The Price of Being a Bridesmaid


It’s the start of summer WEDDING SEASON and you know what that means: LOTS of touchy etiquette questions about wedding related expenses! Take this recent example posed to us by our friend Margaret…

Margaret was thrilled when her friend Jenny asked her to be a bridesmaid in her wedding.  The only problem-  Margaret’s salary didn’t exactly match the price tag of the designer bridesmaid dresses and FAB shoes Jenny had chosen for her bridesmaids to wear.  When Margaret got the email about the dress and shoes she was expected to purchase, she tallied up what it would cost her near a week’s salary just to get dressed for the wedding — never mind the cost of a gift, bachelorette party and wedding shower!

Margaret doesn’t know what to do.  Part of her feels cheap and embarrassed,  but she also feels it was rude of Jenny not to offer to pay for at least part of the cost of the pricey wedding wear.  Some of our friends totally agreed with Margaret.  But many of our pals actually sided with the bride – citing that it is part of a bridesmaid’s duty to foot the bill for her own bridesmaid dress – no matter how ugly or expensive it might be!  What do you think? Is buying pricey bridesmaid dresses just a rite of passage? Or if the bride has expensive taste should she be required to pay for it?

| Print

6 Responses to “The Price of Being a Bridesmaid”

  1. Cindy says:

    Generally, I would say the bride has enough to pay for, and the bridesmaid should pay for her own dress. But, I think the bride should NOT choose an expensive dress for her bridesmaids, and if she does, she should help out with the cost.

  2. Aimee says:

    The bride should not have to help pay for her bridesmaids dresses but she should also not pick attire that would make financial aid an issue. Maybe Margaret should talk to the bride and let her know that she is happy to be part of her special day but it’s just too much money. Maybe the bridesmaids can all wear the same color shoes rather than the same expensive shoes? If Margaret doesn’t feel comfortable having a talk with the bride, she can always skimp on the many expenses to come (i.e. buy cheaper shower and wedding gifts, not spend as much at the bachelorette party, or not getting a salon up do the day of the wedding).

    I’ve been in a couple weddings and I am happy to do and pay my part to make my friend’s day perfect but I am so sick of this culture that makes bridesmaids feel like the brides underling. The entire wedding industry has the highest mark-up of any other industry and the bridesmaid industry in particular is the worse. I’m convinced it’s designed to make us feel bad about ourselves in order to elevate the bride’s already over-inflated ego. We spend way more than the dress is worth and through more cash at alterations to make ourselves feel extra bad about our bodies and our bank accounts.

    Call me cheap, you can even call me insensitive and cheap; but Margaret: Girl, I sympathize.

  3. Anessa says:

    I myself have been in quite a few weddings. It seems like all of my friends have been getting married lately. Finances is always an issue especially when you have many friends getting married with dates in close proximity to each other. It makes it really hard to make decisions.

    Lucky for my, my friends have been very budget conscious and have been very understanding in the area of finances for their bridesmaids. In one situation, my friend had us shopping for dresses at many bridal shops around Orlando. When we found the one the bride liked, we not only got the price from that bridal shop, but also took down the style and color numbers and searched the web for price comparisons. In the store, the dress was over $160 plus alterations. One site the bride found had the exact same dress, by the exact designer at $115 each including shipping! It felt good to know that the bride had out best interests in mind.

    Personal finances are really important and the bride might not be in full understanding of where you stand. If you are close and comfortable enough with the bride to be her bridesmaid, you should be able to sit down and explain your situation. You’d be surprised with how much people are willing to work with you if you simply explain what’s going on.

    • Cary says:

      I did that and now I am not in the wedding because I cant afford a 282.00 dress in addition to whatever trims the bride would decide to add (not including the cost of shoes)

      Is it really the responsibility of the bridesmaid to find the bridesmaid dress?

      I work 24/7 and all I want is for her to be logical and understanding in finding the dress that is suitable to the style she requires for her wedding since she is not working right now I assumed she would not need me to go hopping around for dresses every week a couple times per week.

      I showed up a couple times but after she was pissed that I couldnt make it…..

      Frustrated about being in this financial position.

  4. Bruce says:

    The bride should not have to help pay for her bridesmaids dresses but she should also not pick attire that would make financial aid an issue. Maybe Margaret should talk to the bride and let her know that she is happy to be part of her special day but it’s just too much money. Maybe the bridesmaids can all wear the same color shoes rather than the same expensive shoes? If Margaret doesn’t feel comfortable having a talk with the bride, she can always skimp on the many expenses to come (i.e. buy cheaper shower and wedding gifts, not spend as much at the bachelorette party, or not getting a salon up do the day of the wedding).

    I’ve been in a couple weddings and I am happy to do and pay my part to make my friend’s day perfect but I am so sick of this culture that makes bridesmaids feel like the brides underling. The entire wedding industry has the highest mark-up of any other industry and the bridesmaid industry in particular is the worse. I’m convinced it’s designed to make us feel bad about ourselves in order to elevate the bride’s already over-inflated ego. We spend way more than the dress is worth and through more cash at alterations to make ourselves feel extra bad about our bodies and our bank accounts.

    Call me cheap, you can even call me insensitive and cheap; but Margaret: Girl, I sympathize.

  5. Justine says:

    When did it become the norm to have a big fancy wedding of your dreams and require all of your friends to foot the bill for it? Why are we all so uncomfortable saying no for financial reasons? We’re in a tight economy. I’m sure the wedding industry wouldn’t want this to get out, but scaling back to smaller weddings not only relieves your friends of an outrageous unnecessary expense, but it keeps the happy couple from beginning their lives together with the added burden of debt. It’s not being cheap, it’s being practical. I’d rather be a guest at my friends’ weddings and still be able to make my car payments and maybe take a vacation of my own choosing, then be one of a dozen bridesmaids.

Any Thoughts?

*