(Closed) Bridesmaid dresses-to pay or not to pay

posted 5 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
6938 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

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littlewhale:  I’m no expert, but in England isn’t it custom for the bride to pay for all the Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses? If so, you should probably stick to that. Find some wiggle room in the budget somewhere for this. Also, you say your parents are paying for almost everything. Does this mean you’d want THEM to pay for the dresses? Or is this something you were planning on paying for yourself but don’t have the money?

Post # 3
1063 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: South Lodge. 2nd of Dec 2017

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littlewhale:  i’m English too, me personally I always thought it was up to us to pay for the dresses, as let’s be honest when will they ever wear them again, the only thing I can think of, is ask the ladies to look after the dresses as you plan to sell them after, maybe.  As your fortunate To have your parents paying for the majority, why don’t you pay for them and then you don’t have to worry about burdening your friends, or family and you can choose exactly what you want.  Talk to the shop and try and get a discount as your having a lot of bridesmaids. 

Post # 4
1410 posts
Bumble bee

40 X 5 = 200, which is $278USD. If it’s normal/custom to pay for dresses, pay for them. Pick up an extra shift or have a yard sale. 

I’m in the US, where it’s not custom that brides pay for dresses, but my feeling is- if you want someone to wear a specific dress, you need to pay for it. If not, have them wear a dress they own, and hand them a bouquet.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 3 months ago by knickergold. Reason: grammar
Post # 5
4 posts
  • Wedding: July 2017

Hm. As another poster mentioned, It is the norm for the bridesmaids to have their dresses paid for here. It might not be a deal breaker to find out I have to pay for my dress, but it would come as a surprise if I’m honest. Some may pull out. 

That said, it seems the dresses you have chosen aren’t very expensive and if they would buy a new outfit as a guest anyway, potentially actually a cheaper option.

Have you made promises about paying for dresses that you now have to back out of? Or would it just be a misunderstanding? 

Maybe talk to them, but don’t be too downhearted if that annoys your BMs. Maybe there is a compromise to be had.

Post # 6
642 posts
Busy bee

£40 is a great price for a Bridesmaid or Best Man dress. I realllllly don’t think you should ask them to pay. 

Post # 7
188 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

I’m from England too and all the brides I’ve spoken to about this have paid for bm dresses. It can be really expensive if you have quite a few bridesmaids but as its custom in the UK I wouldn’t have felt comfortable asking my bms to pay. They probably wont be expecting to pay for it and it’s a dress they are not choosing themselves and may not even wear again. My bridemaid dresses were £60 each and were from a high street shop, if you shop around you might be able to find a bargain 

Post # 8
374 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Im from the uk, i Asked for 30 pounds from each maid for a 90 pound dress and id pay for any alterations needed.

Post # 9
25 posts
  • Wedding: December 2050

Would it work to have them all wear a black dress that they already own and then add a peach ribbon or something? Unless it would totally ruin the look you’re going for it might be a good compromise. 

Post # 10
44 posts
  • Wedding: August 2014

I don’t think you should ask them to pay – I’m English and if someone asked me to pay for bridesmaid dress I’d think it was rude. Maybe if you forgo the hen night and ask them to contribute to this instead. My opinion – you wanted five bridesmaid cost should have been allocated prior to asking – sorry probably not what you wanted to hear. 

Post # 11
1321 posts
Bumble bee

I bought a dress for £12.99 from amazon. My MoH chose it and I paid. I’d have paid more if that was what she wanted. 

To be honest, you should have factored in the price of dresses, gifts etc before you chose your wedding party. I only had the one MoH and didn’t have bridesmaids; I just let my friends know they were special to me but I wasn’t planning on having any and no one was upset. If you’re specifying a particular dress, you really should pay for it, or as PP said, they can all wear a dress they already own if you don’t want to pay, but then they won’t match.

I’ll be honest, if a friend asked me to pay for and wear a strapless peach dress with my (currently pregnant) plus size hourglass shape and 36G boobs I’d definitely step down and attend as a guest – it sounds like it’d be super uncomfortable (strapless bra – eek!) and unflattering on my body shape and as much as I love my friends I don’t think my self-esteem could take that hit! This isn’t to say they wouldn’t look lovely on the right person but I don’t think they are going to flatter everyone and if you’re asking people to pay for them I think they need to be happy enough with it to maybe wear it again. 

Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, it’s just my (fat, pregnant, English) opinion. 

Post # 12
382 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016

Im in the UK and I am paying for 4 bridesmaid dresses and 2 flowergirl outfits. Aside from the fact it’s custom, I wouldn’t ask people to pay for a dress they’ll only get to wear for one day. I kindof think its my duty to pay since it was me who asked them to be part of the wedding party. I also picked the dresses so again, why shouldn’t I pay?

I know how difficult it is working on a tight budget as Im there myself but I wouldn’t blame your BM’s if they weren’t happy paying for their own dresses. You could discuss with them that you only have the budget for a dress so you will let them wear any shoes they have (so they can go out and buy them if they wish, if not they arent obliged to) but I don’t think theres any way around it with the dress itself.

I personally cut back on other areas of my budget to provide the cash for my BM’s dresses. I went for cheaper flowers in our bouquets and centrepieces, I am making a lot of things myself and admittedly, I limited our number of BM’s as I knew I couldn’t afford outfits for all of them if I had everyone I wanted. Its the only way I could get around it but I would rather do that than ask BM’s to foot the bill. I also bought their dresses as a first order from the shop online so I got 10% off the order. Is there anywhere you could cut back? Is it correct that you get married May 2017? If so, you have a little time to try and figure out if you can cut back anywhere else to accomodate these costs and don’t forget a LOT of stores will have sales on between now and your wedding so if you can strike at the right time, you might find a bargain, especially if you keep a look out online.

Post # 13
609 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

I think you should definitely pay for them. Bear in mind there may be alterations (which I think you should also pay for) so could cost more than £40 pp. it’s fine to ask them to wear their own shoes though.

When deciding how many bridesmaids to have I kept it to 3 so I could buy their dresses, ppay for alterations, pay for their hair and makeup and buy them gifts. there were other girls I might have liked but had to keep budget in mind. The girls I chose are close and special to me and I wouldn’t think of asking them to pay for a dress they didn’t choose (even though they offered). If you are letting them choose the dress, with no restrictions on that choice, then I think it’s fine to ask them to pay, or wear something they already have. 

As to where to get the money from I assume you were planning to buy your BMs gifts? you could do a cheaper more personal gift like a framed photo of you with them and put the money you would have paid for a more expensive gift towards the dress. I think most if not all would prefer a cheaper gift than having to shell out for a dress they didn’t choose.

Post # 14
6488 posts
Bee Keeper

Asking them to pay is rude, and will not go over well. Find the money from somewhere, or ask them to wear something they already own. Those are your only two options. 

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