Proper Etiquette, Paying for Wedding Ie: Dresses, Tuxes, Etc

Updated on September 16, 2010
S.N. asks from Fort Worth, TX
21 answers

Hi Mamas
The last time I got married was 16 years ago and my parents paid for everything.
Since then I've gotten divorced and found a wonderful man to share my life.
We are trying to plan for the financial aspect of the wedding.
I'm not sure what the proper etiquette is for paying for some things like....
WHO PAYS FOR the bride's maid dresses?
WHO PAYS FOR the groom's men tuxes?
Is there anything else I'm unaware of that the Bride and Groom should pay for,
other than the actual wedding, reception, flowers, caterers, photographers, etc etc
and everything else that goes with the actual wedding?
I don't want to be surprised down the road. Please share your advice and experiences.
Thanks, in advance!

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So What Happened?

Hi Mamas...Thank You so much for all your experiences and advise!!!
I should start off by easing a lot of your minds by saying that we were planning on a small intimate wedding all along. I didn't realize how many of you would think this was an issue... lol. We will have approximately 40 guests total including children. :D YAY!!
We had no intention of going overboard with extravagant or elaborately designed dresses/colors that could not be used again. We are looking to keep EVERYBODY's expenses down. :D The groom's son will be his best man. A friend of mine will be my Bride's Maid, my older daughter will be a Jr Bride'sMaid and my younger daughter will be our flower girl. We are paying for everyone's attire.
We like the idea of spending our money on the Honeymoon instead of paying a lot of money on a Venue for the reception.
Again, Thanks so much for all your advise and suggestions!!!

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answers from Dallas on

The bridesmaids and the Groomsmen pay for their own outfits AND shoes. However, it is tradition that the Bride gives her bridesmaids a small gift at the rehearsal dinner or in the Bride's room. That gift is typically the accessories that she wants them to wear. The Groom also give the groomsmen a small gift as well. However since most of their outfit is already rented it can be something like a pocket knife, koozie, or what ever signifies their relationship to the groom and his special day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

All the weddings I have been in (except my own) I had to pay for my dress, for my wedding I paid for all the dresses. But I made the dresses. The same went for the Tuxes. Don't forget the gifts for the matron of honor and best man.

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answers from Houston on

Hi Susan. You have received some great responses. I used to plan weddings for a living so thought I would put my 2 cents in. 2nd weddings are usually pretty casual. Brides maids & the grooms men pay for their own. The bride & groom generally pick what they want but remember the financial situation of each person. If you are having a small wedding with only a few attendants you might just want to have the men wear suits & give the girls the colors & style of dress you like & let them purchase what they want. Somebody mentioned the tipping. This is really important. You want to make sure that the person marrying you gets his tip as well as the organist (if you have one), usually the dj, and any wait staff that serves you or coordinates & limo driver if you have one. This is all handled by the bride & groom. Also, don't forget the gifts for your attendants. This is a nice gesture to say thank you. You should have something for all Brides maids, grooms men, flower girl, ring bearer, book attendant, ushers & so forth. The one surprise that always seems to catch people is the photographer. Make sure to go over in detail what pics you want & how many before the wedding. I have seen several brides think that pics are going to be about $500 & then get a bill for $1500 because they were not clear on this.

Congratulations & Best Wishes

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Elope!!! You will save everyone time and money. Spend all the money you save on a fabulous trip for you and your husband , or throw your self a grand reception and celebrate with everyone. Then you don;t have to worry who wears what or buys what. You just relax and celebrate your new life.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree that, traditionally, bridesmaids and groomsmen pay for their own attire. With that said, however, you should be aware of the financial situations of your wedding party. For our wedding, most folks paid their own, but we knew that DH's best man was a single dad without a lot of extra money, and just travelling in for the wedding was a big deal for him--so we found a friend for him to crash with, so he wouldn't need to pay for a hotel, and quietly paid for his clothes. You want the people who are closest to you to be able to participate without causing them a lot of stress, so it's good to be sensitive.

Another thing we did to save money for my bridesmaids is buy off-the-rack dresses from the mall. My sister (and "best woman"--she refused to be called "matron of honor") and I went to the mall one day about 3 mos before the wedding and tried on semi-formal dresses until we found one we liked, then told my other bridesmaid (I only had 2) to go to Ann Taylor and buy it. I was "best woman" in a wedding about 2 years ago, where the bride did the same thing. The dresses were nice and more expensive than one might usually buy ($150-$200), but less than you'd pay for a bridesmaid dress, plus they were both the kind of thing you could, actually, wear again to another formal event or wedding. Congrats on your upcoming wedding, and have fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

When my husband and I got married he had a good paying job and we found a really good deal on purchasing the tux's. They were something like $30.00 each because we bought the last years style...who cares, eveyone is looking at the bride anyway. We had cumber buns to match the dresses and the guys bought their own shirts or rented them and the shoes, I don't remember but it wasn't more than $20.00 out of pocket for each of them.

