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Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding

One of my bridesmaids just called and asked if we would help pay for her to be in the wedding due to financial issues. My initial response was that I didn't expect for it to be expensive, but if it got out of hand, I'd see what I could do. My mom is paying for the shower, I'm not expecting an out of town or over the top bachelorette party, and I am not forcing them to get their hair or make-up done, so how bad could it really be? I figured as time went by and she saw it was no great expense, she'd just forget about it.

However, now that I'm really thinking it over, I realized (a) it really wouldn't be fair for me to pay for her and not everyone else. Two of my BM's are coming from out of town, and one is in town but has 3 kids. She is the only person who is neither out of town nor has children, she has a good job (we make a very similar salary!), and she had a year's notice. (b) I don't have a lot of control over what things will cost. Yes, I'll pick the dress, but if my other bridesmaids want to do something nice for my bachelorette, or buy favors for the shower or something, I don't want to put them in a position where someone is not an equal contributor. (c) it's kind of crappy that she wants me to pay for her to be in the wedding after she was just in another wedding and paid herself (which, I admit, might be the root of the problem).

My instinct is just say I can't pay for one person and not the others, and that I can't really predict how much it will cost (aside from the dress) and tell her that it's up to her how she wants to proceed, no hard feelings.

Here's where it gets complicated: I had another bridesmaid back out earlier in the process. She cited financial woes as well. My fiance now HATES this girl even though I've moved past it. She lives in my home state and now when we go visit, he doesn't want to see her. I either have to drag him along sulking or only see her if I travel there alone. I don't want this to be the case with 2 girls now. I haven't even told him she called and asked us to help with expenses because I knew he'd be angry since he is basically paying for the whole wedding (I emptied my bank account to put my share of hte down payment on our house, and my parents are not contributing).

Should I secretly pay for her behind my fiance and other bridesmaids' backs? Should I tell her I can't pay and potentially have her back out, and therefore be hated by my fiance? What would you do?

Re: Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding

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    I thought you were supposed to pay for them as a way of saying 'thank you' for being part of your wedding day.
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    I don't know. I never got that memo when I've been in weddings. I always had to pay for whatever they wanted me to pay for: dress, shower, shoes, hair, bachelorette, etc.
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    Instead of giving my bridal party gifts my fiance' and I will be purchasing their gowns/renting tuxes.

    I would simply apologize and tell her you are unable to pay for her portion, if you haven't picked out attire yet, perhaps find something that is less expensive?
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    Your fiance hates the BM who dropped out because she couldn't afford to be in your wedding?  For real?  

    I wouldn't even consider going behind his back about this.  That's just asking for trouble.  

    If you were to ask this question on any of the international boards (like Wedding Party or Etiquette) they would tell you that a BM is ONLY required to buy a dress and show up for the wedding, and you have to ask them individually for their dress budgets and then find a dress within the lowest number you are given.

    And you have a LOT of control over what things will cost.  Pick a dress that is within everyone's budget.  Let them wear shoes they already own.  If you want them to have hair or makeup done, you pay for it.  Stay out of pre-wedding party planning (if the cash-strapped BM can't pay for shower favors or bachelorette activities, that is between her and the other BMs).  

    If you choose to help her, it's not something that the other BMs need to even know about.  I bought the dress for one of my BMs, because I wanted to (she is my goddaughter and still in school).  No big deal.

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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_bridesmaid-wants-us-to-pay-for-her-to-be-in-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:4b3207a0-e27e-4bf8-bbea-404b3be54bc8Post:be04bc93-67e3-4229-9d8e-43d7ac5bf6b2">Re: Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]I thought you were supposed to pay for them as a way of saying 'thank you' for being part of your wedding day.
    Posted by bereasonable2[/QUOTE]

