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How to be a Bridesmaid on a Budget

It always baffled me when I was younger as to why my older sisters would complain about “wedding season”. At my naïve young age I believed that weddings were all about getting dressed up, drinking, dancing, and celebrating. As I got older and began attending weddings separate from my parents, I understood exactly why my sisters hated wedding season. Because it is so darn expensive! Now that I am even older, and planning a wedding of my own, I realize just how much money wedding can suck out of you, especially if you are in the wedding.

According to a 2010 weddingchannel.com survey, bridesmaids spend an average of $1,695 per wedding! Although it is considered an honor to be in someone’s wedding, it can really take a toll on your bank account. It can even lead to credit card debt. So before you say yes, consider these expenses and their alternatives.

Use ACCC's tips to be a bridesmaid on a budget.

Use ACCC’s tips to be a bridesmaid on a budget.

Your Bridesmaids Dress. Don’t feel like you don’t have a say in what you want to spend. If the bride picks a dress that you don’t think you can afford, speak up. If you do so tastefully (without whining or sounding like a brat) the bride should understand. She has probably been in plenty of weddings herself and understands how much of a financial burden it can be. Offer to do some research on where you can find a cheaper dress, or help find another bridal shop that offers a group discount for you and all the other girls.

Accessories. Costume jewelry all the way! Find some cheap jewelry and show it to the bride. You are going to wear it once and shouldn’t spend a fortune on it. Same goes for shoes, skip the high priced shoes at the bridal shop and head to your local Payless. This will help you stay on budget.

Showers and Bachelorette Parties. Don’t go over the top! The bride will appreciate whatever you plan for her. When it comes to the bachelorette party, by all means stay away from Las Vegas! Plan a night at a local casino or a bar crawl. You’ll have just as much fun and spend a lot less money. Live far away? Have the bridal shower and bachelorette party on the same weekend so you don’t have to travel twice.

Hair and Makeup. Do it yourself! I am a bride and I am absolutely going to allow my bridesmaids to take care of their own hair and makeup. They are beautiful girls and I trust them to clean up well for my big day.

The expenses of being in a wedding are usually spread out over the course of a year. It is important to set a budget at the beginning and keep track of how much you’re spending. Keep a running tab somewhere on your computer or cell phone.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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