First and foremost, it’s most important to get the entire group together. If you aren’t in the same state as most of your bridesmaids, then sending something small is a good idea. To be completely honest, I don’t think it is necessary to spend boatloads of money on a bridesmaids ask but I do recommend spending some time on your gift to make it special. I recommend personalizing something so that each individual feels like they are a part of your wedding for a particular reason. I gave personalized photo cards with a letter inside along with personalized wine bottles. Not only was this cost-effective, most of the girls loved it especially because they can actually drink the wine instead of, you know, adding to their hoarding collection! If you are inviting everyone to your house, it is your responsibility to provide dinner or at least some appetizers. This pretty much goes for any event you have at your house for your bridesmaids, even if it is just to practice dancing for your wedding, etc.
Moving along to the bridesmaids outfits. The question I get typically get asked is : should I, as the bride, have to pay for the outfits or can I pass the cost along to my bridesmaids? In my personal opinion, I think the bride should pay for most or all of the outfit(s) that the bridesmaids are wearing. If it is a rental and/or is cost effective, then it may be appropriate for bridesmaids themselves to pay. Alterations should obviously be paid for by bridesmaids themselves. Some bridesmaids might not want to to pay $100 or more for one or sometimes even two bridal party outfits and rightfully so. And this is why , it just makes sense for the bride to pay. To combat a situation as this, a budget friendly option is to choose a color for a particular event and have everyone wear their own outfits! This way, bridesmaids CAN buy a new outfit or wear something they already have if they aren’t able to pay for something new. Separate but related, it is okay for bridesmaids to wear the same thing for the ceremony and the reception. If you have bought something that you like for your bridesmaids to wear, it’s completely okay to ask them to wear it to both events if the events are on the same day. I do regret not having the bridesmaids wear the coordinated outfits to the reception (in addition to the wedding ceremony).
Now, makeup and hair is tricky. This is 100% a personal decision. Usually bridesmaids will pay for hair and makeup themselves if they want to get it done. Brides will end up paying for the “extras” which is super nice but also not necessary. By the extras, I mean lashes, airbrush, hair extensions, or anything that is not already included in the hair and makeup pricing.
Gifts make for a nice surprise for the bridesmaids at the wedding. It is a good way to thank them for all the craziness you put them through, because I am sure you did. Again, it doesn’t have to be elaborate but most of the time at least one of the items is something that can be used for the bridal party photos as well. Some examples are robes, matching t-shirts, jackets, etc. They get to keep a nice gift and you get a great photo! Usually it is nice to give something in addition to the clothing you will use for pictures. At my wedding, I gave wine bottles in cute bags with knot bracelets from Kate Spade. I figured the girls could use a bottle of wine for the weekend and who doesn’t love Kate Spade? Made total sense to me! There are so many budget friendly ideas and some of them include jewelry perhaps even to wear as part of the wedding outfit, a mini kit with essentials for the weekend, personalized wine glasses, coffee mugs, champagne glasses, etc.
The two main events that are planned by the bridesmaids are the bachelorette party and the bridal shower. The bride or the bride’s family usually pays for most of the bridal shower but bridesmaids usually chip in for smaller things, such as games and prizes, some of the decor, and possibly favors. I think it is too much to ask the bridesmaids to cover the whole bridal shower event because this usually gets costly depending on how many people are invited to the event and where the event is hosted. For the bachelorette party, the bridesmaids will and should plan the entire weekend! The bride herself usually pays for her airfare to the bachelorette party (if it is a destination), but everything else that the bride does on the bachelorette party is usually covered by the bridesmaids. I think this is fair because it is usually split between the whole group and you are only covering the brides expenses as a group!
I hope some of this information was useful to you! Leave comments and I will try to answer all of them!