    <div>Obviously the practice varies by region, but the general rule of thumb is, the BMs pay for a dress of the bride's choosing.  If anything else is required by the bride (shoes, jewelry, hair, makeup) then the bride should pay for it.</div><div>
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    Best thing you can do is be honest with her.  Ask her where she feels she may run into a problem.  Tell her it wouldn't be fair to pay for her and not the other girls and you understand if needs to "bow out".  Being in a wedding can either be a 'no sweat' deal or a giant to do, but either way - you have to put out something as role of a BM.
    Every wedding I have been in, and that's many, I have had to pay for my dress, shoes, towards the shower and bach' party. Hair and make-up were optional to have done in most of the weddings. Some of the weddings I spent a good penny on and others weren't so bad.
    Again, be honest - if she's your friend, and I'm guessing she means a lot to you since you've asked her to stand by your side on your wedding day - be open about it.  Maybe there is more to it, as you said "root" of the problem.  If she won't be able to feed herself, be living in a box on the street because she'll be paying for her BM dress and shoes, maybe have her step out, no hard feelings - or maybe keep her in and have it be an IOU type thing....
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    We had a BM opt out for financial reasons and we asked her to be a reader instead. In the end, it was a much less stressful situation for everyone. Interestingly, my H wasn't thrilled with her either. Don't go behind his back, be honest with her and give an option if you can. She can still be an important part of your wedding as a guest, and it will be easier on both of you.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_bridesmaid-wants-us-to-pay-for-her-to-be-in-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local Wedding BoardsForum:90Discussion:4b3207a0-e27e-4bf8-bbea-404b3be54bc8Post:98deaedf-5a9b-4351-a097-9c66d6b51f80">Re: Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Your fiance hates the BM who dropped out because she couldn't afford to be in your wedding?  For real?   I wouldn't even consider going behind his back about this.  That's just asking for trouble.   If you were to ask this question on any of the international boards (like Wedding Party or Etiquette) they would tell you that a BM is ONLY required to buy a dress and show up for the wedding, and you have to ask them individually for their dress budgets and then find a dress within the lowest number you are given. And you have a LOT of control over what things will cost.  Pick a dress that is within everyone's budget.  Let them wear shoes they already own.  If you want them to have hair or makeup done, you pay for it.  Stay out of pre-wedding party planning (if the cash-strapped BM can't pay for shower favors or bachelorette activities, that is between her and the other BMs).   If you choose to help her, it's not something that the other BMs need to even know about.  I bought the dress for one of my BMs, because I wanted to (she is my goddaughter and still in school).  No big deal.
    Posted by jcg98[/QUOTE]

    To clarify, he hates her because he doesn't believe she can't afford it. He said she goes out to dinner multiple times a week and multiple vacations per year. My feeling is that even if that is true, you can't force someone to do something they don't want and I have nothing to gain by getting angry.
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    You already have a tremendous amount of bills to begin with and I think it's very rude of the BM to ask for you to pay for her. If she has a job and isn't in any crazy financial situation, I would absolutely not pay for her. People like that are very upsetting to me and I'm afraid one of the girls I selected for my wedding will pull the same stunt...

    I am going to be very angry if my BM says she can't afford to be in my wedding because:
    a. I was in her wedding 14 months ago 
    b. She has a better paying job than myself and her husband has a better paying job than my husband 
    c. She goes out to eat 7 nights a week 

    I can only pray that she doesn't say she can't afford it because there's a strong chance it will ruin our friendship. I already here her hinting how broke she is and how expensive it's going to be...

    Best of luck with your situation! 
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    I would rec'd not to keep it away from your FI, you dont want to start off your marriage like that. 
    speak to her to see what her concerns are, you can pick a dress that is more affordable for all the girls.  I paid for one of my BMs' dress but she is my sister and the other 3 girls know that my sister wouldn't be able to partake on many of the planning bc of her schedule and the other 3 girls were fine with it.  that was something that i shared with all my BMs privately.  
    i also got them gifts at the rehearsal dinner and my sister got a little less gifts bc the other BMs contributed more and she understood and was fine with it.  
    i made sure that besides from the dress, every else were optional, they wore their own shoes.  i bought them matching earings for the wedding day and that was it.  
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    I think its a little insane that your fiance hate your friend one friend because she backed out of the wedding.  Especially since it was for financial reason.  That's ridiculous.  Why should someone put themselves in bad financial situation for your wedding?  Crazy.  And people can spend their money however they choose to.  Nobody is obligted to participate in a wedding. 

