The Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

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Sure, being a bridesmaid can be pricey, but it’s the intangible expenses that make the process worth your while.

So, you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid: congrats! Whether the upcoming nuptials are six months or a year-and-a-half away, you my friend, have been tasked with some big time planning. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, dresses, shoes, makeup, so on and so forth, the tangible cost of being a bridesmaid certainly adds up. While it may seem daunting to be dropping a ballpark range of $1,000 for ‘maid duties, we like to think that the intangibles, things like getting to know the bride’s family or learning how long super-long hold hairspray actually holds, outweighs all that money.

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(Photo Courtesy of Project Wedding)

When it comes down to it, a successful wedding is really just a giant party. It’s a celebration of a couple dedicating their lives to one another. It’s a reminder of love. It’s a time to reconnect with old friends. And it’s a time to dress up, drink up and dance your face off. As a bridesmaid, you’ve got a checklist for the day of the wedding. Waking up at 6:30 a.m. to start hair and makeup on the wedding day are not the most ideal of tasks, but it’s just one of many intangible costs of being a bridesmaid. From buying the dress to making new friends, there are both positive and negatives aspects to being a bridesmaid, but really it’s your own rite of passage as a friend.

The intangible cost of being a bridesmaid:

Positives

  • Getting closer with other bridesmaids: Sometimes, you’re fortunate to be in a bridal party where you know all the girls. Whether you went to college together, met at work or have been lifelong friends, you have specific memories together and a close girlfriend’s wedding is a time to cherish those memories, celebrate them and make plenty more. Other times, you could be the cousin of the bride and not know a single fellow maid. Take the opportunities presented to you as a bridesmaid, like chain e-mails, group texts, planning the showers, and more, and use them to your advantage. You’re all brought together because of your special bond with the bride: take that and run with the wind.
  • The ability to see intimate details into someone else’s relationship: There may be weddings where, as a bridesmaid, you could be the best of friends with the bride and know next-to-nothing about her groom. Sure, you’ve heard her gush about him over the phone but just because you’ve seen his photo plastered all over her Facebook wall doesn’t mean you know the guy. This holds true for many out-of-town bridesmaids, who might not meet the groom until the rehearsal dinner. A wedding provides the opportunity to meet the man your best friend loves, and truly see for yourself and understand why their relationship works. The little quirks and small moments between the two may even make you tear up, but hey, it’s a wedding. Crying is expected!
  • Practicing the art of budgetingWeddings / Being a bridesmaid = $$$. You know this by now. And hopefully, with each wedding you attend, whether as a bridesmaid or a guest, you will learn the art of budgeting. While it might not be the most favorable of lessons to learn, when you’ve got to buy plane tickets, dresses, shoes, makeup and presents, you learn to count those pennies. If that means scaling back on things, then so be it. The majority of brides are understanding, especially when it comes to destination planning. And as seasoned bridesmaid experts, we’re here to tell you: it does get easier.
  • Learning from the bride’s wedding for planning your own: Whether it be the mason jar candle holders, chevron invites or custom baby breath floral arrangements, there will be things from the wedding that you, as a bridesmaid, will want to copy for your own nuptials. Maybe it’s how the bride managed to plan her big day in 6 months. Maybe it’s the idea of different bridesmaid dresses in the same color palette. Or maybe it’s just a September wedding. Whatever it is, keep it in mind – write it down, pin ideas to your secret wedding board on Pinterest. You’ll be glad you did it when it’s your turn to tie the knot.

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(Photo Courtesy of Tress Sugar)

Negatives:

  • Time commitment: We’re all busy people. Between jobs, dating, friends and family, life can get crazy. When you’re asked to be a bridesmaid, one of the biggest things to remember is that the planning, the travel, the wedding itself – it’s all a very big time commitment. Hopefully, as long as the bride isn’t planning a wedding in two months, you should have time to prepare yourself and organize early. Make a to-do list, scour websites like Kayak and Expedia for cheap flights and hotels and work with your fellow bridesmaids to make the months leading up to the wedding as smooth as possible.
  • Crazy bridezilla / maids / mother-in-lawWe always hope and pray against this, but alas, it happens. As a bridesmaid, you may encounter your other fellow maids not paying for things or trying to control the wedding as if it’s their own. You may deal with a bride who believe that your full-time job is to be her wedding servant.  Unfortunately, as a bridesmaid, this is a big intangible cost where sadly, the only answer is to be the bigger person, close your lips and deal with it. You’re the bridesmaid, not the bride. Stick to your maiden duties and vent about it to someone who isn’t involved with the wedding at all.
  • Not-so-cute dressesJust remember: you only have to wear the dress once. Only once.

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(Photo Courtesy of Wedding Wire)

Bad dresses aside, a wedding is perhaps one of the most special days of a woman’s life. The bride has the opportunity to share her day with the most important people in her life, and she chose you. As a bridesmaid, you get to stand by her side. You get to witness love, friendship and parties from the first-hand level. Sure, there may be some bumps along the road, but it’ll be worth it. We promise.

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(Photos Courtesy of Bridal Guide and Bridal Musings)

 

 

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