You upload a video of the bridal shower to your Instagram story: a cream-colored room with calla lilies, your dress color compliments the décor. Amid the celebration, the cost feels irrelevant.
“The evolution of social media has provided a platform for the wedding industry to flourish and thrive while showcasing a wide range of wedding trends from simplistic to the most lavish high-end pre-wedding and wedding day looks and celebrations” Djuna Dauphin, CEO and lead event coordinator of You’re Cordially Invited, LLC in Maplewood, New Jersey, said.
Dauphin believes that in terms of a specific number, being in a wedding party can range from at least $500 to thousands.
Emily Reno, owner of Emily Reno Events, a Las Vegas, Nevada-based wedding and event planning company, said it is perfectly acceptable to decline being a bridesmaid or groomsman because of the financial expectation. “My advice to bridal party members is before you accept being a bridesmaid or groomsman, have a frank conversation with the bride or groom, that way when they make a decision to say yes or no, they are informed on what the expectations are,” she expressed.
“Just say ‘Thank you so much for asking me to be in your wedding. I want to make sure I can fulfill the duties and the expectations you have for those duties, so what do you have in mind for the bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, or any events leading to the wedding day,’” Reno continued.
“Putting an exact cost on what it cost to be a bridesmaid or groomsman now is really difficult because all couples have different expectations on what they expect from their bridal party, and you know, some couples I would say are more high maintenance. They have more elaborate or multiple bridal showers and are planning things in different cities, while some couples keep things more simple,” Reno concluded.
The responses varied based on cultural practices, but majorly settled around the realm that weddings are expensive. And being in a wedding is no exception. These are the responses we received:
1.“It’s wild to me that in the US, the bridesmaids are expected to pay for their own dresses, etc. I’ll never understand that. It’s your wedding; you pay for everything in it.”
2.“I’m from the UK, and being a bridesmaid will cost me no more than anyone else who is attending the Hen and going to the wedding. I will also come away with a new dress and a little gift bag courtesy of the bride!”
3.“If you expect your wedding party to be out any substantial money to be a part of it, you’re a bad friend. If you’re willing to go into debt to be in the wedding party, you don’t deserve to be an adult.”
4.“My wedding is in September. I have two MOH and nothing else. I paid for their dresses and getting them some cute gifts. I don’t think they should have to pay for anything except alterations if they need them, and that’s it, and that’s around $50 from the person I go to. Other than that, I’m taking care of them because they are helping me out on my big day!
“I guess since I don’t have bridesmaids, I’m able to do that, and I honestly like it that way. Less stress, and the people I care about the most will be there with me. I don’t want to look back at my wedding photos and see friends I don’t even know anymore. That happens a lot. I have my sister and my best friend since childhood who I have known since before I can crawl!! I got them custom robes with their names, custom purses with their names, face masks, necklaces, earrings, and shirts.”
5.“I’m sorry, this is practically illegal in my culture. It’s our wedding…we have to make sure we pay for everything. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are OUR GUESTS for OUR WEDDING. It’s unacceptable to make someone else pay for your day. We invite you to be a part of our special day, and it’s our duty to make sure everyone invited is taken care of. It’s honestly bizarre to make someone pay anything for your party!”
6.“I agree that expecting your wedding party to shell out a substantial amount (I’d guess: more than $150 for people with an average livable income; more than just a $25-50 gift for someone working low-paying jobs), then yes, you are a bad friend.
“But I don’t think it’s fair to say that going into debt to be in a wedding definitely means that ‘you don’t deserve to be an adult,’ as least not the first time it happens. Many people quickly feel trapped into spending more and more, with their ‘friend’ giving them emotional blackmail to ‘be there’ for them. It’s even worse if the person demanding the spending is a close relative; tougher to back out. Plus, once you’ve already shelled out a bunch of money, the sunk-cost fallacy can trick you into feeling like that money is wasted if you don’t spend more and more.”
7.“Earlier this year, I spent about $1k being a bridesmaid. This was between the dress, shoes, bachelorette trip, and paying for the stylist to do my hair on the day of the wedding. I had never been in a wedding before and didn’t really know how much it would cost me. I had to put pretty much everything on my credit card because I’m going through a hard time financially right now. It’s set me back months in terms of my savings plan.
8.“I feel so lucky that for the only wedding I’ve been in so far, the bride bought all of our dresses and paid for all of us to have our hair and makeup done. The only things I paid for were gas (it was a long trip for me) and my hotel room.”
9.“I’m a MOH, and I do believe it should be the bridesmaids’ responsibility to pay for their dress, shoes, hair, makeup, and jewelry. Whatever you’re wearing should be paid for by you. The bride and groom are already paying for so much to make the wedding happen. But the bachelor/ette party, everyone should pay their own way. Even the bride/groom. I’ve spent about $300 for everything I’m wearing at the wedding, plus the concert we’re going to for the bachelorette party.”
10.“I was a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding this April. She had the wedding abroad, so here’s a breakdown of what I paid. Hen Party: £300. Wedding gift: £100. Flights to wedding: £150. Accommodation for wedding weekend: £250. Hair and makeup: £100. Nails (prior to going): £40. Accessories and shoes (she bought the dresses): £80. Outfit for rehearsal bbq and post wedding brunch: £60. Spending money for a weekend abroad: £200. Total: £1,280.
11.“I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding in my hometown in a week and a half. The bride and I have been friends for 17 years, so I’m happy to do it, but I live in Virginia now, and the wedding is in Washington. The bachelorette party was in Vegas. Between the flights, hotels, time off work, dress, alterations, shoes, makeup, hair, I’ll end up spending almost $3k to be IN a wedding (not even for my own).
12.“I am coming up on my ninth time being a bridesmaid this December, with my first time being in October 2012 and my most recent time being October 2021. With such a variety, the most I spent was around $3,000 for travel to the bachelorette, specific clothing for bachelorette, gifts given during the bachelorette, dress for the wedding, travel to the wedding, hair/makeup/nails for all events, accessories for events, along with costs like paying a pet sitter for out-of-town travel.
13.“I work for a tux rental company. For the whole thing (coat, pants, shirt, vest, tie, studs and cufflinks, suspenders, shoes, socks I don’t want back, and pocket square), you’re looking at $200. That’s for a slim fit.
14.“I used to work in alterations. I’m not sure how much the average bridesmaid dress is, but I do know the bare minimum cost for alterations is about $15 for adjusting the straps. The most common alteration is going to be hemming it, since the dresses at the store where I worked are made to fit someone who is 5’10”. So that would be around $60-$120. If you need more than the hem done, then total alterations can be around $200-$300.”
Tell me about your wedding party cost experiences (or ones you know about) below!