The long weekend has come and gone which means that wedding season is officially in full swing. And while we all know weddings are expensive for the bride and groom (and their parents!) it's no cheap undertaking for members of the bridal party either.  So make sure you do the math before you agree to help get your friend down the aisle! 

Author's note: All weddings and bridal parties are different. Not all of these costs apply to all weddings.

Engagement Party: $50+
Not everyone has an engagement party so you may be able to get away without spending a dime on this one. Or, you may be tasked with planning one, in which case you'll be spending a lot more than just dimes.  While members of the bridal party are generally not expected to pick up the tab on an engagement party, you may have to purchase the balloons, put together the candy table, help make the hors d'oeuvres, etc.  So let's say a task or two of party prep + a gift you find on sale = $50.

Bridal Shower: $75+
Same as the engagement party, not all brides want a shower. But if they do want one, odds are you'll be a lot more involved in the shower than you were expected to be for the engagement party. Budget a few more tasks + a group gift with the other bridesmaids = $75+

Bachelorette Party: $100+
Now this one is completely on the bridal party, meaning it will also be the most expensive.  You might be able to get away with buying a few gag gifts (think penis straws and a tiara with a veil attached) and splitting the tab with the rest of the bridal party at a local bar.  But be careful: the bachelorette party can quickly add up! With many bridal parties opting for destination weekends instead of single nights out, your costs may also include transportation and accommodations, not to mention food, drinks and activities for the duration of your stay.

Dress: $100-500
Bridesmaid dresses are notoriously known to be puffy, uncomfortable, available in a scary number of colours and never something you would dream about wearing again.  Unfortunately, they're also known for their steep price tag.  It's hard to say exactly how much a dress will be as it really depends on length, material, designer, embellishments, etc. For example, I am in two weddings this summer wearing long dresses for both and one was about $150 while the other was just over $300.

Alterations: $50+
And then, because bridesmaid dresses magically never fit anyone perfectly, you have to go and get it altered. Alterations can vary depending on the job you need done - from a simple hem raising to the more complicated work of adding corsets, moving waistlines, etc. In my case, I was able to get away without altering my first dress ($0) but needing severe alterations on my second one ($195 and still climbing!)

Travel: $$$
Travel costs vary hugely from person to person.  You may luck out and live close by to the reception.  Or, like me, you may need to fly across the country ($500) and stay overnight in a hotel ($150).

Hair & Makeup: $100+
As someone who doesn't get her hair and makeup professionally done ever, I was pretty flabbergasted when I found out that it would cost $85 for someone to paint my face.  But, it was definitely worth it as my paltry bag of drugstore makeup and skill-less self-application would not have cut it for the big day.  Depending on the hair/makeup artists hired and the number of people having their hair/makeup done, a cheaper price may be agreed upon. I would recommend budgeting between $50 and $100 each for hair and makeup ($100-200 total).

Shoes, accessories, etc.: $50+
And then there are all the little things: new shoes to match the dress, earrings, a mani/pedi, a new clutch, etc.  These things can definitely add up so try to start your search ahead of time and look out for sales or coupons.

Wedding gift: $100+
General wisdom says that those closest to the couple (i.e. the bridal party) should be spending the most on their wedding gift.  However, many couples are slightly more lax on this element as they know how much money you have already invested in their big day (see above), especially if you have additional travel costs.  But it's still nice to give the couple a little something to wish them well - perhaps something more sentimental, than expensive, since you know them really well. 

Contributions from the bride: -$
Many couples will contribute to some of the expenses above which will actually deduct from your wedding budget! For example, one of my brides paid a portion of everyone's dress and gifted us with earrings and a bracelet so we didn't need to buy accessories while my other bride is taking care of hair and makeup costs. 

Standing up with your best friend: priceless! 
Despite the major hit a wedding may take on your credit card, there is no better feeling than having a front row seat as your dear friend starts a new adventure with the love of their life. Sure, the day will be stressful and you may have to curb your spending habits in order to afford it all but it will be worth it in the end as you help to create the most special day in your friend's life. 

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How much did you spend for the last wedding you were in? Have I forgotten any major expenses? Let me know! And stay tuned for part 2: Money Saving Hacks for the Bridal Party

 

Published by Riana Autumn