My Bitches
I've told my bridesmaids that they can wear any black dress of their choosing.

Since I'm not requiring them to buy an actual bridesmaid's dress (ick), should I offer to pay a sort of stipend for a new dress that they will probably buy for the wedding anyway?

Or are they on their own if they choose to buy a new dress?

— Sarah, aka Lady Vengeance of the Garden State Rollergirls

Sarah first off: yay for letting your bridesmaids pick their own dresses. Second off, yay for making it something easy and pragmatic like a black dress, something most of us already own and have plenty of opportunities to wear. Third off: yay for being considerate of your ladies' financial concerns. Three yays for you, bad ass!

In the US, typically bridesmaids pay for their own dresses — even when it's some outdated thang required by the bride. In the UK, however, it's standard for the bride to pay for dresses.

BUT! Despite your yankee status, I think you're safe without offering a stipend — since you're letting the ladies pick their own dresses, not insisting that they buy something new, and ensuring that if they DO buy, they're buying something they like that they can wear many times (who doesn't need a new little black dress?). That said, it's good of you to consider it. Your bridesmaids are lucky to have you as a friend.

Comments on Who pays for bridesmaids’ dresses?

  1. That is exactly what I’m doing! I’ve had to wear too many beautiful but impractical dresses in weddings. I want something my friends LIKE and can wear again. All the color will be in the flowers and stuff.

  2. I originally let my girls vote on the dress the like out of 12 different dresses and the loved the consensus dress, but it turned out that it is not in stock on a regular basis,so I made the same change of letting them pick our their little black dress dress and gave them a look guideline. I want them to be able to pay whatever they are comfortable with. Some girls are cool paying $100+ for the dress and my girlfriend who has just started back grad school just bought hers for $30 at Forever 21. All I ask for is leopard shoes. How hot is that?

  3. I’m doing the same thing with my bridesmaid’s too. Who doesn’t love a little black dress?

  4. I’m in Australia and the question of who pays seems to vary. The first time I was a bridesmaid, our dresses were made by a dressmaker and I didn’t have to pay (but I also didn’t get a lot of input). The second time I was a bridesmaid, I paid for my dress and had a bit more say in what we chose.

    For my wedding, I am having the same girls as bridesmaids. I contributed a set amount ($200) towards their dresses. I suggested that they pick different dresses but they both wanted to match!

  5. I think I’ll be paying for my bridesmaids dresses. I’ve managed to save money elsewhere and don’t want both my grad-school-going gal pals to have to shell out money for “MY SPECIAL DAY!!1!”

  6. My 4 bridesmaids all agreed to buy their own dresses (I’m in the UK) and so I said that as long as they all had similar shades of green that they could wear what they wanted.

    THEN, I found the most perfect green and pink bold flowery dress in the sale for just £30 each! Seeing as it’s more ‘me’ than any of them, and I know they won’t wear them again, it seemed fairer that I bought them.

    £120 for 4 dresses! Woohoo!

  7. I think as long as you’re considerate of your maids price range you’re good. I had a set limit in my head and told the dress shop that limit before I even began looking. It kept all the utterly gorgeous but ridiculously priced dresses out of my sight and the dresses we ended up picking were well below the bridemaids budgets.

  8. bless you, ladies, who take your friends’ wallets into account! i’ve been a bridesmaid exactly twice. once i was asked to wear a black cocktail dress of my choosing. the other time i was asked to wear a glorified burlap sack that set me back about $250. (though i actually wore it again, to ariel’s seattle book launch party!) call me cranky, but guess which friend i lost respect for? 😉

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