Spending Expectation for Bridesmaids

PHOTO BY Adornment Photo


Being asked to be a bridesmaid or the maid-of-honor in a friend’s or family member’s wedding can be one of the greatest joys in life!

You will get to spend that day, and perhaps several days in advance, with the bride-to-be, preparing, celebrating and having fun! You will forever cherish the many special moments that come from being in a bridal party.

In addition to the honor and festive nature of your role in the wedding, you should also have a clear understanding of the expenses that can be associated with your new job title. Hopefully, your friend – the bride, or perhaps, the groom – who asked you to join the party will be very clear about expectations. If he or she isn’t, do not hesitate to ask questions graciously in the early stages. Many a hurt feeling could have been avoided by just a few inquiries early on in the wedding planning process!

In general, as a member of the wedding party, you can expect to cover the cost of the following items:

  • The dress, gown or jumpsuit that the bride has selected for the bridal party. Whether it’s identical for each person or the bride has suggested unique styles for each bridesmaid, the expense is on you. You don’t have to love it, but you do have to purchase it and pay for any alterations it may require.
  • Ditto for the shoes and accessories to go with it. However, it would be wise not to go out and buy a pair of gold Cartier earrings to go with it! Almost every bride wants to give her bridal party jewelry as a wedding day gift that says “thank you” for standing up with her. Unless she specifically asks you to plan your own jewelry, you’re probably in for a semi-surprise on the wedding day!
  • A bridal shower hosted by one or more bridesmaids. More and more, this is becoming a shared hostess role between bridal party members and the bride’s family, but if you don’t catch wind of Aunt Karen getting one organized and asking for your help, then it’s time for a bridesmaid pow-wow!
  • And, throwing the shower doesn’t exempt you from a shower gift! Check out the bridal registry, and see if you want to shop solo or perhaps organize the bridal party to collaborate on one large gift.
  • Is your bride friend the bachelorette party type? If she is, then this is another event that is typically organized and paid for by a bridesmaid or several bridesmaids. If she’s not into the whole limousine-nightclub-hotel room thing, maybe a more subdued girls’ weekend at a spa or even just an afternoon salt cave visit with lunch afterwards. These opportunities are a nice chance to bond with your fellow bridesmaids/men in advance of the big weekend!
  • Your travel and accommodations during the wedding weekend are at your expense. And, it’s best to not delay making these plans! Chances are you have been asked well in advance of the big day, so take advantage of the time to secure any rooms from a discounted block that’s been booked, and of course, you’ll find better airfare if you book early. Especially if the location is a popular place or seasonal. One exception to this might be if the bride has asked the bridal party to join her the night before the nuptials. In that case, it is her responsibility to reserve and pay for the rooms, cabin, cottage or suite.
  • Last but not least – a wedding present! Just like the shower gift, let the registry be your guide or enjoy finding that special, one-of-a-kind item for your friend and her partner to enjoy as they begin their marriage journey together.