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March 31, 2011

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Here's coming from the groom's perspective with my own wedding -

* Engagement gift - $50
Maybe...

* Shower gift - $50
About right

* Wedding gift - $100-$150
If they already gave a shower gift, then probably not.

* Travel to shower - $300
All bridesmaids lived within 20 minutes of the shower except my cousin who did not attend.

* Travel to bachelorette party - $300
Same as above

* Travel to wedding - $300
Only my cousin had to drive 4 hours to attend the wedding. She rode with my aunt and uncle who were going to be there anyway.

* Dress - $150
Paid for by bride's family - not that expensive

* Alterations - $50
Same as above but they had custom made dresses so the alterations were done in the production process

* Lingerie - $50
Not likely except for one person.

* Shoes - $75
Paid for by bride's family

* Jewelry - $60
Same as above and was made by the group of them at a jewlery party. Not $60 each.

* Hair and makeup - $100
One of my other cousins works as a beautician and stylist so she offered her services for the bridal party.


So for our bridesmaid's it boils down to a gift and some gas. Pretty cheap if you ask me. I couldn't afford to pay for my groomsmen's tuxes (I paid for other things) but they were only $50 to rent anyway.

I'm under 30, getting married in a month, was a bridesmaid last year, and have been to many weddings. Here's my take:

Overall:
-These costs add up faster when you consider how many girls have large numbers of bridesmaids (five or more).
-The maid of honor probably has slightly higher costs as she may be more involved in planning/hosting.

Engagement gift - $50
Giving an engagement gift isn't typical in my experience; one friend's family hosted an engagement party to which I brought a gift, but the party was in lieu of a shower.

Shower gift - $50
Generally people spend between $25-50. Plus, cost of contributing to the shower (bringing food/beverage to share, or hosting--likely $5-30).

Wedding gift - $100-$150
That seems a little high; in my area/age group, I think $50-100 is around average.

Travel to shower - $300
Rare that out of town bridesmaids would do this; truly optional.

Travel to bachelorette party - $300
Likewise rare for someone to come in from out of town for the bachelorette party. But if you do attend, you will be picking up some of the cost of the night, which could range from $20-150 depending on the extravagance of the organizer. Some may also feel obligated to get something lacey for the bachleorette party, but typically brides are given a pair of undies as part of a bachleorette game ($5-10). I've also noticed that some girls are now opting for a "girls weekend" in another city with a smaller group of girls (bridesmaids only). If everyone has the means to take part and happy to do so, why not?

Travel to wedding - $300
As FMF stated, if they were planning to attend anyway and had to travel, this cost isn't incremental.

Dress - $150
About right, perhaps even up to $200.

Alterations - $50
Accurate.

Lingerie - $50
Not necessary for most women.

Shoes - $75
Again, not usually required or provided by bride.

Jewelry - $60
If something specific is required, typically given as a gift. Pricepoint is accurate for something that you might actually wear again.

Hair and makeup - $100
If you have an up-do, expect to pay $50-75. Makeup generally is not required.

These numbers are low for a lot of the weddings I've been to. There's definitely an "era" of weddings that one has during their 20s-30s where this is all standard. The jewelry costs are typically when the bride wants all bridesmaids to wear the same pieces for the "look", same with hair and makeup and the bridesmaids don't get to shop around for it, or do it themselves since everyone needs to look the same for video and photos. There's also bachelorette parties that are easily $100 for the bar or club, food and drinks, cab back home or hotel, etc.
The thing about being in the wedding party though is that it does raise the costs above merely being a guest, especially if its a destination wedding or there is travel involved becuase you have to be there for the dress rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, etc, which means more nights in a hotel, more rental car days, etc. then if you were just a guest.

A lot depends on the size and style of the wedding. If it's a 'budget' wedding - like mine was - the bridesmaid costs are probably a hundred or maybe couple hundred bucks.

But then again, our entire wedding cost less than $1400, so I didn't expect perfectly matched dresses, jewelry, makeup, hair, 3 rounds of gifts and parties, etc.

Unless someone has the money for $20-30k a wedding, I think a couple might better off to tone down the regalia. :) We have great memories, great pictures, had a great time, plenty of love, and no debt from our wedding. Oh, happy day. :)

My wifes maid of honor spent a few hundred on a plane ticket. Probably ~$100-$200 on shower gift and wedding gift. She might have bought a dress too probably $100 range. I'm guessing she spent $600 total over half of which was a cross country plane ticket. We didn't have additional bridesmaids or groomsmen other than the maid of honor and best man.

