Wedding Professionals And Attendees Are Breaking Down The Cost Of Being In A Bridal Party

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You upload a video of the bridal shower to your Instagram story: a cream-colored room with calla lilies, your dress color compliments the décor. Amid the celebration, the cost feels irrelevant.

Wedding Professionals And Attendees Are Breaking Down The Cost Of Being In A Bridal Party

And maybe the cost has become irrelevant: bachelorette parties, bridal showers, and weddings have become a source of social media content. These changes are potentially changing the wedding culture indefinitely, increasing the expectations of bridal party members and the cost of weddings.

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“The evolution of social media has provided a platform for the wedding industry to flourish and thrive while showcasing a wide range of wedding trends from simplistic to the most lavish high-end pre-wedding and wedding day looks and celebrations” Djuna Dauphin, CEO and lead event coordinator of You’re Cordially Invited, LLC in Maplewood, New Jersey, said.

Friends laugh at a table during a wedding reception. A man stands at the center of the table.

“In my experience as a wedding planner, a member of a wedding party, and a bride myself, I can confirm that there are times when couples do assume some of the wedding party expenses,” Dauphin continued.

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Dauphin believes that in terms of a specific number, being in a wedding party can range from at least $500 to thousands.

Wedding couple laugh with family and friends

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Emily Reno, owner of Emily Reno Events, a Las Vegas, Nevada-based wedding and event planning company, said it is perfectly acceptable to decline being a bridesmaid or groomsman because of the financial expectation. “My advice to bridal party members is before you accept being a bridesmaid or groomsman, have a frank conversation with the bride or groom, that way when they make a decision to say yes or no, they are informed on what the expectations are,” she expressed.

Three men hold drinks in hands, smiling at a wedding

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“Just say ‘Thank you so much for asking me to be in your wedding. I want to make sure I can fulfill the duties and the expectations you have for those duties, so what do you have in mind for the bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, or any events leading to the wedding day,’” Reno continued.

Bridesmaids toast with champagne

“I have seen several weddings lately where couples are not having bridesmaids or groomsmen or a bridal party, or they are choosing to elope just so they don’t have those expectations for the bridal party or friends and family that would be attending the wedding.”

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“Putting an exact cost on what it cost to be a bridesmaid or groomsman now is really difficult because all couples have different expectations on what they expect from their bridal party, and you know, some couples I would say are more high maintenance. They have more elaborate or multiple bridal showers and are planning things in different cities, while some couples keep things more simple,” Reno concluded.

several white flowers are decorated in a hall for a wedding

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I also asked members from the BuzzFeed Community for their take on the costs of being a bridesmaid and groomsman, and that included wedding attendees, former brides, and wedding professionals.

Two men holding hands getting married on the beach

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The responses varied based on cultural practices, but majorly settled around the realm that weddings are expensive. And being in a wedding is no exception. These are the responses we received:

1.“It’s wild to me that in the US, the bridesmaids are expected to pay for their own dresses, etc. I’ll never understand that. It’s your wedding; you pay for everything in it.”

table set for wedding party

2.“I’m from the UK, and being a bridesmaid will cost me no more than anyone else who is attending the Hen and going to the wedding. I will also come away with a new dress and a little gift bag courtesy of the bride!”

Maid of honor kneeling down and smiling at bride. She helps the bride with her shoe
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3.“If you expect your wedding party to be out any substantial money to be a part of it, you’re a bad friend. If you’re willing to go into debt to be in the wedding party, you don’t deserve to be an adult.”

Women smiling and holding up hands during a bridal shower
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4.“My wedding is in September. I have two MOH and nothing else. I paid for their dresses and getting them some cute gifts. I don’t think they should have to pay for anything except alterations if they need them, and that’s it, and that’s around $50 from the person I go to. Other than that, I’m taking care of them because they are helping me out on my big day!

“I guess since I don’t have bridesmaids, I’m able to do that, and I honestly like it that way. Less stress, and the people I care about the most will be there with me. I don’t want to look back at my wedding photos and see friends I don’t even know anymore. That happens a lot. I have my sister and my best friend since childhood who I have known since before I can crawl!! I got them custom robes with their names, custom purses with their names, face masks, necklaces, earrings, and shirts.” 

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5.“I’m sorry, this is practically illegal in my culture. It’s our wedding…we have to make sure we pay for everything. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are OUR GUESTS for OUR WEDDING. It’s unacceptable to make someone else pay for your day. We invite you to be a part of our special day, and it’s our duty to make sure everyone invited is taken care of. It’s honestly bizarre to make someone pay anything for your party!”

An Indian wedding ceremony
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6.“I agree that expecting your wedding party to shell out a substantial amount (I’d guess: more than $150 for people with an average livable income; more than just a $25-50 gift for someone working low-paying jobs), then yes, you are a bad friend.

