Post # 1
I need your advice again…I’m going to be a bridesmaid at my best college friend’s wedding. She’s not covering any of the costs of being a bridesmaid and the costs out of my pocket by my calculations so far are:
-airport shuttle from Hotel to airport (thank goodness, another friend can pick me up from the airport and drive me to the hotel)
-and now, finally shoes and a purse Yes, I finally braved it and asked her.
-god knows only what else?? hair and makeup
This is a bit much for me, since i’m also moving into a new condo and have to worry about furniture, moving costs, etc..
How do I delicately ask her about either paying for some parts of it? I doubt she will b/c she and her fiancee and family don’t have much money. (not that I’m saying anything bad about that)
I was afraid she wanted specific colored shoes and purse (cream). I had asked you wonderful ladies before about my fear of asking about the shoes/purse and hoped she’d let us wear whatever since the dress is long. Well, now she’s brought it to light and to tell you the truth, I’m not a cream-color fan (I mostly have black clutches, black shoes)-so honestly I really can’t and don’t have the money to spend on them!
(besides what do you need a clutch/purse for?-something to hold the hotel room key in? and who’s going to hold the clutch/purse during the ceremony??)
I hope I’m not sounding whiny but how do I reasonably ask without sounding difficult? I want to be there for her, but it’s just getting too expensive!
Thank you very much in advance!
Post # 3
You need to be upfront with her about your financial situation. I don’t know if you can ask her to help pay for anything – after all, it is traditionally the bridesmaid’s responsibility to cover these costs (except th purse. Please just give me a moment to say "WTF" at requiring you to get a specific purse). However if you bring up that money’s tight she might volunteer to help with something (maybe the purse or the shoes or hair/makeup could be her bridesmaid’s gift to you and the other women).
Give her some sort of budget you can work with – you can afford to spend up to $x on a dress, for example. Also as the wedding gets closer, ask her if she knows any other guests that will be staying at your hotel and perhaps you can split the cost of going to the airport from the hotel with them. Alterations can be done on the cheap if you have a simple dress if you have a friend who can sew.
If she and her fiance don’t have much cash, she’ll definitely understand that you’re in a similar boat. Hopefully she’ll be as accomodating as possible – even if it means finding another meaningful job for you outside of bridesmaid (though personally I do hate the idea that being a bridesmaid can become as much of a financial commitment – relatively – as being the bride!)
Post # 4
I agree with MsAnge that you need to talk to her and explain your financial situation and the difficulty you are having.
If she does not agree to help reduce costs you can either (1) back out as a bridesmaid – very extreme option 🙂 or (2) try and reduce costs yourself – suggest a cheaper dress (if there is not one already chosen) or buy the chosen one through ebay or a discount bridal site. Do your own hair and makeup (practice beforehand). Give her a cheaper gift – technically you being in the wedding is her gift and you shouldn’t really have to give her anything but you can do something cheap – like make a basket for her honeymoon suite with wine, chocolates, bath products or other goodies. Get cheap shoes and a purse on clearance or at Payless – Whenever you go to the mall check cheap stores for shoes/purses. You will find one eventually. Ask another bridesmaid if they want to share a hotel room with you, or check out expedia.com for a discount rate.
I know it sucks to have to spend so much money, but this is the nature of the game. If you take on the job of bridesmaid, along comes the expenses. It’s unfortunate that she cannot/has not offered to cover some but you’ll just have to suck it up and hope that she returns the favor when you get married.
Post # 5
Well I can’t afford to help my bridesmaid when it comes to what they’ll look like, so what I plan to do because of that is send them swatches of the color I am looking for and tell them: ok this is the color I would like. Please find a dress or and outfit in the same scheme that you’d enjoy wearing.
My bridesmaid are all shaped differently and that way they can reuse their dresses as well.
You could suggest her to do that if she really can’t help. It would give you more options at better prices.
Post # 6
MsB said almost everything I was going to say. You could get a purse for $15 at payless, or other discount stores. And if you don’t have a purse, so what? It won’t be in the pictures or anything. I think you could always just don’t say anything but don’t get one. Or borrow one from a family member.
I say skip the gift altogether. Even if all the other bridesmaids are doing it, your gift is being her braidsmaid.
Do your hair and makeup yourself. It doesn’t have to be a fancy updo. Just put extra attention into your normal hair and you will be fine. Try to share a hotel room with at least 1 other bridesmaid. Most hotel rooms accept 4 people, so fill it up!
Payless is also a great source for cheap shoes.