Its probably not that expensive for most people.

A shower gift and a wedding gift are pretty normal and I don't think those dollar amounts are too unusual for a bridesmaid.

I don't know if engagement gifts are really that common anymore. They may be in some circles but nobody I know does that.

They are counting $300 for travel 3 separate times. Thats expensive. If someone lives far enough away that travel is $300 per trip then you usually cut the number of trips to 1 rather than making 3 separate trips. I really don't know why anyone would be spending $300 for 2 trips for the bachelorette party and the wedding.

Added all up they are spending more than $400 on the outfit, shoes, underwear, alterations, jewelry. Thats a pretty high amount to spend on one outfit. What someone spends there depends on your budget more than not. Am I wrong to think that $50 for lingerie for a brides maids outfit is not average or typical?

"Do you give $200 to $250 in wedding gifts to a couple?"

We spend that much for close friends for the wedding gift alone. We wouldn't spend that much for casual friends. For immediate family I would be spending more.

I think weddings are major events in the lives of our close friends and family and they warrant some higher then typical generosity in the gift department. Its not like Xmas or birthdays or stuff that happens annually (at least it shouldn't be, and 2nd or later weddings won't get generous gifts.)

Ha - I doubt it. But here's my breakdown:

Engagement gift - $50 - Are bridesmaids the only people who give engagement gifts? Personally (although I've only been in 2 weddings) I've never given one. No one gave me any when I was engaged. So i'm going to say $0, with the note that if it is expected, then it is expected regardless of who is in the wedding, so this isn't a "bridesmaid" cost.

Shower gift - $50 - Yes, although you are probably paying for this even if you aren't a bridesmaid as well.

Wedding gift - $100-$150 - same as above

Travel to shower - $300 - Do they mean travel? Maybe they mean helping throw the shower b/c that is something bridesmaids often do.

Travel to bachelorette party - $300 - Again, if they are helping throw the party, i could see this being the cost.

Travel to wedding - $300 - come on, whats with all the travel costs?

Dress - $150 - yup
Alterations - $50 - maybe
Lingerie - $50 - no
Shoes - $75 - I'll say $40. most weddings I know people are told the color of shoes, and can pick something out in that price range.
Jewelry - $60 - no - traditionally the bride gift to the bridesmaids is jewelry to wear at the wedding (although not always) - so i'm going to say $0
Hair and makeup - $100 - yup

Seems about right.....except for the travel costs. Whenever I go to a wedding my wife and I (we are 26 and 27) give about 200$ to the couple. That seems like the average gift around here in the Boston area. At our wedding we received mostly cash gifts in the amount of $50 from a single person to a high of $2K from a family of 5. This is in addition to the all of the shower gifts that we received. Maybe it is done a little differently around here!

Quick question - why "of course" have you never been a bridesmaid? A very close guy friend of mine was the maid of honor at his best friend's wedding. I plan to include my brother in my bridal party. Part of what makes these expensive lists of things so ubiquitous is that no one has bothered to challenge what a wedding should be with ideas about what a wedding can be to the individuals who are getting married. And challenging that includes challenging stereotypes about who can be included in the wedding party.

Hmmm. I'm going to be a bridesmaid for the first time this June. My expenses?

Hair - $0
Jewelry - $0
Dress - $0
Gift - $25
Travel to wedding - $1600 for both me and my boyfriend ($800 each). Yep, the flight is a whopper. Tiny Caribbean island.

How the heck does it end up costing $300 to travel to the wedding, $300 to the shower, and $300 to a bachelorette party? Wouldn't you just hold all the events close together and travel once, if there are people who are going to be traveling?

Mariah --

Uh, because the definition of bridesmaid (according to Dictionary.com) is:

"A young woman who attends the bride at a wedding ceremony."

So to summarize:

1. I'm not young.

2. I'm not a woman.

3. If I attempted to "attend a bride", my wife would kill me. ;-)

Seriously, I'm all about challenging stereotypes, but considering being a bridesmaid is one that I had never even thought of until you suggested it nor would I want to be part of such an effort.