The Maid of Honor and I made the bridesmaids dresses and it was so much fun. The all night sewing parties and getting to visit, it's things like this that we remember forever. The other bridesmaids did help some too. They bought dyable shoes that matched and wore them white. It was September and quite warm, the dresses were peach lace over peach taffeta.

I think anyone can have the wedding they want. Don't let anyone tell you that you should tame it down just because it's your second wedding. My first wedding was planned by my mom and a wedding coordinator, it was pretty and okay but I really enjoyed doing things myself and expressing myself more this last time. If I ever marry again I will, without hesitation and with no uncertainty, hire a wedding planner to do everything except hand me a bill. I have planned weddings for many of my friends and I can tell you that there are tons of things that can come up at the last minute that you forgot and that you really don't want to deal with. If you are doing this yourself the buy a modern bride guide to weddings and get the lists that cover everything that can be forgotten. You will get it all that way.

Congratulations on the marriage and everything that comes with it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

The groomsmen and bridesmaids can all pay for their own apparel. Don't forget to get your attendants a nice gift (jewelry they can wear for the ceremony?). Tips for everyone, rehearsal dinner? It's your wedding and your day. Why do people assume 2nd marriages have to be casual or an elopement (although that's what we did). I hope tyour enjoy your wedding day!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Bridesmaids and groomsmen pay for their own dresses and tux rentals. Your bachelorette and bachelor's parties (if you choose to have them) are usually covered by those in the bridal party.

Everything else is paid for by you, unless your parents have volunteered for anything. Don't forget to factor in tips for those assisting you with the wedding, such as on-site coordinators, DJs, etc. Most bridal sites should have info. on proper tipping today.

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answers from Los Angeles on

YOU PAY FOR THEM. Its only proper. If not, why don't you charge for
the food at the reception and not put stamps on the invite cards? Or better yet
raise the bar and only have things that are over $500 on your registry. Sorry to sound rude, but there are so many CHEAP weddings I have attended and they make guests wonder WHY even have the event.



answers from Dallas on

I agree with those who suggested a small wedding (no bridesmaids/groomsmen) or eloping. My husband & I married over 16 years ago, I was 29 and he was 37. Neither of us had been married before, and we chose to get married at sunset on a beach in Maui in October. Our wedding consisted of the minister, two photographers, two of my husband's family friends who live on the island, and the two of us. I can't imagine a more relaxed wedding day. He golfed that day, and I got pampered in the spa. He wore linen shorts with a traditional Hawaiian shirt, and I wore a dressy-casual flowing cream skirt and blouse. No stressing over costly wedding dresses, shoes, bridesmaids dresses, suits, tuxes, etc.

We had a lovely reception with our family and friends after we returned, which we paid for. We didn't ask anyone to pay for any part of our wedding (we were grown adults with careers), so I never felt like I might be imposing on any of my friends and family financially or otherwise.

Congratulations to both of you; I wish you a happy life together!



answers from Orlando on

Ditto what Michelle said.

The only thing I will add is be considerate of your bridal party. Make sure you are not asking someone to stand in the wedding who would have a financially hard time paying for a dress or tux, unless you plan to offer to help pay for it.

My second wedding was much less formal. I just had my sister stand for me and I let her pick whatever she wanted to wear. Of course she bought herself a new dress, but she did it within her own budget and style. And my husband and best man wore suits instead of tuxes. The whole big formal wedding thing is completely unnecessary for a second wedding, in my opinion. Even if it's a first wedding for the man, 9 out of 10 times he won't care, and secretly prefers that it be smaller and more casual, but doesn't dare say so in case it will upset YOU! haha!



answers from Dallas on

I did the second marriage wedding, too. Hope you are as happy as I am! Anyways, I wanted to mention the organist fee or music costs and also don't forget to give a monetary gift to the pastor. Bridesmaids dresses are purchased by them as are the groomsmen's tuxes. Also check out the reception place rental. Seems to be a shortage of affordable places in this area so begin searching early if you don't have one readily available. Good luck to you!!



