Being asked to be a bridesmaid or groomsman in a friend or family member’s wedding is a major honor, but it can come with a major price tag. Last spring, WeddingChannel.com estimated that the average cost of serving as a bridesmaid is now nearly $1,700. The cost for young adults to be bridesmaids or groomsmen, particularly ones who have been asked to stand in several weddings per year, can be so substantial that it’s reasonable to consider denying the request.
Kyle and I did not want to overburden our attendants with time or money demands as several of them were also graduate students at the time and tried to put ourselves in their places to imagine what we would be able to do. Most of our attendants had to fly in to participate in our wedding so they had a significant financial expenditure from the outset.
These are the ways we tried to keep a lid on the cost of being in our wedding:
- we didn’t have any showers or parties outside of the wedding weekend itself so that no one would have to shoulder the cost of hosting the parties or travel to attend them
- we offered for our out-of-town attendants (all but one) to stay in our apartments instead of having to get hotel rooms
- we provided most of the meals during the wedding weekend, from the official wedding events that involved food to homemade pancake and eggs breakfasts
- the attire we agreed on was nice but not very high-end – about $100 per outfit (no matching shoes or jewelry for the bridesmaids)
- we booked a salon for hair, makeup, and nails for the bridesmaids but they had the option of using those services or DIYing
- we didn’t have elaborate bachelor(ette) parties the day before the wedding – my bridesmaids and I went out for a restaurant week lunch (they treated me!) and Kyle had some male friends over to his place for a low-key poker night
Since our wedding, I’ve realized that engaged couples can go even further to keep down the cost to their attendants:
- don’t require matching attire at all so that people could wear their own clothes (saving the cost of buying plus tailoring or renting)
- give portions of the attire like jewelry as attendant gifts
- pay travel costs
- decline wedding presents by saying that their presence is the best gift possible
- leave lots of time for dress-shopping so that the best deals can be found
Our attendants were super supportive, helpful, and gracious to us during our engagement and in scrambling to finish up the wedding prep work the day before. I would hate to have added big financial stress on top of the general busyness of that weekend, so we tried to be sensitive to where we could keep their costs down without greatly adding to the cost of our wedding.
In what ways did you or your bride/groom-friends try to keep costs down for the attendants? What is the best cost-saving tip you’ve heard for attendants?