Did you know that throwing a wedding costs more than having a child? In fact, having a baby is only one-fourth the price of planning this event of the year. And while you may not be the one tying the knot, that doesn't mean you're out of the woods entirely, either.
While being a bridesmaid is an honor, the cost of glistening glitter heels, wedding gifts, and decorations is enough to deflate your wallet before you even get the chance to take a seat at the reception. When a bridesmaid takes on the responsibility of travel costs, hosting expenses, and buying the perfect dress all on a budget, what’s a girl to do?
Don’t let the excitement of this life-changing day simmer down to despair when you think about the hefty price tag attached to being a bridesmaid. Your primary goal is to be a form of support to the bride — an invaluable act that costs nothing but your time and dedication.
As for the rest of the duties, you'll find that a bit of careful planning and frugality may just save the day. So if you're looking for ways to save money as a bridesmaid, read on for some great tips and advice.
How to Save Money as a Bridesmaid
1. Hair and Makeup
So you want a beautiful updo that'll turn heads, but you don't want to throw your budget out the door entirely. Fortunately, pampering your face doesn't have to cost a dime.
The internet is overflowing with how-to videos made by top professionals in their field. That means you have access to beautiful bridesmaid hairstyle lessons right at your fingertips — for free! The same rule applies to makeup, too. Just buy the appropriate hair styling tools, eyeshadows, and mascara, and set aside a few hours of practice time to get your look down to a tee.
While you may be tempted to hit the mall for a fresh pair of jewelry and shoes, you might just find that what you're looking for is already waiting for you in your closet instead.
If you’ve ever been to a wedding or birthday party in the past — and we’re betting you have — chances are you already have the extra-glamorous wardrobe accessories you’ll need! Repurpose those glittery shoes sitting in the back of your closet and vamp up the hair flowers you wore last Easter. Add a little bit of customization to tie your look together without spending a penny in the process.
3. Hotels and Out of Town Housing
Instead of renting an individual room at a hotel, throw a party with the girls instead. This tip is especially crucial for bridesmaids who need to travel to another city or state to attend the wedding. Because the average hotel can run you upwards of $137 a night, avoiding a hotel expense can go a long way.
Shack up with your friends to cut the cost of hotels out of your budget entirely. You won’t be so lonely and you’ll find that spending more time with your loved ones is more valuable than visiting a five-star hotel alone anyway.
Whether you're the bridesmaid for your sister or your longtime best friend, it may be tempting to splurge on the ultimate gift with an accompanying extra-large price tag. While it may seem like an expensive present shows your far-reaching appreciation, you'll find that a meaningful gift doesn't cost a thing.
Consider making a photo album that shows your lifelong journey with the bride-to-be. Add a personalized robe or stationery to the bundle and she's guaranteed to enjoy your appreciation and personalized efforts with a gift made entirely from the heart.
5. Party Decorations
As the bridesmaid, it's your duty to help the bride experience the ultimate bachelorette party. While the partying itself may seem like a fun idea, you have to take the time to put the festivities at hand together first. And you can't have a party without one key component — decorations.
While you might want your bachelorette party to shine, you don’t have to deck the party room in diamonds and silver. Set aside a time to get together with your fellow bridesmaids to put together a few DIY wedding crafts instead. You can break out the glue gun without destroying your wallet, too.
6. Travel and Transportation
Being a bridesmaid isn’t always a simple task. You may just find yourself feeling like a temporary assistant instead. While you don’t mind lending a helping hand whenever the bride-to-be needs a little-added assistance, the price of going to and from your every destination may begin to take its toll on your bank account.
If you don’t have access to your car, opting to travel via bus is your best affordable alternative and should be your go-to choice. Whenever possible, skip a set of wheel entirely and use your two feet to get you to your intended destination instead. A walk around the surrounding neighbor grants you the chance to take in your new surroundings at your own pace, too.
Choosing a dress is never easy — especially when the occasion at hand is your best friend's wedding. But while it may seem as though a dress will be your most massive expense, shopping for a budget-friendly gown can be easy. It's important to remember that depending on the theme and style of the wedding the bride wants, the price of your dress will likely vary.
Fortunately, that doesn’t mean you have to opt for a high-end price tag just because the bride decided to splurge. You can still fall in line with the theme or color scheme — simply opt for a more affordable option instead. As a bonus, you can resell your dress after the wedding so you have a little more spending money for the next wedding you attend.
Being a bridesmaid does not have to be synonymous with having a credit card maxed out and a wallet begging for a break. After all, it doesn’t cost a thing to be there for your friend as she takes the next step forward in her life journey.
Who knows, you may even be able to give her a tip or two on how to be a bridesmaid on a budget when you invite her to your future wedding, too.
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.