How much time and money actually goes into being a bridesmaid

This one’s for the girls! Asking your best girls to stand by you on your wedding day is such an exciting part of the wedding planning process, but it’s important to know exactly what kind of a commitment you are asking of your girlfriends. From the bachelorette party, to bridesmaids dresses and outfits for the shower and rehearsal dinner, to hair and make up, the costs and time commitment of being in a wedding can add up quick! Here’s a roundup of the most common costs for bridesmaids and the responsibilities associated with the task.  

Bride and bridesmaids in red dresses looking at each other in front of the chicago skyline.

Responsibilities and time commitment of being a bridesmaid:

Yayyyyy you’re part of the bride tribe!!! As exciting as it is, it comes with responsibility. Here are some things to think about and plan for:

  • Shop for bridesmaids dresses and possibly the bride’s gown
  • Help plan a bridal shower and bachelorette party
  • Book travel and hotel reservations for the shower, bachelorette, wedding, and any other events
  • Attend the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
  • Get ready with the bride on the wedding day, and be photo ready all day
  • Be the best bridal party and the life of the party at the reception
  • Most importantly, support the bride emotionally and be there for her every step of the way

Financial commitment: 

We’re talking dolla signs ladies!! Although it’s an honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid, it is also a financial commitment. A recent WeddingWire study says the cost of being a bridesmaid is roughly $1,200 per wedding! Imagine being a bridesmaid in multiple weddings within the same year!! I know that sounds like a lot, but if you break it down, it really does add up! Here’s a little breakdown:

  • Bridesmaid dress cost
    A bridesmaid dress costs on average $208, plus roughly $70 for alterations, which is usually necessary if you want it to fit right and look its best for photos. 
  • Shoes and accessories
    Accessories for the bridesmaids costs $120 on average, but of course a brand new pair of shoes that you’ll only wear once isn’t completely necessary, and sometimes the bride will purchase some wedding accessories as bridesmaid gifts.
  • Hair and makeup investment
    Getting your hair and makeup done as a bridesmaid costs roughly $132, but if the bride is requiring her wedding party to have their hair and makeup professionally done, she usually pays for it. If the bride leaves the choice up to each bridesmaid, then the bridesmaids usually will pay for it themselves. 
  • Travel and accommodations amount
    Not including the bachelorette party, bridesmaids spend $115 on travel to and from the wedding and $205 on accommodations on average. A couple ways to save on this is only stay overnight if the wedding is far enough away that you have to, taking a train or driving instead of flying, and usually the couple can get a discount on hotel rooms if they book a room block. 
  • The celebrations
    A big part of the financial commitment being in a wedding is all the parties leading up to the wedding like the bridal shower, bachelorette, and whatever other fun things you get yourself into! These cost on average $800 with hosting responsibilities, travel and gifts. 
  • Wedding gift
    Last but not least, don’t forget about the wedding gift! Bridesmaids spend $125 on average on a wedding gift or chipping in to a group purchase or honeymoon fund. 

Now after all that, you still want to enjoy every moment of the time leading up to the wedding and the wedding itself! Helping your bestie plan her wedding is a very important step in your friendship and it won’t always be easy, especially in 2020, but keep the big picture in mind and remember why you’re there in the first place.

How to cut costs for your bridesmaids:

If you’re worried about asking too much of your girls, here are some very easy compromises you can make as the bride to help them cut wedding costs!

  • Let your bridesmaids choose their own dresses
    Picking out one dress for all of your bridesmaids will not only be limiting to certain body types, but it also gives them no financial choice in what they wear. You could always go with a color scheme or different variations of a certain style to give them a little bit of a choice while still looking cohesive. 
  • Help pay for travel and accommodation if you can
    Helping pay for travel and hotels for your bridal party can be a great bridesmaids gift! Or if you can’t do that, be on top of airfare and hotel deal sites so you can help find cheaper options or set up room blocks or group airfare deals. Be extra sensitive to out-of-town bridesmaids as it will cost a lot more for them to attend the wedding and pre-wedding events than bridesmaids from your hometown. 
  • Make it known that they are off the hook for some things
    If you feel your bridesmaids have done the most for you leading up to your wedding, let them know that they don’t have to get you a couple gift at the wedding, and that you appreciate all the time and financial commitments they have already made for you. You could also limit the pre-wedding events, like not making your bridesmaids host a shower if your mother or future mother-in-law are hosting one. 

Good luck with planning and enjoy your time with your best girls and make sure to check out my blog post about having a banger wedding reception!



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