Bridesmaid Budget Planning: Key Tips for Saving on Expenses

Stepping into the role of a bridesmaid is like accepting both a badge of honor and a ledger of responsibilities. Thrilling, right?

Of course, you’re thrilled to stand beside her on the big day, but before you say ‘I do’ to the bridesmaid dress, let’s talk numbers. Because, let’s be real, being a bridesmaid often comes with a price tag that can quickly add up from pre-wedding to the wedding day itself.

But fear not! This article is your financial fairy godmother, here to guide you through planning your bridesmaid budget while keeping your savings intact. No penny goes unturned as we unpack the costs, share savvy shopping tips, and highlight DIY options that won’t sacrifice the celebration’s sparkle.

Pre Wedding Bridesmaid Expenses

Let’s break down those pre-wedding costs and save you from the dreaded bridesmaid bankruptcy.

Shoes and Accessories

On average, bridesmaids shell out around $120 on shoes and accessories. But why such a range, you ask? Well, the color, style, and quality heavily influence cost, not to mention the bride’s vision for her big day.

If she’s got a specific look in mind, you might need to match your shoes and bling to the dress and wedding theme, which can add up.

Saving Strategies

Don’t worry, though, there are clever ways to cut costs!

  • Rock What You’ve Got: Pull out those nude pumps and pearl earrings. If they fit the theme, you’re all set!
  • Thrift and Save: Hunt down deals at thrift stores, consignment shops, or online marketplaces. Trust me, there are treasures to be found.
  • Borrow with Style: Swap with other bridesmaids or friends. Who knows what chic items they might lend you?
  • DIY Magic: Feeling crafty? Make your own accessories with materials from craft stores like Michaels for a unique touch.

Hair and Makeup

Hair and makeup costs can vary substantially depending on several factors—like where you’re getting dolled up, the salon’s reputation, who wields the styling tools, and what the bride envisions for her bridal party.

On average, you could be looking to spend anywhere from $75 to $250+ per service. Let’s not forget those trial runs, which not only perfect your look but can also add to the final tab. Tipping your stylist, usually around 15-20%, and potential travel fees if they’re coming to you, also make it to the expense list.

So, how can you cut down on such hefty charges? Here’s a little secret: DIY beauty could be your budget’s best friend!

  • Do-it-yourself: Grab your makeup bag and let your inner beauty guru shine. YouTube tutorials are your pals here, and they cost, well, nothing!
  • Borrow and blend: Sharing is caring—and saving! Use your own products or team up with the other bridesmaids to share and glam up.
  • Discounts and deals: Keep an eye out for savings. Websites like Groupon sometimes offer fabulous deals, slicing your glam session’s cost in half.
  • Talk it out: Chat with your stylist about a group rate. Package deals can lead to big savings!

Bridal Shower

Ever wondered how you can throw a bridal shower without breaking the bank? Well, the cost of a bridal shower can quickly escalate, especially when considering factors such as:

  • Number of guests
  • Venue
  • Food & Drinks
  • Decorations
  • Games
  • Gifts

On average, hosting or attending a bridal shower can range from less than $50 to several hundred dollars per person. Out-of-town showers may require travel and accommodations, significantly boosting the price.

Cut costs creatively with these savvy strategies:

  • Home Sweet Home: Consider hosting at a residence or free public spaces like parks or community centers.
  • Potluck Party: A joint effort in food contributions can be a goldmine for savings.
  • DIY Décor: Unleash your inner artist with handcrafted decorations and games. Hit up stores like Dollar Tree for bargain buys.
  • Gift Genius: Suggest a group gift, or set a theme to keep individual purchases within budget.

Bachelorette Party

Average Costs & Factors First up, understand the costs involved. A bachelorette party’s price tag can swing wildly based on a few things:

  • Destination: Paris or the local pizza place?
  • Duration: A weekend getaway or a one-night bash?
  • Activities: Spa treatments or DIY facials?
  • Transportation: Flying first-class or carpool karaoke?
  • Accommodations: 5-star hotel or Aunt Edna’s spare room?
  • Dining: Fancy dinners or homemade brunch?
  • Libations: Champagne toasts or BYOB?
  • Attire: Custom outfits or something from your closet?
  • Mementos: Personalized goodies or memorable snapshots?

Don’t forget about those often-overlooked extras like travel insurance, taxes, fees, and tips—they can add up!

