Second Time Around: Financial implications of a second bridesmaid dress

by epi on July 11, 2012

Q: A good friend has recently asked me to serve in her upcoming wedding. I would love to participate. However, I am a bit uncertain since this will be the second bridesmaid dress I have purchased. Her first wedding was called off one month prior, and each bridesmaid was not reimbursed. Only instead, we were told that she would use them in her next wedding…(yeah right). Now, I am the only old bridesmaid asked to serve this time around. I am quite honored, but do not have a money tree in my backyard. I do not want to hurt the bride’s feelings and take away from her excitement. She was kind enough to serve in my wedding 5 years ago. I have subtly hinted, but do not feel like I should have to pay for a second dress. I find myself in unfamiliar territory. What should I do?

A: Unfortunately, there is no “right” answer.  You may be honest with your friend but you don’t want to come across as being miserly and there is a risk, as you said, of hurting her feelings.  Although it would be thoughtful for the bride to offer to pay for your dress in part or in full, she is not obligated to do so.   Therefore, it’s your decision.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rebecca July 11, 2012 at 8:47 am

When I first began reading this, I thought the question was going to be “what if she cancels again at the last minute like last time”? I would think that’s a valid concern too.

I disagree with the bit about worrying about “coming across as miserly” or “hurting her feelings” in this situation. There is nothing wrong with standing up for one’s feelings or concerns, especially if spoken kindly and plainly. Is the bride worried about anyone thinking HER miserly, not reimbursing the first group when it was her choice to cancel? I doubt it. Also, her previous situation, while certainly painful, is hardly a secret, and not exactly the fault of this bridesmaid; so how could inquiring about the practical details be “hurting her feelings”? I’m sure the bridesmaid will not be asking in a sarcastic or accusing tone, simply stating her concerns.

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Jody July 11, 2012 at 11:35 am

I think this is a conversation you need to have with the bride sooner rather than later. You can let her know that you’d love to participate but that you have budgetary concerns (which is the truth). If she pushes you, that mgiht be a good time to mention that you spent quite a bit on the last bridesmaid dress and aren’t sure you can manage such an expenditure this time. If she doesn’t offer compensation, or offer to let you use the other dress, there probably isn’t much you could do other than decline the honor of being a bridal attendant.

If the bride hasn’t asked anybody else from her prior wedding party to serve this time, I can see why she neglected to mention using the “old” bridesmaid drseses. Can you have yours tailored so that it can be worn as a regular party dress?

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D July 16, 2012 at 11:53 am

So you come here to read an expert’s etiquette column and you disagree with the response and post your disagreement. My understanding about rudeness is this: It’s not about how YOU feel, it’s about how you make the other person feel….of course now I’m being rude. Shame on me!

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Elizabeth July 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Actually, D, this forum is provided for just this kind of discussion and, at times, disagreement. As long as disagreement is politely expressed, everyone’s point of view is encouraged.

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