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Bridesmaid Dress Etiquette

How far in advance should I tell my bridesmaids the cost of the dress/shoes etc?

Re: Bridesmaid Dress Etiquette

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    Thanks, ladies.

    I've already discussed pricing with my girls and they are all fine with buying matching shoes (it's nothing super pricey, the ones I've chosen...and certainly not dyed. EW!)

    What I was really looking for was an estimate on really confirming the "budget" with them. My wedding is in July 2011 and although we have all agreed on the pricing and have done some basic dress selection, I was wondering when I should tell them the actual over all cost. Only one of my BM is going to need financial assisstance which I'm fine with.

    Thanks
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    I say again: I really don't recommend this approach.  You should pay for the shoes.  They of course all agreed to do this but just because you CAN tell people what to spend and what to buy doesn't mean you SHOULD.  My BMs would have bought matching shoes and worn potato sacks if I'd asked.  They all told me so.  But they also told me they really appreciated that I let them take the lead on it.  This is the sort of thing people tell the bride to her face they're okay with doing but behind her back wish she wasn't.

    If your wedding is over a year away, you have NO reason to shop now.  Not only will your mind change, the dress may be discontinued, a BM may gain a lot of weight or get pregnant, or your entire wedding plans may change--many people on this board and others have had to postpone or significantly scale back their weddings because of the economy.  Why would you rush this?  There's no reason to.
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    You don't tell them.  You go to each of them privately and individually and ask them for a budget for dresses.  Once you have that, you can start shopping.

    You pay for any required accessories, including shoes and jewelry.

    When you ask them whether they mind, they will tell you that it's fine, even if you are asking about a $300 dress and designer shoes.  Because they are your friends and they don't want to hurt their feelings.  But if you want to follow the etiquette, you ask them for a budget and you pay for matching shoes.
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    If you've already talked to all of them in private about their budgets, and you have talked to the girl you're going to help, then you should have an idea of what price point you need to stay under.

    Next year*, go shopping with them and only have them try on dresses in that price range. Once everyone agrees on a dress (or a designer and basic outlines, if you are going to let them choose their own styles), just say to each BM before you all order, "So it looks like the dresses will come out to $X. The salon is charging $Y for alterations. That's still under our agreed-upon budget, but is that O.K. for you? Please let me know now, so that we can find an alternative if need be."

    * Also, since you should be waiting a while to pick out BM dresses, I would have the private "What can you afford?" conversation with them again next year. You never know whose financial situation might change in the next 6-8 months, either for better or for worse.
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    edited March 2010
    Oh the preaching and inability to answer a question because they can't see beyond their own rulebook. Gotta love the regulars....

    OP, I will assume a particular situation to help you based on Knottie Etiquette and I will at the same time show why the preaching doesn't help:

    Let's assume you've done the budget talk with your maids. You know what the limit is, Great!! Next, they try them on and let's say two different dresses get the vote, both different prices... you still need to give them a final price, don't you  and choose a final dress, right? So therefore, the regulars' answers weren't at all useful becuase even if you follow their lovely rules, you still have the same particlar problem that you were asking about.

    The answer to the ACTUAL QUESTION: depends on which dress you choose and where you are sourcing it from. You also need to consider if they need to save for a little while, and if they do I would add a little bit of extra time on top of the time required to order the dress in if you're ordering from a salone. If it is off the rack and not on sale, then it can probably wait until much closer to your wedding, say 1-2 months. Then you can select a dress and tell them which one, as well as the price. From my own personal experience, I ended up choosing and getting the dresses a year in advance and although I had no issues come from this, I realised because I bought them off the rack, that I could've waited until much closer to the wedding. I don't recommend buying them  a year in advance as way too much can happen.If you are trying to save your maids some money, as I did, and you are trying to shop just after the season has ended so that you can get good deals, then I would choose and let them know how much as soon as you see the sale so you don't miss it and give them a bit of time to save .