Myself, I wouldn’t complain about having to pay so much unless she is demanding that you spend a certain amount and is not letting you cut corners. And I would NEVER, NEVER, ask her to help pay it. But maybe you could talk her into letting you wear shoes that you already have, and skipping the purse althogther. Other than that, I’m not sure how she could help you. And when you do have this conversation with her, you are also making her feel guilty, and maybe feel like she should be giving you money even though she has none either. She may end up putting it on a credit card, which, lets face, you could do too.
(sorry, I have too many family members that play that game. They have no money and no credit cards, so my credit card bills go up while they stay, although poor, still debt free)
Post # 7
Okay, seriously, all the purse is going to do is sit on the table all evening. Tell her you’ll hide yours under the chair if it doesn’t match.
Here’s what I would do – figure out how much airfare and hotel are going to cost you. Figure out how much more you can afford to spend. Then just sit down and talk to your friend. Let her know YOUR budget, which is just as valid a concern as her budget. If she can arrange for you to share hotel with another bridesmaid, that gives you more money to spend on a dress. Maybe if she’s got to have you in special shoes and with a special purse, then you do your own hair and makeup. If she really wants you as a bridesmaid, she will work with your budget issues – you’re certainly not the only one who has the same concerns. If it’s just too much, and she can’t work with you, then maybe you have to bow out gracefully – let her know that you’re really flattered, but just can’t swing it financially at the moment.
These things become huge problems down the road – when there are more costs you didn’t anticipate and can’t easily afford – and especially when you don’t talk about it until the dresses are being ordered – at which point should you have to drop out it’s hard to replace you, and you each are unhappy with the other. Think about it – if she asked you if you wanted to go on cruise with her, you would ask "How much is this going to cost? Let me see if I can afford it." And yet that’s somehow rude or inappropriate in this situation? I don’t buy it. But she’s not asking you to go on a fabulous cruise – she’s asking you to do her a really big favor, to invest a lot of money and time in her special day. Expecting you to do that without regard for what it will cost is unrealistic.
And trust me, if she can afford to have a good sized wedding and reception, she can afford to help the bridesmaids out a little. How many brides do you see on this site who are complaining that their bridesmaids balk at the cost of the dress – and yet they are paying to have their hair and makeup done the day of the wedding, having boudoir photos done, getting hair extensions and eyelash extensions, hiring limos… A bride who really wants to can find $500 somewhere in her budget to spring for the bridesmaids’ dresses, or shoes and purses. She didn’t include your wardrobe in her budget because that makes things easier on her.
Post # 8
Have to disagree a little. I am doing the unsmart thing and putting most of this wedding on a credit card (low interest rate thank god). If anything outside of my budget come up, sure, technically I could cover it, but it would be on my credit card, which isn’t really paying for it. Not all brides get hair extension, boudior photes, eyelash extension, or even hire limos. The Big things my parents are helping me out with. I truthfully cannot find another $500 to help with bridesmaids.
So although someone from the outside looking in, and seeing a beautiful wedding, it was all done on a tight budget and with a lot of help.
Post # 9
MissyJen, while I sympathize with your situation, I have to agree with the other posters. I am in 3 weddings this year, and invited as a guest to two more. I’m also in the process of remodeling my new home. Some weddings are just more expensive than others. I accepted the financial responsibility (and credit card debt) when I signed on for all 3.
The only thing you can do is be as thrifty as possible. You can only make suggestions for cutting corners on costs. But ultimately, it’s the bride’s choice. Try to find cheaper shoes if the bride’s only contingency is color. I think payless has a dyeables line. I’m learning how to do my own make-up to cut some costs. There are definitely some things you can do to save money.
It’s very likely the bride’s budget is overstretched already and I think it’s rude to ask (or hint) for help. It’s ok to remind the bride of you’re budget, but you can only hope she might offer.
Post # 10
Candi & proBM2008 – While I sympathize with your situation to some degree, I don’t think it’s resonable to pay for your wedding on credit, and I don’t think it’s reasonable to put your friends in a situation where they have to run up debt to participate in your wedding. I’m doing my wedding on a fairly lean budget as well – and there are a lot of things we are just not having. There are also a lot of things we have gotten huge deals on, because some of our vendors are family friends. We made the choice to have only one attendant each, primarily because we know we couldn’t afford to spring for wardrobe for a cast of many – plus the extra flowers – we are actually having to help FI’s mom with the price of her dress and hotel room, on top of the money already we send her every month just to generally help out with expenses. And the budget is a matter if choices – dinner reception or cake and punch? Professional photography or a talented friend with a camera? Bakery cake or a talented friend in her own kitchen? Hotel ballroom or community center rec room or city park? Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses ordered from a bridal salon or made by a couple of good friends who sew? Unless you’re already on the budget side of all those choices, adjustments can be made if you’re willing to make them.
