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You Asked: My Bridesmaid Dress is too Pricey!

Dear Sugar--

I am a bridesmaid in a great friend's wedding this summer. She just e-mailed us all the information on the dresses and they are netting out to be a lot more than anticipated. Her wedding is turning out to be quite an expense and for someone like me who is struggling as it is, I am having a hard time swallowing the cost of the dress she chose.

I know I accepted the responsibility of being her bridesmaid, but is there anything I can say or do to let the bride know this dress is putting a financial strain on me?
--Breaking the Bank Beckie

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Breaking the Bank Beckie--

I hate to say this, but unfortunately you are SOL about the cost of the dress. Once you accept the role of being a bridesmaid, you are then committed to the responsibilities and expenses that coincide with the honor. Brides often times don't take other people's finances into consideration when planning for their big day, so it is always smart to weigh your pocketbook before making your decision.

If this dress is going to put you over the edge financially, skip out on one of her showers, or her bachelorette party. Opt for sharing a hotel room with a friend for her wedding weekend or do your own hair and/or make up.

Some retailers have a lay away program where you can pay off your dress over time, so research your payment options. Many people avoid using credit cards, but this is a classic case where they can be quite helpful. It is never fun to be stressed out about money so I hope this won't put a damper on your role as bridesmaid or put a strain on your friendship.


sparklestar sparklestar 10 years
I disagree with Dear. Why should you have to fork out for a dress which is above the anticipated cost and for a wedding which isn't even your own? Tell the Bride that the cost of the dress is more than you had anticipated and that you are very sorry, would she be able to either.. choose a different one or get a different bridesmaid. It might bring her back to reality that not everybody has been saving up for her wedding like she has!
Beautifulbarbie Beautifulbarbie 10 years
I bought my Bridesmaids' dresses.
IlliteratePiggy IlliteratePiggy 10 years
I have to say, I really don't get it. I know most women have dreamed about their wedding since childhood, but I am one of the few that has absolutely no clue what they would do. It just doesn't matter to me. I see a wedding as an unnecessary expense, because it is only one day, the clothing can't really be re-used, and the money could prove infinitely more valuable invested in a home or something. (I realize I have a slightly radical viewpoint on this.) That being said, I feel, if both people really want to have a lavish wedding, that is their choice, and i see nothing wrong with, its just a different priority. However, it seems to me the expense should be solely that of the couple and family. Is it really fair to ask someone to pay $400 dollars for your wedding? After all, that is a hefty chunk of change for someone who only has a bit part in the show. I feel if you want something done a certain way, you should pay for it.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
i don't think agreeing to be a bridesmaid means going into debt! no real friend would expect you to put your financial security at risk for thier "big day". i think i would just tell your friend that you have been priced out of participating in her wedding "as a bridesmaid". you still value her friendship, still plan to go to the wedding, but that is as much as you can do "at this time". this is why i'm not a fan of big weddings. i think it's absurd that this issues would even come up. as if there is some test of friendship on traveling long distances, spending huge amounts of time on different "celebrations" leading up to the wedding and then buying gifts and the clothes for the wedding itself. no one should ever be put in a position where they feel uncomfortable about the financial requirements. and btw, $400 for a bridesmaids dress? :JAWDROP:
nycgirl nycgirl 10 years
(Of course, we should talk about it before I start getting nothing from you :) But I'll understand!) Oh, and maybe the bride can pay for your hair/makeup?
nycgirl nycgirl 10 years
I am a bride, and I totally feel for you. I bought my bridesmaids' $400 dresses as their bridesmaids gift. Now, if I wasn't buying your dress, I could definitely agree to you not spending money on any presents for me -- engagement, bridal shower, or even wedding presents. You're my friend and I just want you in my wedding, not to make you broke :)
grl-in-the-world grl-in-the-world 10 years
I feel for you! A lot of brides it seems start out reasonable and become progressively more fixated on creating the "perfect" day! I personally don't understand it, I think it should be about making the commitment of a lifetime in front of your loved ones and not about making a fashion statement. I think you should discuss the issue with your friend, and if it's really going to break the bank then tell her you are hugely disappointed, but you are going to have to withdraw your acceptance to be in her wedding party. If this happens tel her you still would love to help her out with anything she may need assistance with, and that you will still be so excited to witness such a special day as a regular guest.
sbgirl sbgirl 10 years
I would definitely talk to your friend. There are all sorts of places that carry the same bridesmaids dress for much cheaper than you can get in a retail/bridal store. The dresses I picked out for my bridesmaids were $250 in the store but I found them online for $145 (for the exact same dress). As long as everyone can get measured and know what size to might be worth seeing if she can order the dresses from somewhere else. Just a thought! I also helped one of my bridesmaids by buying her shoes because I knew she was having some financial difficulties. Good luck!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 10 years
I agree with bluejeanie and bfly - I don't think your friend meant to be inconsiderate in any way, but sometimes, like Dearsugar said, people have such a fairy-tale wedding mentality when it comes to their big day ... I'm struggling with something similar for this wedding I have to go to in Italy in August ... the hotel they've reserved is RIDICULOUSLY expensive, and I'm a poor grad student! Of course, your situation is a bit more serious as you're the bridesmaid. Definitely don't stress too much, but maybe talk to your friend and also compromise, like Dear suggested. :)
bluejeanie bluejeanie 10 years
i agree with you bfly. just talk to your friend, i know weddings are a big deal and all that but it doesn't give you an excuse to not think about other people at all. honestly, will it ruin her big day if all the dresses don't match?? give me a freakin break. if she throws a temper tantrum worthy of a 3 year old, you can always use your credit card and hopefully you can wear it again. if she can't handle you wearing different shoes to another dress then politely decline being a bridesmaid. get a pretty nice wedding gift and and get her lots of drinks on her bachlorette night.
bfly1133 bfly1133 10 years
I am going to disagree with Dear on this one. I don't think there is anything wrong with telling the bride that the dress is really expensive. Now, that doesn't mean you are off the hook for buying it though. :) Explain to her that your budget is going to take a hit to buy it, and you are willing to make that sacrifice if it means that much to her. Then ask her if there are ways to save money in other areas...for example, wearing black shoes you already own instead of buying new ones. I agree that agreeing to be a bridesmaid means taking on certain responsibilities that aren't always fun. But I also think that brides need to remember that the people in their wedding party are friends and family, and not money machines. If you are close enough to be in her wedding, then you should be close enough to let her know your feelings.
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