My friend Danielle drew my attention to this fantastic article on brides.com in which five women share their bridesmaid budget. These ladies represent quite a range, from spending (in total) less than $400 to more than  $1,500. I thought it might be interesting to tally my own experiences, which illustrate quite the range as well! (Note: I’m not including the expenses incurred as a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding. I was 16. All costs were covered by my fantastic parents.)

Bachelorette party ($100 – $2,000)

This probably represents the most significant range of costs. Not including bachelorette parties that I was unable to attend, the least expensive was a low-key event in the bride’s hometown, where I was also living. Pedis for myself and the bride, followed by a home-cooked meal with the whole gang, followed by a bar crawl. The most expensive was a glamorous get-away to Miami: flight + hotel (Mondrian) + margaritas by the pool during the day + dinners at high-end restaurants + drinks and dancing over 3 days.

Bridal shower ($50 – $400)

Not including the showers I didn’t attend, the least expensive was when the bride’s mother and sister planned the whole thing, so all I had to do was show up with a gift. The most expensive was my sister’s, which I planned (although a family friend agreed to host it at her home, which seriously cut back on costs). The theme was “happy hour,” which meant fun hors devours, tasty petit fours, and one signature cocktail. (All the guests were asked to bring a bottle of wine to start the happy couple’s wine collection.) Besides the cost of flying back, I covered the food and drinks, and also bought a gift.

Bridesmaid dress + extras ($11 – $230)

Two of my six dresses were from Target: $11 (on sale) green halter and $40 purple shift, respectively. For each of those weddings, I wore shoes I already owned and jewelry gifted by the brides.  The most expensive dress was still quite a steal, $150 peacock-colored strapless dress from Jessica McClintock. The bride asked us to wear silver heels, which I didn’t own, so I spent roughly $80 on those. (I probably could have found a pair for less, but they were so cute!)

Wedding weekend costs ($50 – $500)

Costs for the wedding weekend vary significantly depending on the wedding location. Not only does that dictate the price of hotels but also (1) whether or not I need to purchase a flight, and (2) whether or not I also need to rent a car once arriving. The price range for this starts with a wedding held in the town where I was living (i.e. no hotel, no flight, no rental car, only costs were incidentals) and runs to a wedding held in a different city (i.e. hotel for two nights, flight, rental car, and all meals/incidentals).

Although being a bridesmaid can be an expensive endeavor, it is also a highly rewarding one. I consider it money well spent!

Advertisements