    If you are buying from a dress salon, I would say generally 4-6 months is adequate to let everyone know which dress you've chosen, the price they'll be paying and to get them to order it, depending on the designer.

    Hope that helps!!
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    If she asked them for their budgets ahead of time, then she doesn't need to tell them what they should be spending.

    If the girls all said that they could afford a dress that was $150 or less, then they should only be looking at dresses that are $150 or less. They will all know what the price is when they agree that that's the one they are all going with.

    If the bridesmaids had no hand in picking the dress at all (meaning, the bride did all the research, pick out a dress SHE liked and then told the BMs, "This is what you're wearing"), then that's wrong. THAT is why the bride should not be telling them what they'll be spendind, because if they are involved in the dress selection then they will know what the price is when they're considering it as one of their options.

    Read the replies before you start calling people out.
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    The BMs still need to know the exact total, and my point is that it is possible that the bride may have done everything you've said and the BMs could still need the total for the dress. I really have a problem when the regulars on here assume that brides are always in the wrong. Just give her a time frame (answer the actual question) and move on... you don't need to spout rhetoric that wasn't asked for and doesn't help the bride with her particular question. Even if she's asked the BMs for their budget and even if they've tried them on and each have voiced their opinion, if they don't agree than the bride may still need to make a final decision between two dresses for example and the dresses may not be the same price, even if they're less than BMs budget, she was simply asking when would be a good time to tell them the cost of the chosen dress.  They could  already know the price if they've tried them on with the bride, however, it could be a long time after they've tried them on or maybe they just don't remember the cost of the dresses they tried on. Or perhaps she worded the question a little differently and really meant when should she let them know the final decision.

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    I don't see one rude word in any of the posts on this thread.  Except for yours, dea.
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    I wasn't rude and I never said anyone was being rude. I just said that the regulars on here tend to assume the worst of the brides who post on here and sometimes can't see past the rulebook they have to actually answer the question that has been asked. That is all.

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    A lot of posters don't come back more than once, if at all.  Why not cover all the bases while we have the opportunity?  If it turns out it doesn't apply to them, no big deal.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_wedding-party_bridesmaid-dress-etiquette?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding BoardsForum:37Discussion:338ec2cd-adf3-4f0c-8a0c-ff1297c18e2aPost:388cc0e8-3a1e-4081-8f03-5b7a5933e163">Re: Bridesmaid Dress Etiquette</a>:
    [QUOTE]A lot of posters don't come back more than once, if at all.  Why not cover all the bases while we have the opportunity?  If it turns out it doesn't apply to them, no big deal.
    Posted by gottahavashorti[/QUOTE]

    I don't have a problem with that at all, if the actual question was ever answered in the process. Also, maybe you might want to think about that statement in terms of the "Customer Service" given by the Knot. If customers only come to post once, that could be a sign that perhaps they aren't getting the information they need. Just putting that out there...I know you guys think that most girls just want validation and leave or pout when they don't get it, and perhaps that is true in some cases, but I think in the grander scheme of things, there could be more going on than that.
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    Many posters leave out information then get angry if people don't somehow intuit the other relevant facts.  And when someone says "How do I tell them what the cost is" I don't think it's out of line to say that hopefully they've been given some say in the cost, since what she said could be interpreted as either 1) she's giving them a final amount, or 2) she's picked out everything without their say and that sort of thing comes back to haunt people after the wedding.  Without more detail it's hard to know what the question is since girls will either give too much info or not enough.  

    I don't quite care about "customer service" because I don't work for TK, many girls only want validation (post as long as I have and it becomes your default, fairly or unfairly) and this is often one of the only places they will get frank advice about their behaviour.  I have never told a bride she's off her nut unless it's something so egregious it would end the friendship (thankfully that hasn't happened to me yet) but I have bit my tongue with good friends so I'm not the one to rain on the bride's day.  

