Have you ever been invited to be in a wedding party, and wondered if your budget could survive? Being a bridesmaid comes with a lot of joy but between the dress, accessories, travel, gifts, and parties, CNN reports the national average cost to be a bridesmaid is $1,700!
Here are 7 tips for saving money as a bridesmaid:
1. Ask if the bride will consider allowing her maids to pick their own dresses in a pre-selected color scheme. If the bride balks at having her girls in different dresses, offer to help her find dresses that work from a budget line. Target offers bridesmaid dresses ranging from $24-70. You can also find used dresses on Bridesmaid Trade, eBay, or possibly Craigslist, and could use these resources to resell the dress after the wedding.
Cost: $24-70 (vs. up to $300 for a traditional bridesmaid dress)
2. Once you have your dress, consider DIY alterations. A professional can charge up to half the cost of the dress (or more!) and in many cases, a professional job isn’t needed for a dress you may never wear again. If you’re new to sewing, check out our guide to sewing your own clothes. A simple hem (to shorten a dress) can be done by hand, or if you’re brave (and the dress won’t show it), with duct tape. If you just need a bit of space taken in around the sides, turn the dress inside out and make a seam out of safety pins. If you have a sewing machine, you can get tips for altering dresses on YouTube. Just make sure nothing shows in the wedding photos!
Cost: $3 (vs. up to $100+)
3. Instead of going to a spa for a bridal shower, throw a home spa day with facials and mani-pedis. You can get manicure tools at the dollar store, and fancy cleansers and lotions from Target, Ross, or HomeGoods. Set up a relaxing playlist on an iPod, and have each bridesmaid bring snacks like tea sandwiches and crackers with fancy spreads from Trader Joe’s.
Cost: $25 (vs. up to $80 per person for a spa).
4. Instead of cake at a bridal shower, bring home-baked cupcakes from a mix and white frosting with food dyes available at the grocery store. Have a cupcake-decorating competition as a shower activity and enjoy the final result for dessert.
Cost: $8 (vs. $50 for store-bought personalized sheet cake)
5. Coordinate with other bridesmaids to share a hotel room and rental cars for the wedding weekend. Consider using Hotels.com or Expedia to find a cheaper hotel near where the rest of the wedding party is staying.
Cost: $20-50/night (vs. up to $200/night for a single room in a nice hotel, with taxes)
6. Network with the other bridesmaids (and groomsmen!) to solicit gifts in kind. Maybe somebody knows someone who does hair and makeup, or has a connection at a restaurant or club for the bachelorette party.
7. Ask the bride to consolidate travel requirements, such as holding the bachelorette party on the same weekend as either the bridal shower or the wedding itself, and in the same city.
Check out my post on frugal wedding gifts when the big day comes!
How much have you spent to be a bridesmaid?