“But I don’t think it’s fair to say that going into debt to be in a wedding definitely means that ‘you don’t deserve to be an adult,’ as least not the first time it happens. Many people quickly feel trapped into spending more and more, with their ‘friend’ giving them emotional blackmail to ‘be there’ for them. It’s even worse if the person demanding the spending is a close relative; tougher to back out. Plus, once you’ve already shelled out a bunch of money, the sunk-cost fallacy can trick you into feeling like that money is wasted if you don’t spend more and more.”

etconner

7.“Earlier this year, I spent about $1k being a bridesmaid. This was between the dress, shoes, bachelorette trip, and paying for the stylist to do my hair on the day of the wedding. I had never been in a wedding before and didn’t really know how much it would cost me. I had to put pretty much everything on my credit card because I’m going through a hard time financially right now. It’s set me back months in terms of my savings plan.

Bride in her wedding gown smiles, next to her bridesmaids

“If I had realized how much it would cost me, I would’ve politely declined and just attended as a guest instead. If I ever have a wedding (which I probably won’t), I wouldn’t want my bridesmaids to pay anything at all, so I’m so confused by this mindset.”

jaymw

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8.“I feel so lucky that for the only wedding I’ve been in so far, the bride bought all of our dresses and paid for all of us to have our hair and makeup done. The only things I paid for were gas (it was a long trip for me) and my hotel room.”

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9.“I’m a MOH, and I do believe it should be the bridesmaids’ responsibility to pay for their dress, shoes, hair, makeup, and jewelry. Whatever you’re wearing should be paid for by you. The bride and groom are already paying for so much to make the wedding happen. But the bachelor/ette party, everyone should pay their own way. Even the bride/groom. I’ve spent about $300 for everything I’m wearing at the wedding, plus the concert we’re going to for the bachelorette party.”

Maid of honor toasts champagne glass with the bride
Ol’ga Efimova / Getty Images/EyeEm

10.“I was a bridesmaid at my cousin’s wedding this April. She had the wedding abroad, so here’s a breakdown of what I paid. Hen Party: £300. Wedding gift: £100. Flights to wedding: £150. Accommodation for wedding weekend: £250. Hair and makeup: £100. Nails (prior to going): £40. Accessories and shoes (she bought the dresses): £80. Outfit for rehearsal bbq and post wedding brunch: £60. Spending money for a weekend abroad: £200. Total: £1,280.

Champagne being poured from bottle into a champagne flute

“Obviously, this was extreme as it was abroad, but I saved like mad to be able to afford it. I don’t begrudge a single penny of it as seeing her enjoy her wedding and being her bridesmaid was worth the cost.”

ciaraannlouisew

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11.“I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding in my hometown in a week and a half. The bride and I have been friends for 17 years, so I’m happy to do it, but I live in Virginia now, and the wedding is in Washington. The bachelorette party was in Vegas. Between the flights, hotels, time off work, dress, alterations, shoes, makeup, hair, I’ll end up spending almost $3k to be IN a wedding (not even for my own).

Las Vegas wedding chapped on Las Vegas strip, palm trees surround the buildings

“I also have to be in my sister’s wedding in two months. I refuse to do anymore weddings. My S.O. and I even plan to elope and get married on a beach on our honeymoon. Weddings are ridiculously expensive.”

kaylamaelong

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12.“I am coming up on my ninth time being a bridesmaid this December, with my first time being in October 2012 and my most recent time being October 2021. With such a variety, the most I spent was around $3,000 for travel to the bachelorette, specific clothing for bachelorette, gifts given during the bachelorette, dress for the wedding, travel to the wedding, hair/makeup/nails for all events, accessories for events, along with costs like paying a pet sitter for out-of-town travel.

Women through money in the air at a bachelorette party

“I myself am married and only asked my bridesmaids to purchase their dress and cover their travel to the wedding. I paid for their accommodations, all meals during the weekend, and hair/makeup. I also told them that the bachelorette was optional, but all chose to attend. I think people getting married need to be conscious that it’s a big ask, and someone may not be able to be a part of the day because of cost. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you.”

meganvbudd

Gelokorol / Getty Images/iStockphoto

13.“I work for a tux rental company. For the whole thing (coat, pants, shirt, vest, tie, studs and cufflinks, suspenders, shoes, socks I don’t want back, and pocket square), you’re looking at $200. That’s for a slim fit.

man buttoning top button on tuxedo

“The crap standard fit you could get for about $120 with everything. If you’re over a size 60 coat, it’s $20 more expensive. Personally, I don’t generally charge it, but I can’t speak for others. Most of our stuff goes up to a size 68, and the average coat size I would say is a 46.”

missym6

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14.“I used to work in alterations. I’m not sure how much the average bridesmaid dress is, but I do know the bare minimum cost for alterations is about $15 for adjusting the straps. The most common alteration is going to be hemming it, since the dresses at the store where I worked are made to fit someone who is 5’10”. So that would be around $60-$120. If you need more than the hem done, then total alterations can be around $200-$300.”

Seamstress working behind a sewing machine
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Tell me about your wedding party cost experiences (or ones you know about) below!

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