The Wedding Dilemma – Who Pays For The Bridesmaids’ Dresses?


I recently overheard a group of friends discussing how ridiculous their bridesmaid costs were. One of them was mad that she had to pay upwards of N100,000 to be in her friend’s bridal train. One hundred thousand Naira to be a bridesmaid?! Please will I have shares in the marriage? Will I take the most eligible bachelor home?

I had to do some research into this and I came to a reasonable conclusion. Every wedding is different, and there is no hard and fast rule as to who pays for the bridesmaids’ dresses. Here are a few different scenarios and who we think should foot the bill for each.

 If The Bridesmaids’ Dresses Are Expensive

bridesmaid dress expensive

If the bride has a particular designer or dress in mind, and the dress is really expensive, the bride should not require that the bridesmaids pay the full amount for the dresses. She could help out by paying some of the money, or she could cover the cost of the dresses.



If The Dresses Are Custom-Made & The Design Is Chosen By The Bridesmaids

bridesmaids dresses custom made

In this case, the bridesmaids can wear different styles and they get to choose what they want. Since the gowns are being made from scratch, the bride could pay for the materials while the bridesmaids pay for the design and sewing of the gown. The upside of this type of dress is that the bridesmaids can wear it again, seeing as it is custom.


If The Only Thing Common About The Dresses Is The Colour

Bridesmaids dresses colour

Some brides don’t mind what their bridesmaids wear, as long as it is in a particular colour. In this case the bridesmaids should definitely foot the bill for the dresses, because they can choose something they can afford, is to their liking and can wear the dresses again and again.


If The Bridesmaids Are On A Tight Budget

bridesmaids dresses young

Some people get married at a young age, fresh out of uni or working their first job and not learning very much, and most of their friends are within the same age range and earning bracket. The bridesmaids will most probably not be able to afford the dresses, so the options are – the bride pays for the dresses, or the parents of the bridesmaids pay for the dresses.


If It Is A Destination Wedding

bridesmaids dresses myweddingnigeria

Chances are the bridesmaids would have spent a large amount of money on travel and accommodation. If you are paying for the travel fare and accommodation, the bridesmaids can pay for their dresses. Otherwise, it just makes sense that the bride pays for the dresses, reducing the burden on the bridesmaids.


If The Bridesmaids Can Wear Any Colour They Want

Bridesmaids dresses any colour

Some weddings are freestyle, and the bridesmaids can wear whatever they want. If there is no restriction whatsoever, the bridesmaid should foot the bill of the dress.


If The Dresses Cannot Be Worn After The Wedding Day

bridesmaids dresses not wearing again

There are some brides that have a weird unique idea of how they want the bridesmaids to look and choose dresses that really cannot be worn after that wedding day. I am tempted to tell these brides to shove it and walk away from the wedding but I will calm down and say this – the bride will have to foot the bill of dresses that can never be worn again by the bridesmaids.


If There Are A Lot Of Bridesmaids

bridesmaids dresses too much

Some brides want a large bridal party and have a lot of friends and end up having as many as twenty bridesmaids. It could be a heavy burden for the bride to handle the dresses for all the bridesmaids, so they could pay for the dresses as long as it is not an outrageous amount.


If There Is A Small Number Of Bridesmaids 

bridesmaids dresses 2 bm

If there are only two or three bridesmaids, the bride could decide to pay for their dresses. Since the bridesmaids are not many, the cost shouldn’t be on the high side unless she so chooses.


If The Bride Was Once A Bridesmaid

The bride can decide to treat the bridesmaids how she was treated when she was one! This is very much dependent on the bride and would differ with her experiences and the bridesmaids.


These are suggestions, and not hard and fast rules for who should pick up the tab on the bridesmaids’ dresses and should help you see the various factors to consider. The bride may decide to handle all the expenses, the bridesmaids may pay for the dresses or any solution in between in any of the aforementioned scenarios


Have you heard about any outrageous costs associated with being a bridesmaid? Let us know at or leave a comment below.



Images – Instagram: bridesmaidfactory, toolzo, dollhousebridesmaids







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