It’s an honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid, but it’s also a big responsibility with a lot of expenses involved. According to a recent study, the cost of being a bridesmaid is about $970 per wedding, but that can quickly increase to over $1,500 or more! How can it possibly be that expensive? Pretty easily, actually, when you factor in purchasing the dress, hair, makeup, and (much!) more.
The average cost of being a bridesmaid might actually shock you, but breaking it down can make things a bit clearer and less stressful, and help you find ways to save money in the process.
So, what does being a bridesmaid actually involve?
Before diving into the cost of being a bridesmaid, let’s quickly run through what being a bridesmaid actually means. Simply put, a bridesmaid is a close friend or family member who will support the bride both before and during the wedding. That could mean a variety of things depending on the bride and the wedding. Usually, a bridesmaid has to purchase a specific dress for the wedding, help plan and attend pre-wedding events ( the bridal shower and bachelorette party),walk down the aisle and stand beside the bride during the ceremony.
Of course, anyone who’s ever been a bridesmaid will tell you that some brides will “require” far more than these basic tasks and some brides will be more conscientious of your budget than others. And if you’re the maid of honor, you’ll have even more responsibilities (and expenses) as leader of the bridal party crew.
How much does a bridesmaid dress cost?
The average bridesmaid spends $200 on a dress—that’s quite a lot for a dress you may only wear once! Also, bridesmaid dresses frequently need alterations to guarantee a perfect fit (you want to look amazing in those photos too, don’t you?). This can add an additional $50 to the final dress cost.
While the cost of a bridesmaid dress may seem a bit frightening, many brides are helping their attendants save by allowing them to choose their own dress (about half of bridesmaids are given that option) within a specified color scheme. That way, the bridesmaids can select a style they’re more likely to wear again.
How much do bridesmaid accessories cost?
Nearly 80% of bridesmaids purchase new shoes to wear with their dress, and over 60% buy additional accessories like jewelry, hair accessories, and more. If you add all that up, you can spend an average of $135 on these bridesmaid accessories. However, these costs can be easily defrayed by wearing shoes you already own or borrowing accessories—or your bride may purchase these extras for you as bridesmaid gifts so you’re not spending a ton.
Do bridesmaids have to pay for their own hair and makeup?
Sometimes. If a bride requires that her attendants get their hair and makeup professionally done, she should pay for these services. If she leaves the choice up to the attendants, then the bridesmaids can pay for professional hair and makeup if they want, or do it themselves. About half of bridesmaids go the professional route for hair, and 37% choose to have their makeup done by a pro. On average, a bridesmaid will pay $150 for wedding-day hair and makeup.
What about Mani/Pedi services?
The same holds for mani/pedi services as hair & makeup. If the bride requires that everyone matches, she should pay for it. If she leaves the style & color choices to each attendant, then you’ll pay for it yourself. This can set you back an additional $75.
What about all of the parties—the bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc.?
A big part of being a bridesmaid is planning, hosting, and attending those numerous pre-wedding events—from the engagement party to the bridal shower to the bachelorette party, and maybe more! A bridesmaid can spend over $200 on hosting responsibilities, and gifts for all of these events combined, and the bachelorette party is usually the most expensive. An elaborate destination bachelorette party that requires travel can cost a bridesmaid nearly $400! And these days about 45% of bachelorette parties are in a location other than where the bride lives—so more and more bridal parties are forking out the cash for that girl’s weekend.
And after all of that, a bridesmaid has to buy a gift too? Seriously?!
Yeah, a bridesmaid still has to purchase a wedding gift for the couple. On average, a bridesmaid spends $125 on a wedding gift. This is usually something off of the couple’s registry, or the bridesmaids may choose to chip in to purchase a larger group gift for the couple.
Being a bridesmaid sounds a little intimidating huh? Is it worth it?
Most former maids would say yes! According to a recent survey, a whopping 95% of bridesmaids found their experience enjoyable. So, though there is a financial cost involved, standing beside a loved one during this milestone occasion is a huge deal and entirely worth the money involved.
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