Always a bridesmaid, and never a bride? It’s common. In fact, most women succumb to the duty at least five times before they become a bride.
But don’t let a friend’s nuptial plans empty your pockets. Before you agree to be a bridesmaid, understand the costs associated with the duty.
According to Wedding Wire, the average cost of being a bridesmaid in a single wedding is $1200, but that can quickly escalate to as much as $1800. And keep in mind, this is just the cost associated with one wedding. Many women are bridesmaids for multiple weddings in their lifetime!
When your friend is getting married and you’re at the wedding party, things get expensive fast. How much should the average wedding dress cost for bridesmaids? Read on.
Understand the Bride’s Budget
In typical tradition, the bride’s parents pay for the wedding. But there are some things that are typically excluded from the parent’s responsibility. Bridesmaids’ dresses are one of them.
Find out how many other bridesmaids are at the wedding. If there are five or more, expect a large wedding. Ask the bride about the wedding budget to get an idea of how much you will have to spend.
If it’s a large wedding, presume an extravagant setting. The bride’s going all out on everything, including looks for her bridesmaids. It also helps to consider your knowledge of the bride. Is she formal? Low-key? Have an expensive taste? Your understanding of the bride will help you estimate how much being a bridesmaid will really cost you.
Also, bridesmaid dresses fluctuate in cost. So ask for the quota upfront before you commit. Then determine if the budget’s something you can handle.
Typical Bridesmaid Expenses
The dress may be the largest expense bridesmaids incur. But it’s not the only one. When you say yes, here’s what you can expect to take care of:
- Cost of Travel – Unless the bride is rich or generous enough to pay for everything in the wedding, you’re paying to get there. Bus, train, or airplane, you’re covering your own fare. Lodging as well, if the bride doesn’t provide it.
- Beauty Aesthetics– The fun part of weddings is the fancy part, getting all dolled up. Before you get excited about the makeup, hair, and manicures, know you’re paying for it. And MUAs and hairstylists aren’t cheap.
- Bachelorette Party – Almost every bride wants to celebrate her last night being single. Guess who gets to help pay for that party? That’s right. As a right of friendship honor, you chip in to help give the bride a night to remember.
- Bridal Shower – Not only do you have to help pay for the bachelorette party, but many times, bridesmaids are expected to chip in for the bridal shower.
- Gift – Everyone invited to the wedding, brings a gift. It’s like saying thanks for the invite and the free meal afterward. The wedding party doesn’t get a pass. You’ll have to buy a gift as well.
The total damage can get overwhelming. But all is not loss. You can find ways to save with the dress.
How Much Does the Average Bridesmaid Dress Cost?
Depending on the bride’s taste, you could get a tailor-made dress or catalog option. The catalog option is a plus.
The average cost of a tailor-made dress can be over a thousand dollars. The cost of the fabric and sewing starts at over $300. That doesn’t include pattern-cutting costs or alterations. It also depends on the tailor.
The catalog option is similar to buying out of the store. The prices vary, and you could find a knock-off version somewhere else.
To lower the cost even more, ask your bride if she’d be willing to let you find your own unique dress in the same color as the other dresses. That way, you can find an affordable dress online for as little as $40!
Save Money as a Bridesmaid
Unless it’s a courthouse shindig, weddings aren’t cheap. The average wedding dress cost for bridesmaids isn’t either.
Before you commit to a friend, strategize ways to save on the dress. Even if it means wearing a discount imitation, find a way to save.
Rachel Slifka is a freelance writer and human resources professional. She is passionate about helping fellow millennials find success with their finances and careers. Read more by checking out her website at RachelSlifka.com.