When you're a bridesmaid it can seem unfair that you have to pay for your bridesmaid dress, but when you're a bride with an already-stretched-thin budget, it makes complete sense. So who pays?
Generally, in the U.S., Britain, and Canada, groomsmen and bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and suits. They also pay for their accessories and for their transportation and lodging for the wedding.
The Couple's Responsibilities
Don't think brides and grooms are off the hook. Quite often, they purchase thank you gifts. These are frequently things their attendants can wear during the wedding, such as jewelry, shoes, or ties. The bride might also pay for all of her bridesmaids' hair and makeup. It's also common for her to host an event, like a bridesmaids tea or a fun outing, to thank her maids.
It's also a good idea for the bride and groom to consider their attendants' finances. If most of the attendants are on tight budgets, the couple must find inexpensive options. You could also offer to contribute to the costs. For instance, you might help out with travel or arrange inexpensive places for the attendants to stay while they're in town.
What if a bridesmaid can't afford it?
It's terrible to be the broke bridesmaid who can't afford the wedding, but if they're true friends, the couple won't want you to go into major debt for their wedding.
Ideally, when you're first approached and asked to be a part of the wedding, you'll explain that your budget is tight. If it seems like it will be an expensive event, you might ask to be a reader or take on another important role instead.
If you haven't realized this in advance, or the expenses just keep coming, you can still bow out gracefully. Your friend might offer to help pay for things to keep you in the wedding, or she might agree with your decision to step aside.
What's important is to remember that, in the long run, your friendship with each other is worth far more than a peach chiffon gown.