    Anyway, if you want to and can afford to pay for your other BM...then I would.  And as others said...you absolutely have control over the expenses.  If the dress is the big thing...you pick a cheaper dress.  Don't force make up or hair on them...and let them wear shoes they already have. 

    Do not do it behind your fiances back.  That is not a good way to start a marriage. 
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    AJuliaNJAJuliaNJ member
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker 5 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited October 2012
    All I am asking them to pay for is one dress. These girls would buy a dress to come to the wedding anyway! I am not asking for them to wear their hair a certain way, have their make-up done, wear matching shoes, or anything. In fact, I was planning to pay for their hair myself as a gift.

    The expenses that I referenced not having control over are if the bridesmaids want to make favors for the shower (again, my mom is paying for the shower itself so that is not part of their expected contribution) or the cost of the bachelorette party (and no way is it going to be some huge out of town extravaganza, probably just a dinner and drinks--which again, is something we would do on a night out anyway). I would hate for there to be one member of the bridal party not contributing when everyone else is.

    I guess the reason why this is frustrating is that I am asking so little already. Also, the girl who already backed out and this girl were just in a wedding that cost them about $1500 to be in. They can't pay like $150 to be in mine? I'm starting to be concerned, like my fiance already is, that they just don't want to be in it and it's just easier to blame it on finances.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_bridesmaid-wants-us-to-pay-for-her-to-be-in-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:4b3207a0-e27e-4bf8-bbea-404b3be54bc8Post:0df8dc19-e104-4193-9f70-238abe72273c">Re: Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]All I am asking them to pay for is one dress. These girls would buy a dress to come to the wedding anyway! I am not asking for them to wear their hair a certain way, have their make-up done, wear matching shoes, or anything. In fact, I was planning to pay for their hair myself as a gift. The expenses that I referenced not having control over are if the bridesmaids want to make favors for the shower (again, my mom is paying for the shower itself so that is not part of their expected contribution) or the cost of the bachelorette party (and no way is it going to be some huge out of town extravaganza, probably just a dinner and drinks--which again, is something we would do on a night out anyway). <strong>I would hate for there to be one member of the bridal party not contributing when everyone else is.</strong> I guess the reason why this is frustrating is that I am asking so little already. Also, the girl who already backed out and this girl were just in a wedding that cost them about $1500 to be in. <strong>They can't pay like $150 to be in mine? I'm starting to be concerned, like my fiance already is, that they just don't want to be in it and it's just easier to blame it on finances.</strong>
    Posted by AndreaJulia[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>First bolded - you have to let that part go.  If someone in your BP doesn't contribute his/her "fair share", that's between them and the rest of the BP.  You shouldn't get involved with that, nor should the contributing members of the BP complain to you.  Would you complain to a bride if another BM in a wedding you were in wasn't contributing to pre-wedding events?</div><div>
    </div><div>Second bolded - I definitely get that frustration.  People will tell you that it's not your business how others spend their money, but it's hard not to judge.  However, the fact that she asked you for assistance suggests that she does want to be in your wedding.  If she didn't want to, I think she would blame finances and not ask you for help.  Her financial situation may have changed from the last wedding she was in, and it may be for reasons of which you are unaware (either she doesn't want to talk about it or is embarassed).</div><div>

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    I see both sides, honestly.

    I understand that you have been in weddings and when she said yes to being your bridesmaid, she understood that there would be some associated finances. If money is an issue, "no" at that moment would have stopped all this.

