(Closed) Cost of Bridesmaid Dresses. What’s too much?

posted 13 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 3
41 posts
  • Wedding: June 2001

It totally depends on the financial situation of each lady in your bridal party on what is "too much." My husband and I make a good living on the one hand but I’m very frugal on the other. I honestly would not want to spend more than $150 on a bridesmaid dress I’ll only wear once (although the dress is beautiful, it’s still a bridesmaid dress). Are there any other Jim Hjelm options in that color that are lower cost?

Post # 4
27 posts
  • Wedding: March 2008

Ok first off that is a beautiful dress and I can totally see why you want it.  Since you found it online will they be able to try it on though?  That is something to think about since it may look very different on them than on the model and you may not like it as much then.

 That said I do think that 215 bucks is a lot to ask your girls to spend on a dress that as beautiful as it may be is only getting worn once.  Most of the dresses my girls looked at were between 140-180 dollars and we ended up getting dresses that were about 160 when it was all said and done.  You also need to keep in mind that these girls are already going to be spending a lot of money to be there for you on your big day.  Obviously I am assuming some things but realistically they will probably end up paying for on top of the dress:

a hotel room for the night of the wedding (90-150 bucks depending on the city)

Alterations for the dresses – 25-100 bucks

Shoes and Jewelry if needed – 50-100 bucks

Hairstyling for the day of – 25-50 bucks

Gifts for your shower, bacholorette party, and wedding – probably 125-250 dollars or more

Throwing you a shower and/or bacholorette party – price ?

All I am saying is that if your girls are concerned about the price of the dress, which it sounds like a couple of them are, you need to try and respect that and either pick a different dress or maybe pick up part of the tab and pay say 50-75 dollars of the bill of each of their dresses.  Ultimatly it will cost you maybe 200-300 dollars but it may save a lot of hurt feelings and frustration all around, so money well spent!

Post # 5
257 posts
Helper bee

If ALL your maids are OK with paying that amount than I think it’s fine. However, if one or two can’t afford it you either have to pick a less expensive dress or offer to pay for a portion of the dress.

The color you picked is very pretty and also very popular right now. Have you tried the department stores? 

Also don’t forgot that the dress will need some type of alterations. Depending on what it is, the price could range fro $20 to $50 more. If you are asking them to get matching shoes than you are hitting close to $300 per maid. Just some things to keep in mind…


Post # 6
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2008

If I were your Bridesmaid or Best Man, I wouldn’t want to pay $215+shipping+alterations for the dress.  I would however, probably suck it up and pay if that’s what you really wanted.

For Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses I think the less expensive the better (and the more considerate of your BMs).

However, I agree with Habibi- if you really want it, perhaps subsidize the cost for the BMs who aren’t willing to spend that much on it?

Post # 7
85 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2008

I think $215 is pretty pricey especially after adding on tax and shipping if you are getting it online. Shipping alone could add on another 15 at least! It is a pretty dress, but I wouldd keep looking and take into cnsideration your BM’s budgets and get something closer to 100-150.

Post # 8
184 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

If you ask your friend to buy the dress, she may agree just to avoid causing any trouble, but I would tread carefully.  She may not say anything to you about it, but she could build up a little bit of resentment that her request to keep the price under $150 was not taken more seriously.  (Also, take into consideration if the dress will need to be altered or steamed before the wedding which will add on additional costs.)

I don’t know her exact situaiton, but if you ask her to buy the dress and she has other substantial wedding-related costs (travel, lodging, hair, jewely, shoes, etc…) it would be nice if you offered to help offset some of those costs by covering wedding-day hair, or helping her find items to borrow or friends/relatives to stay with.

Also, you could research if other dresses by Jim Hjelm come in the same color but are less expensive than the one you initially picked out.  Good luck!  (It is a very pretty dress, by the way, and I love the color!)

