When I was a little girl, being a bridesmaid was something that I was excited about. But, as I got older and my friends started getting married and the bridesmaids started complaining about the price of the dress, the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, I realized that I didn’t really want to be a bridesmaid.
I’ve been in a bridal party just once in my life. I was the matron-of-honor at my best friend’s wedding and she was the maid-of-honor at my wedding .
It’s a great way to honor your close friends, but the cost of being a bridesmaid is also a great way to completely wreck your budget. My recommendation, unless you’re completely made of money, is to choose whose bridal party you’re in carefully.
Stick with (being a bridesmaid) at the weddings of your besties. It’ll mean more to you and the brides, and you won’t go broke in the process.
One of the more obvious expenses for bridesmaids is the cost of the dress and all the accessories to go along with it. The average cost of a bridesmaid dress is $150, and that’s before alterations. $150 is a lot to spend on a dress that will only be worn once.
If you’re lucky, the bride will give you some say in the dress or you’ll end up with a dress that doesn’t scream “BRIDESMAID!” and that you can wear again.
Along with paying for the dress, you’ll need to worry about getting shoes to match, some type of purse, and jewelry. Some brides do pay for the jewelry for their bridesmaids, which is nice, especially if the bride has great taste and you can wear the necklace or bracelet again.
There’s also the cost of getting your hair and makeup done for the big day. Again, some brides choose to take the do-it-yourself route when it comes to hair and makeup (I know I did), which can be a big money-saver.
Otherwise, you can expect to drop around $100 just to have someone put your hair up and put some eyeshadow on you.
Paying for the Shower
The bridal shower is another cost of being a bridesmaid. In some cases, the maid-of-honor foots the bill for the shower, in others, all the bridesmaids chip in.
The average contribution is $50 per bridesmaid for planning and putting the shower together. Then there’s the cost of the gift, which is also around $50, plus the cost of travel.
If you’re a bridesmaid planning a shower, I highly recommend having it in town and hosting it at someone’s home. There’s no need for a destination shower or for booking an expensive venue.
The Bachelorette Party
The bachelorette party can be another budget buster for the bridal party. Luckily, thanks to bachelorette party etiquette, cost can be lower than for the shower. You’re not expected to foot the bill for other guests at the party.
According to bachelorette party etiquette, cost of things such as food and drink and the price of admission can be evenly distributed.
Still, some brides plan on lavish parties. They might want to head to Vegas or to some other destination, which means that although you’re just paying for yourself, you might still shell out hundreds of dollars for a single night.
The average bridesmaid drops nearly $400 on the bachelorette party.
Although you love your friends, you probably don’t want to spend more than $1,500 on a single wedding. There are some ways you can reduce the cost of being a bridesmaid, without hurting the bride’s feeling or looking cheap:
- Think about renting your dress. While once an area reserved for guys, there are a few designer dress rental services out there. You pay less and return the dress after the wedding, which means it won’t clutter up your closet, either.
- Combine the shower with the bachelorette party. Have the shower the day before the party, in the same location, to cut down on the cost of travel for guests and bridesmaids.
- Chip in for a gift with other bridesmaids. If you all work together, you can get the bride a truly spectacular present, while spending less money than you would if you went your own way.
“What is the Real Cost of Being a Bridesmaid?” was written by Kelly Anderson.