I've been a bridesmaid 9 times (only married once:)...and it really varies depending upon the expectations of the bride. Here's my take on the list:

•Engagement gift - $50 - A card or bottle of wine suffices. So ~$10.
•Shower gift - $50 - A ring holder or photo frame can be done for $25.
•Wedding gift - $100-$150 - Depends on their registry. $100 is about right.
•Travel to shower - $300 - No. Shower is for local bridesmaids only. Anyone living more than 50 miles is not expected to attend.
•Travel to bachelorette party - $300 - No. Should be same weekend as wedding.
•Travel to wedding - $300 - Yes.
•Dress - $150 - Can be done for less. My bridesmaids' dresses were $90 each.
•Alterations - $50 - Typically yes. Bridesmaids' dresses run long.
•Lingerie - $50 - No. Wear your own. No one will see it.
•Shoes - $75 - No - A considerate bride will ask bridesmaids to wear a common color in their closet (black, white) or get the $29.99 dyeables from Payless.
•Jewelry - $60 - No. Bridesmaids should be allowed to wear their own, or cheap "look alike" jewelry from Claires for the photos ~$20ea.
•Hair and makeup - $100 - As was said above - $50+ for an updo. Makeup can be skipped/done yourself (but will run this much if the bride wants them to do it).

All together the costs total $1,385 - Based upon my calculations, it comes out about 1/2 = $675. Can be done cheaper if the bride is okay with a simpler look and/or non-matching dresses.

I'll be maid of honor for a wedding in about eight weeks. The bride has very specific ideas about the dress, the shoes and the jewelery, none of which are in my wardrobe, so I will need to purchase these items. Additionally, when someone is going to spend a great quantity of money on a photographs they'll keep forever, it just seems polite to make sure that your hair and makeup are appropriately done. For some women, this may just mean a couple of hours of primping... but since I don't do my hair or makeup on a daily basis, it seems a lot safer to seek the help of a professional.

With this wedding, I have the unique situation of being due to give birth five days after the wedding day. There's a very real chance that I could be giving birth on her wedding day and not be able to attend. The bride has made alternate arrangements for this scenario, and I'm trying to show my appreciation for her flexibility by throwing her a wonderful shower this weekend. I can only hope that a beautiful bridal shower at a winery will make it up to her if my water breaks while I'm standing at her side at the altar. Doing so will cost me about $1000, but it seems money well-spent for someone I love.

I've spent over $1000 to be a bridesmaid on THREE different occasions in my life, all for very, very good friends who lived in a different state.

It's certainly not as expensive if you don't have to travel, and in all three cases, I chose NOT to travel for EVERY wedding related event, skipping either the shower or the bachelorette party. But even still, traveling for ONE of these plus the wedding itself (which involved airfare, hotel in some cases, and gifts) got really expensive, really fast.

Add in the cost of the dresses (for one wedding, I had to buy a $350 VERA WANG dress, and then I had to spend another $100 on alterations), shoes, jewelry, hair and make up, and yup, the costs are piling on.

I know that to you - a man, and a frugal one at that - the idea that one HAS to buy shoes and jewelry or have their hair and make up professionally done seems crazy and 100% optional. But the fact is, A LOT of brides not only choose specific dresses for their bridesmaids, but specific shoes and jewelry too. Likewise, they expect and ask their attendants to have their hair and make up done.

Some brides are laid back and/or cost conscious and do everything in their power to keep costs low for their girls. But some brides buy into the wedding industrial complex hook, line and sinker, believing their wedding day to be THE MOST IMPORTANT day of their lives, and subsequently lose their minds a little bit.

And the bridesmaids suffer because of it.

I assumed the "lingerie" part was for lingerie gifts that bridesmaids give to the bride. If that's the case, then $50 isn't unreasonable. I never heard of having to buy specific lingerie for bridesmaids to wear, and I've been in 5 weddings so far.

