Your bridal party and your wedding budget: how to keep everyone happy

Choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen is one of the fun parts of wedding planning, but alas, it’s not all champagne breakfasts and bonding shopping trips.

It’s a sad truth that bridal parties are expensive. And while some couples pick up the tab on all associated costs for their bridal parties, others hope that their chosen attendants won’t mind paying their way. Naturally, figuring out exactly what everyone’s expectations are can get a little (or a lot) awkward.

So here’s our guide to having an honest discussion with your bridal party about that most unromantic subject: money.

Think about your wedding budget first

If you’ve got close friends and family who are expecting to be part of your bridal party, chances are you’ll want to ask them as soon as you can, to avoid offending anyone.

But hold on to your tiaras. Before anybody does ANY inviting, it’s important that you and your partner have covered off exactly what you're both expecting from your bridal parties, what you're willing to pay for as a couple, and a rough budget.

These discussions should also include things like how many people you would like in your respective bridal parties, and how much you’re happy to allocate to cover those expenses. It’s boring, perhaps, but it will make the next stage of the process so much easier.

Next, pop the question

Will you attend me? It’s a romantic question that puts both the asker and the askee in a vulnerable place.

While most people are honoured to be part of your big day, they’ll probably have questions around what it will cost them. Will bridesmaids be expected to pay for their own dresses, hair and makeup, and will groomsmen be expected to wear and pay for matching suits? It’s awkward for them to come out and ask you, though, so here’s where you as the bride and groom take the lead.

As part of your invitation, be clear about what costs you can cover – and be gracious if they’re unable to participate.

Get planning

Of course, bridesmaids and groomsmen have more responsibility, often, than just showing up on your big day. There’s the lead up events – bucks and hens parties or kitchen teas – plus accommodation for those who are travelling. That’s a lot of extra costs – so it pays to plan who’s paying.

Where possible, brides and grooms should always make an offer to contribute to cover the costs of these events, even partially, to recognise the time and effort your bridal parties have spent to make these occasions memorable.

If you have a maid of honour and best man, they can take the lead. Ask them to speak honestly with you bridal parties and raise any red flags regarding expenses, helping to set expectations on both sides so everyone can get on with the business of celebrating, rather than calculating.

Here comes the bridal party

That crept up quickly! Your wedding day is here, and your nearest and dearest have likely spent months working closely with you to help you realise your dream wedding day.

While gifts are traditional, you can show your gratitude in a number of ways. There’s just one rule: show you recognise the investment of time, energy and expense that your bridal parties have made.

Whether you choose to give them a gift, a celebratory brunch the day after, or even a heartfelt note to say thank you, make sure you let them know how much you have appreciated all they have done.

Need a little help with bridal party expenses? Take a look at Latitude personal loans.