Tip of the Day #37: Beat the Bridesmaid Blues

Tip of the Day #37: Beat the Bridesmaid Blues

I want to preface this post with acknowledging the fact that being asked to stand in as a bridesmaid is a huge honor and a very exciting opportunity.  I am currently a bridesmaid for two dear friends’ weddings and will serve as the maid of honor for my best friend from college in July.  I jumped at the chance support my best gals and have really enjoyed the process.

Before you agree to accept the role of bridesmaid, there are many factors to consider.  Is your schedule the next few months completely hectic?  Can you devote time to planning?  And, most importantly, can you afford {financially and emotionally} to be a bridesmaid?

According to an article in CNN with commentary from WeddingChannel.com, the average cost of being a bridesmaid is a staggering $1,695, closer to $2,000 for major metropolitan areas.  If you decide that you can’t fulfill your duties as an involved bridesmaid, it is okay to say no, just make sure you are honest and upfront with the bride from the get-go.  To ease the blow, take the bride out for drinks and let her know that you want to support her and are excited about her upcoming nuptials but cannot afford to make a financial and/or time commitment to being a dutiful bridesmaid.

To all of you lovely brides out there, go easy on your best gals!  If they cannot afford to make a commitment or approach you with concerns of being a bridesmaid, respect their position.  If you have extra wiggle room in your budget and really want a friend to participate in your wedding party, offer to cover the cost of her dress or travel to show your appreciation.  Money is always a private topic, especially among friends, so be sure to focus on the positive by reiterating how much you want to spend your special day with the people you love most.

For those of you that are approaching the prime bridesmaid years {a.k.a. most 20somethings}, here is a brief break down of costs you may incur by participating in a wedding and a few tips on how to cut costs as a bridesmaid.
Attire

Dress: $100 – $350

Shoes: $50 – $200

Jewelry: $50 – $250

Beauty

Hair: $50 – $200

Nails: $25 – $100

Makeup: $50 – $200

Spa Day: $0 – $250

Travel and Hotel Accommodations

Wedding Hotel: $100 – $300

Wedding Travel: $50 – $500

Bachelorette Party

Activities, Gifts & Travel: $100 – $2,000 (Depending on location and activities)

Bridal Shower

Gift: $50 – $200

Party Decor/Logistics: $150 – $300

Gifts

Wedding Gift: $100 – $250

Here are a few of my easy cost-saving tips to becoming a stress-free bridesmaid.

Attire/Beauty: If the bride has her mind made up on a certain dress color/style, try to find the same dress on sites like eBay or Recycled Bride where dresses are sold at a deep discount.  Same goes for shoes and jewelry.  To avoid hefty charges in the salon, offer to do your own makeup, nails and hair for the wedding.

Travel: Plan ahead!  Sites like Kayak and Bing have fare forecasters to help nab discounted flights.  If you like to live on the wild side, apps like Hotel Tonight offer deeply discounted last minute hotel rooms.  As always, shack up with other bridesmaids to cut down on hotel room costs.

Gifts: Department store powerhouses like Macy*s and Bloomingdales often have seasonal sales on housewares.  Similarly, “members only” sites like One Kings Lane, Ruelala and Joss & Main are great for grabbing housewares at discounted prices.  Pick a useful, thoughtful gift and team up with other bridesmaids to cut down on the cost.  Scour the bride’s registry and then set up notification alerts to find out when items on her wish list go on sale.

Bachelorette Party & Shower: Do some research and suggest venues/locations that are easily accessible for most of the bridal party.  Showers are less expensive if held in a private home — beware of hidden costs with restaurants and lounges including minimum fees for catering, tips, taxes, decor and staffing.  Suggest alternative activities for both the bachelorette party and shower to keep costs down.  Phallic inflatables and body shots are so yesterday — enjoy a day sipping wine at a vineyard or take a cooking class with the bridal party instead.

And, as always, enjoy being there for your friend and always try to keep in mind that the wedding is, after all, about the bride and her special day.

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