the etiquette is less clear cut.
Some people feel that it is an honour to be asked to be a bridesmaid, and that by accepting the offer the bridesmaid is agreeing to cover any expenses that this role incurs, including hair and make up. In the case of young bridesmaids, the parents are agreeing to pay for their daughter’s expenses when they allow her to be a bridesmaid.
However, there seems to be a stronger feeling that the bride should actually cover the cost of the bridesmaids’ hair and make up if she wants them to be done professionally, or if she wants a particular style or stylist. Here are three reasons why you should pay for your bridesmaids’ hair and make up:
The main reason that bridesmaids tend to pay for their dresses, shoes, and accessories is that they can generally be used again as long as they are reasonably stylish. Bridesmaids are usually happy to pay for a beautiful dress if they can see an opportunity to wear it to another wedding or formal function. Bridesmaids’ hairstyles and make up, however, are just for your wedding, and once the day is over the look is washed away.
If you want your bridesmaids to have their hair styled professionally, and to have their make up applied by an expensive make up artist, it is only fair that you cover the cost for this. If you want them to pay themselves you need to give them the option of doing their hair and make up themselves, or finding an alternative to the professionals you have chosen.
Your vision of what your bridesmaids’ hair and make up should look like may be very different to theirs, but if you are footing the bill you will have more of a say in the final effect. If you expect your bridesmaids to pay for their hair styles you will need to take their input into account, and they have every right to refuse the style you suggest.
Most bridesmaids are close friends or sisters of the bride, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to have the conversation about who will pay for what. It can be more difficult, however, if you are having your future sister-in-law or any other member of the groom’s family as a bridesmaid.
Often it’s easier to say that you will pay the hairstylist and make up artist, and then just hope that they offer to pay instead. You could also say that you’ll cover the cost of the hair and make up as a thank you for all their hard work as your bridesmaid, and then they’ll know not to expect an additional thank you gift.