Is it okay to ask bridesmaids to pay for themselves? According to them, no.

I love being a bridesmaid. Want a photo of your veil gracefully floating through the breeze? I'm there launching that tulle in the air behind you like I've earned a part in Cirque du Soleil. Need hand-stitched initials on the menus at the eleventh hour - I got you, girl. 

Being a bridesmaid combines so many of my favourite things. Friends. Fashion. A dance floor. And of course, honour, responsibility and organisation. After all, I do love a colour-coded spreadsheet.

I've had the privilege of being a bridesmaid several times in my life BC (before children). Each time the bride paid for my dress. I still have my bridesmaid dresses hanging in a garment bag in my wardrobe. Admittedly, I've never worn any of them again, but now that each of my friends has daughters, I figure I can pass on the bridesmaid dresses to them when they're older, to share a small part of their mum's special day.

Watch: The worst requests a bridesmaid has ever received from a bride. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

But while, for me, being a bridesmaid has been an honour, for others it can be an expensive exercise. A very expensive exercise.


I was scrolling Facebook, mid 2am breastfeeding the other night, when I came across a post from a bride-to-be.

"Is it ok to ask my bridesmaids to pay for their dress? I can't believe how much our wedding is costing and we need to cut down somewhere."

The comments were WILD. And reminiscent of the schoolgirl catfight scene in Mean Girls - the OG 2004 version, thank you very much - with opinions flying faster than a tossed bouquet.

"I paid for my girls' hair and makeup, so they were more than happy to pay for their dress. And they were well priced at just $380 each."

"I gave them a colour and then they got to pick what they wanted so they paid. One girl picked a $60 dress, another spent $250 on hers."

"I went by the rule that if 'I picked it, I paid.' So, I covered their hair and makeup as I wanted a specific look. But I allowed them to pick their own dress and shoes."

"It's standard to pay to be a bridesmaid these days. Your friends should know that when you invite them to be in your wedding."

Some brides argued that their friends would have been spending money on buying or renting a dress to attend the wedding as a guest anyway, so they might as well spend it on a bridesmaid dress.

Others contended that if you're lucky enough to be standing by your bestie on her big day, then you should be willing to shell out for the dress.


But then the other side blew up.

"I wanted my friends in a specific matching dress. Yes, it cost a lot for the five dresses, but that was my choice. I sold the dresses on marketplace afterwards."

"I have gone into debt being a bridesmaid because I didn't have the confidence to tell my friend I couldn't afford the $500 designer dress she asked us all to buy. I would never make my friends pay if I get married one day."

"I've been a bridesmaid six times and each time the bride has paid for everything. I then made sure to give a very generous wedding gift."

And then there were the fiscally aware girlies.

"I was more than happy to cover all of the bridal party expenses. It's not my friend's responsibility to pay for me to have a wedding. We budgeted it into the cost of our wedding, just like we did the photographer and food." 

"It's YOUR wedding. I'm not sure why anyone thinks friends should be funding the cost of your wedding, regardless of how thrilled they might be to be a part of it."

"It's just my view that you shouldn't financially burden your friends for your day. If you can't afford bridesmaids, don't have any."

Some questioned whether it's an Australian thing to get friends to foot the bill.


"My Indian family would disown me if I ever suggested my friends pay for their bridesmaid dress."

"Is this an Aussie thing? No one in the UK would ever dream of asking their friends to pay for their dress."

Like a bendable reed, my impressionable mind flip-flopped with each opposing comment. Yes, I'll gladly pay to be your bridesmaid!! Wait a sec, your treat, right?

So, what's the solution? Should bridesmaids start saving as soon as they get the call-up? Or do the bride and groom need to factor in a few extra dresses to their budget?

One thing everyone seemed to agree on, though, is to be upfront. Let your bridesmaids know what you will be paying for and what you expect them to cover, even if it's just getting themself to the venue.

And be prepared that often friendship and finance don't mix.

"I still feel so bitter towards a friend who asked me to transfer $550 to her just weeks before her wedding to pay for my dress. I've since paid for baby showers and birthday gifts for each of her children. I'm not married and have no plans to, so feel these favours will never be returned."

Now we've got that sorted, who pays for the hen's parties these days?

Feature Image: Getty.

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