How Much Being a Bridesmaid Can Actually Cost You in 2019
Being asked to be a bridesmaid in someone's wedding is not only an honour but a big responsibility. And let's face it, weddings are expensive affairs so with the excitement comes plenty of expenses.
Jodi Gagné, wedding planner and founder of Simply Perfect, puts it, well, simply. "It's not inexpensive to be in a wedding. And there are some brides that completely recognize that and sometimes they actually choose who they're going to have stand up with them depending on their financial status — because they don't want to put that kind of strain or pressure on their friend if they can't afford it."
Yikes. That's said, it's one of those things where a candid conversation is required and hopefully it works out for everyone. "Sometimes it's not just about the numbers, it's just knowing what the expectations are," she adds.
Gagné points out that unless bridesmaids are really on top of their budget, they probably won't even realize the amount of money they're spending and spreading out over the average year, year and a a half leading up to the big day. "It's a lot easier to manage, will probably go undetected and not hurt the wallet as much."
The cost of being a bridesmaid is shocking, to say the least, but breaking it down helps it all seem a little more manageable. Besides, can you really put a price tag on friendship?
Pre-planning travel ($15-$20 per trip)"This could be going to one or two fittings, or attending a wedding planning lunch," says Gagné. "Regardless of whether I drove myself as opposed to Ubering, and I have to go park downtown, it's going to cost me a minimum of $15, $20."
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Pre-planning dining ($40 per outing)"Assume there are three planning meetings," Gagné estimates, where the bridesmaids actually all get together to discuss things like the bachelorette, the shower and the rehearsal. "Assuming anytime you go out it's about $40. So that's a drink, something to eat, tax, gratuity, multiply that per planning meeting."
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Pre-planning miscellaneous ($50)Say you don't go out for dinner and beverages, and instead opt to go to someone's house. "Even if you go to someone's place, you have to bring a bottle of wine. Or order in."
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Attire for bachelorette ($60 to $150)Any attire, if they wanted to buy a cute little outfit for the rehearsal, or the shower, or bachelorette party, I'd average $60 to $150," says Gagné. "You can buy something super-cute for 60 bucks."
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Manicure and pedicure for bachelorette ($80)Like with outfits, multiply getting nails done by the number of parties. "They may already do it, but they might want to freshen it up for the rehearsal, bachelorette party, shower," explains Gagné.
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Gifts for bachelorette ($250)While it's not typical to purchase a gift for the bachelorette, there are other things that need to be taken care of, whether it's limo rental, decorations, costumes, inappropriate props and drinks. Oh, all the drinks.
And if there's a Jack and Jill in the works, you're essentially throwing another party where you're "trying to figure out how to raise money," says Gagné, "like a casino element, or your bringing something, whether it's money to gamble with, or donations that are related to the party."
Attire for shower ($60 to $150)Again, there are times you don't want to be caught dead wearing the same thing to an event, especially when it's all in part of the same wedding, says Gagné. "They might be going to the shower, they may go to the rehearsal dinner, they may go the rehearsal itself, so all of those, if they don't want to wear what they have and purchase something new, all of those will take up costs as well."
Additionally, if the newlyweds are planning a post-wedding brunch or lunch, maybe consider wearing the same thing from this on the day after the vows are exchanged. Or something else in your closet. Otherwise, you're dishing out another $60 to $150.
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Manicure and pedicure for shower ($80)Gagné reiterates $80 could be spent on each pre-wedding party.
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Gifts for shower ($50 to $250)"The bridal party may purchase a gift off their registry," whether they're pooling their funds together for a more extravagant present or a bridesmaid can get something on her own. But then there's also decor, gifts to use as prizes for the guests, and all that fun stuff for the shower itself and that bumps up the total.
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Attire for rehearsal ($60 to $150)How many times have you not wanted to repeat an outfit? "Sometimes you only spend $60 but then you might need shoes, different accessories," says Gagné.
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Manicure and pedicure for rehearsal ($80)"The mani/pedi should last from the rehearsal through until the wedding day unless the rehearsal was way before," opines Gagné, adding that the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner typically happen one to two days prior to the wedding, or sometimes up to a week. Gagné advises to get shellac because a regular mani can get ruined after a couple of days. Which only means more cost.
Now, while this isn't a mani or pedi, if you're in a wedding that calls for a Mehndi ceremony, which is typically held the night before the big day as a way of wishing the bride good health and prosperity as she makes her journey on to marriage, you'll want it all or most of it applied beforehand.
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Day of wedding travel ($15 to $500)"A lot of the time, bridesmaids don't have to worry about transportation to the venue because the bride will take care of that but depending on whether they're flying in or get to the venue for hair and makeup, there's that travel to consider," says Gagné, but her estimate spans everything from Uber to flights, not to mention those pesky baggage fees. "It could go higher than that if they're coming from Dubai; it just all depends on the starting destination."
Day of wedding dress ($80 to $500)You can spend anywhere from $80 if you go to J. Crew right up to $500," says Gagné, but adds "there's also the opportunity of renting a gown." It all depends on the wedding.
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Day of wedding accessories ($150)This covers the shoes, jewelry and undergarments, lists Gagné.
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Day of wedding manicure/pedicure ($0 to $80)If you got a shellac mani and pedi for the rehearsal, you should be fine. Otherwise, here's another $80 you'll have to pony up.
Though perhaps if you use one of these awesome nail polishes, they'll last you longer, thus saving you money.
Day of wedding hair and makeup ($200 to $300)"Sometimes the bride pays for it but don't count on it," warns Gagné. "It can get pretty steep, if it includes airbrushing, lashes, that kind of thing. Unlike the bride, however, bridesmaids typically don't do trials so they save on that."
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Day of wedding gift ($250)Yes, after all the money you've already spent, you still need to get the bride and groom a gift. Gagné believes $250 is "perfectly acceptable."
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Day of wedding hotel stay ($200 a night)There's hotel the night of, not to mention all the extra days you're staying. "People are like, 'Well, I had to get there,' but when you add it up it's not just about the bridesmaid's dress," adds Gagné. "There's flying in, hotel stay, say you're coming in for a week or so, and food every single day. Us humans have to eat."
Day of wedding babysitting ($12 an hour)"Brides and bridesmaids are getting older which means they may have family that needs taken care of." Her estimate could be a bit of a lowball. The ages of the children being babysat could change the cost, some babysitters might charge per kid, per hour, or perhaps because of the event, their rates are simply higher.
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Miscellaneous ($150)"There are always things that pop up," says Gagné, from "errands they have to run" to "time they have to take off work" (like lawyers, for example, who work late nights and have to take time to leave the office) so there should always be a "surprise" fund that factors in time, or money, or money not actually spent but is money lost."
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