Q: When I told one of my bridesmaids the cost of her dress, she freaked and said she didn't know if she could afford it. I wasn't planning on paying for my bridesmaids' dresses. What should I do?

A: If the wedding is months away, sit her down for a financial heart-to-heart. Be up front with her about all of the upcoming costs: As a bridesmaid, she might be expected to chip in for the bridal shower and bachelorette party; and there are possible travel expenses. Then give her the option to back out of the bridesmaid business, making sure she knows that you won't take it personally. Tell her you understand that the responsibility comes with a pretty big price tag. If the wedding is just weeks away and she is reacting to the cost as you are placing the dress in her hands, consider putting a halt on bridesmaids' gifts and using that money towards their dresses. However, if you really wanted to buy specific gifts for your gals, just spring for this bridesmaid's dress. She can promise to keep it under wraps if you don't want the others to find out.

See all questions about budget etiquette

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