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Who should pay for bridesmaid/Matron of Honour expenses?

(103 Posts)
OrangeClub Tue 02-Oct-12 15:28:59

I was asked to be Matron of Honour for a friend (also a work colleague but more of a friend to be honest) around eighteen months ago. The wedding was supposed to take place in April but was cancelled last Christmas due to my friend having a few wobbles. This is her second marriage.

Anyway in May of this year they set a new date for October of this year. The wedding is in two weeks time. I am still Matron of Honour.

So far I have paid £100.00 for the hen do, £200.00 for a hotel for the wedding itself (it's 200 miles from where I live), £100.00 on shoes and a bag and obviously I will spend a bit over the wedding weekend.

I am a single parent on a very low income, however I hadn't given these expenses any thought as I have never been asked to be Matron of Honour before. I know I am finding it difficult to find the money to pay for these things but I hadn't thought that anyone else would be responsible for paying for the hotel, etc. It just has never crossed my mind.

To be honest when they cancelled the wedding at Christmas I didn't think that they would rebook for this year and it would give me more time to save up for it. Anyway I am feeling the pinch a little bit and I am quite worried now by the money I have been spending on it. Not in a horrible way towards my friends (my friend and her husband to be are lovely) but I am finding it quite difficult to manage.

I mentioned my worries to a friend at lunchtime as I don't get paid again until after the wedding and I am worried about bills etc. She was amazed that I had had to pay for my own hotel, and travelling costs etc. She was also amazed that I was paying for my nails to be done myself and my hair etc.

I really don't know who pays for what at a wedding so could someone shed any light on this for me?

meditrina Tue 02-Oct-12 15:32:09

I don't know if there are any hard and fast rules, but I would expect to cover the expenses I'd incur as an ordinary guest (travel, accommodation) but not things like dress shoes, hair and nails because appearance is decided by the bride.

OrangeClub Tue 02-Oct-12 15:32:11

By the way my own wedding cost about £40.00 in a registry office and we all went out for a meal afterwards. It was very, very informal. That was the last wedding I went to as none of my close friends have ever been married. That is why I am so clueless.

mummymeister Tue 02-Oct-12 15:33:10

i have been bridesmaid where everything was paid for and also my DD's were have been bridesmaids 3 times. first time it was everything, second time we went halves on everything and this last time we bought the shoes and the overnight stay. tbh it just depends on what arrangement you have with your friend. if i were her, i would like you to tell me the problems it is causing financially as i am sure she will want you to have a good time and you cant do that if you are worrying about the cost all of the time. have a chat with her and let her know.

CakeBump Tue 02-Oct-12 15:33:54

I would expect the dress to be paid for, if it's not "free choice" plus the same for shoes and accessories - if you choose, you pay, but if you are told what to wear, bride pays.

I would also expect to pay hotel/hen expenses and costs of getting to the wedding myself.

If all the bridesmaids, bride and maid of honour were having hair/makeup done together and to bride's spec, I would expect bride to pay. If I was just going off myself to get my hair and makeup sorted, ie bride hadn't specified it, I would expect to pay.


OrangeClub Tue 02-Oct-12 15:34:17

Thank you. To be honest I thought that I would pay for my own hotel and travelling expenses. I hadn't thought anything different to that until my friend said what she said at lunchtime.

SammyTheSwedishSquirrel Tue 02-Oct-12 15:35:01

I paid for everything for my bridesmaid, but then she's the person dearest to me in the whole world and so it never occured to me to do otherwise. She worked bloody hard helping to organise the wedding and being in total control on the day (so I didn't have to). She was brilliant.

OrangeClub Tue 02-Oct-12 15:36:15

I would feel awful speaking to her about this so close to the wedding. She has enough to worry about. She only has one bridesmaid (me!) and I couldn't burden her with anymore stress. I will just put it down to experience and try not to think about the money (or lack of!)

TakingTheStairs Tue 02-Oct-12 15:36:17

My Maid of Honour paid for her hotel room but we paid for hair/dress/shoes/make up etc.
I would love to have been able to stretch to her hotel room too but I couldn't, but I did discuss it with her and checked rather than presuming.

nilbyname Tue 02-Oct-12 15:37:02

Well, personally if I were the bride and I wanted you to have your hair and nails "done" then I would pay. If I wanted you to stay at the hotel, then again, I would pay and as for your MoH outfit, yes I would pay. Hen do...I would expect you to pay for yourself and perhaps you and the rest of the hens cover my (the brides) costs.

Tricky as she has not offered, so I imagine she is expecting you to stump up. I would say..."As you know money is tight, so I wont be getting my hair/nails professionally done. I will do them myself. Likewise I have found a cheap B&B for me to stay in nearby" and then see what she says.

Thumbwitch Tue 02-Oct-12 15:37:06

It's a hard one - I have been chief BM a couple of times and it was different both times. With the first, I had to pay half the dress cost and for my own hair to be done. I was pissed off about the hair, I thought the bride should have covered that, tbh; but didn't mind the dress. There weren't, luckily, any travel expenses.

Second time, the bride paid fully for the dress materials but I made my own, so I suppose I paid half in my time. I paid for my own travel expenses but didn't have any overnight expenses as I stayed in the bride's house.

booksandchoc Tue 02-Oct-12 15:37:51

I'm a bridesmaid in April for my sister, I'm buying my shoes and paying for hair/make-up/nails. My dress and accessories are being bought by the bride. I could just do my make-up and nails myself but I never got them done for my wedding and I've never been a bridesmaid before so I'm treating myself. I'm happy to pay for my shoes because if I wasn't a bridesmaid I would have to buy a whole new outfit. The hotel is quite close to where we live but we are getting a room so that DD has somewhere to sleep an we don't have to leave early.

