The High-Cost of Friendship: Bridesmaids’ Expenditures

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August 13, 2015 by Lisa Brammer

Wedding authority The Knot conducts an annual “Real Wedding Survey”.
Their 2014 study analyzed the responses of about 16,000 brides—which represents almost 80 percent of brides nationwide—and reported another increase in the cost of a wedding, national average price: $31,213.00. And if that statistic isn’t alarming enough, the survey discovered that almost 50 percent of respondents went over budget.

Even though 2014 saw an increase in the total cost of weddings, the number of guests invited decreased. And apparently the marriage ceremony itself isn’t as important as the party afterwards: the amount spent on the reception increased while expenditures for the ceremony went down.

One of the biggest changes noted over the years: the amount of brides using their smartphones to plan their wedding—it’s doubled in the past three years.

The Knot’s survey breaks down the cost by category and geographical areas, and their respondents not only represent a variety of ethnicities, but educational and income levels too. Bottom line: lots of money is spent on weddings and if you are asked to be a bridesmaid—you are going to be spending lots of money too.

Can you guess how much the average bridesmaid spends? There’s the dress, shoes, a gift, how much could it cost? According to The Knot’s 2010 survey, bridesmaids spent an average of $1700 for the privilege of being a part of the bride’s special day, and if you are the maid-of-honor, expect to pay more. There are actually way more expenses than the few I mentioned earlier—and they add up quickly!

The best thing you can do to control your financial outlay is to be upfront with the bride regarding your budget. I know people are uncomfortable talking about money, but it’s far better to discuss these things upfront rather than stressing about how you’re going to pay for everything afterwards. A lot of brides are focused on the big picture and are often surprised by how much their bridesmaids actually spend.

If possible get involved in the planning process. Bachelorette parties have been known to escalate into huge affairs with large price tags attached. As a member of the wedding party you will be expected to pay for your share of the expenses. If this extravagance isn’t in your budget it’s important to speak up before reservations and deposits are made.

Planning early can also help. According to the survey, the average engagement time is over a year. If a girls’ trip to Vegas sounds like something you’d love to participate in, the sooner it is planned the sooner you can start saving money for it. Putting aside a little money each payday can accumulate to quite a sum when you have a year or more to save.

Another way to save money: Do it yourself. If an elaborate hair style isn’t part of the plan, doing your own hair and nails can save you about $100. Sharing a room with another bridesmaid at the wedding venue or bachelorette party can also shave money off your bottom line.

The important things is to plan an affordable budget and stick to it. That way the honor of being in your friend’s wedding won’t turn into a burden.

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