Attire & Accessories Forum

Bridesmaids Dresses

Is it appropriate to ask my bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses and shoes? I'm getting them all a bracelet to wear and possibly a necklace, but with 5 bridesmaids I don't want to buy all of their other attire as well. Thoughts?

Re: Bridesmaids Dresses

  • flantasticflantastic The Midwest member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    If you're not paying for the shoes, you can't dictate the shoes. You also just shouldn't, because literally no one notices them. I have a picture of me and my bridesmaids framed in my house, see it every day, and I'd have to go look at it to tell you what their shoes looked like.

    Same principle applies to everything but the dress. If you MUST have them wear X jewelry, be professionally made up, etc. then you should pay for that. And unless every one of your friends has the exact same taste in jewelry (spoiler: they don't) the jewelry isn't going to be a real thank you gift and you should get something else (that they like - it's about them, not you and your wedding) to thank them. If you like the jewelry, cool, but that doesn't thank THEM, is all I'm saying.

    As for the dress, as MobKaz said, you can either ask them privately for their budgets and work under the lowest one, or tell them to get a dress in a certain color palette.
    charlotte989875short+sassy
  • If you're not paying for the shoes, you can't dictate the shoes. You also just shouldn't, because literally no one notices them. I have a picture of me and my bridesmaids framed in my house, see it every day, and I'd have to go look at it to tell you what their shoes looked like.

    Same principle applies to everything but the dress. If you MUST have them wear X jewelry, be professionally made up, etc. then you should pay for that. And unless every one of your friends has the exact same taste in jewelry (spoiler: they don't) the jewelry isn't going to be a real thank you gift and you should get something else (that they like - it's about them, not you and your wedding) to thank them. If you like the jewelry, cool, but that doesn't thank THEM, is all I'm saying.

    As for the dress, as MobKaz said, you can either ask them privately for their budgets and work under the lowest one, or tell them to get a dress in a certain color palette.
    I never mentioned that the jewelry was going to be a thank you gift as it's not. I was just asking what thoughts were on bridesmaids purchasing their dress and shoes.
  • MobKaz said:
    Is it appropriate to ask my bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses and shoes? I'm getting them all a bracelet to wear and possibly a necklace, but with 5 bridesmaids I don't want to buy all of their other attire as well. Thoughts?
    For the most part, the one expected expense for someone in the wedding party IS their attire.  However, you need to ask each member privately what their budget is for purchasing a dress.  A thoughtful way to keep costs down is to allow those in the bridal party to select their own dress within a color palette you choose.

    My daughter asked her bridesmaids to wear a knee length black dress.  My daughter "coordinated" the look with their flowers.  Her friends really appreciated purchasing a dress they could actually wear beyond the wedding.  You can suggest your bridesmaids wear, for example, a simple black shoe, but do not dictate that it has to be a peep toed, 3 inch heel.  The trend for identical, matchy-matchy wedding parties is thankfully dying!

    It is nice of you to purchase jewelry for your wedding party.  Please bear in mind, however, that if you insist they wear something specific, or to have their hair or make up professionally done, then the burden of that cost is yours to bear.  Identical jewelry is not, and should not be considered a gift to your bridesmaids.  
    I never mentioned that the jewelry was going to be a thank you gift as it's not. I was just asking what thoughts were on bridesmaids purchasing their dress and shoes. Nor was this post about makeup or the hair day of which I do plan to pay for entirely. I am expecting them to wear flats, however, as the ceremony is in the grass and it's not practical to have any sort of heel which is a main reason I was planning to just choose a shoe.
  • ILoveBeachMusicILoveBeachMusic Indiana member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MobKaz said:
    Is it appropriate to ask my bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses and shoes? I'm getting them all a bracelet to wear and possibly a necklace, but with 5 bridesmaids I don't want to buy all of their other attire as well. Thoughts?
    For the most part, the one expected expense for someone in the wedding party IS their attire.  However, you need to ask each member privately what their budget is for purchasing a dress.  A thoughtful way to keep costs down is to allow those in the bridal party to select their own dress within a color palette you choose.

    My daughter asked her bridesmaids to wear a knee length black dress.  My daughter "coordinated" the look with their flowers.  Her friends really appreciated purchasing a dress they could actually wear beyond the wedding.  You can suggest your bridesmaids wear, for example, a simple black shoe, but do not dictate that it has to be a peep toed, 3 inch heel.  The trend for identical, matchy-matchy wedding parties is thankfully dying!

    It is nice of you to purchase jewelry for your wedding party.  Please bear in mind, however, that if you insist they wear something specific, or to have their hair or make up professionally done, then the burden of that cost is yours to bear.  Identical jewelry is not, and should not be considered a gift to your bridesmaids.  
    I never mentioned that the jewelry was going to be a thank you gift as it's not. I was just asking what thoughts were on bridesmaids purchasing their dress and shoes. Nor was this post about makeup or the hair day of which I do plan to pay for entirely. I am expecting them to wear flats, however, as the ceremony is in the grass and it's not practical to have any sort of heel which is a main reason I was planning to just choose a shoe.
    PPs were just commenting on the jewelry and hair because that is often the next question that comes up. Many brides think that jewelry that they want their maids to wear is a gift. Good for you for realizing it isn't. As for the shoes, I would just let the people know that the ceremony is going to be on the grass and that they maybe they would want to wear flats. Different flats are comfortable for different people. I can wear some brands and not others - I have plantar fasciitis. Some people may be more comfortable in wedges. The important thing is that they are comfortable standing and dancing at your reception! As @flantastic said, if your maids are wearing long dresses their shoes won't even be seen. 
    MobKazcharlotte989875InLoveInQueens
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MobKaz said:
    Is it appropriate to ask my bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses and shoes? I'm getting them all a bracelet to wear and possibly a necklace, but with 5 bridesmaids I don't want to buy all of their other attire as well. Thoughts?
    For the most part, the one expected expense for someone in the wedding party IS their attire.  However, you need to ask each member privately what their budget is for purchasing a dress.  A thoughtful way to keep costs down is to allow those in the bridal party to select their own dress within a color palette you choose.

