Being a bridesmaid is not cheap. According to Salon.com, the average cost of being a wedding attendant is a whopping $1,700. That’s the average which means sometimes it costs even more. A lot more. There are bridal showers (yes, sometimes more than one), a bachelorette party, gifts, travel expenses, and the list goes on and on… I break out into a cold sweat thinking of all the money I’ve spent throughout the years on being a bridesmaid. But to be honest, I’d do it all again for love of the bride. But a smart and savvy bride can help her ‘maids save money along the way down the aisle without too much effort. And without making it too obvious or having to sacrifice too much. Of course, you never want them to think you’re scrimping or cutting corners because of them. At the end of the day, you’ll be married to the man you love with amazing memories along the way. But let’s keep those memories just as pleasant for your friends and family. Here are eight money-saving tips and tricks to keeping your big day from breaking your bridesmaids’ banks. 8 Ways to Help Your Bridesmaids Save Hundreds: One:One Photography 1. Be Thoughtful The most important thing when planning your wedding is to remember that it is YOUR wedding. So yes, it’s the most important day in your life but it may not be the most important day in your bridesmaids’ lives. Let’s keep things in perspective. Everything you ask them to do, from dress shopping to crisscrossing the country, they do because they love you and want to be there for you. Be mindful that they are giving you their time, love, money, and energy because they want to be there for you. Don’t make them regret that they agreed to be your ‘maid in the first place. Say “thank you” whenever you can, let them know how much you appreciate their help, and never act like you expect it! These thoughtful gestures will go a long way. One:One Photography 2. Be Upfront As any bride knows, the second your future hubby slides that sparkly sucker onto your finger you start planning every second of every day between now and your big day. Once you have your plan in place, or even the skeleton of a plan, keep your ladies informed. The earlier they can book plane tickets, train tickets, and hotel reservations, the more money they can save. Giving them last-minute notice that you want everyone to fly to Las Vegas for your bachelorette is going to drain their bank account and their goodwill. Once you get engaged and plans are in motion, keep all your ‘maids informed every step of the way. Amanda Marie Studio 3. Forgo Gifts You expect your ladies to wear a certain dress and be there for you on your big day (or days.) Their love, support, and guidance throughout your engagement are the best presents they can give you. So why expect them to shell out even more for a gift? Your ladies break open their wallet for your shower, bachelorette, travel, and more. Do you really need them to buy you a gift, write you a check, or send you something off your registry to prove their devotion as your friend? No, you do not. My BFF, who organized and threw me my bridal shower, was beyond off the hook on gifts. She had put time, energy, love, and of course, money into my wedding already. You really cannot ask for more! If they do it anyway, so be it. But never expect anything beyond their means. Maison Meredith Photography 4. Be Smart Dreaming of a faraway ceremony in a tropical locale? Then maybe you should ditch dreaming about that faraway bachelorette or super chichi bridal shower. If you expect your guests to travel near and far for your wedding and then shell out even money for a hotel, try picking local events for your other big day activities. If your ladies do need a hotel room for your wedding, try and book a block of rooms to save them money. Set up alerts and browse travel sites to help your ‘maids (and all guests, actually) find the best rates. People are more likely to make an extra effort or spend a little more, if they feel you are looking out for them. Graddy Photography 5. Dress Smart Every bride and bridesmaid knows that one of the biggest, most unavoidable expenses is the dress. And while, of course, you don’t want your ladies to look sloppy, there are plenty of ways to merge chic and cost-efficient. First, try and keep the cost at or under $175. While I know this isn’t exactly cheap for a bridal party dress, it is extremely affordable. This price range also gives you plenty of options. At the Wedding Shoppe, you can search by price to see all of your economical options. On-trend designers like Bill Levkoff, Bari Jay, and Kennedy Blue (Psst! The Shoppe is an exclusive retailer of this line!) have a ton of budget-friendly and awesome bridal party dresses. Also, try and keep in mind a dress they might wear again. Or better yet, let them choose their own style. Lay down a few parameters and let your ladies pick what works best for them while still fitting in with your overall concept. Amanda Marie Studio 6. Don’t be too Picky I’ve been an attendant many times. And each and every time, it was fun. But I took something away from each experience. The most annoying times were when the bride was overly picky. She picked out what shoes she wanted us to wear, how we had to wear our hair, the color of our manicures, and even decided what type of accessories we should have on. Every time you’re too picky, your ‘maids are pulling more cash out of their purses. Forcing your ladies to buy certain shoes, get their hair done, and dictating their accessories, only adds to the cost of the wedding for them. Do their shoes really matter? Is how they wear their hair going to ruin your big day? Do not insist on your ‘maids getting their hair and makeup done. If this is something you feel strongly about, then maybe gift it to them as their attendant present. Or help them by sending hair and makeup tutorials their way. If you’d like them in certain accessories, then maybe that should be their present. I was an attendant in one wedding where the bride wanted us in shawls. Instead of asking us to pay for the shawls to match our dresses, they were our bridesmaid gift. It was simple yet thoughtful and to a bridesmaid, that matters the most! Jody Savage Photography 7. Combo It For my big day, I really didn’t have my heart set on a bridal shower. Sure, it sounded like fun, but I had a whopper of a bachelorette party and two engagement parties. My best friend decided that there was no way no how I wasn’t getting my bridal shower. She planned a small gathering the same weekend as one of my engagement parties. It was a pretty no muss no fuss get-together. Just the people I love. Everyone invited to the shower was already going to be in town for the engagement party so there was no extra travel expense. When my cousin tied the knot, she managed to combine our dress fittings with her bachelorette weekend—which I missed because I had just had my twins. But the sentiment was there. Planning your extra-curricular wedding activities on the same weekend makes life easier for your ladies while also saving them money. Plus, there’s a better chance of more people attending your events when you group them together. Monica Lopez Photography 8. Let it Go From the attendant attire to the shoes to everything in between, remember that while it is your big day, it’s more fun when everyone is happy. Remember that showing a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. Simple bridesmaid gifts like a certificate for a blowout or manicure will help your ladies save money on your big day. And if you do want everything—the showers, the bachelorette abroad, the destination wedding, etc.—be respectful when people don’t RSVP yes to everything. While you might be ready to break the bank for your big day, you cannot expect everyone to feel the same way. With just a little effort, you can help your ladies save some dough while celebrating you in a grand way. Do you know other ways to prevent bridesmaids from breaking the bank? Join the conversation in a comment below!