Real Dilemma: Can you ask your bridesmaids to buy their own dress?

10 / 08 / 17

Is it okay to ask your bridesmaids to buy their own dress?

Weddings are not cheap. And in wedding world it’s super easy to go over budget. 30% of brides spend more on their own dress than they budgeted. In some cases this can mean less in the pot for the bridesmaids, or perhaps you’ve fallen in love with bridesmaid dresses that are simply out of reach with your current budget.

So when is it okay to ask your bridesmaids to help?

The sooner the better we say, so it gives them plenty of notice.

Firslty-establish the reason behind it. Have you gone over budget since asking them to be your bridesmaid and there now isnlt enough in the pot for their dress, or, are you at the initial stages of planning and really sticking to a tight budget.

If you’re on a tight budget from the start, or have a particularly large bride tribe, perhaps discuss your vision of what you want them to wear before you even ask them to be your bridesmaid. If they are aware you’re expecting them to buy their own dress right from the off, and they know how much they’ll be forking out, they always have the option to decline from the start and not take on the role of bridesmaid. You can either ask them to pay towards the dress you want for them or maybe ask them to buy their own outfit but stick to a certain colour. By the time you all have the same bouquets you’ll look co-ordinated and it’s also on trend to mix and match styles right now. Another option can be to buy the popular multiway dresses by the likes of Twobirds, and sell them after the wedding. They come in two sizes with the smaller size fitting size 6 to 16 so they’re less complicated to sell on as they would fit so many people.

If you’ve gone over budget you need to tread carefully. One bridesmaid on a forum was expected to buy her own dress and felt really put out when the bride didn't tell her upfront and then wanted her to spend nearly £200 on a dress which she had no say on. Tell them your budget and say you’d consider other options but simply can’t afford to. Suggest if they’re happy to contribute you can consider a different style. It gives them the choice to either help out or stick to the lower budget option.

Traditionally the bride pays for the dress, hair and make-up, accessories and shoes. Compromises could be-You buy the dress and they buy everything else or They buy their own dress and you buy everything else.

Weddings are expensive for guests too. Your bridal party will probably be expected to stay the night before, attend the hen do (maybe even organise it for you), buy you a gift, attend bridal appointments helping you find your dress (lunches out, champers when you find the ones etc all costs money).

The bridesmaids will be putting a lot of effort in the run up to the big day and on the day itself, so it is a lovely thing to treat them to everything and really pamper them. Also ask yourself if you would be happy to buy your own dress if they return the favour in the future.

And if you are going to ask, make sure you give plenty of notice to avoid an awkward moment in the dressing room!