We have 3 bridesmaids and 3 groomsmen for our February 2011 wedding. We got their input as to what they thought of style/colors but paid for all of their outfits . We waited 'til the end of the season when everything went on sale. We totally lucked out with helpful sales staff who offered to search for the sizes we needed nationwide and order whatever they didn't have in for us.
Bought the dresses from BCBG ($100 ea), sandals ($50). The shirts & pants are from Tommy Bahama ($100) sandals ($50). We had used our 'Passport to Paradise' which saved us 20%. I find the style doesn't change much there but the colors are new every year. Everyone is responsible for their own alterations.
I will be getting my bridesmaids earrings and a pashmina for the ceremony/reception, and paying for their hair-do. They will decide if they want to get their makeup done or do it themselves at the salon I booked. I will get them a small gift, not sure what yet.
We've asked the groomsmen to wear a belt that matches their dark brown sandals. My fiance will be picking out a gift for each of them.
I never used the stuff I had to buy for other weddings and I know being a part of a wedding can get expensive. We're not helping with the cost of the rooms or anything but wanted to make it as easy as possible for everyone since this is a destination wedding. I would feel uncomfortable asking for everyone to pay for their outfits. I feel good about the choices we made and that we're getting everyone's outfits!