    Every piece of advice I give is given because I followed it and it worked well.  I'm sorry if it hurt's someone's ego to do so, but I wouldn't so ardently support it if it hadn't given me what I'm sure everyone here wants: a wonderful wedding day and a continued good relationship with my WP long after the wedding.
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    "I think bablingbrooke is the 13 yr old marring her cousin at the town hall. Lets all give her a big hand. And hope her inbred children can live normal lives." -tabs.

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    Bablingbrooke, please understand that I have the utmost respect for you, however I have to disagree with your advice giving in particular. I've read the story of your sister and to be honest, I think it is actually harmful for you to keep encouraging brides to put up with the level of disrespect you did. They should have more respect for themselves and not allow people to walk all over them the way your sister did to you. I realise you have the best intentions and also that it worked well for you, and I applaud that, however I think you are encouraging many brides to let certain people walk all over them for the sake of harmony and I don't always think that is appropriate. Just my opinion and again, I don't mean to be disrespectful of the things you've gone through

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    My point with my story is that if I could put up with my sister's sh!t, they can put up with the "crises" their BMs/MOHs are doing (which is usually much less).  I never, ever say let people walk over you.  I say pick your battles, take the long view, and you'll find that it usually isn't worth a confrontation.  And I say that as someone who usually doesn't shy away from confrontation IRL.  I don't seek it out, but to say that I let people walk all over me is objectively false.

    And I take major offense that you suggest that I let her walk all over me.  I didn't put up with abuse--I ignored a bratty child's drama.  You know, being a mature adult.  If I'd booted her, I know today I would regret it.  It would have made a bad relationship even worse.  We will never be BFFs, but at least I haven't done anything on my end to foreclose the possibility.
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    I thought you might and again, I don't mean any offense and I apologize for any taken. I simply believe you should never have had to put up with that disrespect from your sister. You deserve to have the respect you never got from your sister and not just during your wedding.
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    Yet I still had a perfect wedding, which is the point of my story.  It was 100% perfect and I would not have done anything differently.  

    Would it have been nice if she'd not been a brat?  Absolutely.  It was not easy, but before the wedding I took the attitude of "I'm marrying DH, all my other BMs are the most amazing friends I could have asked for, this is otherwise everything I ever dreamed of, I'm not going to let her take all of that away from me."  And she didn't.  My sister to a certain degree couldn't help herself--my mom dragged her to the psychiatrist two weeks after the wedding and it turned out she's bipolar.  She's on meds and is like a whole new person.  I look back at the wedding photos and only see a fun time with the people I love, even when I see my sister.

    I don't expect you to get why this isn't a story of being a victim but rather a story of how much other people can't ruin your wedding (even if they try) until after you get married.  Which is fine--had someone told me that I would have such a zen attitude about it afterward, I probably wouldn't have believed it.  I was very angry with her and very nearly booted her at one point.  I didn't act on that impulse and I'm so glad now that I didn't.
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    "I think bablingbrooke is the 13 yr old marring her cousin at the town hall. Lets all give her a big hand. And hope her inbred children can live normal lives." -tabs.

    A word of warning from your friends at Cracked.com: Remember that text is going to be how you make your first impression over the internet; if every third word you type is misspelled, people will automatically assume that you're a moron.
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    Bablingbrooke, I am married... i have been happily married for six months and I still don't understand how that isn't a victim's story. To be honest, I wish I hadn't followed all the ridiculous advice on this board and actually said to someone "PLEASE HELP ME" and "IT'S OUR WEDDING, NOT YOURS" because then I would've been able to say I had a wonderful wedding. 

    In fact, any of the things I tried to follow from knottie advice actually made things worse, not better and anything I didn't follow or actually directly went against turned out the be the best parts of my wedding.

    I was so terrified of asking for help or asserting my plans for the wedding because of everything that was said on here, that I was constantly stressed and miserable. Nothing went smoothly and it was all chaos, one thing after another. I had a very scaled down wedding that was certainly affordable, and perhaps looking back the main thing I would've done was hire a wedding coordinator- but had I not been so scared of trying to get help or expecting things from people, I think things would've gone much more smoothly. People actually want to help, they are just waiting for you to ask them because they don't want to intrude or they think that you will ask certain people that are closer to you, as I discovered after when people heard my stories and said "why didn't you say something!".
     
