(Closed) Be my BM? Oh, and can you pay for your own dress?!

posted 12 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
202 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

It’s pretty much the norm for BMs to pay for their own dresses.  I’ve always accepted knowing that I would be paying for my own dress.  But if you’ve got one girl who may be reluctant to ante up, you could make their shoes or jewelry part of their Bridesmaid or Best Man gift.  But I would think that they should be expecting to pay for their own dress.

Post # 4
382 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

i think this may be regional because I never even anticipated paying for my BMs dresses. Ive been a Bridesmaid or Best Man several times and have paid for my own dress, shoes, hair, and make up each time.  You dont have to pay for her dress.  also, $200 is not an atypical cost.  if you think $200 may be steep for her, consider off the rack dresses or david’s bridal.  if you can afford to buy it for her, its a nice gesture, but you certainly arent required.

Post # 5
3358 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

I don’t think you have to spell it out for them that they need to pay for their own dresses.  If your one friend is concerned about who is going to pay for the dress, she should ask you about it before she accepts.  I think the norm is that BMs pay for their own dresses. 

Post # 6
958 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

I think they are seperate conversations and therefore not awkward.

First you ask and when you find a dress, you say "Hey, here’s the dress I like, it’s $xx." 

I think most girls go into being a bm expecting to pay for their dresses, hair, and accomodations.  Anything you’re willing/able to cover is very nice and not expected of you.

Post # 7
483 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

Is this regional, really? I know people talk about it a lot in the hive, but I really think that most bridesmaids know they have to pay for a dress. I would hope that once you ask your friends, their first instinct will be happiness, not thinking "ugh, I have to buy a dress".

I agree with Mermaid, they are separate conversations, so please don’t feel awkward.

Post # 8
331 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2009

Paying for your own Bridesmaid or Best Man dress is part of the deal with being a Bridesmaid or Best Man… if the bride offers to pay for all of her BMs’ dresses, that’s a lovely gift. And if she decides to help one or more BM’s discreetly because of financial circumstances, that’s her business. Weddings are expensive enough, and a caring friend shouldn’t be putting it on you to pay for her dress as well!

If I were you, I would ask in whatever cute way you want to ask, and then a couple of weeks later, I would send out a link to a "what’s expected of BM’s" type of article. That should help clear things up. Somehting like this would work: http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/bridesmaids/articles/bridesmaids-duties-in-detail.aspx

You might follow that with a quick note to your friend saying something like "I know you’ve mentioned that you thought it wasn’t fair for bridesmaids to have to pay for their own dresses. Unfortunately, Fiance and I will not be able to cover all of the bridesmaids’ dresses. If you decide you’d rather not be a bridesmaid given the circumstances, I will definitely understand, but my day wouldn’t be the same without you!"

Good luck!

Post # 9
1449 posts
Bumble bee

I am a Bridesmaid or Best Man in 3 weddings this year and each one I have expected to pay for my own dress.  If someone offered to pay I would be completely shocked and of course argue that I would pay for my own dress.  You dont have to mention the dress when you ask, you can bring it up at a later time.

One way I asked a couple of my bridesmaids is I got them a 3-pack set of Philosophy bubble bath/body wash (from Sephora) that was called "The Bridal Party"  The scents were wedding cake, bubbly and bouquet.  Once I gave it to them they knew what it was for but I still asked them to be a bridesmaid. 

Post # 10
1530 posts
Bumble bee

I also think you can have two different conversations.  When you ask them to be in the wedding, your friends will probably just be excited and happy for you!  You want to have that fun, exciting time, without worrying about the logistics of paying for anything yet.

I like worchesterbride’s idea of mentioning something to your friend to give her a heads-up on the dress costs.  Personally, I’ve never heard of it being customary for the bride to pay for the Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses.  IME, it’s always been a part of being a Bridesmaid or Best Man to have to cover the costs incurred–including the dress, shoes, hair, etc. 

Post # 11
60 posts
Worker bee

  I’ve always known that you pay for your own bm dress. I’m a little sad I have to buy two green dresses in a few months time and I don’t even like green but it’s what they want so whatever.

Post # 12
2385 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch

I don’t think you need to do anything special to announce this information. It’s the norm. You can send the "what’s expected" link if you want, but I doubt it’s necessary. She’d have to buy her own dress if she were just a guest and it’s no different as a bridesmaid… except she doesn’t get to pick it out. 😉

Post # 13
3968 posts
Honey bee

Even though you know you have to pay for a dress, doesn’t mean you can’t THINK it should be the other way.

It’s a widely known social norm that BM’s pay for their own dress.  It’s up to the brides discretion as to how much she’d like to contribute, if anything.

Why not have a conversation with your friend about it.  Tell her you remember her saying once… and then start the conversation from there.  If she can’t afford to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man, it’s better you know now then weeks from now (when she’s bitter and overwhelmed). 

Post # 14
8375 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I think it is real comon practice for them to buy their own frocks nowadays. Be lenient in the kind of dress, style, pick a color, etc, so they can buy something they’ll continue to wear. My mom was under the impression we were supposed to buy all their dresses though. Maybe back in the day? Not sure. 

That being said, I had my mom sew six basic tank style cocktail dresses (literally they were pulled over their heads and a sash tied around their waists…no zippers!) and they came up to $25 apiece plus a few hours (not many tho!) and those were part of their gifts. So if you know somebody crafty….even a very basic dress can look stellar in a nice material. The material we got was about $10 a yard and was high end bridal dress material! They looked much richer and luxe than some bridesmaid dresses i’ll tell you that!

I just spent $160 on a bill levkoff bm dress and it is made so chintsy you can see my belly button ring right through it. way tacky. it’s whisper thin, too and the crinoline is sewed in poorly so it juts out awkwardly. So, personally, if I’M going to spend $160, I would have preferred to do it on something I like that is of superior quality. Not that i don’t midn spending it for my friend, but I do realize that i’ll never wear this chintzy dress ever again. 

Post # 15
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2001

I’ve never been in a wedding or have heard of anyone in a wedding who has paid for their own dress. Everyone I know has always assumed they were going to pay for their dresses. I know someone who was in a wedding and one of the gifts to the BMs was a gift certificate towards the dress. I think that is a great way if you are worried about them not being able to afford the whole thing.

Post # 16
20 posts
  • Wedding: May 2009

Being a bridesmaid includes paying for your own dress. It is totally unrealistic to expect to have to pay for 3-4 dresses in addition to your own. As a fun gift, I included a "bridesmaids bible" in my bridesmaids Christmas gifts, and all of their obligations are spelled out in there. There are tons of questions and answers in regards to being a bridesmaid. Good luck!

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