The Cost of Saying “I Will” to Becoming a Bridesmaid

The Cost of Saying “I Will” to Becoming a Bridesmaid

When a friend or relative asks you to be their bridesmaid, your first response is most likely an excitement-filled “yes!”  However, when the planning begins, the experience may cost you more than you had initially thought. The cost of your dress, accessories, travel arrangements, gifts and events leading up to the wedding can add up quickly.

Consider the tips and questions below to help you plan a budget for your new role. There’s nothing wrong with participating on a budget; it pays to be fiscally responsible, and planning ahead financially can help you enjoy your bridesmaid experience even more.

cost of becoming a bridesmaid


  • What kind of dress will the bride want you to wear? If it’s longer or more formal, it’ll likely be more expensive.
  • Will the dress need alterations? The more changes that need to be made, the higher the cost. You may be able to ask a friend or relative to make the alterations for you.
  • Is the bride open to input? Perhaps you can decide together on a dress that you and the other bridesmaids will wear more than once. If you can choose your own footwear, purchase shoes that you can wear to other events or consider a pair you already have.

Hair, Makeup and Nails

  • Does a fellow bridesmaid love to style hair, put on makeup and paint nails? If you or other bridesmaids are especially talented, consider helping each other get ready for the big day without hiring professionals.

Travel Cost

  • Is this a “destination wedding?” If the ceremony takes place at a vacation destination, travel arrangements may get pricey, so plan to save in advance.
  • Even if it’s not a destination wedding, you may need to travel. How many nights will you stay in a hotel room? Can you drive or do you need to fly?

Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party

  • Do you have access to a free or affordable bridal shower venue? Someone in the bridal party may have a home large enough to accommodate guests or have access to a community room in a neighborhood or at a church.
  • Is there a budget-friendly way to include everyone who wants to attend a bachelorette party? A day at the spa where everyone can opt into the services they want or a fun girls’ shopping trip in the city allows for more flexible spending.
  • Headed for a night out on the town? Consider making a nice dinner at home or recruiting a friend who’s a great cook to make dinner for the group beforehand.


  • Did you get the soon-to-be bride that perfect present yet? Being a bridesmaid often means buying multiple gifts for the bride and groom – think engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and the wedding itself.
  • Have you considered gift options that cost time as opposed to money? If you’re not financially able to purchase a gift or give money, don’t feel pressured. There are other options for a wedding gift, especially if you have a talent that can be used to help the bride plan her big day.
    • Crafty? Ask to create the centerpieces.
    • Great baker? Make breakfast for the bridal party or dessert for the rehearsal dinner.
    • Super organized? Help the maid of honor or bride organize and prepare the details for everything leading up to the wedding.
    • Great at makeup? Do the bride’s makeup that morning or for the bridal shower or rehearsal dinner.
    • Like scrapbooking? Create a scrapbook with photos from the wedding or bridal party events so that the bride can reflect on her special moments.

There are plenty of ways to have a great bridesmaid experience, even if you’re working on a budget. Some advanced planning and creativity can go a long way to saying “I will” with confidence!

For more money-saving tips, visit our WalletWorks page.

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