answers from Tyler on

My vote is for the wedding in Hawaii!!!! My husband and I drove over the state line about 46 years ago and got married. By the time we married, I had sung at so many weddings, saw every fiasco that could possibly happen, and chose to just go get married!!! I've never regretted it!
In these rough economic days, please have mercy on whoever you ask to be in your wedding. Personally, I think one formal wedding in a lifetime is enough!!!!



answers from New York on

I paid for my bridesmaids (had only 3), groomsmen got their own stuff. we got gifts for bridesmaids and groomsmen. bridesmaids got jewelry, groomsmen (i don't remember actually :)
i had a pretty casual wedding, in our backyard. the ceremony was at a beautiful church so in all it didn't cost us much. but even that little wish i had eloped. unnecessary expense, and i would have rather spend that money traveling.



answers from Las Vegas on

Hi Susan, Congrats on your engagement! I am a wedding photographer and have seen a little of everything. Traditionally, the bride's maid & groom's men pay for their own, but I have seen them paid for by the bride and groom plenty of times. It is what you work out with them.

Basically, you will need:

An Officiant
Ceremony location (chairs if not included)
Ceremony music
Flowers & throw away flowers
Garter & throw away garter
Reception venue
Caterer/Table & Chairs if not included
Cake server
Champagne & Bride/Groom Champagne glasses
Guest champagne glasses
Card cage or basket
Rule of thumb: one drink for each guest per hour

As for any unexpected expenses, a good contract should spell out exactly what you are getting and if the professional won't do that for you, I would suggest not doing business with them...even if the price seems right. There are good and bad in all professions.

You may want to look online for reviews and credibility. Keep in mind, people are very apt to go online and write something bad and almost never write something nice. My concerns would be more than one complaint of the same, one particular venue here takes a deposit and then the day of or before the wedding says the neighbors have complained and they will have to move the wedding to another location that the bride/groom never saw before. I found this venue had about 3 complaints of this and would be concerned of something like that.

Best wishes and enjoy planning your wedding.



answers from Dallas on

I agree with Jennifer: if you want to do it right, do it SMALL. It's not worth all that expense. Use that money to take a great honeymoon or put down on a house or car or take a cruise. You will never regret it!

You don't say if your 'groom' has been married before, but you've already done it once, you don't need to do it again. All the fanfare and matching dresses/suits are not going to make your life more wonderful. If the two of you are truly in love, you don't need all this stuff, you just need each other.

You can always have a reception at your home or reserve a room at a nice restaurant or something and invite friends to come celebrate with you.

Trust me, you'd enjoy it a LOT more if you DON'T! Use the KISS principle and Keep It Simple, Sweetheart!



answers from Boston on

Brides maids pay for there own. Grooms men pay for there own.

I think Eloping is so romantic........then throw a party when you get home from your getaway!!! You will save so much money! Second weddings should be smaller and less extravagant. But its your choice of course! LOL



answers from Indianapolis on

My husband (first marriage each) chose not to have an elaborate wedding - that was our choice. Generally, second weddings are much less formal, but you certainly have the right to do it how you wish.

We did not have bridesmaids or groomsmen - though he has 2 brothers and I have 2 sisters, we didn't want to ask them to incur the expense.

The advice you've received so far has been very sound. Usually, for a second marriage, the expenses are covered by the bride and groom.



answers from Dallas on

I know in my day the bridesmaids and grooms men all paid for their own but back then they also never heard of $100,000 weddings either. I was a maid of honor about 5 times before I got married and always had to pay but again they were $100 gowns probably could not find one for that now. New years for a dressy short dress I paid $270 last month. G. W



answers from Dallas on

Bride's maids and grooms men pay for their dresses & tuxes. Usually you get a gift for your bride's maids and groomsmen...think jewlery for the wedding, and flask for the grooms men or on the more side think of monogrammed koozies for both or a mini ice chest monogrammed. Can you tell I do embroidery? Ha, ha! I always think of those things since that's the business I'm in, but in reality, they are great gifts. I think that's it for what you pay for other than the wedding. Congrats! Let me know if I can help you with anything...


answers from Fresno on

You already have some good advice here. I wanted to add that if anyone in your bridal party was also part of the bridal party in your first wedding, make sure that you're not going over-the-top with your choice of bridesmaid's dresses.

I have a friend who got married the first time and we all had to buy $200 lavender dresses with flounces and bows, and $100 shoes that I only wore the one time, which was fine, but then she divorced and remarried and expected us all to buy crazy expensive stuff the second time around, too (and it was similarly only wearable the one time). Just consider that if they have already paid a sum of money for clothing for your first marriage, that you should really try to keep their expenses low the second time around.

Or elope! We did, and had a blast! =)

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