How To Be A Bridesmaid Without Breaking The Budget Part Two - Wedding Compass Blog

Let’s Start With The Wardrobe

Salon hair and makeup. Image provided by Joel AustellSome brides have a very specific look in mind, after all, this is her big day and she may have a vision of being surrounded by her nearest and dearest wearing scarlet silk evening gowns, or swishy chiffon ball gowns.  Of course the swishier the dress, the swishier the price tag.  You might be looking at $300 or more for a dress.

Make sure your bride understands your budgetary concerns and considers dresses within your means.  Some brides are more practical and perhaps remember being a bridesmaid and getting stuck with a pricey gown she only wore once.  These brides may opt for a simple cocktail dress, something her maids can wear to an office Christmas party or on a special date.  Another lucky bridesmaid may find her bride just wants all of her maids to wear a classic little black dress.  A dress she may already have, or one she should have and can wear again.  The little black dress is a great choice for bridesmaids because it can be worn over and over again, and the little black dresses don’t all have to match.  A nice assortment of similar black dresses can look cohesive and classy.  If a bride wants a little of her color palette represented, perhaps tie it all together with a sheer shawl in one of her colors.

Dress and accessories Image provided by Michael Jonathan Studios

Estimated costs once you say yes and have to buy the dress!

  • Bridesmaid dress         $150 – $300
  • Shoes                           $50 – $200
  • Lingerie                        $50
  • Alterations                    $50
  • Jewelry                         $75
  • Hair                              $80 – 200
  • Makeup                        $50 – 100
  • Mani / Pedi                   $40 – $60

Once the wardrobe is agreed upon and the dresses are bought and paid for, there are additional expenses.  One expense often overlooked, but expected as part of the big event and the events leading up to it – buying gifts.  Bridesmaids are expected to attend and give gifts at the showers, parties and there’s the Wedding gift itself. The giving of gifts…Cha Ching!

Pool money for a special gift. Image provided by White Lilac Event Design


  • Engagement Gift                 $50
  • Shower Gift                         $50
  • Bachelorette Party Gift       $50
  • Wedding Gift                      $100

Travel & Accommodations

If the wedding is out of town, out of state or out of the country, you’re going to be out-of-pocket a bit more.  These additional travel costs need to be factored in.  Members of the bridal party may need to travel to a few wedding related events if the happy couple lives in another city or state.  If the wedding and various parties require travel, perhaps members of the bridal party can share hotel accommodations, or stay with friends or relatives, but if not, travel costs, car rentals, and accommodations need to be budgeted as needed.

  • Airfare                             $300 +
  • Rental Car                      $150 +
  • Hotel    (2 or 3 days)       $300 +

(Estimated costs above are per trip – additional travel may be required for the shower and other events leading up to the wedding)

Fun Bridal Showers Image provided by White Lilac Event Design

Fun Bridal Showers
Image provided by White Lilac Event Design

Bridal Shower, Engagement and Bachelorette Parties

If you are in the bridal party, you are expected to attend the parties and party!  The engagement party is generally held by the bride or groom’s parents, so the only costs to consider for this event are the engagement gift and any travel costs associated with attending.

The bridesmaids and maid of honor typically plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party and all members of the bridal party are expected to pitch in to cover the costs.  In addition, there may be additional travel related costs to add to the already blooming budget.

  • Bridal Shower             $50
  • Bachelorette Party      $75

As you can see by the estimated costs above, things can get pricey, but part three of this article will discuss ways to mitigate some of the costs. So read on for budget relief ideas.

Images provided by: Joel Austell Studio
Images provided by: Michael Jonathan Studios
Images provided by: White Lilac Event Design