Over-Budget Bridezilla Wants Her Friends to Help Pay for $10K Dress


Does a bridesmaid have to pay for the dress or just carry the train? (Photo: Getty Images)

Historically, a bridesmaid’s only duty was to stand up next to the bride at her wedding ceremony. We all know how much that has changed — now there are coordinated dresses, destination bachelorette parties, multiple bridal showers, spa days, and a whole lot of hand-holding on the list of duties. Add to that this request recently made by an over-budget bride: She asked her seven bridesmaids to contribute $150 each to help pay for her $10,500 Marchesa gown.

“I nearly threw my phone across the room, such was the rage that consumed me,” one of the bridesmaids wrote in an anonymous post on Australian site MamaMia. “It’s been three days since she sent the email and three of the seven bridesmaids have replied saying they’d love to pitch in for her dress. Whether they genuinely wanted to or not, I just don’t know. But I’m starting to think I might have to bail on this wedding, and friendship.”

Exactly how far over the line has this bride stepped (because she’s obviously way over the line)?

“In all honesty, there’s really nothing that should be expected of the bridesmaid other than to buy the dress and show up at the wedding,” wedding etiquette expert Cheryl Seidel, founder of RegistryFinder.com, told Yahoo Style. (If we could embed the peal of laughter that was her first response to this story, our work here would be done.) “You’re [expected to be] kind of a hostess at the reception and to make sure that people are dancing and being talked to.”

To avoid this kind of problem, Seidel recommends that brides give their potential attendants an estimated cost before they agree to join the wedding. “Then the bridesmaid would say, ‘Love to,’ or, ‘No, I just can’t afford it,’” she said.

If, after the fact, the costs and commitment start to add up, bridesmaids need to be honest about their discomfort. “In a loving way, and not in front of a lot of people, sit down with her face to face,” Seidel suggested. “No text, no email, because you can’t read body language — and say, ‘I love you, I want to be a part of this day, I’m so excited for you, but the costs have gotten a little bit out of control. I’m happy to cover the cost of my dress, but I’m just not able to contribute to your wedding dress.’”

Keep in mind that bridesmaids traditionally give the bride a wedding gift, either individually or as a group. That still doesn’t mean it’s appropriate or polite to ask friends to pitch in a certain amount for the gown.

“Traditional etiquette says you wait until someone asks you what you want before you give them suggestions for what gifts you would like,” Seidel said.

Even if the bridesmaid in question is at her wits’ end with this demanding bride, that’s no green light for quitting the wedding party altogether this late in the game — not as far as good etiquette goes, anyway.

“If it’s very early on, it’s certainly OK to [back out] if you just can’t afford the commitment,” Seidel said. “Other than that, once you’ve made the commitment, unless there’s some extenuating circumstance, I would follow through with it.”

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