Hey! You are one of my closest friends! So I’m going to make you spend $200 to $400 on a dress you will never wear again, incur crazy travel expenses, throw several parties for me and also buy me gifts. Because I love you that much.
Does this make sense?
I guess it kind of makes some sense if you look at the folklore surrounding the wedding party:
…the Western bridesmaid tradition seems to have originated from later Roman law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits believed to attend marriage ceremonies. The bridesmaids and ushers dressed in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits wouldn’t know who was getting married. Even as late as 19th century England, the belief that ill-wishers could administer curses and taint the wedding still existed. In Victorian wedding photographs, for example, it can take quite a bit of inspection to pick out the bride and groom from among the other members of the bridal party!
It was the job of the bridal party to possibly intercept curses meant for the bride and groom. How is that fair? Apparently, the wedding party has always been screwed.
Weddings are really fun and wonderful and it’s great watching friends that are in love take that step. I just don’t understand when or why it became the responsibility of the bridal party to cover the costs of something that is required for their participation. Or when it became acceptable for those tying the knot to blissfully ignore the enormous financial burden they are dumping into the laps of their “closest friends”:
Mint.com estimated in 2011 that the average total cost of being a bridesmaid is a whopping $1,695—encompassing the dress ($150); travel to the wedding, shower, and bachelorette parties ($300 each); various gifts ($200); and all the odds and ends that accumulate along the way. If you have half a dozen pals who count you as one of their closest, those costs can be paralyzing—especially if they’re clumped into one or two seasons.
Everyone knows weddings are crazy expensive, and it’s hard enough for couples to shoulder the financial burden of everything they entail without throwing in the added expense of paying for the outfits of the wedding party. But really, I think it should become the tradition. It’s so myopic to make ceremonial choices you can’t afford and then throw the burden on your friends to make your aesthetic dreams come true. Why is this even considered remotely okay?
I think if you want an extravagant wedding complete with extravagant matching outfits for your bridal party, you should should pay for it. It just makes sense.
(photo: Getty Images)