You’ve been asked to be in a wedding. How exciting! But wait—before you accept, there are a few things to consider. While it’s an incredible honor to be in a friend or loved one’s wedding, the cost of being a bridesmaid is more than you think. There are plenty of hidden monetary expenses as well as the time and emotional energy that goes into being a bridesmaid. For some people, the commitment is more than they can realistically afford. If you absolutely can’t make it work, it’s totally okay to say you’d rather be a guest or prefer to participate in a less expensive role. If you want to make it happen, though, go into the experience armed with the right attitude and follow these tips!
The Cost of Being a Bridesmaid: (Way) More Than Just a DressYou might think the bridesmaid dress is the most expensive part of being in a friend’s wedding. Turns out it’s just a small percentage of the wedding expenses associated with bridesmaid duties. Wedding Wire estimates that the average cost of being a bridesmaid is $1200 for each wedding. Yikes! It’s worth noting, though, that the cost of being a bridesmaid—like the cost of living—varies by region. Bridesmaids on the west coast pay an average of $1360 per wedding, whereas Midwest ‘maids have it cheapest at $1100. Shoutout to our local Minnesota ‘maids!
Bridesmaid Duties Are Expensive: Parties, Travel, Gifts, Oh My!Okay, so what are all these extra costs associated with bridesmaid duties? Here’s a breakdown.
- Alterations: Unless you’re paying big bucks to order perfectly-fitted gown, most bridesmaid dresses are not custom made. Nearly all bridesmaids will have to get their dresses altered in some way—shortened, taken in, straps added, etc. The cost of these alterations can quickly drive up the overall cost of the dress and should be considered when purchasing.
- Parties: Bridesmaids are expected to throw the bride several different parties. That often means buying or making treats for the engagement party, party favors for the bridal shower, raunchy decorating for the bachelorette party, and more. Many brides are opting for destination bachelorette parties, too. A night out is one thing, but a weekend away is another and can quickly break the bank if you haven’t prepared for the expense.
- Travel: If you’re lucky, the wedding is close to where you live. For many, however, attending a wedding involves travel. This can be as cheap as a $30 tank of gas or as expensive as a $650 cross-country flight.
- Accommodation: Even if you live in town, most brides want their ‘maids near them the night before the wedding. This means that most bridesmaids will have to pay for 1-2 nights in a hotel.
- Gifts: A wedding shower gift. Lingerie for the bachelorette party. A wedding gift. Even though bridesmaids are already paying a lot, it’s typically expected that they give gifts at each occasion. That can easily put them out an extra couple hundred dollars.
- Hair, Makeup, and Accessories: Some brides will want the bridal party to get their hair, makeup, and nails done together for the wedding. They might also insist on matching accessories and shoes. Altogether, these expenses can match or exceed the cost of a dress.