Before You Say "I Will:" Costs of Being A Bridesmaid

In Living on December 5, 2011 at 10:00 am
Pink poufy dress you’ll never wear again? $150. Fancy schmancy up-do and manicured nails? $100. Being a bridesmaid in your friend’s wedding? Priceless…or is it? According to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com 2010 Real Weddings Survey, the average cost of being a bridesmaid is $1,695. Yikes!
Once you factor in the dress, alterations, hair, makeup, gifts and accessories–not to mention flights and hotels, if necessary–it’s easy to understand why you may have to seriously consider your financial situation before saying “I will” when your BFF asks you to be her MOH (Maid of Honor).
In order to save yourself some sanity and keep your checking account, well…in check, you need to ask yourself one very important question: can you afford to be a bridesmaid? Be honest. If the answer is “no,” then it’s better to be upfront with the bride than wait until the last minute.
Find out if there’s a less expensive way for you to still be involved with the wedding without being a bridesmaid. If you’re the artsy type, volunteer to help the bride with the favors and invitations. A good writer? See if she needs help putting her vows on paper. Maybe you’re the next Jennifer Hudson? Ask your friend if she would like you to sing at the wedding. You may also want to consider buying a group bridal shower and/or bachelorette party gift and splitting the hotel costs with the other guests to save money.
Remember, it’s more important for you to support your friend than bankrupt your savings. If the bride is a true friend (and not a raging bridezilla!), she’ll understand your reasons for not being able to stand next to her at the altar and she won’t love you any less.
Tips for Being a Bridesmaid-Friendly Bride:
– Set a budget. Just as you’re counting pennies, so are your bridesmaids. As a courtesy, ask your girls their price points for bridesmaid dresses and stick to it. Or, if you’re okay with it, simply ask your girls to wear their favorite LBD…they’re guaranteed to look great (and feel good!) in their own clothes and won’t have to shell out big bucks for a new dress.
– Consolidate. Out of courtesy to your out-of-town guests, coordinate with your maid of honor to host your bridal shower and bachelorette party on the same weekend to cut down on additional travel costs.
– Do it yourself. If a member of your bridal party or a close friend is a pro at hair and makeup, kindly ask her if she’d be willing to lend her services for your Big Day. This way, everyone saves money.

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