Before I begin this nearly became an Ask Emilie post. We had so many requests from people online and current clients that we thought it was best to answer this myself. The direct question is always “Who Pays For Bridal Party Tuxedo & Dresses?”. This issue has been plaguing people for years. Some bridesmaids and groomsmen have been waiting to pay only to be told it’s covered. Then you have the reverse where people assume it’s covered but then had to fork out several hundred dollars on the spot.
Who Pays For Bridal Party Tuxedo & Dresses
The simple answer of who pays is a grey area as there is no hard and fast rule. There is no written / traditional law, but a lot of assumptions made by the bridal couple and the bridal party combined based on their own experiences. As mentioned above, we had clients who’s groomsmen were furious they had to pay when it was assumed they would not. Others were pleasantly surprised that they did not have to.
As we live in Australia with one of the worlds most diverse set of cultures, one should never assume. Even if your culture/background states specifically who pays for what not everyone is on the same page. Even if you have the same or similar upbringing, the views on such things can vary quite a lot.
No Right Or Wrong – Story Time
There is no wrong or right, but how the situation is handled. I will give an example of one of our planners Dimitri. He has been a groomsman on two separate occasions. Dimitri’s family believed that unless otherwise stated the groom pay for the groomsmen attire.
The First Time
The first time he was a groomsman, the groom said that Dimitri would be paying for it. This was fine as the communication was clear early on. Plus the attire was a classic tux that could be re-worn at other black-tie events (right down to the shirt style).
The Second Time
The second time was completely different. Dimitri was told he would be wearing a grey suit with a pink accent ensemble. This is only something that would be worn at the wedding and never again for anything else. Dimitri was surprised to discover that when he went to collect his suit days before the wedding that he was expected to pay. Assumptions were made by both parties and confusion arose. Since he was the best man, he just copped it on the chin and moved on.
The Third Time – Using What He Had Learned
When it was time for Dimitri to get married, he wanted a classic look. Everyone had the same style tux except for one member. He made it very clear to his bridal party members that he would cover the cost of the shirt and bow tie. Dimitri worked out a deal for the cost of the tux for the one person who did not have one. His groomsman did not mind paying for the tux as he did not have one and said he would re-use for many other formal occasions. On the plus side, the tux was a good deal (Literally half price).
There were specific reasons why the bow tie and shirt were covered by the groom. The bow tie and shirt were a distinct pattern, while it can be worn to any black tie function, he believed the groomsmen should not have to pay for his personal taste. The tux itself is a timeless classic and can be worn anywhere.
Financial Situation Changes
In some cases, the bride and groom are happy to pay for the outfits; however, due to situations outside of their control, it may not be feasible. For example, if a medical issue arises or if there is a falling out with family and/or assistance with paying for the wedding is cut, this can cause issues. If the situation changes and you have already informed your bridal party of a certain way, then the truth is that you should be honest with the bridal party. You could also offer to pay half the cost (if that is feasible). Most people are understanding, especially if they are told one way, but things go another way. If budgeting is an issue, check out our vlog on Budgeting For Your Wedding.
Bridal Party Can’t /Won’t Pay
In some cases, the bridal party will push back with regards to payment of the attire. This could happen for two reasons. The first reason is because of their upbringing they were raised that the couple pays for the clothes. After all, it’s their wedding, and if they want you to dress its entirely their call and they should pay. In this case, a compromise or cultural understanding needs to be set between both parties. The other reason is for financial reasons and that sometimes people are down on their luck. That being said, the members of the bridal party should make their situation clear (while not having to divulge everything) to at least explain their situation. When this happens, a simple understanding is reached.
There is a third option, and hopefully, you do not have this type of person on your bridal party. This person is called the moocher and is a person who just wants handouts and can not be bothered to pay their own way in life. Even though they should knowingly pay, they hope it goes under the radar and that others do not notice. This person needs to be dealt with upfront and clearly. If this person does not pay and everyone else does, you can have a mini situation on your hands. A great example of this is in our Ask Emilie blog called Bridal Party Won’t Pay.
Who Pays For Bridal Party – It’s All About Communication
As you can see from the above that there is no right or wrong when the question is asked: “who pays for bridal party tuxedo & dresses”. It literally comes down to background, personal choice and in some cases, their financial situation. If there is one key piece of information to be taken away, it should be this “the bridal couple should make it clear to the bridal party who pays for what and the earlier, the better”. Most people are happy to pay if they are aware, and it is not sprung on them. The advice above will lead to better communication, less stress and no confusion between the bridal party and couple.
Are you paying for the bridal parties clothes or are the bridal party? Have you been a bridesmaid or groomsmen and had not been told you were paying? Do you have a different view of who pays for the bridal party? Join the discussion below 🙂