This is how my wedding (about a year ago) went for the bridesmaids. I tried to make it as simple and easy as possible for them:
•Engagement gift - $50
No engagement party.
•Shower gift - $50
No shower.
•Wedding gift - $100-$150
Some of our bridal party had to travel from out of state (and out of county for one) and so we weren't upset when some of them didn't give gifts; we knew they'd already spent hundreds of dollars just to be there. Our matron of honor and her groomsman husband took care of the wedding favors for us and gave us a nice card- it was a lot more helpful than any cash or tchotchkie.
•Travel to shower - $300
No shower.
•Travel to bachelorette party - $300
No bachelorette party.
•Travel to wedding - $300
For some people this cost more because they had to fly, for others, just the cost of gas.
•Dress - $150
About what the dresses cost, yes.
•Alterations - $50
Probably accurate.
•Lingerie - $50
Why would they need separate lingerie for a wedding when they're not the ones getting married?!
•Shoes - $75
They were allowed to wear whatever shoes they wanted as long as they matched the dress.
•Jewelry - $60
We gave out jewelry and a purse as the bridesmaid gift.
•Hair and makeup - $100
Up to them. As the bride I didn't spend a dime on hair and makeup except for the cost of the makeup and hair products I used to makeup myself. I told them they could do whatever they wanted for this; everyone looked gorgeous.

I did not grow up in America so I have very little idea of the protocol. However, one thing struck me... if the bride's "requirements" mean that the bridesmaids would have to buy new clothing and jewelry over and above what she would have worn to the wedding normally, shouldn't it be upon the bride to cover that expense?

For example, bride wants matching jewelry and dress for which most bridesmaids would have to shop for. Logically, she should sponsor that. If she can't, then she probably shouldn't have such requirements.

That's almost as much as my whole wedding! I had one brides maid - my maid of honor. My parents paid for her travel and accomodations (we shared a room!). She bought her own dress, but something she could wear again. She showed me the color for approval, not the other way around.

IMO, any bridemaid that is asked to foot a bill this large has a bridezilla for a friend. I would run, not walk away from the request.

I thought the recession knocked out this foolishness. Sorry, but I personally think this whole thing is out of hand.

I, as the bride, paid for my bridesmaids' hairdos, purses and jewelry; they paid for their dresses/shoes (no specific shoe required). Dress + alterations = ~$100. My sister did our make-up.

No bachelorette party, so no expense there.

Bachelor party was at a bar/VFW hall.

No special travel expenses since all guests were within 1.5 hrs. driving distance.

Avg. cost of each shower gifts I rec'd = $20-30.

Avg. wedding gift we rec'd from attendees = $50.

Not expensive, IMO.


Just to be clear up the lingerie mystery, it is for the bridemaids. Some dress styles require specific undergarments. A good strapless or convertible bra which is needed for a strapless or backless dress can cost over $50. For some women this cost may actually be more.

Ridiculous! I was a bridesmaid once (never want to do it again tho, ick). It cost about $60 for the dress, $20 for the shoes, and a wedding & bachelorette gift of around $50 (combined cost for the two together). That's it. I can style my own hair and give myself my own manicure, thankyouverymuch. The wedding was in town, so travel/lodging was zero.

If I had to travel somewhere, or spend a ton of money to be a bridesmaid, I'd simply refuse and turn down the offer (I'd probably turn down the offer even if it was cheap, unless it was a REALLY good friend). I couldn't afford anything much over $100 anyway.

One would think that the larger the bridal party, the more the common costs (transportation, etc) could be split up.

The costs involved gives a new meaning to the old Bugs Bunny line "neah, always a bridesmaid, never a bride, boo-hoo-hoo"

-Mike

Wait? 3 separate gifts? If you are getting married, you get 1 from me. Why are people giving 3 gifts?

Having been a bridesmaid several times before (to the tune of approx $700 a pop each time) I tried to be very sensitive to my own bridal party's wallets when I got married. I made it clear that I did not want them to spend money on gifts, though they did anyway, I would guess $100 total each. For their dresses my only requirement was that it was a knee-length black dress and black shoes. Most of them bought a new dress specifically for the wedding, but that way they were each in charge of what they wanted to spend. I gifted them the jewelry and pashminas to wear in addition to their bridesmaid gifts. I made no requests regarding hair or make up (they're all aready beatutiful women!) but I did pay to have their nails done if they wanted.

Of course, they planned the bachelorette party themselves, and ended up spending a fortune - which still makes me uncomfortable to this day, 2.5 years later - but they planned it and everyone had a blast, so what can you do?

I think you missed my point. Women or men who want their bridal/groomsmen parties to be representative of the people who have been important in their lives may not want to be restricted to the traditional definition of bridesmaids. They also probably don't want to be restricted to the traditional "needs" of those bridal/groomsmen parties (and the respective costs of those needs). Take the case of me wanting my brother in my bridal party - if you were extremely close to your (hypothetical) sister, and she wanted you to stand up at the altar with you, would your wife "kill you" for "attending" her? What about other close female friends? What about your wife standing up at the altar for her (also hypothetical) brother, or close male friends? Why is it "of course" out of the question that these situations would never come up, or be inappropriate?

