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Who usually pays for bridesmaid dresses?

One of the most exciting aspects of being a bridesmaid is being part of the wedding, planning and choosing the perfect dress to wear. However, the topic of who should pay for the bridesmaid dresses often causes confusion and debates among friends. Some say that the bride should cover the costs for her bridal party, while others say that each bridesmaid should pay for her own dress. The answer is not straightforward and depends on multiple factors. In this blog post, we’ll explore the convention and variations of this topic.


Traditionally, bridesmaids were expected to pay for their own dresses and accessories as well as potentially hair and makeup appointments and transportation to the wedding. This custom dates back to the idea that by serving as a bridesmaid, you’re helping the bride in her wedding preparations. In return, the bride would often gift her bridesmaids a piece of jewelry or a small token of appreciation. However, as weddings became more extravagant and the cost of bridesmaid dresses rose, the tradition of paying for your own dress became more of a burden for bridesmaids.

The Bride Should Pay

One argument is that the bride should pay for the bridesmaid dresses since she’s the one who chose the dresses and is asking her friends to be part of her wedding party. In addition, the cost of being a bridesmaid can add up quickly due to expenses such as travel, hotels, and gifts for both the shower and the wedding. Therefore, many argue that it’s generous and thoughtful for the bride to cover this cost for her friends.

However, for some brides on a tight budget, paying for the bridesmaid dresses may add up to an expense they can’t afford. In addition, some brides feel that by asking their bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses, they’re giving them more freedom to choose a dress that they like and are comfortable in.

Splitting Costs

Another option is for the bride and her bridesmaids to split the costs of the dresses. This option can make the most sense for bridesmaids who have other financial responsibilities but still want to take part in the wedding. Additionally, splitting the cost means each bridesmaid can choose a dress that makes her feel confident and comfortable, and the bride can provide guidelines for the kind of dress she’s looking for. Brides who choose to split the cost could choose a dress that’s more affordable, but less expensive than what they would choose if they were paying for it themselves entirely.


In the end, the decision for who pays for the bridesmaid dresses is based on a variety of factors including individual financial situations, cultural expectations, and the number of bridesmaids. It’s important to communicate with the bride and the bridesmaids to have a clear understanding of who’s expected to pay for what before the wedding planning begins. By talking openly and honestly about the cost of the dresses, bridesmaids can be empowered to make the best decisions for their own situation. Regardless of who pays for what, the most important thing is to remember that the role of bridesmaid is an honor, and it’s a special experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.