Disregarding Tradition–Who SHOULD Pay for the Bridesmaids Dresses?

posted 2 years ago in Bridesmaids
  • poll: Who Should Pay for the Bridesmaid's Dress?
    The Bride : (98 votes)
    66 %
    The Bridesmaid : (51 votes)
    34 %
    Other : (0 votes)
  • Post # 31
    743 posts
    Busy bee

    cmsgirl :  I see what you mean. I blame the tv shows for a lot of the reason why weddings have become so intense with the expensive bachalorette parties and things like that. When I got married they didn’t have reality shows like 4 weddings and David T my fair wedding. 

    I personally love the idea of things like destination weddings , but it is expensive for people to attend so you take into consideration if the guests you want to attend can manage it. To do it over again, I think maybe we would have liked having a small wedding in THe UK like I wanted (we live in the states) but we would have paid for a lot of the expenses the guests and had just a few of them. It probably would have been just cake and drink with a simple restaurant meal and sightseeing for a after celebration. Wedding expectations have become very extreme in my book. Little too insense for my tastes.

    Post # 32
    4725 posts
    Honey bee

    Unless the color is black (almost everyone has a little black dress and if they don’t it is a wardrobe staple that could also be used for other occasions – I’ve dressed mine up or down for charity events, nights at the theater, funerals, interviews, etc), even just a color recommendation may not be doing anyone a favor.  I own navy, red, and black plain color and everything else is floral or striped maxi dresses or skirts).  And it doesn’t mean I would be guaranteed to buy a dress anyway as a guest.  I’ve attended plenty of weddings in dress pants and a cardigan set or dressy top.  Or I would have made something in my closet work.  I almost never buy a new outfit for a wedding unless I discover something no longer fits.

    Post # 33
    743 posts
    Busy bee

    When it comes to bridesmaid dresses I do think the Bridesmaids should provide their own, but I also like the idea of picking a color (maybe by majority rules vote) then the bridesmaids can borrow or wear a dress they already have in that color. So they can have a dress in that color that either didn’t cost, or they can buy one they actually like vs having to wear something they may not.

    I do like the idea of the bride paying for things like the bridesmaid’s dresses, but from what I’ve seen and heard that can often backfire. A bridesmaid says she can’t afford it, the bride offers to pay. Then said bridesmaid  just backs out anyway after the bride has paid out for her to participate. Not saying that happens all the time, but I wouldn’t want to be the bride who got stuck paying for bridesmaid stuff for no reason. No more than I would want to be a bridesmaid that has to pay for things like a dress I don’t like.


    Post # 34
    326 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2017

    This is ont of the strangest traditions, IMO. Disregarding the expectations that come from the wedding world, if it’s important enough to YOU that your VIPS are all dressed the same for your PARTY, you would probably be the one to foot the bill. And there’s nothing about marriage that dictates anyone should dress the same, so why is it different?

    I understand that it IS different, but why?

    Post # 35
    653 posts
    Busy bee

    I’m very strongly of the mind that if the bride and groom want it, the bride and groom pay for it. Dresses, hair, ice swans – if it’s going to be in your wedding, it’s your wedding expense to cover.

    Post # 36
    1068 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

    ohnoitslindsay :  I’ve never understood the tradition either.  I’ve been very lucky that my friends have all been pretty chill after reading some of the stories here.  I’m in the US where we were expected to pay for our own bridesmaid dresses.  My one friend picked a color I wasn’t crazy about, so I just sucked it up as part of accepting the role.  I did wear the dress again (as a wedding guest) then I donated it to a charity that provides prom dresses for lower income families.  I worked at the event and saw a girl pick my dress and she was so excited to show it to her mom.  It made me feel so good to see her so happy.

    I had 3 bridesmaids and asked that they wear black dresses.  We went shopping and they all wanted to wear the same dress.  I paid for half.  I felt like it was the least I could do since I picked the color.  I offered to pay for the entire thing but they said no.

    Post # 37
    12630 posts
    Honey Beekeeper

    Unless one is giving bridesmaids full and complete discretion, personally, I believe the bride should pay. 

    Traditionally, at minimum, the wedding party is supposed to be consulted regarding style and budget. The justification for US BMs paying for their own dress goes back to a time when the BMs had much more input.  If brides insist on dictating, then they should be the ones to pay. Time to adjust the etiquette. 

    Post # 38
    3451 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: September 2017 - Poppy Ridge Golf Course

    US bee. Initially I chose a color and length then realized how absurd I thought it was to dictate to grown women how they should dress to achieve some picture perfect *vision* which would seem bonkers at any other time in life. Changed my mind and told them to wear whatever they wanted. Color, length, style, used dress, pants etc., I could give two hoots as long as my loved ones are comfortable and enjoy the day with me. I did let them know individually if they needed help paying or needed me to purchase the dress I’d happily do so. Everyone picked black.

    Post # 39
    4529 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: June 2010

    cmsgirl :  But only after a bit of Card-onnay. Everyone knows the ‘H’ is silent in Chardonnay….. 🙂


    Post # 40
    7177 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

    I think the bride should pay. Its part of the wedding, usualyl chosen BY the bride anyways. She pays for the flowers, which are a prop, why shouldnt she pay for the dress, which is also a prop?

    Post # 41
    9588 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2015

    I picked a specific dress and my Darling Husband picked a suit, and we paid for all of them going against the tradition. Despite having purchased many BMs dresses for my friends weddings, it seemed like the right thing to do. They were all travelling in for the wedding anyway- flights hotels etc, there were enough expenses involved.

    Post # 42
    942 posts
    Busy bee

    It really depends. If heavily influenced by bride or bride dictates a particular dress, I would expect bride to chip in if said dresses are more expensive than the bridesmaids’ budgets. If the bridesmaids can easily afford the dresses and/or they get to choose the brand/style and/or the style is easily re-wearable, then they should pay for the dresses. 

    Post # 43
    1719 posts
    Bumble bee

    I think having the bride pay could lead to a slippery slope towards bridezillaville. If the bride pays, she has all the say in the dress basically so if a bridesmaid didn’t like it or feel comfortable in it, the bride could just say “I’m paying, you have no choice”. I think having the bridesmaids pay for the dress themselves allows them more control. They could alter it to make it more comfortable, less revealing, etc. For some reason I feel like the bride paying makes the bridesmaids seem more of a prop than not. Paying for their dresses makes it seem like they’re in a play or something.

    Post # 44
    802 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2018 - Farm

    U.S. bee, I paid for my bridemaids dresses. I have 4 bridemaids which includes 3 sisters and my best friend. I told them they can wear whatever shoes they want, they can do their own make up, as it’s not a requirement. My friend will have her SIL do her make up and my sisters will do their own.  I just picked out a dress from davids bridal for $50.00 each. I kept it simple and budget friendly. Even if I didn’t pay for them myself I would still choose something simple and budget friendly.

    Post # 45
    682 posts
    Busy bee

    Interesting; I was always under the assumption the bridesmaids paid (I’m in Canada FYI). I’ve been in 4 weddings and every wedding I paid for my own dress

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