Mariah --

Even if I did stand up with another woman, I don't think anyone would call me a "bridesmaid."

That's just a semantics issue :)

Glad to see you're not actually categorically opposed to being involved in a wedding in the way that bridesmaids traditionally have been.

I guess I was too simple with my wedding. It cost me the dress and the flowers - all arranged by my sister and cousin. I lived 200 miles from where my wedding was. We came down to visit my folks once a month anyway, so no extra travel costs. Oh - forgot, we had to pay for a motel on our wedding night. Money well spent.

My bridesmaid lived in my hometown and she bought (or had) a fancy dress and hat to wear. I never noticed her shoes or jewelry. I was too busy getting married. Best man wore a suit he already possessed. And my dress was gotten on a closeout sale at Sears and I bought a lacy jacket to wear over it, as it was sleeveless and I cannot wear them alone as I have a major scar on my right shoulder.

The church hosted our reception and baked the cakes and provided the drinks - punch and coffee.

Even today, the wedding I had would cost much more, but nowhere near $1,400 for one person in it. Whew!!! People really do think they have money to waste.

I've been a bridesmaid at least 4 times--but this was several decades ago, in the 1970's and 1980's.

The main expense was an ugly dress that you'd never wear again, but in all cases in those days it was a dress that *you were supposed to sew yourself*!

It did cost a lot--sometimes up to $100 just for the fabric and it was more expensive if you couldn't sew & had to hire a seamstress to make it for you.

In 2 weddings I was in, even the bride's dress was homemade or home tailored from her mothers' vintage gown.

In 2 other weddings we were all barefoot and so was the bride, and salon hair & makeup were never done back then of course. The most elaborate was when we hot curled our long hair and stuck flowers in it. Another trend among bridesmaids was wearing a floppy lace hat with flowers on it--which mostly covered up your hair anyway.

Engagement present? Never--I think only perhaps the old fogey parents and/or grandparents gave that to the couple. Engagement presents were typically large amounts of money (like a down-payment on a house) or something super symbolic like the deceased grandma's diamond ring. Certainly nothing the bride or grooms' peers would participate in.

Yes, there were wedding showers--somes 2 or 3 to attend per bride. But they were always just held in someone's mom's home and gifts for showers were pretty inexpensive--pyrex baking dishes & oven mits, or a single cup or plate from their wedding china pattern--and sometimes several girls would go together to buy the bride something more expensive like a mixer.

I think the current trend for spendy weddings for the non-rich was ushered in by the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.

It seems to me that after that event, suddenly everyone had to have hugely expensive designer wedding gowns (instead of something homemade or vintage), and weddings became sort of a Disney princess fantasy for the bride (ie with the horse drawn carriage and other princess for a day fantasy stuff).

I think it's sad that today many young people seem unable to even envision a wedding without the bling factor--as if spending like you're really wealthy for 1 day is the whole point of getting married.

I was the best man for 3 of my friends, 2 of them just last year, and the expenses really added up. One of them had a destination wedding. I was happy to spend it, but it was very expensive.

Wow! I guess my friends can thank my father for refusing to foot the bill for the big wedding my mother wanted to throw.

What on earth possesses people to diddle away money like that, especially at a time of life when they need to be starting their homes, building careers, and preparing to start families (all very pricey endeavors)? Considering that more than half of today's marriages will end in divorce, it's even more puzzling.

People are nuts. When you think about how many weddings your friends might go to / be a part of you should do what you can to lower costs. Since my wife and I had been to or been part of 10 or so weddings before ours, we wanted to be fair and nice. Here is what we did:

* First of all, no member of the wedding party was allowed to give us a gift. Instead, we asked them to just help out where necessary and they did great. My wife's matron of honor lent her wedding dress, that was a gift enough. My guys ran errands for me.

* Only one member of our wedding party had to fly in, and since it was my wife's sister she was coming anyways. Everyone else just drove from nearby (3 hours at most) and had a place to stay so there were no hotel costs.

* My wife bought all three bridesmaid dresses online herself, for $60 apiece. Alterations were done by a family member. I went to a wedding... show, exposition thing? I paid a few bucks to get in, and signed up for the tuxes there. As a result all my groomsmen and ushers got 20% off their total tux rental.

