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Who pays for the bridesmaid dress?

I remember how excited I was choosing the colour theme for my wedding. I was fortunate in many ways that I only had one bridesmaid which made choosing a dress really easy. When we went dress shopping, we were able to choose the exact style and colour that we both liked which complimented her figure and skin colouring perfectly. I was more than happy to pay for her dress as I viewed it as a gift plus financially I was in a position to pay.

But what happens when there is more than one bridesmaid? Who pays?

I was a bridesmaid for a girlfriend and she had 3 bridesmaids. I remember it was really tricky deciding on what dress we were going to wear. We were all really different shapes and we all had different fashion styles and looks. Our bride decided on the colour but then it got really hard to agree on the same style and place to buy it. As we paid for our own dress we ended up choosing our own styles that looked best on us and just made sure that the dresses were the same colour. We bought our dress to fit our own budget and it ended up working really well. Instead of being gifted the dress, we were given the statement earrings that we each wore on the day. And afterwards, we had a dress in a style that we liked and could wear again.

I have one friend who had 6 bridesmaids! The head table was enormous! She ended up getting the dresses made in Bali due to the expense of purchasing locally but she did pay for all of the dresses. It was one of those absolutely no expense spared weddings. She even had 2 wedding dresses. One for the church and one for the reception.

If you are on a tight budget then asking your bridesmaids to pay for their own dress may help. You’ll probably lose a lot of say on where they are purchased and what they look like so you’ll need to be fairly easy going for this option to work. A gift of jewellery such as earrings or a bracelet or headwear such as a beaded comb, headband or small fascinator instead of the dress is a great option and can potentially work out a bit cheaper.

In Australia, it’s fairly common for the bride to pay for a bridesmaid’s dress. Perhaps we’re a nation of Bridezillas! The bride has complete say on design, colour, length and price. Plus the dress ends up being a really nice gift (as long as it’s a nice dress, to begin with!)

At the end of the day, everyone has different circumstances and different cultural expectations. It’s your special day so if you feel really passionate about a particular style and colour your bridesmaids will just have to go with it and if budget allows, pay for the dresses or perhaps get them to pay half.


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