    I also get her side - it is really difficult to understand others' money. You may say you make the same and you know her finances, but you really don't. Medical issues, family issues, educational debt, credit card debt, etc. can all be factors that you might not even know about. And even if it is "only $x", to her that might be $x that she doesn't want to spend. You say she goes out to eat all the time and takes vacations - maybe those expenses have finally caught up. Maybe her credit card is maxed out. Maybe she is supporting a relative that you don't know about.

    You might not think it is fair, and it might cloud your judgement of her going forward. If it only is coming down to a $150 dress - presuming she does not come to the shower or buys a small gift or makes you a gift, does not participate in the bachelorette events, and does her own hair/makeup and wears her own shoes - you have to decide if that $150 is worth it to you to continue being her friend. Showing up on your wedding day is really her only obligation. We will all probaby agree that "buying a dress" is the 2nd obligation to that, but that isn't always possible. Maybe money is really tight and she knows that if she buys the $150 dress, then she won't be able to get you a gift - for the shower or wedding.

    If you want her to continue to be in your life even if you don't agree with her behavior, you may have to pay for her dress. If you say no, as you do have every right to, know that she might back out, your fiance might turn on her (justified or not) and you will probably not have much to do with her going forward. It doesn't make her behavior correct, but it might come down to this.
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_bridesmaid-wants-us-to-pay-for-her-to-be-in-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:4b3207a0-e27e-4bf8-bbea-404b3be54bc8Post:0df8dc19-e104-4193-9f70-238abe72273c">Re: Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]...Also, the girl who already backed out and this girl were just in a wedding that cost them about $1500 to be in. They can't pay like $150 to be in mine?...
    Posted by AndreaJulia[/QUOTE]

    <div>Well, duh! They JUST spent $1500 (that they probably didn't want to spend) on someone else's wedding.</div><div>
    </div><div>No, but for real, I think these are the times when you find out who your true friends are. I would just be cordial about it.</div>
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    kaa32kaa32 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment
    edited October 2012
    Should I secretly pay for her behind my fiance and other bridesmaids' backs? 
    No, for many reasons, don't do anything secretively.  Also, it's not fair to agree to help the second if you didn't offer to help the first.  Part of accepting to be a bridesmaid is understanding that there is a financial obligation to it.  Young/inexperienced bridesmaids often forget this in the excitement, though, so it is easier to forgive.  Plus, a lot of people are struggling financially right now and aren't disciplined when it comes to saving.

    Should I tell her I can't pay and potentially have her back out, and therefore be hated by my fiance?
    Try to estimate the cost of the dress.  The bachelorette party can include aspects that limit her costs (ex. cheap/BYOB dinner, pre-game at someone's apartment) and she can skip the parts which are more expensive (ex. limo/club/bar). 

    If she still can't do it, she can act as a bridesmaid helping them plan/craft/run errands and  provide you with emotional support, but not have the official title or expenses.  Hopefully, this will help you find middle ground between your bridesmaid and your fiance.   
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    jcg98jcg98 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary Name Dropper First Comment
    edited October 2012
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_bridesmaid-wants-us-to-pay-for-her-to-be-in-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:4b3207a0-e27e-4bf8-bbea-404b3be54bc8Post:0ad21da2-b421-46d7-a7aa-978109525579">Re: Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]Should I secretly pay for her behind my fiance and other bridesmaids' backs?   No, for many reasons, don't do anything secretively.  Also, it's not fair to agree to help the second if you didn't offer to help the first.  Part of accepting to be a bridesmaid is understanding that there is a financial obligation to it.  Young/inexperienced bridesmaids often forget this in the excitement, though, so it is easier to forgive.  <strong>Plus, a lot of people are struggling financially right now and aren't disciplined when it comes to saving. </strong>Should I tell her I can't pay and potentially have her back out, and therefore be hated by my fiance? Try to estimate the cost of the dress.  The bachelorette party can include aspects that limit her costs (ex. cheap/BYOB dinner, pre-game at someone's apartment) and she can skip the parts which are more expensive (ex. limo/club/bar).  <strong>If she still can't do it, she can act as a bridesmaid helping them plan/craft/run errands and  provide you with emotional support, but not have the official title or expenses.</strong>  Hopefully, this will help you find middle ground between your bridesmaid and your fiance.   
    Posted by kaa32[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>This is terrible advice and no way to treat someone you consider a friend!</div><div>
    </div><div>First - financial struggles do NOT equate with undisciplined saving!  Good Lord, how judgmental can you be?  Someone else's financial struggles are none of your business, period.</div><div>
    </div><div>Second - what you are suggesting amounts to someone the bride considers to be a close friend becoming her bridal slave, with a lot of hassle and no recognition for it.  Bridesmaids - or any other friends - are NOT errand girls, they are NOT craft helpers, they are NOT emotional pillars.  If you need help or emotional support, you have a fiance.  It's his wedding too!</div><div>
    </div><div>Don't do this OP.  Please.  If your friend steps down from your wedding for financial reasons, treat her as any other honored guest at your wedding.</div><div>

