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Bridesmaids: Who should pay for the dress?

It’s the age old dilemma: who should pay for the bridesmaids dresses – The Bride or the Bridesmaid?   First, if you are the bride, this is your big day, but be considerate and acknowledge that not all of your friends share the same income bracket.  If you have your heart set on pricey designer bridesmaid’s gowns, you should be prepared to either cover the entire cost or at least half.  Luckily, few options exist to satisfy both parties, or at least try.


1) Rent!   I don’t know why this concept took so long, but yes (you can jump up-and-down if you need to), Bridesmaid’s gowns can now be rented and, this is the cherry-on-top, affordably.  Roughly ranging from $50-75!  Little Borrowed Dress’s concept is simple; choose styles (no sign-up required to browse the website and you can link the pictures of your favorite dresses with social media to crowd source opinions with your wedding party); Order a free fabric swatch (Did I mention the entire collection is 100% silk?!) to see the colours in person; Try the dress on at Little Borrowed Dress’s showroom in NYC.  Not local or up for the travel? Don’t fret!  Little Borrowed Dress includes a backup size in every order they send out; Place your reservation online and, two weeks before the wedding – professionally cleaned and ready-to-wear – your dresses will arrive.  Now, with the money you have saved on the dress, go buy a gorgeous pair of shoes (or save it responsibly, whichever floats your boat)!  After the Wedding – it couldn’t get any easier – place the dress in the prepaid envelope provided by Little Borrowed Dress and send it back.  Done and done!!  Money is saved, the bride is happy, and bridesmaids are not left with a dress they most likely will never wear again.  It’s almost too good to be true.

2) Purchase off-the-rack.  One can spend a lot or little; the sky is the limit with selection.  Dresses can be sourced at a bridal shop or in mainstream retail shops in person or on-line.  Alterations can be done if need be and may be an additional cost.


3) Made-to-Measure: Custom made dresses.   Many shops are popping up online but if you are one of those people who prefer the personal attention of a human being, then I strongly recommend visiting an actual location.  These shops create an experience for you and the wedding party.  Teamed up with a personal stylist and often served wine or champagne, you are guided through style and colour selections.  Once the fabric(s) and style(s) have been finalized, the wedding party is each measured and their custom dresses begin production. There is typically a fitting one to two weeks before the wedding to complete any last minute alterations from weight loss or gain.  It is important to note that the custom process can take around 4-8 weeks, in some cases even several months, to produce the finished product.  If this is an avenue you are considering, it is wise to add at least two weeks onto the production plan as a buffer, and for your sanity, in case of production delays.   Look to budget, at the very least, $350+ per dress and be sure to inquire if there is an additional cost for alterations and if you run over your appointments allotted time.  To find a bridal shop offering made-to-measure close to you, ask around for a referral and/or search one out on-line.


First and foremost, remember that you are friends.  Be considerate of each other’s point of view and budgets.  Work together to meet a compromise that everyone can live with.  But bridesmaids remember that this day is not about you.  You have been chosen to help your friend’s wedding dreams come true.  Cost aside, no matter what the appearance of the dress she chooses for you to wear for one day, do it.  And know that she’d do the same for you.



Sources:  1) http://apracticalwedding.com/2013/05/rent-bridesmaid-dress/

2) http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/wedding-suite-locations-faq?origin=leftnav