Your best friend plans a fall wedding and asks you to be a bridesmaid. While you are delighted to take a role in the wedding party, the cost worries you. How big is the price tag that comes along with the honor? Jokes about bridesmaids’ attire are legion. Your BFF may turn out to be a true friend and choose a cute and versatile outfit you can wear after the wedding. But her great taste may reflect hefty designer prices. Are you expected to pay for the dress? What about the bridal showers and a wedding gift? Before worry about the bill overshadows the joy of the occasion, hear from a wedding expert who can tell you exactly what to expect when you become a bridesmaid.
Alyssa Brown, an events planner who shares her wedding expertise online at Martha Stewart Weddings, answers questions about bridesmaid expenses.
You should expect to pay for:
Shoes: You’ll be keeping the shoes to wear again, so this item goes on your tab. The uncertainty is whether the bride will ask you to find a pair in her wedding colors. Hopefully she’s not going for a Halloween orange and purple spectator pump.
Accessories: If the bride wants her bridesmaids to wear matching accessories, she may make the pieces a gift. If you choose your own, you pay the bill. Coordinating accessories with the bride is a courteous idea and means no surprises on the wedding day.
A wedding gift: Pooling resources with other bridesmaids to buy a truly memorable wedding gift is a smart idea for members of the wedding party.
Planning a bachelorette party? Bridesmaids and other guests are expected to cover the bride’s costs. If the party calls for travel, it’s customary for the guests to pay for one evening’s expenses. Guests are not expected to pay for the whole trip.
Then there’s the cost of paying for your own food and drink at the bachelorette party. RetailMeNot says the average tab will be $137 on food and $116 for your drinks. If the party is a road trip, you can expect to pay $265 for travel.
The bride picks up the tab for:
Hair and makeup: If the bride wants her wedding day to include a trip to the salon for the entire wedding party, she’ll often pay for hair and makeup. It’s best to check on this one; the cost may not be included in the bride’s wedding budget. Go to the salon solo and expect to pay for your own ‘do.
The flower bouquet: This is one cost you can count on the bride covering. The bouquet is designed by the bride to match her color scheme.
Going to the chapel: The bride always pays for a hired limo if her bridesmaids travel together.
The bride may pay for bridesmaids’ dresses, hair and makeup, hotel accommodations, and a lunch or pre-wedding dinner for her bridesmaids.
Read More: Exactly What the Bridesmaid Should Be Paying For