Here's What You'll Actually Pay for as a Bridesmaid
words by // Eve Green
photo by // Jenna Nicole Photography
Being asked to be a bridesmaid by a friend or family member is a very exciting moment! It’s no secret that while being a bridesmaid is a major honor, it’s also a big responsibility that will require a substantial financial output by the time you walk down the aisle. Many women will play the role of bridesmaid multiple times over the years, so these costs can accumulate. If you’re wondering how much it will cost you to be in a wedding, Here’s What You’ll Actually Pay for as a Bridesmaid.
Most brides know that being in a wedding doesn’t come cheap, and they make an effort to keep costs within reason for their attendants. A bridesmaid dress will cost you somewhere in the range of $100 - $300. The average price tag on a bridesmaid dress is $150. But, don’t forget about alterations that average around $80, or more, depending on the extent and complexity of the alterations.
Bridesmaid accessories may come in at a minimum. Many brides allow their maids to choose their own shoes, which may mean you don’t have to purchase a new pair. It’s also common for the bride to gift jewelry to the bridesmaids to wear for the wedding. If you do end up purchasing new shoes and jewelry for the wedding, these costs will come in at around $100-$150.
Hair & Makeup
Occasionally, a bride may cover some or all of the cost for her bridesmaids to have their hair and makeup done prior to the ceremony. This is more common when specific hairstyles and makeup is required of the bridesmaids. This isn’t always an option, however, as many brides are also watching their pennies during this costly time. On average, hair and makeup will cost each bridesmaid approximately $100-$150. You may be offered options such as false eyelashes or airbrush foundation, items that come with a surcharge.
Travel & Accommodations
Costs for travel and accommodations will vary widely, depending on location and whether airfare is involved. These expenses are not exclusive to being a bridesmaid, but they do contribute to your overall financial output for the wedding and its events. Take advantage of room block discounts and spare hotel rooms with friends when possible, to split costs. Travel and accommodations will add up to $300 or more.
It’s customary for bachelorette party guests to cover the majority of the costs associated with throwing the party. The Knot states, “While some brides may choose to be clued in to their bachelorette party planning (or completely plan it themselves), it's become normal for the bridal party to agree to cover all of the bride's expenses for the bash. As in, the whole bachelorette party shares the costs of the bride's transportation, accommodations, meals, drinks and entertainment.” Your portion of the bachelorette party costs will likely be in the range of $200-$400. If it’s a destination bachelorette party (Hello Vegas!), expect to contribute on the higher end.
Engagement Party, Bridal Shower and Wedding Gift
The cost of gifts that you should bring to the engagement party, bridal shower, and wedding are not technically part of being a bridesmaid. If you are close to the bride or groom you would likely be attending all these events regardless of bridesmaid status. However, we mention them because all these costs add up and are easy to forget when calculating how much money you will need to attend the wedding and participate as a member of the wedding party.
Are you expected to bring a gift to each event and how much should you spend on each gift? Engagement party gifts are not a requirement, so if you want to bring a gift, that is entirely up to you. Bridal shower gifts usually range between $25- $75, and guests typically spend from $50 - $150 on a wedding gift, depending on your relationship with the bride and/or groom. It is customary for each guest (including bridesmaids) to bring a gift to the bridal shower and wedding.
In summary, as a bridesmaid expect to spend a minimum of $1,000. Serving as a bridesmaid and standing with your friend or family member on the biggest day of her life is an honor. While this role requires time, effort, and a financial investment from you, it’s still worth every penny to be a part of this most important life event!