It isn’t cheap to be a bridesmaid! The average cost of doing your friend a favor may very well be “too much to ask.” How much does it cost you might be wondering? I’ve got a breakdown of the “low average cost” that may be a real eye opener to more than a few brides. We’ve all heard of a bridezilla but how many of you have ever guessed that there were a few bridesmaidzillas? There are quite a few because they are lit about getting sucker punched with one expense after another by accepting the bridesmaid request.
If you are a bride that doesn’t have to count pennies, you may want to ease the financial burden to your friends after reviewing the “low end” of the expenses involved so hang onto your sweet tea and take a look…don’t forget these are low end estimates…
Engagement gift = $50
Shower gift = $50
Wedding gift = $50
Dress = $150
Alterations = $50
Shoes = $75
Lingerie = $50
Hair, makeup, nails = $100
Travel to shower =$300
Travel to bachelorette party = $300
Travel to wedding = $300
Shower contribution (decorations, favors, food) = $50
Bachelorette party contribution (taxis, drinks, entertainment) = $60
At least 30% of the drama at a wedding surrounds one or more bridesmaids. Why? The time and expensive involved for the “friend” of the bride who was chosen for the role. Often, these young ladies have no idea of how costly their role in a wedding can be. On one occasion a few years ago, the bride and maid of honor lost a friendship over it. Why? The bride apparently thought her maid of honor had far more money than she actually did.
My niece Stephaney Mahaney has “always been a bridesmaid but never a bride” which also can be a problem for the bridesmaid. At my niece, Leigh Ann Blais wedding to Alex, my sister and I were careful to let Stephaney wear whatever she wanted and we also took her for makeup, hair and nails to pamper her for the wedding. Leigh Ann (below left) and Stephaney (below right) have always been competitive and it was assumed that Stephaney would find Mr Right first but when she didn’t, Leigh Ann literally beat her down the aisle. I’m hoping that one day Stephaney does find her Mr Right and that when she does and Leigh Ann takes the role of being the bridesmaid at Stephaney’s wedding, she shows the same grace that Stephaney did at her wedding but, you never know. Jealousy can run deep when you have a bridezilla who acts more like a dictator than your “joyous boss” at a position that you may or may want to be in.
Being a bridesmaid doesn’t put you in the center of attention and your role will require finding childcare if you have children, buying a dress you may or may not like, running errands to help the bride or attending meetings with the bride that leave you feeling left out and more than a little green with envy since the bride is planning a fairytale wedding that you fear you may never have yourself! Don’t forget that on wedding day, cameras will capture your smile or lack of one too. It isn’t easy to be “on” all day when you’re exhausted but “photo time” is for everyone in the wedding party including the groomsmen, maid of honor and bridesmaids.
As a bridesmaid, you may have to help plan or pay for the bachelorette party and or Bridal shower and help chip in with ideas too. Being a bridesmaid can be a costly endeavor and if you don’t “feel up to the task,” I suggest you decline the offer up front. Be a guest instead. Guests have no responsibilities other than buying a gift and showing up to enjoy the party!
At one wedding, I had to shield a bridesmaid who was catching flack regarding a tattoo she didn’t want to cover up from the other bridesmaids. Believe it or not, there are people who don’t want your body art in their wedding photos. It’s a good idea to discuss this when shopping for that bridesmaid dress with the bride. If the bride doesn’t have an issue with your body art, the bridesmaids shouldn’t either.
I’m often asked how many weddings I’ve done and the answer surprises a lot of folks. I’ve been planning, coordinating and officiating weddings and events for 7 years so I know what I’m doing. I’ve officiated an coordinated over 700 weddings so there are very things I haven’t seen including cranky brides (or bridesmaids) who are too tired to pose for photos or get into arguments regsrding their role at a wedding.
Squabbles between bridesmaids happen far more than you think and are similar to Inlaws & Outlaws (your new relatives that want to run the show). The reasons for this are that everyone wants to be in control. Ironically, the movie Bridesmaids was fairly close to the truth about bridesmaids who compete with one another in order to be “the favorite” bridesmaid or one has more money than the other. Sadly, one bridesmaid may struggle to pay for the dress much less anything else while another bridesmaid can easily afford to buy anything! Life isn’t fair to the bridesmaid struggling to afford her role. It’s an awkward reality but the brides friends come from all walks of life with done being more successful than others while a few are getting By from paycheck to paycheck.
From backyard weddings to exclusive venues, your role as a bridesmaid can last up to a year and you need to ask yourself if you are really up to the task, drama and expensive of playing the role. If it isn’t worth it–just say no. Save yourself the drama, the expense and the “honor” of being a bridesmaid.
The last thing the bride, the coordinator or the officiant want is to be a referee amongst their bridesmaids. Try to get along if you choose to take on the honor and commitment of being a bridesmaid and know that one day you too will be a bride and can ask the bride who asked you to be a bridesmaid to play the same role.
Weddings are productions of sorts and you will also be required to attend the rehearsal, pose for wedding photos with the new couple (smiling I hope) and attend functions pertaining to the wedding.
If you take on the task, “suck it up buttercup” because your role isn’t about you- it’s about the bride and her wedding not yours.
From junior bridesmaids to the maid of honor–your role in the wedding party is to smile and be an active part of the celebration and not “part of the problem.” Wedding photos often have family members who literally can’t stand each other looking happy next to each other. Why? Because they put their differences aside and focused on the couple knowing the wedding wasn’t about them…