Money-Saving Tips

  • Destination Savvy: Picking a spot that’s close to home or visiting during off-peak times can mean big savings.
  • Booking Smart: Use sites like Expedia or Kayak for competitive deals on flights, digs, and fun stuff.
  • Cost Sharing: Split the bill on rooms, rides, and meals—it’s only fair, right?
  • Skip the Extras: Those matching tees and party swag? Cute, but often not worth the splurge.

The Dresses and Alterations

Alterations can sneak up on you, generally ranging from $20 to $100 or more, depending on what’s needed. A nip here, a tuck there, and costs can escalate. To minimize these pesky expenses, consider these tips:

  • Find a dress that’s nearly a perfect fit to dodge extensive (and expensive) alterations.
  • Dive into the world of online retail or discount shops for more budget-friendly picks.
  • How about renting a chic look or borrowing a barely-worn gown from a pal?
  • If you’ve got a buddy who matches your size, think about sharing the cost of a dress.
  • After the big day, selling or donating your dress can recoup some costs and spread the joy.

Travel and Accommodations For Pre-wedding Events

Travel and accommodations for pre-wedding events might not be the first thing on your list, but they can add up.

The usual suspects are the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, and the wedding itself. For these joyous occasions, many factors swing the cost pendulum. Distance, mode of transportation, type of lodging, and length of stay are the usual culprits.

So, how can you keep your bank account smiling through all this?

  • Check for Discounts: Ask the couple about hotel deals—they often block rooms at a discount.
  • Split the Bill: Room-sharing or carpooling with fellow guests isn’t just fun; it’s economical.
  • Reward Yourself: Redeem those credit card points or airline miles you’ve been hoarding.
  • Home Sweet Home: Crash with nearby friends or relatives and bask in the homey vibes (and cost savings).

Wedding Day Bridesmaid Expenses

Now, what’s really going out of your wallet on the big day? Let’s break it down.

Bouquet and Boutonniere

On average, you might expect to pay around $75 for a bridesmaid bouquet and $15 for a boutonniere. But, don’t fret! There are savvy ways to save some cash on these items:

  • Seasonal Flowers: By choosing flowers that are in bloom during the wedding season, costs can be significantly reduced. Nature’s on your side with this one!
  • Flower Sharing: Got a day-to-night wedding? Share flowers with the evening event team. That’s teamwork!
  • DIY Magic: Grab your bridesmaids and have a crafting session. Making your own bouquets and boutonnieres adds a personal touch and can cut costs. Plus, it’s a blast!

Wedding Gifts

On average, bridesmaids spend about $125 on wedding gifts. But before you break the bank, let’s chat about savvy saving tips:

  • Set a Personal Budget: Decide what you’re comfortable with and stick to it. No side-eye from anyone—promise!
  • Group Gifting: Team up with the other maids. More bang for your buck and a bigger gift for the couple!
  • Sentiment Over Price Tag: Create something heartfelt. A scrapbook or a custom playlist can mean more than the fanciest gadget.

Day-off Hairstyling and Makeup Touch-ups

On average, bridesmaids can expect to shell out around $150 for both hair and makeup services. That number isn’t set in stone, though—you’ve got options to help you save some cash:

  • DIY Beauty: Feeling skilled with a makeup brush or a hair straightener? Consider doing your own beauty routine. A few practice runs, and you’ll be nailing that smokey eye or updo. Plus, it’s free!
  • Friend in Flair: Got a friend who’s a wizard with hairstyles or makeup? See if they’re willing to help out for a smaller fee or even as a wedding gift.
  • Online Deals Galore: Keep an eye out for group deals on sites like Groupon or reach out to beauty schools where students may offer services at reduced rates.

Tips For Saving Money

Ready to be the world’s most savvy bridesmaid? Here’s how you can stay a fabulous friend without breaking the bank:

  • Dress Smart: Before you swoon over that pricey gown, remember you’ve got options! Scour deals and consider a rental or buying a pre-loved dress. Who says ‘once worn’ can’t be brand new to you?
  • Altering Expectations: Found the perfect fit but it needs a tweak? Alterations can add up, so look for a skilled local tailor or a friend who could help out for a fraction of the cost.
  • Accessory Minimalism: Go easy on the extras. Opt for shoes and jewelry you already own. If the bride insists on uniformity, don’t be shy to suggest a group purchase to keep everyone’s costs down.
  • Crafty Convo: Chat with your fellow bridesmaids. Opening up about budgets might seem tricky, but it’ll keep everyone on the same page and avoid awkward financial surprises later.

