Smart SpendingSmart Spending

How to manage bridesmaid costs

Your best friend is getting married and she needs you by her side. Don't worry, though -- serving as a bridesmaid doesn't have to wreck your savings account.

By Mar 17, 2014 1:25PM
This post comes from AJ Smith at partner site on MSN MoneyBeing a bridesmaid is a rite of passage. When a close friend asks you to stand beside her as she gets married, your first thought may be that it’s an honor.

Bride and bridesmaid © Stockbyte/PhotolibraryThese days, your second thought is probably about your bank account. Being part of a wedding party is expensive and there seem to be more and more expenses added to the job every year.

Beyond the basics

You may not be surprised that you have to buy things for the wedding day. Most bridesmaids pay for their own dress to match the others. On top of that, some brides expect their bridesmaids to purchase special shoes, jewelry, undergarments and other accessories. In addition to what you are wearing, you have to consider transportation to the wedding  -- sometimes this is simply a short car ride but at other times, it can be a costly plane ticket. Factor in accommodations, a wedding gift and possibly hair and makeup applications, and the day can be very expensive.

Extravagant extras

But when you agree to be a bridesmaid, you are signing on for more than just the day. Usually bridesmaids at least attend (and sometimes chip in for) a bridal shower. And you don’t want to show up empty-handed! A bridal shower gift is customary. But showers are the tame celebration -- there’s also the bachelorette party. These parties are becoming more and more elaborate. A night out at a bar and/or restaurant doesn’t cut it anymore. Weekend trips or even weeklong getaways are commonplace making being a bridesmaid a very expensive honor.

Cut costs

It is certainly a nice feeling to have a friend want you close on her big day. Five times I have served as a bridesmaid. I was lucky enough to have brides who were conscious of costs.  Here are some tips I learned from my frugal friends.

The best way to make sure your stint as a bridesmaid doesn’t bankrupt you is to be honest about what you can afford. Let your bride know money is tight and ask her to prioritize the bridesmaid duties. Perhaps you can’t make all of the events or maybe you can try to bundle the bridal shower and bachelorette party to cut down on traveling costs. Try to find another wedding guest to share a hotel room. Maybe the bride will suggest your presence as a bridesmaid on her special day is present enough.

More from

Mar 23, 2014 9:48AM
If the bridezilla wants you to stand beside them in THEIR wedding let them cover the cost of EVERYTHING! I would even tell my best friend NO to flying somewhere & me covering the cost.
Mar 23, 2014 5:16PM
A night out at a bar/restaurant doesn't cut it for a bachelorette party? Really? This is so stupid. If you are all good friends in the Bridal Party you will be able to have fun at just a bar/restaurant. You don't need to do a weekend getaway or a weeklong one at that. The average person, who can afford that and who can take time off work to do that? I don't know, anymore weddings/bachelorette parties are getting too out of control.
Mar 23, 2014 10:24AM
Why do they have to have a stupid wedding anyway?  Just get married and save your money to pay off bills or buy a house.  Why put your friends through all the expense of being and attending your wedding.  Just get married.
Mar 23, 2014 11:18AM
just elope big weddings cause big divorces
Make the bride and Groom cover the cost. But even better. How about setting a limit and stick to it.
Mar 23, 2014 5:13AM
I believed the bride should cover all the cost of bridesmaid :)
Mar 24, 2014 2:54AM
My dad paid for all of my bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dresses, candlelighters dresses, and the dress of my niece who did guest book.  He felt that was his responsibility.
Mar 23, 2014 4:08PM
Big fancy weddings for many is reason enough to make a man wonder if it is necessary and worthwhile..... Most men would agree it isn't important for them and will not make the union any more special.... In fact it often is the beginning of the end for the marriage.
Mar 23, 2014 10:17PM
I am always honored to be asked to take part in someone's wedding.  I would probably cover the cost myself, unless it was way outside of my budget.
Mar 23, 2014 8:23AM
Force them to watch a ad before they get married.
Mar 27, 2014 1:32PM
Best place to get married at a nudist colony (could save a lot of money)As a rule married man know nothing about sex best labor saving device is a women with money.I was married once,now just lease.My ex-wife use to give good HEAD ACES I still miss my ex but my aim is getting better. Am saving my money so I can marry a blond with big Boobs.Happy trials until we meet again  Happy Marriage happy,happy . 
Mar 23, 2014 6:53PM
tough  sh--  who  the  hell  cares...
Mar 23, 2014 9:04PM
Once you are appointed as a bridesmaid, you DO NOT get to "control" costs. The bride decides how much you will spend on everything, and YOU WILL LIKE IT. And no, you DO NOT get to "decline" the request. The first rule of bridal etiquette states quite clearly that a "request" to be a bridesmaid is ABSOLUTE and cannot be declined for ANY reason.

BTW... You DO NOT get to wear your dress EVER AGAIN, either — it's rude to the bride, and it violates your contract with her.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.