MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should you foot the bridesmaid bill?

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  • This happened to me some years ago. I was 19 and away at uni when my old school friend asked me to be bridesmaid at her wedding. Initially I felt a great honour had been bestowed on me till I realised the implications. My college was at the other side of the UK and it meant two fitting visits before the day, buying shoes, having my hair done in a particular way and paying for the dress to be made. There was no way I could have afforded this lot on a grant and it was before the time of easy credit so I declined, explaining my predicament and that was the last I heard from her.
    I vowed my wedding would not involve these sort of expectations from anyone.
  • JuliaJolie
    JuliaJolie Posts: 79 Forumite
    I never had bridesmaids. I got married in a cemetery last month in the pouring rain in front of the oldest tree in the town, and I was dressed similarly to Mrs Lovett (unintentional lol, it's just often the way I dress). It was just me and my husband (a friend was meant to show up to take pictures, but bloody forgot to show up!) The whole thing cost £73 (£50 for the Justice of The Peace, and £23 on dinner and a huge cocktail that was set on fire). It was sort of a spur-of-the-moment thing, though we'd been dating for over 3 years.

    But this MMD is one of those situations where it really depends on the circumstances and personal attitude of the bride. I would talk to the bride and hope to come to some sort of compromise. If the wedding is expensive, it doesn't mean the bride has money to throw around, just that she might have saved enough to pay for parts of it. Perhaps the drinks are free at the reception because of her? Perhaps there are other costs that are being covered by the bride. If the bride is well-off and can afford it, then she should pay for an expensive dress that the mother can't afford and the daughter won't ever wear again (unless the bride plans to be a serial bride or polygamist).

    In my case, though, most of my family are Muslim and it's unlikely that, if I had a daughter and couldn't afford the dress, we wouldn't get much wear out of it as far as our huge family's weddings are concerned - the dress code would be slightly different!
    :cry::cry::cry: ~ R.I.P Heath Ledger, George Carlin, Stan Winston ~ :cry::cry::cry:
  • tallgirld
    tallgirld Posts: 484 Forumite
    First Anniversary
    I was a bridesmaid once and I remember I had to buy a pair of white shoes which were REALLY expensive from Bertie, and my sister made the dress!!! What makes it worse I was ONLY asked because the other bridesmaid dropped out!!! Talk about sloppy seconds :-) I did look cute though ;-)

    Anyway my answer to the question is YES I would pay for it cos im a mug!!!!
  • SazM030306
    SazM030306 Posts: 1,317 Forumite
    I got married 2 yrs ago and my 5 bridesmaids all paid for their dresses. (I contributed to 2 who were a bit skint). My mum and dad paid for a lot, and we paid for the rest. I stuck to a budget and everyone was happy to go along with it.
    I suppose I could of been a bit more generous, and got myself more into debt, but at the time it seemed the right thing to do.
    If I was asked to be a bridesmaid (please!!) I would gladly pay for my dress, knowing that the bride had enough to fork out for.
    :heart2: THANK YOU MARTIN!! :heart2:
  • aliasojo wrote: »
    I think someone was telling you porkies. ;) :rotfl:

    I have never heard of any bridesmaid having to pay for her own dress. In fact I'd say the complete opposite was true...it's tradition for the bride to pay.[/quo

    About 10 years ago, I was a bridesmaid and had to pay for my dress, shoes and getting shoes dyed to correct colour.
    There were 7 bridesmaids in total and it wasn;t done on a shoestring.
    Dress still in wardrobe, gathering dust!
  • englishmac
    englishmac Posts: 137 Forumite
    Expensive weddings are expensive because people are mug enough to buy into the whole ‘our big day’ commercial claptrap. Yes, it is (and should be) a special day. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It certainly doesn’t require expensive table centres such as fancy balloons, the ‘best’ venue money can buy, the flashiest (or most outrageous) transport you can muster, etc. It is just playing into the hands of the businesses that are happy to exploit you. Anyone choosing to get married should either be paying for it themselves or having their parents pay for some/all of it as is expected. That includes the full outfit and any hair/make up. If you can’t afford it, don’t do it, or wait until you can afford it. We were given a set amount of money and told we could use it as we chose – put it towards a wedding or whatever else we wanted. We bought our own outfits, licence, etc then put rest towards a low key honeymoon, a cooker and some decorating in our new place. We have never regretted it.
    Cheap and cheerful. Preferably free. :T LBM - more a gradual rude awakening.
    DFD where the light is at the end of this very long tunnel - there, see it? Its getting brighter!! :o

    DFW Nerd Club Member no. 946. Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts. :D
  • dsw_1234
    dsw_1234 Posts: 14 Forumite
    if the bride wants it, then the bride should pay. My wife and I married nearly 3 years ago and we paid for everything out of our pockets, even down to a new suit for the father of the bride. We kept it simple and didn't blow our savings. In addition as we paid it meant we go what WE wanted.
  • englishmac
    englishmac Posts: 137 Forumite
    We didn't ask my sister-in-law to pay for her outfit when we were married, but when she got married she expected my husband to buy his own suit.

    He was much more likely to wear the suit again and he does. I think this is what it boils down to. If the daughter is unlikely to wear the dress again, it should be paid for by the bride.

    Is the likelihood of wearing it again the point though? If you wouldn’t have bought it if it wasn’t for the wedding then effectively you are paying for your own outfit. You may not wear it again. If the suit wasn’t in your wardrobe, then it probably isn’t to your taste or you don’t have a reason to own it in the first place.
    Cheap and cheerful. Preferably free. :T LBM - more a gradual rude awakening.
    DFD where the light is at the end of this very long tunnel - there, see it? Its getting brighter!! :o

    DFW Nerd Club Member no. 946. Proud To Be Dealing With My Debts. :D
  • In Canada and the US it is tradition for the bridesmaids to pay for their own dress, even if the style and colour is chosen by the bride. I and other of my friends who live in the UK do NOT understand why friends and family who are asked to be bridesmaids do not see it as an honour and consider it an imposition to have to pay for their own dress. It is a small cost compared to the cost that the bride and groom (if their parents are not paying for the wedding) have to pay to treat their closest friends and family to a reception.
    Of course they want to have a posh reception - who wouldn't, it is supposed to be the best day of your life and you want to make it memorable for your guests, however, I think it's inexcusable that people complain about having to pay for a bridesmaids dress, it is an honour to be chosen - shouldn't be a burden.
  • I think this question shows how far people will go for the wedding they want, whats next asking people to pay for their meals. In all honesty weddings should be small affairs , not one upcoupleship contests. Apart from the fact the money could be spent better, most marriages do not last.
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