    Bridesmaids actually expect all the duties and requests that you guys say are wrong of a bride to ask for. Infact, they feel weird when you go against it or don't do it.  I didn't give my BMs any direction on hair or shoes and they all ended up going with the same hair and shoes becuase they thought that was how it is and preferred that they match. My MOH was allowed to wear whatever she wanted and she specifically said that she wasn't comfortable with that, she wanted to match. They are excited to help with planning when you treat them kindly and respect their time and appreciate their effort. I question why someone who isn't this way would be a BM in the first place.

    Three of my bridesmaids had to step down for varying reasons and I got really angry at two of them (I got mad at one of them before she stepped down and the other one after for the way she treated me when stepping down)- they stepped down on their own, though, I didn't kick them out... and I'm still speaking to all three and they admit that THEY were bad friends, not me for being hurt for the things they did. I am completely free of guilt because I tried to give them everything they wanted and worked hard to give them whatever they needed. I do have that to thank the Knot for- at least I am guiltless in this. If I'd stood up for myself in the beginning when they started to act strangely, things might've turned out very differently. Guess what? I also replaced them all.. They still talk to me and the ones I replaced them with were all thrilled to help out. I talk to them all reguarly and we have a great relationship. 

    Your one size fits all advice is sometimes harmful and I wish you guys would be more careful about how you give it.
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    Oh, give me a break.  No one here ever says "It's not okay to ask for help."  What's often said is, "It's not okay to demand it, or kick someone out for not participating, or to make someone feel bad if they can't help."  There's a difference.  
    Your wedding was too stressful because your FI didn't help, you bit off more than you could chew, and you blame other people for the bad things that happen to you.  Take responsibility for your own life.  

    My MOH was my sister.  Not a friend, my only sister.  She will always be my sister.  I can't just kick her out of my life.  Especially when an illness was driving her behaviour.  I will not stomach suggestions that I should have taken steps to kick my sister out of my life when she was suffering from a mental illness (which no one knew about at the time).

    I'm sorry your wedding was so stressful, but you can't go around blaming TK for your problems.  Ask yourself why you were too afraid to ask for help (which no one would have begrudged you) and why you let people walk all over you.
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    artemis82artemis82 member
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    edited March 2010
    I never said you should've kicked your sister out of your life. I do suggest, however, that when a BM isn't being what you expected or is treating you and your wedding poorly, that you have a right to stand up for yourself. I didn't believe that at the time because of the way everyone treated the girls on here... yes, I do blame the Knot, at least in part. I know I have free will and it was more my interpretation of what you were saying that guided my actions, but for one second let's look at this. You say it's okay to ask for help, but then the regulars attack anyone who even mentions the words "duties" on this board. Now I realise you're most likely trying to show them that these aren't requirements, but the way it comes out is that "don't you dare ask your friends for anything beyond buying a dress because you are a selfish bridezilla for even wanting to ask for anything from them". Again, possibly just my interpretation but it can get harsh around here and it really does feel that youcan't ask anything of people without being greedy. Maybe I was just being preemptive by not asking, I couldn't feel disappointed if they didn't help or live up to my expectations and therefore be a horrible person for feeling the way I did.
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    There's a difference between asking for help and complaining that a BM isn't fulfilling her "duties" (translation: She is obligated to help me plan my day and isn't doing it so I want to fire her ass).  It's the sense of entitlement that turns people off, along with the idea that someone is being a bad friend by not helping.  

    I hope your FI was helpful to you; after all, it was his wedding too.

    I'm sorry you had such a negative experience.  
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    "I think bablingbrooke is the 13 yr old marring her cousin at the town hall. Lets all give her a big hand. And hope her inbred children can live normal lives." -tabs.

    A word of warning from your friends at Cracked.com: Remember that text is going to be how you make your first impression over the internet; if every third word you type is misspelled, people will automatically assume that you're a moron.
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