Remember, it’s all about celebrating love, not splurging loads of cash. You’ve got this!

Make a Budget

Get Organized: First things first—let’s start with a budget spreadsheet. Sounds a bit boring? Trust me, it’s a lifesaver. By plotting out anticipated expenses like gifts, travel, and the dress, you can see at a glance where your cash is heading.

Got a figure in mind? Great! Jot down what you spend as you go—it’s like keeping a diary for your wallet!

  • Start with anticipating gift expenses, travel costs, and of course, the dress.
  • As you spend, note down each cost to track your spending habits.

Set Your Priorities: Alright, what’s non-negotiable? Maybe it’s that killer dress or chipping in for the bachelorette party. Decide what tops your list, and be prepared to snug those purse strings a bit tighter for less essential items.

Be Realistic: Remember, the average spend is somewhere around $1,154 per wedding. That’s quite a bit of dough! Don’t forget, you might need to factor in alterations which can set you back an extra $20-$100.

Stash Some Cash: Use the ‘divide and conquer’ tactic. Take your total estimated cost, add a 15% wiggle room, and divide by the number of weeks you have left. Now you’ve got a weekly saving goal!

Use Tools: Oh, and about keeping track, here are two lifesaver budgeting tools: [Spreadsheet Template] or [Budgeting App]. Easy to use and ready to go—pick one, and you’re on your way!

Don’t stress; with a bit of planning, you’ll get through this with enough left for a victory dance!

Shop Smart

Dresses on a Dime:

  • Start with comparing prices across different stores. A simple Google search can lead you to hidden gems.
  • Keep an eye out for flash sales. Signing up for newsletters from your favorite bridal shops might just land you that dream dress at a dreamier discount.
  • Consider renting. Websites like Rent the Runway offer high-end fashion at a fraction of the cost.

Footwear Finds:

  • Borrow from a friend. Those barely-worn heels from her cousin’s wedding? Perfect.
  • Find end-of-season sales where last season’s styles get heavy markdowns.

Accessorize Affordably:

  • Shop at stores with good return policies, just in case.
  • Thrift shops and online marketplaces (think eBay or Poshmark) often have gently-used, budget-friendly options.

Here’s a quick Smart Shopper Checklist:

  • Price compare with tools like Google Shopping.
  • Sign up for newsletters and alerts for sales.
  • Browse rental options—both online and in-store.
  • Investigate secondhand—hello, vintage appeal!


What if I can’t afford to be a bridesmaid?

It’s perfectly fine to decline a bridesmaid proposal if it’s beyond your budget! Here’s how you might navigate this tricky conversation:

  • Be honest and thank the bride for her invitation.
  • Express that you’re unable to commit financially at this time.
  • Offer to support her in other ways.

“Thank you so much for thinking of me, but I’m really watching my expenses right now. I’d love to help you with planning or take on another role to celebrate your amazing day.”

How do I talk to the bride about expenses?

Open communication with the bride is key. Here are a few steps to follow:

  • Start the conversation early to avoid surprises.
  • Be clear and realistic about what you can afford.
  • Don’t assume; ask for a breakdown of expected costs.

“I’m thrilled to be a bridesmaid! Could we discuss the potential costs? I just want to make sure I can plan my budget accordingly.”

Any tips for saving on the bachelorette party and bridal shower?

Absolutely, there are loads of ways to have a blast without breaking the bank:

  • Choose a local venue or a low-cost setting.
  • Get creative with DIY decorations and food.
  • Split the cost equally amongst the bridal party.

“How about a picnic in the park for the bridal shower? It’s personal, and we can all chip in for a lovely spread!”
“For the bachelorette, let’s consider a staycation. Maybe find a cool Airbnb and plan activities we all love close to home!”

Key Takings About Bridesmaid Budget

Planning your bridesmaid budget doesn’t have to be daunting. By staying informed and organized, you can avoid financial surprises and enjoy the celebration to the fullest.

To make budgeting a breeze, tally the estimated costs and add a 15% cushion for any unexpected expenses. Break this down into a weekly saving plan to spread the expense over time and keep savings on track.

Saving as a bridesmaid also means a lighter heart and more laughter on the big day. It’s all about unforgettable memories, not unmanageable debts, right? With some savvy planning, those fond recollections won’t include financial regrets.

Hey, why not start saving today with these tips? And out of curiosity, what are your best tips for saving money as a bridesmaid? Share and let’s make this joyous occasion financially friendly for everyone involved!