Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
I am in my early 20s, and have been asked to be in six weddings all within one year. A typical bridesmaid dress costs between $300.00 and $600.00 each. This does not include the cost of shoes, travel, shower and wedding gifts, and bachelorette party. I was complaining about all of this to my mother, and she said etiquette dictates that the bride’s parent’s pay for the bridesmaid dresses, and they should help or completely pay for out of town expenses. Is this true? If it is, should I ask the bride to pay for some of my expenses?
Dear Broke Bridesmaid,
You are in a very difficult situation financially, but unfortunately it is a typical one for weddings these days. Your mother is right that traditional etiquette says that the bride’s parents pay for the dress and out of town expenses. Sometimes etiquette is seen as outdated, but if a bride had to put the cost of bridesmaid’s dresses in her budget, then the bridesmaid dress that she chose would probably be more reasonably priced. When a bride asks friends to be in her wedding, she needs to consider each person’s financial situation, and find affordable solutions for those who need the help. At this point it would be hard to go to the bride and ask her to pay for some of the costs. Try to go in on costs with other bridesmaids such as gifts and hotel room to help the situation. Next time a friend asks you to be in a wedding, know you can the bride that you are flattered, and will do your best to attend as a guest. Politely explain that being in a wedding is not possible at this time.