And while you can’t demand that the bride scale back on her plans, it is absolutely not rude to let her know that here’s what you can afford to spend. And if it’s more than that, you’ll still be ever so happy for her, but you’ll be that way from the audience. The business of expecting your friends to spend beyond their means in order to make your day look better in the photographs, and then being upset with them if they can’t or won’t, is a sorry kind of friendship.
Post # 11
Suzanno,I have to disagree with you. It is someone’s responsibility to enquire about the expected costs and then accept or deny the invitiation to be part of bridal party. Dictating your own budget to the bride once you have already accepted and the dress has been ordered is incredibly rude. If you did not budget for the expenses and did not ask the questions up front that is your error and not the bride’s. At that point you place the bride into the situation where it’s too late to ask anyone else and she is basically being blackmailed into paying for the ‘additional expenses’.
That said I see no reason why you couldn’t borrow a pair of cream shoes from someone, buy them for like $6 from Payless on sale or used, and do your own hair and makeup or have a friend do them.
Post # 12
suzanno, i may be in the minority but i absolutely agree with you!
as bride to be’s, we are all very familiar with weddings. we read up on them, blog about them, post questions about them in wedding forums, and become wedding experts. we know that in the wedding world, brides expect bridal parties to foot the cost of everything and the bride that offers to pay for any part of that is considered EXTREMELY generous.
however, most people are not so knowledgeable or well-read about wedding etiquette! i have never been a bm before so until i started planning my own wedding, i had no idea that being a bm could be so costly! i had no idea that a bm has to ask the bride upfront about the costs of being a bm. how awkward is that! you and your good friend are trying to have a really sweet moment while she tells you how important you are to her and how she really wants you to stand up next to her on her big day…and you ask "well that sounds all fine and dandy but i might not be able to afford it. could you give me a realistic expectation of how much i would be spending?" so yes, some bms are clueless and don’t know to ask about the money. but let’s cut them some slack! why should they know, unless they’ve been through this bfore???
Post # 13
Wouldn’t you pay for most of that on your own as a regular guest? It sounds like the dress, shoes, and maybe hair/makeup are the actual costs of being a bridesmaid. Talk to your friend and see if she is okay with you wearing your own shoes and doing your own hair and makeup. 🙂
Post # 14
I think I agree with akimbo. Not sure, but maybe look into sharing a room with another guest or bridesmaid to split costs. I don’t think any of our bridesmaid carried purses, so maybe you can ask if you can opt out of getting one. Purses were always left in a separate room. If you have a date, he can carry it. You can also see if you can talk to her about the gift. fyi half our wedding party didn’t give us one… if your’e really concerned, you can tell her you would like to help her out where you can, but opt out of being an actual bridesmaid.
Post # 15
Thank you so far for all those who’ve responded…I have been a bridesmaid once before and I don’t recall spending so much b/c I was staying at the previous bride’s family’s house, her dad picked me up at the airport and vice versa..so the only costs there were the dress and shoes. Hair and makeup were paid by the bride and we were lucky enough to also receive a small gift.
That’s why with this second time around, I was thinking…wait a sec….this costs more! I appreciate what you’re all saying..I knew you guys would have wonderful advice!
Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how much this (being a bridesmaid in the present wedding) was all going to cost. Luckily the flight is covered via award mileage. I can’t share a room with the other attendant who’s the maid of honor b/c she’s coming up with her husband.
Also unfortunately, I can’t back out now-the dress has been ordered.
Ms. Ange-I agree with you..WTF is up with a purse? I’ve never seen bridesmaids carry a purse before?!?! Make-up and hair, I hope are going to be also self-taken of b/c in that case..I don’t need more trouble or more expense. I don’t really wear much makeup other than eyeliner and blush. Lipstick sometimes but it always ends up wiped off after a meal and I just don’t bother to refresh it. The only worry is the hotel room key. Maybe I’ll ask the MOH’s hubby to keep it in his pocket. (I don’t have a date to bring) I did see a cute pair of cream colored thong short sandals from Nordstrom but they’re going to cost a hefty $60 so I don’t know yet. As for the gift, I’m leaning towards no at the moment.
Now that I’ve experienced both minimal and now super expensive costs of being a bridesmaid, I don’t think I ever want to be one again!
I do plan to call her and let her know how I feel, especially since I also have a move to worry about also. I seriously don’t think she’s going to budge, which in that case, DEFINITELY no gift!