(Closed) Shouldn’t the bridesmaids pay for their own dress?

posted 9 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 17
899 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013


It does depend where you’re from. In the UK it is common for the bride and groom to pay for Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses – we definitely will. It wouldn’t occur to me to ask my Bridesmaid or Best Man to buy their own dress – they’re my bridesmaids and I asked them so I will pay. Being a Bridesmaid or Best Man in the US seems to me to be a very expensive business 🙂

Post # 18
1690 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I too am from Uk,  and its customary for the bride to buy the bridesmaids dresses,  and to be honest i think thats how it should be.  i definately will be,  and the shoes and jewellery,  flowers and everything to do with her being there for me. 

if you,  as a bride,  WANTS a certain friend as part of your wedding,  WHY should the bridesmaid have to buy an outfit she will never wear again,  what if she cant afford to?

i echo what rainstorm is saying in that being a bridesmaid in US  is an expensive business,  and honestly,  if i was asked i would say no. 

if the bridesmaid offers to pay then thats OK,  but its never assumed.  and i feel happier getting them to wear what i want if i have paid for it myself. 


for all of you brides that are exclaiming……’like i dont have enough to pay for’,   well it is actually YOUR wedding day,  so why would you expect someone else to be part of your day, but  at THEIR expense? 



Post # 20
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2009

I’ve never been in a wedding when the Bride has paid for my Bridesmaid or Best Man dress. However, I’ve heard of it being done. Some people with generous budgets have chosen to budget money to pay for Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses…however, that’s like, a one in a million chance. 

That’s kind of weird that she would have assumed that. I wish it happened like that : ) I’ve spent about $600 on Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses in the past three years!

Post # 21
5091 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2012

I will probably cover half if not more of each dress, but only because the package I won included a large gift certificate to a bridal boutique, and I had already bought my own dress at a different shop.  I had already planned to buy the dress for one of my girls (assuming she can come), but only because she’s from a culture where they don’t do the bridesmaid thing at all, and I had to explain the tradition to her before I asked her, and she would already be paying for herself and her family to fly halfway around the globe to come to the wedding anyway.

Otherwise, I would expect all the bridesmaids to buy their own dress.

Post # 22
688 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Bridesmaids definitely pay for their dresses. I think it’s nice for the bride to help out if she can (although I don’t think that’s too common) and I think if the bride chooses something ridic expensive she should subsidize some of it. But that’s why you ask people to be your bridesmaids instead of just telling them- it’s a big financial/time commitment at times.

I think where you get into more of a gray area is paying for their hair/makeup/hotels etc.

Post # 23
11050 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Perhaps she didn’t know how things worked. I’ve recently experienced this with my step-dad actually as he didn’t know we paid for his suit, so he thought he would get to wear what he wanted. I know it’s custom in the US for BMs to pay which as other PPs have said here in the UK it’s different, the brides pay.

Post # 24
158 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I really think it depends on the wedding.  I cut back on some expenses to pay for my bridesmaid’s dresses and shoes.  Most of them are traveling far so I didn’t want them to pay for travel and dresses.  All of the weddings I have been in have been different but with each the bride was upfront at the start of what was expected of us.  Like one told us we were paying for half another asked us to pay for all.  I would just be upfront about it. 

Post # 25
1690 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

i actually like the thought of buying the dresses though,  because then i wont feel bad expecting them to wear something i like,  for MY wedding. i get to choose without really giving much thought to asking them if they would mind wearing this or that dress.   but i did ask my girls,  i showed them 3 designs,  and asked them to all agree on one style that they would feel comfortable in. 

my daughter has been a bridesmaid 3 times and once i paid for the dress,  and twice i didnt.  i didnt mind paying,  but it seems a clittle bit of a cheek if you ask me,  to ask a girl to be a bridesmaid……to make your wedding look pretty,  then ask her for money for the dress and accessories.  


Post # 26
1231 posts
Bumble bee

It is funny that you ask a friend to buy a dress that they WILL NEVER EVER wear again even if they say they will, its just to appease you. I mean come on! A Bridesmaids dress looks like a bridesmaids dress. I just shelled out $250(tax included) for a dress, that will need to be altered because the bridal shop talked me into a larger size because they assumed I would get it altered there ( $80 for alteration? I don’t think so, crazy rude lady). Is it a pretty dress? Yes. Will I wear it again? No, I don’t go to enough fancy functions that it would be appropriate. She said she would wear it though, so I guess someone is getting a very nice dress for her birthday this year!! 😉

I would just give your bridesmaid a break, you don’t have to sound indignant about it. Yes you have enough to pay for, but its your wedding! you are the one setting the bar for how much you are spending, and you are the one benefitting from it, not her. You said she’s having financial problems, which you knew before you asked her, so either keep the dress cost wicked low, maybe split the cost with her if you REALLY want her in the wedding, or give her an out.

I think its insane that bridesmaids are expected to go into debt just because the bride is. All I have to do is be supportive for my friend get my dress, have shoes, not look like I rolled out of bed and show up to the rehearsal and wedding. Everything else is extra. Remember, you asked her to be a bridesmaid, so she must mean something to you. She was misinformed about you paying for the dress, she’s going to have to pay for that. Leave the ‘tude in the car before you talk to her about it or its just going to start the ball rolling for drama later on.

Post # 27
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

It should really depend on if you’re picking the dress, how much it costs, their financial situation, and how many other things you’re asking them to buy. There’s a difference between asking your bridesmaids to pay for a $300 dress, $100 shoes, and hotel/airfare costs, or simply asking them to buy a moderately priced dress. You know your girls best, and you should know what they can comfortably swing financially.

Post # 28
164 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I expect to be unpopular for this…

Traditionally (Emily post Circa 1912 so I feel safe in that assertion) American bridesmaids were responsible for their own dresses. So yes there is good precendent and that is the “done” thing. However I think we can all agree that wedding costs are not minimal (as you said, you have so much to pay for) and that bridesmaids gowns are often rather pricey. Unless your girlfriends regularly drop $300 on a dress $100 on a pair of shoes and then $150 on hair FOR ONE DAY, then it is really nice of you, the bride, to try to make things less expensive For Them. Consider your priorities. Do the girls *have* to be dressed in that $300 dress? If so, can you help them pay for it? If not, could you find something equally nice for $100? We budget all the time for weddings…and one of the things I put high on my list was that the girls incur minimal costs for the wedding. Sure that means I’m spending more money, but they are my very dear friends or why would I be asking them to stand up with me that day?

For the poster who said that it was their “obligation” to hold a shower or resign from the wedding party– would you prefer to have your best and closest friends in your wedding party, or would you prefer a shower?

Post # 29
2191 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I’ve never been in a wedding where the bride paid for my dress…

I just got fitted yesterday and paid for my dress and jacket for my friends wedding and it cost me $195.00 and that’s before shoes and hair.

To take a bit of pressure off of myself as the bride next year, my girls are being given the color swatch and told to go find the dress they love and can afford and I just want to see it before it’s bought. That’s because, for me, it’s not my business to know their financial information nor is it fair for me to just pick whatever I want and expect everyone to be able to afford it.

Difference of opinions I suppose for every wedding.

Post # 30
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011



I agree with both of you. I’m not from the UK, but I’ve always thought it was weird that BM’s were supposed to pay for their own dresses. I think it makes way more sense for the bride and groom to pay for it because it is for their wedding.  I think it should be that if you can’t afford the $, then don’t have so many bridesmaids.

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