Why Being a Bridesmaid is Costing me Over $2000

Well, over $2500 to be exact.

There were a few comments on my last post about my budget over the next three months about why – despite my otherwise frugal expectations of spending – my bridesmaid budget was quickly draining my networth. Someone said “you do realize you are spending $2500 on being a bridesmaid and that is ridiculous.” Well, I wanted to break out my costs to show you all that it’s not really that ridiculous at the moment. As I noted in my response to that comment – also – my friend has three bridesmaids vs a larger party so all of the items we’re buying we’re splitting 3 ways, which quickly gets expensive. And she already had drama with one of her bridesmaids (having to replace her) so unless I’m going into debt over this I don’t feel comfortable asking her to step out of the wedding or pay less than the other bridesmaids (neither of whom are rich either.)

Bridesmaid Budget

Flights to NY area for 3 events: $1200  ($400 per flight avg)
Bridal Shower Cards, Favors, Games: $100
Bridesmaid Dress: $200 (already purchased)
Bridesmaid Dress Alterations: TBD ($100?)
Bridesmaid Dress: Silver Peep Toe Shoes (required) $75
Bachelorette Party Hotel in NY: $150
Bachelorette Party Activities in NY: $200
Wedding Day Hair/Makeup: $150 (required by bride)
Hotel Nights (2) for Rehearsal Dinner & Wedding: $300
Gift for Bride & Groom: $200

TOTAL $2625

There are a few items here I could minimize to reduce that budget a bit — I can use frequent flier miles for my flight (but they’re still worth something and tends not to be worth it to use them to fly cross country.) I can hope my dress fits well enough to not require any sort of severe alterations, but these dresses are designed to need alterations, at the very least a serious hem. I can make a stink about the $150 of hair and makeup required on the wedding day but she really wants us to get this done professionally for photos. If I was completely out of cash I’d say something to the bride about it, but it doesn’t feel right. I can skip the bridal shower which I’m sure she’d understand worst case scenerio, but now my plan is to piggyback an old friend’s baby shower the following weekend on that trip, and given I’ll be applying for jobs on the east coast too that week actually makes sense to set up some interviews while I’m there.

The actual bachelorette party in NY is super pricey. We were originally going to do it in Atlantic City which would have been cheaper but the bride really wanted NY so NY it is. I’m looking into ways to keep our budget in check so it’s no more than $300 per person total including the hotel room – as it’s very easy to spend much, much more than that in NYC for a night on the town.

In any chase when I agreed to being a bridesmaid I didn’t realize I’d be out of a job. I also wasn’t thinking necessarily about the costs but how honored I am to be chosen as a close friend of a girl who has indeed become a better friend of mine over the years despite our distance. It’s not like I have a ton of friends asking me to to be in their bridal parties (I was in one other wedding in my adult life — and that one had a ton of bridesmaids and all I had to pay for was my dress with alterations and opted for hair design at the wedding, plus I chipped in heavily for the bachlorette party because her maid of honor was refusing to throw a big party out like the bride wanted. Even that with a hotel in San Francisco did not come to over $600 or so total plus wedding gift.)

I’m not sure what to do now. Adding it all up on paper is a bit scary, especially given the no job situation. Also, if I do get a job and book flights for going back and forth that would be a pain in the first few months at the job. That may very well be what happens but it’s not going to be ideal. Anyway, now you all know why my bridesmaid budget is so high!


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9 thoughts on “Why Being a Bridesmaid is Costing me Over $2000”

  1. Do you think this couple will stay married long term? That’s the question you should ask yourself the next time someone asks you to participate in their wedding party. That’s the advice I got from someone after she saw many of her friends who married in their 20s get divorced during their 30s.

  2. joy:
    long term reader here.
    there are times you need to say no. from knowing you from all your posts here, I say this is one of those times when you simply need to say no. yes it’s that simple.

    1. I don’t feel like I need to say no, but I did send an email out to the other bridesmaids with this budget breakdown and asking them if we might be able to scale back some of the costs.

  3. Is it really necessary to fly out for 3 different events? When I was a bridesmaid for my best friend there was no bachelorette and she asked that we not make a fuss over the shower since she was only doing it on the insistence of her mother and it was a family affair. I could go on about the wedding-industrial-complex, but your friend has clearly bought in, so won’t be canceling the events. But why do you HAVE to be there for them?

    Personally, I think it’d be totally reasonable to tell your friend you lost your job and will be there for the wedding (and wouldn’t miss it for the world, yada yada yada), but swinging the other expenses on skimpy unemployment checks doesn’t feel like a good bet. Good friends should understand that kind of stuff and won’t make you feel bad about it. We are all grown ups, after all, and doing the responsible thing shouldn’t be a big deal.

    If you cut those two events, you could easily cut the spending by $1K+.
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    1. You are right. I could do this if I had to. I’m considering it. One thing is that since I am currently looking for work I might want to apply to jobs on the east coast and can spend some of that time with my family. I don’t mind flying out for one of the events. I would skip the shower but that’s the one that is a better time for visiting the east coast and family for a little while. So we’ll see. I do have frequent flier miles and some vouchers so it might not actually cost $1000 to get out there, but I could use those miles for something else so it’s still like spending money, just not the end of the world.

  4. I like the feedback that you don’t have to go to all three events. Most of your cost is in flights even if you do use miles for one of them. But ultimately it’s up to you and your relationship and what you will enjoy. Feel free to put yourself first.

    Separately if you found a job on the east coast, wouldn’t that have negative implications for your relationship. I would think so, I’d suggest strongly not to just do that by yourself unless you are willing to take that risk. Being together and being a team is a big part of a relationship

    1. I’m still figuring the whole situation out. If I do get a job (I have a promising interview next week) the plan would be to try to get a start date of Oct 1 so I can spend a good deal of Sept on the east coast with my family anyway. I’m definitely flying out for the wedding so the one night in question would be the bachelorette party. I’ll have to price it out to see how much that costs.

      Regarding working on the east coast, it’s not that big of a deal. My bf is willing to move out to NY if I did get a job out there. Our lease ends in March so there would be a little while of cross country living but not too long. It wouldn’t be the end of the world. I could live with my parents until he moved out and we could find a place together. That said the job I really want is in CA so I think that has a better shot anyway.

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