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How to Ask Bridesmaids to Pay For Their Dresses

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Finding your wedding dress might seem stressful and time-consuming, but you will also have to figure out what your bridesmaids will wear on your big day.

Apart from picking a style that works with different body shapes, you also have to find the right shade to match your wedding theme.

Additionally, if you are on a tight budget, you have to be creative in how to ask your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses.

Although you appreciate and love your bridal party, it can be expensive to cover bridesmaids’ costs apart from other wedding day expenses. 

Bride and bridesmaids

It’s not easy figuring out how to address the situation. Read on to learn more about asking bridesmaids to pay for their dresses without sounding rude or mean. We will also look at who pays for the bridesmaid dresses. 

How Much are Bridesmaid’s Dresses?

A bridesmaid dress can cost between $100 and $500. Some can go as high as $800, depending on the fabric, style, and fitting. 

Two charmed girls bridesmaids on green dress

Who Pays For Bridesmaids’ Dresses?

Traditionally, bridesmaids pay for dresses and other costs like makeup and hair appointments. The bride is expected to set the guidelines for their outfit or may choose to ask for their friend’s opinion. 

A bride can offer to pay for the bridesmaids’ dresses if her budget permits it. Some brides may be open to paying for the dresses if they pick an expensive choice for their bridal party to wear. Such circumstances are rare and considered an exception in most cases. 

Bridesmaids expect to pay for their dresses once they accept the offer to be a part of the bridal party.

However, although this is the tradition in the US, in countries like Ireland and UK, the couple or the bride pays for the bridesmaids’ dresses.

How to Ask Bridesmaids to Pay For Their Dresses

Asking your bridesmaids to pay for their dresses and accessories can be tricky, especially if you don’t know how they’ll react. 

Here are a few tips on approaching this situation and not losing your friendship. 

Call Them Together For Coffee 

Best female friends drinking coffee in café

One of the best ways to ask is to call your chosen friends for a meetup. It could be a simple coffee or a hangout via zoom to discuss the wedding and other details.

You should let them know that you’re getting married on a specific date and would love for them to be a part of your bridal team.

Be sure to have designs of the type of dresses you’re considering for the big day. Ensure that the prices are tagged along each dress to avoid confusion. You can then politely ask the question.

For example, you can ask, “What type of dress would you buy for my wedding?” That question makes them aware that you intend to let them pay for their dresses.

Posing this question allows them to share what they think and if they can accept the offer. At this point, some maids may point out that they already have a suggestion for the dresses at a fair price. 

However, if you can’t pay for their dresses due to your budget constraints, perhaps you can opt for letting them choose a dress that suits their budget and style and also works with your colors.

You can also show them some samples and ask if the type of dress would be too expensive for them. The question is straightforward and lets the maids know that they are paying. It allows them to decide if the dresses are within their budget or if they may need to find something cheaper. 

Another way to ask is, “Do you girls have a budget for a bridesmaid’s dress?”. This is a direct way of letting the maids know they’re responsible for their dresses. It also lets you know how much they can afford within their budget. 

Ask a Friend to Ask on Your Behalf

Three young female friends laughing and chatting on waterfront balcony

If you have a close friend who is part of your bridal team, you can ask them to do the talking on your behalf. She can do it in a group set-up or do it privately. 

Alternatively, you may delegate the task of picking out the dresses and organizing their details to one of the bridesmaids. The person will now be responsible for picking out the dresses and informing them that they need to pay for them. 

Provide an Incentive

Young happy bride and bridesmaids doing makeup and drinking at bed

As a bride, if you can afford to pay for certain things like hair styling, manicure, and makeup, that might make it easier for the bridesmaids to pay for their wedding dresses. 

Give your maids a list of what you can provide them and let them know they should pay for their dresses. 

Additionally, you can offer to pay half the cost and have them pay half for those short on cash. 

Bride and bridesmaid looking at the sea port

What if the Bridesmaid Cannot Afford a Dress?

There are certain cases where a member of your bridal party cannot afford a dress. You can opt to accommodate this expense in your wedding budget. However, you should do this discreetly if you plan on having other bridesmaids pay for their dresses. 

Alternatively, you can change and shop for a similar dress style that costs less. There are more affordable dress options that you can choose without sacrificing style. 

You can also have the bridesmaid participate in another way, like welcoming guests or organizing transport for the bridal party. That allows her to feel included in your wedding.

What Else Do Bridesmaids Pay For?

Remember that your bridesmaids not only pay for their wedding dress but also have to budget for other aspects of the wedding. They may also need to prepare for additional costs like:

  • Transport

A bridesmaid may also have to spend for transport and accommodation if she needs to travel and be a part of the bridal team. Although some brides may opt to pay for these costs, in most cases, the bridesmaid will need to budget for any travel-related expenses. 

  • Hair and Makeup 
Wedding makeup artist making a make up for bride and bridesmaid

Some bridesmaids also cover the cost of professional hairstyling and makeup. However, this varies from bride to bride as some may choose to cover the cost of makeup and hair, while the bridesmaids cover the cost of accessories. 

  • Wedding Gifts

Most bridesmaids would rather not turn out empty-handed on your big day. They have to budget for a wedding gift. 

  • Bachelorette Party

Although most of the bachelorette party budget falls on the bride, the bridal party can choose to chip in and contribute to the wedding.

Considering all these costs, you should be mindful of how to ask bridesmaids to pay for their bridal dresses. You can choose to cover some of these costs to reduce the burden. 

Bride and bridesmaid enjoying and sitting at picnic table on their bachelorette party

Final Thoughts

Although some cultures might consider it rude to ask bridesmaids to pay for their dresses, sometimes it depends on how the information is passed and the tone you use in asking. If you cannot afford to cover the bridal party dresses, let them know upfront using the tips above.

Ensure that you communicate it early to allow them to plan and budget accordingly.