Post # 1
this is a spin-off of the “how much do you expect your BMs to spend” thread…but it’s something that has long bothered and baffled me.
WHY…oh why…is it general practice to ask your friends to spend $xxx on a dress of your choosing for one day wear…and then spend CLOSE to the same amount on a: coach clutch from the outlet malls/ebay, monogrammed etsy tote with getting ready robe, costume jewelry, or something else along those lines?
I get that it’s “what is done”, but…why?
I wouldn’t want/use any of the typical Bridesmaid or Best Man gifts…even the nice/expensive designer _________. I would way rather the bride said, “hmmm, I was going to spend $xxx…instead, I will use that toward her expenses, write her a really nice note, and buy a $5 thoughtful inside joke gift.”
I know some of you agree with me…if you don’t, can you articulate why? Especially if you have been on the other side and spent hundreds to thousands to stand up for your friend, gotten the imported pashmina and been happy?
(obviously I have pretty strong opinions, but I’m not trying to bash anyone. I really want to understand…and if possible maybe make people question the general practice and save college girls everywhere a few hundred bucks. :-D)
Post # 2
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
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 # 4
ha. especially with pinterest! I stalked each girl’s pinterest and bought her something small that I was pretty safely assured she would like. 😀
Post # 5
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 # 6
nadnuk: right…I don’t think I see it as a trade…but I’ve seen a lot of girls say, “I would love to cover this for my girls, but I just don’t have the money!” but I’m pretty sure those same people have planned to spend money on gifts…it all comes out of the same pot, right? I guess I don’t understand why it can’t be a gift to offset the (financial) burden of standing up for someone?
(thanks for responding…your perspective is the type I was looking for. :-D)
Post # 7
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
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 # 9
julies1949: Yes, I should have mentioned something about the UK/Europe tradition in my intial post…I guess I figured by specifying “in America” in the post title it would be clear that I was contrasting the two practices…learning that brides pay expenses in Europe is what started my confusion and distaste for the American way.
Post # 10
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
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
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
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
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
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…