Jusfloatingby Tue 02-Oct-12 15:38:21

I would certainly expect the bride and groom to pay for your dress and shoes. Given that they probably know that you're not particularly flush I think they should offer to pay for your accommodation as well to be honest.

SusanneLinder Tue 02-Oct-12 15:40:19

When I got married, I paid for dress,hair,shoes etc. I thought thats what everyone did.

OrangeClub Tue 02-Oct-12 15:41:01

The venue she has chosen for the wedding is beautiful but it is 200 miles from where we all live. The hotels are quite limited there as it is a small village so there was not much choice about where everyone stays. To be honest when she asked me I was so honoured to be asked, the money side of it didn't even occur to me (stupid). I will know for next time and would probably bow out gracefully in the same circumstances.

Startailoforangeandgold Tue 02-Oct-12 15:42:54

The bride insisted on paying for everything when DD2 was a bridesmaid this summer, including putting us up in the hotel. (Groom is my cousin).

When both DDs were brides maids for a friend she bought the dresses and I organised hair decorations and shoes (to be fair they were little and shoes were white wear all summer sandals). Everyone paid their own accommodation because it wasn't a take over the whole place kind of event also it was in a holiday area and lots of us wanted to be in the cheap travel lodge and stay a bit longer and see the sights.

Paradisefound Tue 02-Oct-12 15:49:02

We paid for everything outfits, make up, hair do, hen night, accommodation. I don't think the bridesmaids should be paying for anything to be honest.

Ladyface Tue 02-Oct-12 15:50:11

When I got married I paid for my MOH's hotel room, dress, hair and make up. Dh did the same for his best man.

Have a chat with your friend. Unless she is a total bridezilla, I am sure she would want to know and help.

KenLeeeeeee Tue 02-Oct-12 15:52:26

For my bridesmaids, I bought their dresses, jewellery and hair bits & bobs, but they sorted their own shoes out. Two of them stayed at my house after the wedding and the other (SIL) stayed with other family. I didn't pay anything towards the hen do, which we'd all agreed from the outset would be as minimal a cost as possible (naice meal out followed by piss-up elegant drinkies at my house), so I hope they didn't end up parting with too much cash on my behalf.

In theory I would have loved to pay for them to have hair and nails done, paid for their hotel rooms etc but we were on a tight budget as it was.

OrangeClub Tue 02-Oct-12 15:53:12

She's not a bridezilla at all. She is lovely. I just feel a bit awkward bringing this up now, at this late stage. I don't think I can to be honest. It was more a general question in case I ever get asked again. I don't think I could afford to pay for all of these things in such a small space of time again. Because of how the wedding has been rebooked it has only given me three months to budget for all of it.

ViviPru Tue 02-Oct-12 16:01:17

Yes, rule out the hen do, that doesn't count - £100 seems comparatively reasonable.

I've bought my bridesmaid's dresses, and accessories but I don't mind what shoes they wear/how they have their hair/nails so they're just sorting that themselves. The way they see it, they would be having to stump up those costs anyway if they were attending as a regular guest and they're all just thrilled they don't have to think of what to wear or pay for an outfit. Is she expecting you to have a particular hairstyle/nails/make-up a particular way? If so they it really is up to the bride to pay and it's a bit mean of her not to.

In terms of the accommodation, we're lucky in that there are loads of options nearby. If it was a situation whereby the only choice was costing £200, I'd definitely offer to subsidise it for them.

When it comes to the travel costs, I kind of think that comes under the heading of 'would have been an unavoidable cost were you a regular guest anyway' (snappy heading, eh?)

As far as your expenses on the day, these really ought to be minimal. Unless they've been massively tight, your food and drinks will be covered for most of the day, and you'll probably find as a member of the bridal party, people will be sure to buy you a few drinks in the evening. I'd hope that your room rate includes breakfast!

You haven't mentioned wedding gifts yet.... <runs for cover>

heartmoonshadow Tue 02-Oct-12 16:02:08

As the bride if I was getting married so far away that my matron of honour had to have a hotel room I would expect to pay for that for her. I would buy the dress and the shoes and pay for hair and nails but I would expect her to pay for her own hen night expenses and transport - I would probably try to find someone she could car share with.

If I were you I would start by asking if she knew someone who would be happy to car share as you are finding it difficult to budget for and hopefully from there she will think about all the other stuff,

ViviPru Tue 02-Oct-12 16:03:03

I would start by asking if she knew someone who would be happy to car share as you are finding it difficult to budget for

That is a really good suggestion.

Viviennemary Tue 02-Oct-12 16:09:35

This can vary I suppose according to circumstances. But certainly the dress should be paid for. Not sure about hair and nails though. Accommodation? yes I think this should be paid for too. This wedding business is getting absolutely out of hand. I thought marriage was meant to be going out of fashion!

ViviPru Tue 02-Oct-12 16:18:03

This can vary I suppose according to circumstances.

True - I think it depends on the nature of the wedding. I don't think there are any hard and fast rules, but what isn't on, is when the bride and groom have delusions of grandeur and book something that's just a little bit too much of a stretch financially, and because of that can't afford to treat members of the bridal party to their accommodation etc

Conversely, by the very nature of this kind of wedding, the bridal party are often required to stay in expensive hotels and have very particular grooming.

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