Group therapy: Help! I can't afford my friend's wedding

Each month we'll be bringing you a 'group therapy' or issue one of our readers is experiencing, if you have any advice please share it below in the comments. This month bridesmaid, Sarah asks you how she can tell her friend she's having trouble affording her wedding. If you have a group therapy you would like to share please email Nicky on [email protected]

Dear ivillage readers,

Okay, here goes. I’m a bridesmaid to one of my best friends from high school and with the wedding coming up in a month’s time, I’m struggling to pay for everything. As I haven’t done this before I need some help in how I can say this to the bride.

Let me explain, first there was our dresses which have been made to order and are costing $270. I’ve been told this is a bargain, but I have no intention of ever wearing a mushroom satin dress again. Not even if I dye it and cut it short (but moving on). The shoes everyone agreed on are costing $169.95, another $120 on accessories and then there is the hair and make-up on the day which is another $50 (the bride is putting in some money for that to make it cheaper).

The hen’s night is interstate and while I know it’ll be heaps of fun, there’s flights, accommodation, drinks, food, a dance class and taxi’s to pay for. In total it’ll probably cost around $800 for the weekend. There is also a bridal shower which I need to take a present to and now there’s talk of putting in $150 each from the bridal party to buy them a “decent present.”

As the other bridesmaids are her two sisters and who are happy to bask in all the bridezilla glory I feel like I’m the only wet blanket that doesn’t want to go into debt for a friend’s wedding. I don’t know the etiquette of who pays for what, but I kind of feel like I’m being jipped!

I know it might sound like a big whinge but I feel like it’s getting out of control and just to let you know, I’m 25 and study full-time, live away from home and work part-time, I don’t have a lot of money!    

Thanks in advance,


How can I broach the subject to my friend without seeming like I’m tight and how much should I be covering as a bridesmaid?


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