The (High) Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

How much can you expect to pay if you say “yes” to being a bridesmaid in a friend or family member’s wedding?

Before you accept this honor, you’ve got a few things to consider. Not counting the time and effort involved over next eight to twelve months (depending on how far ahead of time you’re asked to stand in the wedding), you’re also looking at a non-trivial financial obligation. The following is a short list of items to think about before making that all-important decision to be part of the bridal party — or just enjoy the festivities from afar.

See Also Being A Bridesmaid: The Costs | Designer Bridesmaid Dresses

The Dress

The bride usually wants a specific style of dress — and she’ll usually determine herself what you’re wearing. (Hint: it’s not a democracy!) If it’s a lavish wedding and the bride’s already picked out her gown, that usually sets the level of formality. As a result, your dress could end up costing you two to three hundred clams (or more) … and let’s not forget the accessories.


The Shoes

Those satin shoes don’t come cheap! Most brides expect you to wear satin dyeable shoes to match your dress. Shop around for the best deals, and find a retailer who will dye them for free or at a discount if the whole bridal party buys through them.


Hats, special brassieres or bustier, pantyhose, hair accessories, and jewellery … normally the bride splashes out for the jewelry as a thank-you gift. But if not, be ready to pay for the items she’s picked for you to wear.

Hairstyling and Accessories

You’ll probably need to pay for your own hairstyling. Unless you already know the styles that look best on you, the procedure’s the same as for the bride. First, find a style (or the bride will suggest a style). Second, find a stylist you trust. Third, do a dry run by having the stylist try the style on you. See how it holds up throughout the day.

Style Me Pretty

The Bridal Shower

Bridesmaids and the maid of honor typically host a bridal shower and split the cost among themselves. Depending on what you plan, this could cost a lot.


Have kids? You may need to get a sitter for the day. Also, don’t assume your children are are invited guests just because you’re in the wedding party. If they are invited, you may need to make special arrangements so someone can care for them during the ceremony and reception. After all, your job really isn’t over until after the dinner and speeches wrap up.

See Also Being A Bridesmaid: The Costs | Designer Bridesmaid Dresses


Even though you’ve already spent a great deal of money to get ready for your friend’s wedding, you still have to buy a gift for the bride and groom. A sentimental gift is best, but most often bridesmaids give money in an envelope with a nice card. How much to place in the envelope is entirely up to you … and the customs in your area.


Thank You Notes

Finally, after the wedding you should sit down and write a nice note to the newlyweds, thanking them for letting you be part of their important day.

Now that you’ve got most of the facts and expenses on the table, it should be easier to make a clear decision whether to accept or decline your good friend’s invitation to join her bridal party.

Nancy Tessier is owner of Bridal Basics and is an industry professional specializing in the design and creation of wedding related items. For other articles, please visit her site at
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