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15 July 2014

Should bridesmaids have to pay for their dresses?

Picture the following scene...

One of your best friends has just rung you to discuss her exciting new engagement, and the early stages of her wedding plans. You have a good old natter for half an hour or so, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over possible dates and venues. Then, she asks you a question you have wanted to hear since you were a little girl - "Will you be my bridesmaid?"

"Of course!" you say excitedly. "Thank you so much for asking me, what an honour! I can't wait!" You hang up the phone, bouncing with glee, already picturing what you will look like walking down the aisle in a pretty chiffon number.

Some time later, Facebook messages start to flit between yourself, the bride-to-be and the other bridesmaids, with Google images of certain bridesmaid dresses being pinged to and fro. Some you like, some you don't. Eventually, the dress is chosen. Although it wasn't your first choice, you still think it's nice, and happily scribble down the date for your dress fitting.

Then, a few days later, your phone buzzes as a message comes through: "Great news, girls! We've managed to get a discount on the dresses, so it works out at £95 each. Thought you'd be pleased :-) "

Your heart sinks. You didn't realise you'd have to pay for your bridesmaid dress. 

I thought this would be an interesting topic to write about, as I've found from conversations I've had with friends in the past that people's opinions vary greatly! Maybe the situation doesn't always run quite like the scenario above, but there have certainly been awkward moments for some as the issue of paying for the bridesmaids dresses has not been easy to tackle.

I took to Twitter to ask the big question, "Should bridesmaids have to pay for their dresses?", and I was met with a flurry of responses. (For those of you in the process of planning a wedding, or if you're like me and just love all things wedding-y, get involved with #weddinghour on Twitter every Wednesday from 9pm-10pm)

The most common response was NO, they should not have to pay. Some people felt particularly strong about this, such as @vivalaweddingUK.


@HeritageBrides agreed!


I thought @BeckyBedbug's response was good, as it highlights the fact that it isn't completely obvious who should foot the bill.


One popular opinion was that if the bridesmaids get no say in the dress, they shouldn't be expected to pay for it. It would seem that our friends from across the pond (USA!) do things slightly differently; the bridesmaids may be told what colour dress to go for, but the style and budget is up to them, and they pay for whatever they choose. Is that a better way of doing things?

So what do I think? It's tricky. I do believe that weddings are pricey matters, and paying for a set of bridesmaids dresses is yet another cost on top of everything else. Would I judge a bride for asking her maids to pay? These days (in the current economic climate blah blah), probably not. But the traditionalist in me says that if you ask someone to be your bridesmaid; to help arrange your hen-do, to be there on the day getting their hair and make-up done at 8.00am, to help you get into your dress and look perfect, and to be ready to assist you on the big day at the drop of a hat (maybe literally?)... Then maybe giving them their bridesmaid dress is a nice way to say thank you.

Now I know this is a controversial topic, and I'd love to hear what you all think. Have you been a bridesmaid? Did you pay for your dress? As a bride, what did you do? All views are welcome - leave a comment below, or tweet me @secretmaggiemay. 
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