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    Thank you everyone for your advice, and for understanding the complexities. Normally, I would have just given her an out and said it's just one night and I'm not going to be upset if she can't do it. In fact, that's what I did with the first girl that backed out (although she just backed out, didn't ask us to pay anything). However, when I realized how upset that made my fiance, it made this more complicated.
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    edited October 2012
    she obviously doesn't care to be in it.
    you two probably aren't that good of friends. I am a frugal person with a budget but if I really wanted to be in someone's wedding I would make it work. A few hundred dollars shouldn't decide being in a good friend's weeding.


    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/local-wedding-boards_new-jersey_bridesmaid-wants-us-to-pay-for-her-to-be-in-wedding?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Local%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:90Discussion:4b3207a0-e27e-4bf8-bbea-404b3be54bc8Post:6b91b5bc-03e7-4b18-b86b-98f58c5eb896">Bridesmaid wants us to pay for her to be in wedding</a>:
    [QUOTE]One of my bridesmaids just called and asked if we would help pay for her to be in the wedding due to financial issues. My initial response was that I didn't expect for it to be expensive, but if it got out of hand, I'd see what I could do. My mom is paying for the shower, I'm not expecting an out of town or over the top bachelorette party, and I am not forcing them to get their hair or make-up done, so how bad could it really be? I figured as time went by and she saw it was no great expense, she'd just forget about it. However, now that I'm really thinking it over, I realized (a) it really wouldn't be fair for me to pay for her and not everyone else. Two of my BM's are coming from out of town, and one is in town but has 3 kids. She is the only person who is neither out of town nor has children, she has a good job (we make a very similar salary!), and she had a year's notice. (b) I don't have a lot of control over what things will cost. Yes, I'll pick the dress, but if my other bridesmaids want to do something nice for my bachelorette, or buy favors for the shower or something, I don't want to put them in a position where someone is not an equal contributor. (c) it's kind of crappy that she wants me to pay for her to be in the wedding after she was just in another wedding and paid herself (which, I admit, might be the root of the problem). My instinct is just say I can't pay for one person and not the others, and that I can't really predict how much it will cost (aside from the dress) and tell her that it's up to her how she wants to proceed, no hard feelings. Here's where it gets complicated: I had another bridesmaid back out earlier in the process. She cited financial woes as well. My fiance now HATES this girl even though I've moved past it. She lives in my home state and now when we go visit, he doesn't want to see her. I either have to drag him along sulking or only see her if I travel there alone. I don't want this to be the case with 2 girls now. I haven't even told him she called and asked us to help with expenses because I knew he'd be angry since he is basically paying for the whole wedding (I emptied my bank account to put my share of hte down payment on our house, and my parents are not contributing). Should I secretly pay for her behind my fiance and other bridesmaids' backs? Should I tell her I can't pay and potentially have her back out, and therefore be hated by my fiance? What would you do?
    Posted by AndreaJulia[/QUOTE]
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