Bridesmaid Dresses – Who Pays?

So, who pays for the bridesmaid dresses? This is a commonly asked question of me, especially for couples who are looking to keep costs as low as possible.

A lot of people don’t like to ask their bridesmaids to pay for the dress, but is it expected of bridesmaids to pay or have the times changed?

One of the big difficulties here is that the bride usually picks the bridesmaid dress – and this can be a big worry for bridesmaids. They don’t want to wear something they don’t like, especially if they have to pay for it!

If the bridesmaids are different shapes and sizes, the chief bridesmaid and the bride have the complicated task of choosing a style and colour to suit everyone. One solution is for the bride to choose material in a particular shade and for the bridesmaids to have dresses made in a style that suits them.

Who pays for the bridesmaids’ dresses is a matter of some debate. Traditionally, bridesmaids were provided with material from which they made a dress to their own design. The bride could only dictate the colour, the rest was down to them to make whatever suited best.

Modern brides are keen to be more co-ordinated and most want to have some control over the outfits. In this case then the bride or her family should pay.

However, parents do sometimes pay for their children’s clothes and older bridesmaids might help out with out with the cost of their dresses, if budget is tight.

If you are letting your bridesmaids choose what they are wearing, and it’s something they can wear again, they might be able to contribute to the cost. Alternatively, they might pay towards shoes, handbag or jewellery. If a lot of money is being spent, it’s wise to get something that can be worn again, to a ball or a smart dinner. Another option is to sell them on afterwards, so consider this.

When it comes to payment, just make sure that everything is clear. If you are asking a friend to be a bridesmaid, it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss fairly early on whether they will be paying for their outfit. If you are choosing an expensive dress and would like them to pay for it themselves, it might effect their decision on whether or not to be bridesmaid.

For more etiquette advice and tips, contact Weddings by Rachel today.

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