Who pays for bridesmaids’ dresses etc?

The joy of being asked to be a bridesmaid can be more of a headache for some

The joy of being asked to be a bridesmaid can be more of a headache for some

Ah, this is the question that leads to so many ruffled feathers. Who pays for the bridesmaids’ dresses and accessories, the couple or the actual bridesmaids?

The answer varies from couple to couple and, even, from culture to culture but there are three possibilities:

– In many countries, it is considered the bride’s responsibility to pay for the bridesmaids’ dresses, hair and make-up and jewellery. After all, she is asking them to be part of her bridal party and may consider it her role to pay for any expenses associated with her wedding.

It’s also the best alternative when, for example, the bride wants her bridesmaids to wear designer outfits that they’re unlikely to wear again and, possibly, cannot afford.

Being a bridesmaid, too, isn’t about just turning up on the day and looking pretty. It can actually be a lot of responsibility and hard work. To have to pay to be part of the bridal party on top of that can be too burdensome for some people.

However, for every bride who agrees with this attitude, there is one who does not.

– For these brides, most costs associated with being a bridesmaid should be borne by the bridesmaid herself. After all, she gets to keep the dress as well as the shoes and, usually, the jewellery that accompanies the overall outfit. She is also the recipient of the hair and make-up services on the day.

This alternative works best where, for example, the dress is something that the bridesmaid can, possibly, wear again.

Both arguments are equally valid so, perhaps the best thing to do when figuring out who should/will pay is to first weigh up what you want your bridesmaids to wear. If it is extravagant or overly expensive, consider paying for, at the very least, the dresses.

If everything is reasonably priced and, possibly, wearable multiple times, then ask your bridesmaid to pay for the gear associated with the role.

Of course, consider your bridesmaids’ financial position too before deciding either way.

She may simply not be able to afford to pay, in which case, you’ll need to choose between paying for the gear yourself or not having her in your bridal party.

Similarly, if you yourself cannot afford to pay for all the costs associated with having bridesmaids, you need to be frank about that from the beginning. Talking about money is difficult at the best of times but you must do it – and as early as possible. I’ve seen close relationships frayed in this situation with either the bride or bridesmaids feeling hard done by.

It’s so much better to have a full and frank conversation about costs and who will pay what at the beginning. That way, you both know who’s paying for what – and have time to budget for it.

– If you’re really stuck or a decision either way is causing too much conflict in your relationship, go Dutch.

Yep, going 50/50 with your bridesmaid on all expenses should soothe frayed nerves on both sides.

Happy wedding planning,

PS: Of course, arguments both for and against a bridesmaids paying for her own gear apply equally to groomsmen.

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