    My daughter asked her bridesmaids to wear a knee length black dress.  My daughter "coordinated" the look with their flowers.  Her friends really appreciated purchasing a dress they could actually wear beyond the wedding.  You can suggest your bridesmaids wear, for example, a simple black shoe, but do not dictate that it has to be a peep toed, 3 inch heel.  The trend for identical, matchy-matchy wedding parties is thankfully dying!

    It is nice of you to purchase jewelry for your wedding party.  Please bear in mind, however, that if you insist they wear something specific, or to have their hair or make up professionally done, then the burden of that cost is yours to bear.  Identical jewelry is not, and should not be considered a gift to your bridesmaids.  
    I never mentioned that the jewelry was going to be a thank you gift as it's not. I was just asking what thoughts were on bridesmaids purchasing their dress and shoes. Nor was this post about makeup or the hair day of which I do plan to pay for entirely. I am expecting them to wear flats, however, as the ceremony is in the grass and it's not practical to have any sort of heel which is a main reason I was planning to just choose a shoe.
    Look.  With all the posts, comments, and questions on these boards, you clearly seem overwhelmed.  We are not being rude.  We are trying to offer objective, and, in some cases, proactive responses.  You have admittedly already made some mistakes, and a major one at that as regards your guest list, ceremony space, and potential venue.  The fact that you have already considered wedding jewelry, hair, and make up before even locking down a budget, guest list, and venue screams disorganization, inexperience, and a lack of help.

    When comments are made, such as ones directed toward jewelry, we are merely trying to stop faux pas before they happen.  Why don't you start one new post?  Tell us what you know, and what you need to do.  The posters here have done and seen it all.  We can help you find a way to invite as many guests as possible with the budget you have and host properly.  We can help you weed through the unnecessary (but heavily promoted) expenses.  We can assure you that all will be well.  But you have to turn off your defensive mode to hear us.

    Do not micromanage hair, shoes, make up, and jewelry.  These are not costs or issues that will make or break a wedding.  Some may love to treat themselves to hair and make up, while others prefer to "do their own thing".  Let them.  That is not a cost a bride needs to bear.  Let your wedding party choose their own shoes.  Tell them the nature of the venue and let them make their own decisions.  
    When you have a calm moment, grab a glass/mug of your preferred beverage, start a new post, and let us help.
    ILoveBeachMusicflantasticbanana468InLoveInQueens
  • The BM dresses are their responsibility, that said, PLEASE have a heart and ask each privately what their budget is before even looking at BM dresses because far too often brides will pick out the BM dress thinking it's "budget friendly" in their opinion of what they personally would spend comfortably for someone else's wedding and the reality so often (especially on here) is it's not what BM's were able to afford especially if alterations are needed at all.  This is part of the reason that giving BM's a length and color has become so popular because it allows BM to go purchase that after prom sale dress for $20 in (color) or the final clearance at David's and not break the bank while looking great in something that they're comfortable wearing for their body..

    Also, please, just dictate a color family on the shoe (yes, their responsibility) and let them choose a shoe that is comfortable for the duration of the day on their feet!  I say this as someone who has extra wide skis for feet, I was in a wedding that the bride chose shoes and by the time the ceremony was over my feet were in extreme pain from being crunched into a shoe that was "my size" but it didn't "fit my foot" (like clothing, different shoe manufacturers cut their shoes differently, these were sized small)..  
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    short+sassy
  • While PPs are right in the US, I saw that you mentioned in another post that you are in the UK. In the UK, it is customary for the bride to cover the costs of BM dresses. If that's the case, it's not going to come off well to foist that cost on them. 

    It sounds like you are completely backwards on how you are going about planning. BM dresses are several lines down after finishing budget, guest list, venue and food. Still, you can get around a small dress budget by picking something not normally billed as a BM dress, or trying to go with something they already own (e.g. everyone wear a LBD.) 
    Good catch!  
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    MesmrEwe said:
    While PPs are right in the US, I saw that you mentioned in another post that you are in the UK. In the UK, it is customary for the bride to cover the costs of BM dresses. If that's the case, it's not going to come off well to foist that cost on them. 

    It sounds like you are completely backwards on how you are going about planning. BM dresses are several lines down after finishing budget, guest list, venue and food. Still, you can get around a small dress budget by picking something not normally billed as a BM dress, or trying to go with something they already own (e.g. everyone wear a LBD.) 
    Good catch!  
    I'm not sure about this.  OP said, "All weddings I've been to in the U.K. have cash bars and it's normal there. Will people really be that upset if they have to pay a couple dollars for a drink?

    I read she was using it more as a justification.  Sure wish she would return to this plethora of posts and remark.
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