When you are planning your wedding, you have the pleasure and privilege to choose the ladies who will stand by your side as you say “I do.” Your bridesmaids and maid of honor make up the esteemed group we call the bridal party, and you might think that they should feel honored to be selected as a part of this important and exclusive circle. Of course, when you’re planning your big day you’re very focused on you and your partner’s needs rather than the bridesmaids, so sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you are asking them to do something for you, and this is a mutually agreed-upon relationship. As the average cost of being a bridesmaid rises wedding season after wedding season, we thought it might be helpful for us to break down these costs so that you can see what it really costs to be a bridesmaid. Keep these factors in mind when planning your wedding so that your bridesmaids will be happy to be a part of your big day.
The engagement party, the bachelorette party and the bridal shower are all extremely fun celebrations for you and your partner. Although you and your parents might be covering some of the costs, the bridal party is typically expected to pick up the rest. Not only are your bridesmaids expected to spend time planning these events, but they also spend a lot of money on invitations, décor, food and drink, gifts, travel and accommodations. Bachelorette parties have turned into full weekends of debauchery and fun, but the price tag quickly rises as the event becomes more extravagant. Bridesmaids can expect to spend up to $100 per pre-wedding event, with destination bachelorette parties (like a girls’ weekend in Vegas or Cabo) costing up to $1000 per person!
Photo Credit: Any Given Party
Perhaps the most obvious cost a bridesmaid will have to incur is the wedding day outfit. This includes a dress, shoes, jewelry and accessories that you have picked out for her. Sure, there are cute bridesmaids dresses that are affordably priced under $50, but the reality is that you’ve probably fallen in love with a certain style of bridesmaid dress that can average $200 to $300. Don’t forget that they’ll probably have to have these gowns altered a bit, so tack on an additional $50 to $100 for alterations. Shoes will probably run upwards of $50, plus whatever jewelry and accessories you want them to wear. The overall cost for bridesmaid attire gets expensive – fast. If you can and are willing to, choosing dresses and shoes that they can re-wear again after the wedding will show your bridesmaids that you are considering them and their budgets during your wedding planning process.
Photo Credit: Kai Grafia
Hair and makeup
Many brides like to have their bridesmaids have matching hairstyles and similar makeup looks. In order to achieve this, it needs to be professionally done by a hairstylist and makeup artist. Common etiquette states that if you want your bridal party to have certain hairstyles and makeup, you should offer to pay for them. Same goes for manicures and pedicures, and any other spa or skin treatments you’re all having done before the big day. However, you might not be able to foot the entire bill, meaning the bridesmaids will have to take care of these beauty treatments themselves. Depending on the salon you’ve chosen, all beauty treatments can cost upwards of $100 per person!
Photo Credit: Sunglow Photography
Bridesmaids are expected to give gifts at the engagement party, bridal shower and the wedding itself. General guidelines for how much to spend on these types of gifts state that engagement party and bridal shower gifts should be around $50, while the actual wedding present can be in the $100 range. This means that each of your bridesmaids will be spending around $200 on various gifts for you throughout the entire process.
Photo Credit: Wilson Lau Photography
Travel and hotels
Are you having a destination wedding, or are any of your bridesmaids coming in from out of town? Flights, rental cars and hotels all add up very quickly, and depending on if your wedding is during the busy travel season, it can be very expensive for your maids to come out to your wedding. Don’t forget that they also need to travel for the pre-wedding events, and all of these small trips can end up costing over $1000.
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All the items we listed above can be narrowed down to a numerical range, and that figure can vary quite a bit. The one thing that does not vary when it comes to being a bridesmaid is the amount of time they need to commit to your wedding. All the pre-wedding events, discussions, conversations, shopping – although they are spread out over a period of time, the fact remains that you are asking each of these women to commit a large amount of time to you and your wedding. It’s impossible to set a dollar value to the time commitment, so it becomes even more important for you to be aware of the commitment you are asking of your bridesmaids.
Photo Credit: JLM Couture
Your bridesmaids are your support system throughout the long and stressful wedding planning process. By asking them to be in your wedding, you are asking them to dedicate their time and money to your big day. Although you might think that they should feel honored to be asked to be a part of this momentous occasion, remember that you are asking them for something huge: their time. The amount of time it takes to be a bridesmaid is priceless, so you should treasure your bridesmaids for being a part of your special day. We hope this simple cost breakdown was helpful so that you can see what it really costs to be a bridesmaid.