When you're a bridesmaid, it can seem totally unfair that you have to pay for your bridesmaid dress. But when you're a bride with an already-stretched thin budget, it makes complete sense. So who pays?
In the vast majority of the US, Britain, and Canada, groomsmen and bridesmaids pay for their dresses and suits. They also pay for their shoes and accessories, and for their transportation and lodging for the wedding.
The Bride and Groom's ResponsibilitiesBut don't think brides and grooms are just off the hook. They give thank you gifts, which are frequently something their attendants can wear during the wedding, such as jewelry, wraps, or ties. The bride might also pay for all of her bridesmaids' hair and makeup. She should also host an event to thank her maids, like a bridesmaids tea, or a fun outing.
The bride and groom also need to consider their attendants' finances. If most of the bridal party are students or new graduates, the couple must find inexpensive options, or should offer to contribute to costs. They can also help out with travel, or help arrange inexpensive or free places for the bridal party to stay.
What if a Bridesmaid Can't Afford It?It's terrible to be the broke bridesmaid who can't afford the wedding. But if they are true friends, the couple won't want you to go into major debt for their wedding. Ideally, when you're first approached and asked to be a part of the wedding, you'll explain that your budget is tight. If it seems like it will be an expensive event, you might ask to be a reader or other important role instead.
But if you haven't realized this in advance, or the expenses just keep coming, you can still bow out gracefully. Your friend might offer to help pay for things to keep you in the wedding, or might agree with your decision to step aside. What's important is that you remember that in the long run, your friendship with each other is worth far more than a peach chiffon gown.