(Closed) bridesmaiding in America

posted 4 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
5189 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

cateyes:  I agree 110%. With the amount people spend on “will you be my bridesmaid?” gifts and actual bridesmaid gifts to follow, just buy the damn dress instead! 

Post # 3
1557 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

cateyes:  I actually never viewed the bridesmaid gifts as an in-kind trade-off.

I’ve been a bridesmaid once, for my sister. I gladly paid for my bridesmaid gown, as a poor grad student, travelled to her bachelorette weekend, participated in her wedding showers, and gave a gift the was comensurate with my financial abilities at the time. I think my gift from her was a pair of earrings and I wear them to this day because they remind me of that special day.

For my wedding, I gave an outline of the type of dress I wanted them to wear and I let them decide what to buy. Each spent what they wanted, and bought from a place that they wanted to buy from. The ones who wanted to threw me and my husband a lovely shower. I did give them a gift for being my bridesmaids, and they were all things that I felt they would use in the future (aside from the bracelet which probably half wear and the other half doesn’t really wear jewelry). I didn’t give them the gifts to compensate them monetarily. I gave them a gift because they are my bridesmaids and friends.

Post # 5
207 posts
Helper bee

When I got married the first time all of my bridesaids wore custom designed wings. I bought the wings for them and gave them a bracelet that matched their wings as a gift. I sort of did what you are suggesting. I think a lot of brides do that, especially really budget concious ones.

Post # 7
46819 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

cateyes:  I agree, but I would take it even further. I don’t know when or why the tradition changed from that practiced in the UK, given that the early settlers of the US and Canada came  from there.

It is nice that the bride does at least take the time to thank her bridal party, but a canvas bag with lip gloss, a  faux pashmina that matches the bridesmaid dress and a pair od folding slippers in no way equals the expense of the bridesmaids.

Instead of having 7, 9 or 11 bridesmaids, having them collectively spend a small fortune, then looking for gift ideas under $20 (because you have to buy so many gifts!), why not have 1 or 2 and pay their expenses?

Post # 8
2944 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I have actually never recieved a bridesmaid gift that was the equivlant of what I spent on a dress to be a bridesmaid. None of the gifts where bad gifts, and none of these girls has huge bridal parties (the largest bridal party I have been in was 4)  I agree when some girls go overboard on the gifts or other aspects of the wedding, it would have been nice to spend the money on the dresses or tuxes instead.  I haven’t been in a wedding yet where the bride or groom had enough money sloshing around to pay for the bridal parties attire.  I was probably the closest to being able to do that out of my friends, and instead I spent that money on putting them up for two nights in a hotel for our wedding. 

Post # 10
2473 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I think the gift giving for BMs has gotten way out of hand. In my circle, if you have elaborate proposals and lwill you be my BM?” Baskets, you look like you’re trying too hard or bribing your BMs. And it’s very typical for brides to give BMa jewelry for the wedding as the main part of their gift. 

Post # 11
1043 posts
Bumble bee

cateyes:  I dont even remember what my Bridesmaid or Best Man gifts were. I’ve been in weddings where the Bride picks out the dress. I’ve been in 2 that the bride let us pick out what we want to wear. In either case I never wore the dress again…. I tried to recycle a dress for another wedding, but the bride didn’t like the idea that it was a dress i’ve worn previously…. even though the guests are not the same.  I’m not having an Bridesmaid or Best Man (and my friends are THRILLED) so maybe I’d understand more if I was having a Bridal Party. 

Post # 12
250 posts
Helper bee

Misswhowedding:  I totally agree, neither have I, not even close. Though I did love the earrings my SIL gave us for her wedding- but of course I lost one and now I can’t wear them dag nab it.

That’s why when I got married I got my girls personalized, heavyweight stationary in their favorite colors and their favorite booze.

No trinkets, totes or jewelry necessary, I told them to wear whatever they thought matched the dress that they already owned.

If I could do it again, I would have shifted some money and paid for their dresses, too. I would LOVE to have my Bridesmaid or Best Man dress paid for, hands down, more than any Bridesmaid or Best Man gift I’ve heard of IRL or received.  

Post # 13
9751 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

For me its like, welp I did it for your wedding. I’ve even had to buy specific  dresses to be an ” attendant” twice (not even a BM), and once to sing in a wedding too. I was happy to do that for them, even when I was a broke college student. They know that and are happy to do it for me now.

My one Bridesmaid or Best Man I know is always broke is getting her dress as a gift. Everyone will have accessories gifted and they are nice pieces, not Claire’s crap. Don’t care about hair/makeup/shoes. Mother-In-Law is taking care of a shower, and I am renting a beach house for a girls weekend the summer before as a thank you to them.

I have just done it so. Many. Times. I don’t feel bad at all asking- they could always say no but they are excited to be in my wedding. They’re not salty about a 125 dollar dress. 

So long story short I have no better answer than “this is the way my circle does it”.

Post # 14
353 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m in the UK, and paid for everything for my BMs – hair styling, dress, present etc.

They paid for their own hotel room on the night of the wedding, but stayed with me (all food paid for) leading up to the wedding 🙂

They gave me so much support, the least I could do was buy a dress for them! Luckily they all love them, and have said they will likely wear them again for smart events, when the occassion arises, which is good at least!

I did then give smaller gifts that I suspect are given in the US on the whole. I reckon I spent close to $400 a bridesmaid (there were 3).

Post # 15
153 posts
Blushing bee

I know I totally agree with the original poster… I am from NZ and over here we pay all all expenses for our bridal party… I am paying for their dresses, shoes, hair, makeup, and I am buying them a gift which is a pair of earrings and necklace both pearl and a gorgeous robe… Not one that says bridesmaid or anything so they can wear it again.  It has cost me bomb but I knew that it would when I asked them and to be honest I think it is up to me and my Fiance to pay for everything that relates to them being in our wedding .. If I could not afford it I would not have asked them and would of had not attendants or just one if that was all i could afford.


i don’t get making people pay money to be in your wedding…

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