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Wedding Hair: Who Pays For What?


Many wedding planning books provide a very detailed list of who should pay for what and when. Times have changed since the late 90s and payment issues have become more flexible. However, some expenses are still well defined. It is still a given that the bride will pay for her own wedding gown, her groom's wedding ring and gift as well as her own personal hair and skin care expenses.

Although the bridal party and attendants have traditionally been liable for their own wedding attire and travel expenses, there is no hard and fast rule for 2002.

One new bridal planning challenge is making decisions about bridal party hair, make-up and other expenses. Is each attendant required to pay for having their hair done for the wedding? What is appropriate when the bride requests that all the members of her party wear their hair in a special bridal theme style?

While it may be appropriate for a bridal attendant to pay for headgear to match her wedding gear, is it appropriate to be required to pay for a special updo or a pre-wedding spa trip?

Bridal Hair Themes

Any bride's thoughts regarding a central hair or makeup theme needs to be discussed at the very beginning of the wedding planning stage. Consideration and communication with the bridal party about hair and make-up issues are critical in deciding who should foot the bill for what services.

This topic may also be the financial dividing point for attendants that are unable to invest unlimited funds to be part of the wedding party. If you really dream of everyone with twisted updo tresses, it is important that you say so at the beginning so your attendants have a clear picture of what is required of them both financially and otherwise.

Some bridal consultants suggest that a central hair theme is appropriate for a formal day or evening wedding, but less important for an informal or casual wedding. Since it is more likely that a formal wedding will require a formal, floor length bridal attendant gown with matching headwear, co-ordinated hair styles would probably be very reasonable.

Who Pays For Attendant Hair?

Many brides opt for having a stylist come to their home and do their hair for the wedding. This is usually after one or two hair styling rehearsals so that all the loose ends have been dealt with.

If a central hair theme has been agreed upon in advance by everyone in the bridal or wedding party, the payment issue should also be settled long before the date of the wedding.

When a central hair style like a French braid, twist or similar updo is requested, opinions are split regarding payment responsibility. One wedding consultant suggested that the bride pay for one pre-wedding styling rehearsal as well as for the wedding day styling.

Another consultant suggested that in lieu of required attendant headgear, the bride may inquire if her bridal party members would be willing to pay for all or a portion of their hair styling services. Some of her attendants may not balk at being requested to wear their hair in a specific style but may resent paying for it to boot.

Bridal Luncheon At The Spa

Since the trend is for many bridal parties to visit a day spa together for pre-wedding pampering, luncheons or showers, why not schedule your attendant luncheon at the spa? Throw in a hairstyling for each member of the party as part of your special paid gift. This allows the attendant to have a pre-wedding styling rehearsal, relax at the spa and enjoy your luncheon at the same time.

If you are planning for a stylist to come to your home and do your wedding hair, inquire about having a second stylist accompany them. The two stylists can probably manage to handle the hair for the entire bridal party. In this scenario the bride or her family should pick up the hair styling tab and any tips.

Keep in mind that having two stylists at your home for any length of time will be more expensive than if you all went to the salon. However, there are many advantages that outweigh the disadvantages and the potential cost.

All wedding hair appointments must be booked way in advance. Some salons will require a deposit to hold the date and time and the desired hairstylists.

Styling Tools As Gifts?

If you don't want the expense of holding one of more stylists captive for mass wedding hair styling, consider asking all the attendants to still do their hair at your home. Ask them to arrive a few hours before the ceremony with clean, dry hair. Have a light snack or luncheon available so the bridal party can relax, munch a little and help each other with their hair.

One mother of the bride recently purchased eight identical Conair hot roller kits from In her emails to me she explained that her daughter wanted all of her attendants to have a soft curly look. Instead of requiring the bride or her party to pay for professional stylists, the mother bought new hot rollers that were presented, along with a special Austrian crystal hair jewel as wedding gifts to the party members. While a stylist was on hand to do the bride's hair, the rest of the attendants enjoyed using their new hot rollers to work on each other's hair. The stylist lent a hand with a light final touch-up on stubborn strands.

The mother reported that the idea was a great success. Not only did all the attendants look wonderful, they loved their new hot curlers that they can use for the future.

This is a wonderful example of a compromise and fair payment arrangement. As the mother of the bride pointed out, hot rollers are a much more economical buy than what it might cost to bring in a second stylist.

Free Form Hair

If your wedding plans do not require your attendants to wear their hair in any particular style, they are responsible for any costs associated with their hair for the wedding. While some attendants will want to have their hair done, it is purely a personal choice that they can make.

While you may request that each attendant wear the same hair jewel or flower, if you do not stipulate that they wear their hair in any special way, the hair styling expense is clearly that of the attendant.

Keep in mind that some attendants may opt to do their own hair at home. If this poses a potential problem for you, make sure you communicate this fact at the very beginning when you select them as an attendant.

Remember that it is important to be considerate of your attendant's personalities and private wishes about their hair. While you may think that your maid of honor would look best with a short snappy bob, she may adore her long shag.

Avoid using your status as the bride to ask anyone to change their basic hairstyle, color or look. While they may agree to follow your wishes, they may also resent you and this could lead to long term relationship problems after the wedding is over.

Attendant Hair Adornments

If your wedding is very formal and each attendant will be required to wear a formal headpiece to match their gowns, they are expected to pay for the entire attendant outfit from shoes to gloves to headwear.

If you prefer that each attendant wear a beautiful flower in their hair, it is suggested that you pick up the tab for the flowers and consider it part of their bouquet. Many florists can design a bouquet that matches flowers worn in the attendant's hair.

If you require a certain hair comb or barrette, while it is suggested that the bride may wish to pick up the tab, the answer is more fuzzy. Weigh the various options and consider giving your attendants the hair adornments as your gift to them. If they offer to pay for their own hair jewelry or adornments, be flexible and consider each individual situation.

Groom Hair

While you may wish to have input into how your groom wears his hair for the wedding, ultimately he is responsible for the cost. Ditto for his groomsmen. Unless the groom requires that all his attendants get dreadlock extensions or purple spikes, the groomsmen must pay for their own hair cuts and styles.

Other Hair Costs

It is usually a given that the individual mothers and close female relatives handle their own hair design and styling needs. If you wish to ask the mothers to co-ordinate their hair and colors, be flexible and communicate your thoughts. Let them work with you on an individual basis to make sure that they are willing to wear their hair a certain way. Whether they pay for a special style if a matter of negotiation.


When it comes to planning wedding party hairstyles it is important to be considerate, creative and exercise good communication skills. Although some hair styling costs are obvious, others may be more nebulous. Keep in mind that in some cases you may be required to pay if you have very unique or special wedding hair requests. Bottom line, be flexible and thoughtful and keep and keep an open mind.

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