The Bridesmaid Budget
If you’re in a wedding this year or multiple, this is your go-to wedding spending guide. I’ve provided advice on when to budget, suggested saving amounts per occasion, along with some wedding etiquette.
There are no strict rules on how much you should spend on each category. Costs will vary by circumstances and the city you live in; however, you’ll benefit from planning ahead with an idea of how much someone else’s happily ever after will cost you!
For best results, plan at the beginning of each calendar year for how many weddings you expect to be in and attend. Of course, they’ll always be something you didn’t plan on like quick nuptials, or a wedding you didn’t think you’d get invited to. Create a plan for that too by having a little money set aside for unexpected occasions.
This depends on your tastes and the bride’s, but about $150 for the night is a good frame of reference to be both financially and socially responsible. Again, don’t forget to factor in cost of living! For example, a bachelorette party in NYC will be much more expensive than in Nashville.
Bridal shower ($30)
Bachelorette party ($20-$40)
According to wedding etiquette, a guest has up to one year after the big day to send a gift. If the costs are adding up and you’re bank account is declining, I recommend taking full advantage of this rule. Just make sure you don’t forget! Set alarms, calendar reminders, tell your mom to remind you; basically, do whatever you must to not to let this one slip off your mind.
You can save money by going in on gifts with friends. That’s what I always do! If you’re invited to all three celebrations (shower, bachelorette party, and wedding), you have to at least do a shower and wedding gift.
Clothes and Accessories
You will have less control on the dress and shoes if you’re in the wedding. Make sure to account for alterations in addition to the cost of the dress. Search local tailors to get an estimate. If the bride picks the shoes, you’re out of luck, but if she leaves that choice up to you then you can save in this area by shopping sales or wearing what you already have. As for accessories, every wedding I’ve ever been in the bride has given jewelry as a gift, so don’t worry about that unless she tells you otherwise!
The Big Day Prep
According to The Knot website, if the bride requires you to get your hair and make-up done then she should pay for it. In most cases the bride will leave this up to you. She’ll provide the prices, and you can decide which services you’d like to pay for. If you’re short on cash, opt for getting your hair done, and doing your make-up and nails yourself (you can always swing by a Sephora!). Don’t forget to factor in tip as well.
Misc. (Don't forget about these!)
Travel (destination wedding or bachelorette party)
There will be additional costs if you have to travel from out of town to the festivities, if it’s a destination wedding, or you’re hosting any of the events. If these factors apply you’ll need to budget even more money.
Bottom line, weddings are expensive -even if it’s someone else’s and not your own! Plan ahead as much as you can with the estimated costs. Start saving at the beginning of the year. Get your friends in on the savings by chipping in for gifts, and be resourceful where the bride gives you a little leeway. For more money tips like this sign up for my newsletter!