- 3 weeks ago
My (South Asian American) wedding was 5 months ago, and I had 5 bridesmaids (3 South Asian American, 2 not). I did not have a maid of honor, so I handled all bridesmaids related things myself. My own wedding dress and my husband’s outfit were Indian, so I decided to go with long burgundy American dresses from Azazie for the BMs and Darling Husband went with grey rental suits for the GMs. I thought it was pretty customary for BMs to pay for their own dresses (in the US), and I even said choose whatever style of (long) dress you want that fits your liking and budget. Since I knew a few of the girls were students or recent grads, I went through the trouble of finding what I thought was a relatively affordable / mid-tier online dress shop (Azazie), researching and sending reminders about their student discount programs and free alternations program, and also suggesting examples of gently used sites like Poshmark to lower costs. I didn’t specify or require any additional costs like matching shoes or nails.
I paid for hair, jewelery (rose gold earrings and bracelets that were pretty and could definitely be used again), bouquets, robes, and gifts for each girl, plus partial hotel costs since more than half the BMs were from out of town and I felt it would be a nice time to bond and meet each other. But still, I don’t know if it was because three of them had never been in a wedding party before or what, that they all hated having fork over ~$150 to buy an (American / western style) dress that they felt they could never wear again. I looked into Indian dresses but online shops for that were of questionable quality (I even tried ordering a sample dress for myself and it was terrible). If I went to a physical store, it would cost around $200/dress (at least) for sure. Apparently they were ok with spending money for an Indian dress because they felt they could reuse that but not for an American dress.
I don’t know why this still bothers me but it hurts me that some of the girls are still a little bit upset that I did something “different” than what most Indian-American weddings do. I didn’t have time to go shopping for Indian clothes for them when I went to India and deal with all the custom sizing requirements, nor did I feel it was necessary to pay for these (or any) dresses myself since the American tradition is that part of agreeing to be a bridesmaid is to purchase and wear a specified dress. And in all honesty, I would have had to pay for additional suitcases to bring all these extra clothes back to the US , and then also ship them to each girl as well. In hindsight, I’m not sure if everyone knew this etiquette before saying yes; I’m not sure if they expected me to pay for the dresses on top of everything else I paid for?
Are you a south Asian bride or someone who has been a part of a South Asian wedding? Has this ever come up for you? I feel a little hurt that despite doing so much research into Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses and even changing the color upon their request, people were still upset that they had to buy this dress. I almost feel like this wouldn’t have happened if I were not Indian and not had an Indian wedding; I honestly can’t see them complaining about having to buy an American bridesmaid dress for any of their White/Black/Hispanic/Asian friends, so why would they complain for mine?
FWIW, the three SA girls have never been bridesmaids before. The other two have, so they knew the drill. Some of it also could have been the timing; some of the girls were recent graduates and did not have a steady income source yet and had student loans to pay, yet I feel like I gave them plenty of time to save up and plan for this, and I also went out of my way to provide ways to lower costs.