Do bridesmaids pay for their own dress? That’s the question we’re answering today! Be sure to subscribe now for the latest.
When you’re a bridesmaid, you’re asked to do a lot of things: support the bride, be a part of the pre-wedding festivities (i.e. the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc.), and be a part of the wedding day itself.
Wearing a dress with a gigantic bow on the back might even be a part of the deal. But hopefully not! ;)
So, if you’re asked to be a bridesmaid, you’re already shelling out a lot of time, expenses like these, and energy for all of these tasks. And you may be wondering, am I expected to pay for my bridesmaid dress?
Who buys bridesmaid dresses traditionally?
I’ve been a bridesmaid many times and a Maid of Honor twice, so I’ve seen it both ways: the bridesmaids either buy their own dresses or the bride buys the bridesmaid dresses.
Typically, as a general rule of thumb, yes, bridesmaids buy their own dress. But not always!
Here are both options: bridesmaids pay for their own dress vs. the bride buys the bridesmaid dresses.
1. Bridesmaid Buys Their Own Dresses
If bridesmaids will buy their own dresses, it is best to choose one that is:
A dress that is under $150 is a great starting point. We’re actually seeing a lot of gorgeous convertible-style dresses that are made well and look beautiful at around $99.
As one example, this infinity dress can be worn in different ways — halter, one-shoulder, strapless, etc. — and is paired with a beautiful tulle skirt. It is UNDER $60 — quite the steal! By AmorDresses.
– This dress is another infinity style dress and it is only $39.
Generally, bridesmaid dresses cost around $75 – $150. Plus, you may need to pay for dress alterations and/or shipping.
If bridesmaids buy the dress themselves, it is a HUGE BONUS if the dress is something they can wear again. Some brides achieve this by selecting one dress that is a convertible style, so it is like having many dresses all-in-one; deciding on a short bridesmaid dress in navy blue or black, which is a versatile dress for many of life’s occasions; or selecting a color and letting bridesmaids choose any dress in that shade. This third option is the best way to let bridesmaids choose any dress in their price range — and style.
Find out what styles the bridesmaids really like. If expected to pay their own money for the bridesmaid dress, do your best to find dresses that work with everyone’s style and budget. For shoes, leave it open-ended: perhaps everyone can wear a solid pair of neutral heels or flats they already own to cut costs.
2. Bride Buys Bridesmaid Dresses
If the bride is paying for the dresses, here are some tips.
If bridesmaid dresses are being bought by the bride, it is still a great idea to communicate on both sides. The dress is being paid for by the bride, but worn by the bridesmaids, so it is a good idea to see what styles everyone is happy wearing. But it is also worth noting: if the bride is paying, the bridesmaids shouldn’t scoff at the choice, since they aren’t paying for it. :)
Be sure to get adequate sizing ahead of time to ensure bridesmaid dresses fit perfectly; this will ensure you won’t have to pay extra shipping and return charges. Plus, you won’t be tight on time when it gets closer to the big day.
– Ship Dresses Directly to Bridesmaids
It is best to ship dresses directly to each bridesmaid so they can try them on right away. This is helpful in case the dress needs alterations; the bridesmaids can take care of it locally ahead of the wedding day.
– Also Pay for Accessories
If you are buying the bridesmaid dresses, ask bridesmaids to wear a particular shoe they already own (or something easy to find and inexpensive, like black heels or flats). If you want bridesmaids to wear a particular shoe, include the cost of the shoes in the total expenses you’re covering.
If you’re the bride, I think the key here is to communicate with bridesmaids either way you choose. Most bridesmaids expect to pay for their own dresses — it’s sort of an “unwritten rule” — but if you can afford it and you’re willing to, covering the cost of bridesmaid dresses is definitely a nice bonus. :)
I hope it helps!