Who should pay for the bridesmaids’ dresses and how much should they cost?

It’s just eight weeks until I’m going to be a bridesmaid for Jean & Marco’s big day – and as I write, I have a potential dress on the way… folks, please keep your fingers crossed that it will fit, suit and flatter me! Eeeek! Being a bridesmaid is all very exciting – it’s my first time and I’m a little nervous – I’ve had bridesmaid dreams, even!! (Don’t ask!)

When Jean asked me it was really, really lovely – she’d bought purses for all of the bridesmaids to use on the day, and inside was a contribution towards a dress – she gave us all the choice of choosing our own dresses in her colour, which is lovely – and I was surprised (and delighted) that she’d included some money towards them.

So when the lovely folks at Oasis got in touch to share their insights about who should pay for bridesmaid dresses, I was keen to read more and find out how you’re all paying for them – and what most of us think ‘should’ be the right way to sort out dresses for our besties. Turns out, the majority of bridesmaids say brides should cover the cost, or “at least contribute” – especially if dresses are pricey!

New survey findings suggest bridesmaids are largely unwilling to cover the costs of their bridesmaid dresses – leaving the bride to pay up.

Over a third (35%) of bridesmaids think that brides should at least make a contribution to the price of a bridesmaid dress, on top of 59% stating that brides should pay in full as a ‘treat’ to their maids.

With the majority of brides expected to cover the cost of bridesmaid dresses, the price is predictably an important point.

The survey – from women’s fashion brand Oasis Fashion, found that 80% of brides spend more than £50 per dress – with the majority (44%) of brides spending between £51 and £100.

The average price per dress sits at £114, which could add a hefty £342 to the wedding budget with an average of three bridesmaids attending.

Despite this spend, just 37% of brides take full control over what their maids’ dresses look like. 35% of brides simply choose the colour of their maids’ dresses, leaving fit, style and accessories to their maids.

The findings come with wedding season in full swing and brides across the country adding the final touches to their well-laid plans.

Findings from the Oasis Bridesmaid Survey include:

– Average dress price is £114 – 44% of brides spend between £51 and £100 – 20% of brides spend over £150
– This drops to 3% spending over £250 per dress
– Only 37% of brides take full control over their bridesmaids’ dresses – 35% only choose the colour
– 4% have no control whatsoever
– 97% of brides think their bridesmaids are happy with their dresses
– 81% of bridesmaids are happy with their dresses

Briony Garbett, Customer Director at Oasis Fashion, said: “The findings gave us a fascinating insight into how bridesmaid dresses are purchased. Whilst it’s no surprise that the bride often gifts the dresses to her bridesmaids, it’s interesting to see that an increasing number of brides allow their maids to lead on the decision-making process when it comes to style and fit, preferring instead to offer a simple colour swatch as a steer.

“Our bridesmaid collection was launched in response to an increasing demand from our customers for affordable dresses in a variety of styles and colours, and its runaway success proves that bridal party style can be found on the high street.”



Oasis has a total of 80 stores across the UK and Ireland and is available online at:

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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