(Closed) Differing Bridesmaid etiquette between the US and the UK?

posted 4 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
9528 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Yes, it is a stereotype in the US that bridesmaids pay for their ugly dresses. Also, hair, makeup, accommodation, nails, diy projects, bachlorette party- and a gift. It’s ridiculous.  I purchased the dresses for my bridesmaids, they were both surprised. 

Post # 3
47188 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

RosieBeeToBe:  You are correct. It is very common in the US and Canada for BM’s to pay for their own dress, shoes, accessories, and hair and makeup if they choose to have it professionally done. They also usually share the cost of a shower and the bachelorette.

Post # 4
75 posts
Worker bee

I’m in New Zealand, but I think we’re pretty culturally similar to the UK in this respect. I would never dream of making my bridesmaids shell out for their own dresses, makeup, hair, shoes, etc. I think it’s very rude to expect others to pay for your wedding “vision” to be honest, especially in these times when a lot of people are struggling. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to say no to being my bridesmaid because of money issues. If I couldn’t afford to pay for bridesmaid outfits, then I wouldn’t have any.

  • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by  beetobe2016.
Post # 6
3169 posts
Sugar bee

RosieBeeToBe:  The movie “29 Dresses” has a totally different vibe once you know she would have paid for all of those dresses. Girl would’ve been bankrupt.

Post # 7
46 posts
  • Wedding: August 2016

My bridesmaids are paying for their own dresses. I’m having a sorta-destination wedding (in France where he’s from, but we don’t live there and neither do any of my friends), and my 2 bridesmaids are coming for a whole week to help me out and just hang out and be with me. I am paying for their accomodation so they had no issue with paying for the dress.

Post # 9
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

I am a UK bee and would never dream about asking for my BM’s to pay for their dress, hair, make up etc. I always found it weird that its so common in other countries. 

Post # 10
3244 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I paid for my girl’s dress. UK  bee. But I would also buy my own for her if she needed me to!

Post # 11
7977 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

My rule was: if you want them to wear something specific (eg a specific dress, a specific hairdo) you pay. If you want them to wear something general (eg wear whatever shoes are comfy, as long as they are plain and navy blue/black, do your makeup however you like), they pay…

I thought that seemed reasonable?

Post # 12
617 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2016

It is interesting to learn about the differences in etiquette, but the starting post and subsequent ones have sounded way more judgemental than open for conversation. One way or custom is not better than the other. 

Anyways, all of the brides I know (myself included) asked their BMs what price point was comfortable and work from there (one I know who went over, though, subsidized the cost and bought their shoes). Since it’s a custom it’s not seen as rude.

Post # 13
4 posts
  • Wedding: August 2015

marbelles:  I agree with you. I am a UK bee but my fiancé is from Minnesota and it is surprising how many differences we have found when it comes to wedding etiquette.  However, certain things which might seem “rude” to others, aren’t actually rude at all if they are customary where you live. I admit that it might be considered a little off to expect bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses in the UK. However, we have plenty of traditions which break every rule in the etiquette book in the US! For example, it’s perfectly fine to have a cash bar, and to invite additional guests to the evening disco part of your wedding, only turning up for the dancing after the main day guests have finished their meal! Neither of these things is considered rude or controversial at all in the UK – they are perfectly customary. I’m not trying to expand this thread into a huge discussion of what is and isn’t acceptable, but rather to encourage understanding. It has taken my fiancé a while to get used to some of my ideas, others of his I think are strange! So, yes, I agree with marbelles – these things aren’t rude, they are just different – which is hardly surprising, really!

Post # 14
669 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

marbelles:  I agree with this.

Post # 15
492 posts
Helper bee

US bee here! My bridesmaids will be paying for their own dress and shoes (if they choose to buy new ones). I will pay for their hair to be done. I honestly do not feel bad a bit about them paying for their own dresses.  Aside from tradition here,  I also paid for my own in their weddings. It is known that if you accept to be a bridesmaid,  you agree to incur all associated costs. Hope that helps 🙂 

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