Ask Colin: Wedding Budget

Who pays for the bridesmaids' dresses?

Jose Villa Photography

Who pays for the bridesmaids' dresses?

Tradition held that the bride or her family covered these expenses. It's still a wonderful gesture if you can afford to buy these items, particularly if your friends are already planning to splurge on travel expenses to attend your wedding.

However, if your budget doesn't allow you to purchase the bridesmaids' dresses, it is acceptable to ask them to pay for their own attire so long as you keep the cost within a reasonable budget (theirs, not yours).

If you expect them to pay, it's also crucial that you choose something the women can wear again, perhaps a simple, classic cocktail dress or dinner suit. (Let's be honest: nobody is going to wear that frilly, peach prom-dress style anywhere but a costume party). Another option is to offer to split the cost with your friends or to buy the accessories such as shoes and/or jewelry.