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

posted 9 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 46
59 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

My bridesmaids know that they have to cover the cost of their own dresses. However I am considering putting some money towards them as their bridesmaid gift.

Maybe your new bridesmaid cant afford it. Explain it to her. She is a big girl, she can make her own decision. 🙂

Post # 47
2083 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 1993

I’m a UK bride – it’s tradition and expected over here that the bride pays for everything for the BMs (Dress, shoes, accessories etc).

I’d die of embarassment if I had to ask them to pay, but that is ONLY because of the way it’s been culturally drummed in to me!

Post # 48
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@msiraldo:Yes, the bridesmaids need to pay for their own dresses. This is where your maid of honor can help you out. She is usually the one in charge of communicating things from you to the bridesmaids. You tell her which dress that you want the girls to purchase and she can send a mass email to all the girls describing when you are all going to purchase it and details of the cost and how much the deposit is. This way your bridesmaid will get the hint. Without feeling uncomfortable.

Post # 49
3618 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I’ve actually read in the Bridal Bargains book that it’s proper etiquette to pay for the wedding party’s attire, especially if travel is required for them, so she’s not completely off her rocker.


Post # 50
1363 posts
Bumble bee

As @anne B said, not in the UK. I also struggle so hard with understanding how American brides think it is their right to have their friends buy expensive dresses (yes, I do think $100-150 is expensive to ask for) and to throw them parties at the BM’s expense. It is the bride’s day. She chose to get married and to have the expense of that. The poor BMs may be very happy for their friend but not rich. It seems that the only reason for this culture in the US is so that brides get to invite tons of girls to be BMs to make them look more popular, rather than sticking to 1 or 2 as you might do in the UK because you only pay out of your budget for those girls you love the most and couldn’t imagine not standing next to you on your most special day. But I know US brides think it is normal and their right to have their friends treat them to parties and Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses, so I guess it is just a cultural thing that I will never understand. It is so incredibly rude to me.

Post # 51
2657 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Yeah I told all my girls that I would love it if they were a part of the wedding, but I warned them that they will have to pay for everything themselves. Then I gave them a chance to get in or get out.

I havent read all the posts on this thread, so I dont know what u have decided. But in case u havent, just let the girl know and tell her that if she cannot afford it, she doesnt have to be in the wedding. Give her a way out. 

Post # 52
1489 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@msiraldo: I think it depends on where you are from and the ettique. I have been in several weddings and have always paid for my dresses.


Post # 53
7295 posts
Busy Beekeeper

i really wished i could have paid for my girls dresses, but honestly if i did, i would not have been able to ask everyone i wanted to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man.  and that would also suck. i just couldnt afford six dresses.  also, all my girls expected to pay for their dresses since all of us, myself included, have been BMs in other weddings and always paid for our own dresses. despite this, i really wished i had money to buy them.

since i didn’t, i did the best i could to be fair. i told them i only cared about the color being the same, so i gave them a designer and color.  one Bridesmaid or Best Man couldn’t find the designer where she was from so i found her another matching one. i wanted to give them a choice of designers too but i found it would just make things too complicated for them if they had all these different designers and color names that vary by designer to remember.  i also limited my choices to ones that were available on netbride.com so it could be as cheap as possible for them.

i finally told them since all i care about is color, they were free to choose style, fabric, length, whatever they wanted. i wanted them to at least like the dress they were paying for and possibly wear it again.  although i don’t think they will  because of the color, lol, no matter what, the pale color makes it look like a “BM” dress.

ironically 4 of 6 of them chose almost identical dresses! all different style numbers, but very similar! in hindsight, i probably could have asked them to agree on one same dress, but oh well.

i also told them i *preferred* silver shoes and i recommended flat shoes for the beach – but ultimately it was up to them, they were in no way required to buy new shoes – like if they already owned silver flats or low heels, then i would hope they would wear those!  for jewelry, i bought stuff for them to wear and was hopeful they like it enough to wear it again since it was part of their gift (part, not all!).   Finally, i did not require them to get hair and makeup done since i couldnt afford it, but in the end, all but one wanted to.  so i was quite happy. 

i feel i did the best i could to not incur too much expense.  and actually out of my 6 girls, i did buy one of them their dress – she is DHs teen niece and we knew she or her mom could not afford it.  and the other Bridesmaid or Best Man overseas couldn’t order from netbride.com, so i offered her $100 so what she paid matched what everyone was paying.

