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Who Pays For What At Wedding?

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What costs are the wedding party responsible for? It varies, a lot. The number one rule of anything to do with money and weddings is talk about it up front.

Unfortunately, like with many things money-related, it’s an uncomfortable topic So if you’re like most of the population and are living in some doubt as to who should be paying for what, this post is for you.  

We cover off what each role of the wedding party is likely to be paying for.

bride with bridesmaids

Best man and groomsmen?

The best man is responsible for paying for his formal wear and accessories. His travel to the wedding is out of his pocket, and a shower gift (if held) and a wedding gift is expected.  He will also be required to share the cost of the stag do.

Our observation is that the majority of couples getting married are covering the cost of suit hire for the best man and groomsmen.  So although tradition dictates one thing, practicality suggests another. Couples need to be upfront with your wedding party as to what you’ll be paying for.

If your wedding party includes ushers, then the cost of their suit hire traditionally falls on them to cover.

Maid of honor and bridesmaids

The maid of honor and the bridesmaids are expected to pay for their dresses and shoes.  Makeup, hair and any spray tans etc. are usually covered by the bride as it’s a “nice to have”.

Travel to the wedding is also out of their own pocket, and a shower gift and a wedding gift is expected. The maid of honor and bridesmaids will also be required to share the cost of the bachelorette party or bridal shower.

There are a few different ways of paying for the bridesmaid dresses, versus the “traditional” route of the bridesmaid covering the lot. A common one is the bride taking care of the cost and gifting the dress to the bridesmaid post-wedding, or alternatively, the bride may buy the dresses and after the wedding on-sell the dresses and recoup some of the costs.

Flower girl?

The family of the flower girl should be covering the tab for the flower girl dress, shoes, and travel expenses.

Flower girls are not expected to bring a shower gift to any bridal showers, but if a parent (or parents) attend, then the expectation is that they’d bring a gift just as any other guest would.  If it’s at an appropriate time and a suitable theme, then the wee girl should be invited along to the shower.

Ring bearer?

Like the flower girl, traditionally the role of ring bearer goes to a wee boy below the age of six, so any costs incurred are for the parents of the ring bearer.  The ring bearer’s family are responsible for paying for his attire and any travel expenses to get to the wedding.  The ring bearer is not expected to bring along any gift to any kind of pre-wedding parties as it’s unlikely he’ll attend any.

If the parents of the ring bearer or train bearer do attend, the expectations for the gifts will still be the same as with any other guest.


We have covered off what wedding bits and pieces your parents are “supposed” to cover over on this post “What do the parents pay for?

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