Post # 9
47 posts
  • Wedding: May 2009

I chose a Jim Hjelm for my girls, too, that was $220 from the bridal store.  I was worried about the price, but thankfully, my girls didn’t have a problem with it, because they loved the dress so much.  I think it helped that they all got to participate in the dress trying-on and choosing process, so they were able to compare a $150 dress to a $200+ dress.  I was surprised at how expensive bridesmaid dresses were.  I thought $150 was a common price, but we had very few options in that price range at the stores we went to!

I think that if one of your girls is having a difficult time paying for the dress, you could privately offer to help her by contributing $50 to the dress to bring it down to her price point.  She may not take it, and just pay for the dress anyway, but either way, she would appreciate your generosity, I am sure. 

I know that seems unfair to the rest of the girls in your party, so I think this would only work if the girl in question has personal financial issues that limit her from spending more on the dress.  (she is the only one still in college, she is single and paying apartment rent, she is looking for a job, i.e.). 

I honestly don’t think $215 is over the top, and you have shopped around for the best offer – you did not just choose the first one you found off the rack.  Your concern makes you a good bride and friend.

Post # 10
239 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2021

I would also agree that determining the cost depends on what else the bridesmaids have to pay for. For example, if your BMs are local, they would not have to pay for travel, lodging, etc. It would also be generous if you helped them to pay for other things, such as hair or jewlery if you can afford it. My Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses were $255. While that it a little steep, I am paying for their lodging (themselves and dates), transportation for the weekend, most meals, hair, nails and gifting them jewelery. I also let the girls pick which company they wanted dresses from and which dresses they wanted (they chose J. Crew Cotton Cady dresses).

Post # 11
181 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: December 2008

I really think that considering the costs that your bridesmaids will incur in being part of your wedding  that you should purchase the dress for them.

Think about it like this – depending on their financial situation they can decide how much to spend on every other expense (how expensive of a gift, whether to rent a hotel, how much to spend on the shower/bachelorette) so they can purchase what is comfortable for them. However if you pick the dress and it is out of their range they will have to pay for it (as who is really going to say "no!") and this is not a burden I would want to put on my best friends.

So find a way to put it in your budget. I bought my wedding dress and veil online second hand so that I could afford to buy my girls everything they need to wear on my big day and I know they appreciate it 🙂

Post # 12
15 posts
  • Wedding: April 2004

Try contacting Here Comes The Bridesmaid — it’s a store in NYC. I got my girls’ dresses there for a ridiculously cheap price and the customer service was excellent.

Their website is http://www.bridesmaids.com

I was worried about prices and wanted to keep it under $150. I wound up coming in under that!

Post # 13
1929 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2008

If you think $150 is reasonable then you could pay the difference.  Just tell the girls the price is $150 and subsidize the remainder! I am biased though – that is what I did 🙂 I didn’t like any of the dresses I could find at a price point my girls would think was reasonable, so I went with the dresses I loved and they paid about 2/3 of the total price. I  also paid for hair, makeup and 1 night in a hotel so their total costs were the dress, the second night in the hotel, alterations and the bach party.    No shoes, jewelry, bags required 🙂  No shower.

Post # 14
300 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2009 - Byodo-In Temple, Luau Reception

I with Janna19. Are you planning on getting your girls bridesmaid gifts? Why not pay for part of thier dress instead. In some places (Hawaii) it’s expected for the bride to pay for the bridesmaids dresses, but that bridesmaid gifts aren’t usually expected though either. I say have them pay $150 (or whatever amount you can all agree on) and you pay the difference.

Post # 15
16 posts
  • Wedding: May 2009

I agree with Janna19. I plan on subsidizing the cost over 200 for my ladies. They love the dress, so I feel comfortable doing that.

Post # 16
483 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2009

I agree with Janna19 – I would look for a dress that I liked as much that might be less expensive, or just give all the girls enough money to make the dress cost them $150. Or, you can try to call the bridal store and ask them to charge it to your card and when your bridesmaids come in they will only have to pay $150 (I did something similar to that).

You might also want to check that your bridesmaid who wants to stay in the $150 range knows what she’s getting into. As Bridediy pointed out, alterations can add a significant amount to the cost, and that $150 dress can quickly become $250. I am the first of my friends to get married and I still have no idea how much alterations will be!

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