Post # 54
5656 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: February 2012

Around here it is the norm that bridesmaids pay for at least their own dress.

Many of my BMs had never been BMs before, so I told them upfront when I asked them what I expected of them, which was that they buy their own dress and possibly a few other accessories and show up presentable to the rehearsal and wedding day. I searched high and low and found a great deal on dresses for only $100 each. Almost all of them STILL complained, lol. :

Post # 55
10 posts
  • Wedding: November 2011

Bridesmaids are expected to pay for their own gowns.  If there is an issue with costs, that’s something she needs to discuss with you prior to agreeing to be in the wedding.

Post # 57
77 posts
Worker bee

coming from a very traditional Greek family, if I was ever to ask my Bridesmaid or Best Man to pay for their dress, not only would our family look down on it, but we would all die of extreme embarrassment! Our culture has it, that you do what you can and what is in your means – that said, generally a Greek family prepares for a big, fat wedding from the day their child is born. If the family cannot afford to have say 6 Bridesmaid or Best Man, they will only have 3, for example to minimise their costs – but they will NEVER, EVER expect the Bridesmaid or Best Man to pay for their own things, whether it be their dress, shoes, jewellery, hair or makeup. It is an honour for them to be a part of your wedding party, and therefore nothing is expected from them in return. That said – it is not customary to “gift” our BM’s, but I have done so anyways. I have bought my BM’s some gorgeous silk robes from http://www.prettyplumsugar.com as a thank you for all their support – and I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. 🙂

Kudo’s to the US brides for saving some extra cash…but please remember and be mindful – if you are adamant about a pricey dress, help out your Bridesmaid or Best Man by subsiding some of the amount of their dress without calling it their “gift”. It’s not fair that their “gift” is you covering a part of/all of a dress that YOU want them in! 



Post # 58
47 posts
  • Wedding: December 2012

I’m British (marrying an American in the US) and i won’t repeat all the comments of the other British ladies here – but yeah, in the UK, the bride usually picks up the tab, not the ‘maids.


The one new thing i’d like to actually add to the discussion is about the tradition of giving your BMs gifts.  I’ve been a Bridesmaid or Best Man three times in Britain:

Wedding 1:  bride paid for dress, shows, hair, etc, but gave me no extra gift.

Wedding 2: i paid for my own (little black) dress because the bride literally had about £1,000 budget, and she gave me a £5.99 paperback book as a gift – but that book was pretty significant to both of us, and i still have both book and dress 16 years later.

Wedding 3: bride bought dress and hair (wore my own shoes) and gifted me some lovely costume jewellry earrings.

From what i’ve seen of US weddings, the bride expects the BMs to pay for their own dresses (and sometimes shoes, hair, makeup, jewellry) and then drop $$$ to buy their ‘maids gifts.  It confuses me why a bride wouldn’t use the $$$ to buy the Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses and forget the expensive gifts?

Post # 60
2 posts
  • Wedding: July 2013

Hi fellow bees , 

I have only just joined the group but have been reading all the threads you have been chatting about and to be honest im a little bit lost myself . I have 3 adult bridesmaids and 1child (my neice) 2of the adults have been great help but 1 of them I have hardly seen and she has made rude quips about things I have said I want to do for the wedding lile teacup candles and vintage bits and pieces which is what my partner and I like . Where as one of the others sat there getting covered in glue and paper helping me do some bits for the decorations we have made . I dont expect them to do all that but it feels like the rude bm is looking at it like an all expences paid week in devon and me and my partner have had to make some sacrifices for things we would like at our day as the budget took a hit for other reasons and we are just not in a position to have 3 adults now so what do i do . Should i tell the rude bm that we cant have 3 and as she has not really shown any intrest in the day so just come as a guest or do i lose more of the stuff we wanted and keep her ??? We have not got a huge budget anyway and are already doing so much ourselves i dont seriously think we can do anymore :'(

Post # 61
72 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

As a bridesmaid twice in Australia, I bought my dress once, and once had my dress bought for me. As a bride in the US, I am asking my BMs to pick out their own dresses (they’ve been given colour/material/length criteria but have otherwise been given free rein, and have mostly found dresses for $80-$100) and to wear whatever shoes they want with them (hopefully giving them leeway to wear their own if they already have suitable ones, but several have said they are using the excuse to buy new shoes!). And I am covering nails (manis and pedis the day before), hair, make-up, jewellery, clutches, and an extra personalised present to each to say thank you. 

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