* Jewelry was borrowed for the girls, and shoes were bought cheap somewhere, maybe $30 a pair? I made the dudes rent their shoes (after I found out what they had, sheesh guys) which were only $10 extra.

* Hair and makeup done by a cousin, all free as a wedding gift. In other words, bottom line for our entire 10 person wedding party (including us), the total cost was around $1000 - $1500 (I'm imagining some gas money etc) split amongst all of us.

Here are some of my horror stories from weddings I attended though:

1. Friend of mine, since the rehearsal had to be done two nights ahead of the wedding? Extra night in the motel. The rehearsal was 15 minutes long, so I paid $80 for a 15 minute meeting. Ridiculous.

2. One wedding I had to drive over 50 miles out into the suburbs to rent my tux. The tux was $160, and did not include shoes even. I also had less than a 2 week notice / timeframe to do this. Ridiculous.

3. My best man's wedding was a destination one in Hawaii. As close of friends we were, at the time he got married (3 years before I did) I was in debt and working a job that paid $10/hr. I did not go, and felt horrible. However I couldn't stomach borrowing money from him or my parents to attend.

4. One wedding we went to, the reception hall was over 70 miles from the chapel.

5. We typically give anywhere from $50 to $200, depending on how close we are, how much someone gave us, and how much we spent to attend the wedding (i.e. airfare / hotel). I would say that I will probably begrudge (forever maybe?) the people that attended our wedding and brought / gave no gift at all. Even $20 would have been enough. Some of these people I had seen drop $50 in a night drinking, and I gave them an open bar! ;)

•Engagement gift - $50 - take the couple out for drinks, they're close friends so that's about right.
•Shower gift - $50 - a little high, depends on your age & income bracket.
•Wedding gift - $100-$150 - again, depends on age & how close you are to the couple.
•Travel to shower - $300 - No. However, bridesmaids are on the hook for supplying food and party games, so the cost could be 50-200 each depending on how many bridesmaids there are.
•Travel to bachelorette party - $300 - Not unreasonable - many college-educated brides find their friends are flung all across the country after graduation. Who's going to miss a close friend's bachelorette? Who wants to feel cold and calculating on what's the threshold for attending vs. not attending?
•Travel to wedding - $300 - Yes, and she's balancing taking an extra day off work to get a cheaper ticket vs. the lost pay if she's not salaried, because she's got to be in town for the rehearsal dinner on Friday...so she def. can't work Friday for an out-of-towner. Plus there's either the cab or airport parking
•Dress - $150 - about par for all but the most basic dresses from David's Bridal. Can be cheaper if everyone is in good shape, but dresses that flatter multiple sizes and shapes are more expensive.
•Alterations - $50 - Yes, for half a darn inch! I could've worn higher heels but the groomsman was short and the bride didn't want me to tower over him.
•Lingerie - $50 - Yes if you don't already own a good strapless/backless bra.
•Shoes - $75 - yes if you don't already own the desired color.
•Jewelry - $60 - not that common.
•Hair and makeup - $100 - a little high, out of a group of bridesmaids at least one is probably good at doing makeup.

I find the comments really interesting - and really indicative of your readers. I've been personally privy to many of my friends subjected to your scenario, where the bride was really offended if someone wanted to skip the shower or bachelorette party, even if those people lived far away. I've also been in situations where there were 2 or 3 bridal showers given by separate groups (groom's family, bride's friends) where we were expected to attend all of them AND bring a gift AND give a wedding gift. When my best friend got married 3 years ago I wasn't asked to be in the wedding party (only family was) and I was expected to travel ($500), pay for a hotel and rental car, buy 2 new outfits (one for the rehearsal dinner, one for the wedding), and participate in whatever social outings were going on during my stay. Her wedding party was responsible for the above, plus $350 dresses with alterations and silver shoes (which I know some women would already have) and hair and make-up. There was a bridal shower during her family Christmas, and her husband's family all live around here, so there was a wedding shower for them locally, and all their registered items were $100 or more, although there was a charity donation option. I would say that is more the average expectation than what some people have written above. That said, I am planning a $1500 wedding - the price of the cake at my friend's.

Here in the UK the bride and groom bear the expenses of the bridesmaids. I think this is only fair. I wouldn't DREAM of asking one of my friends to be a bridesmaid and then expecting her to pay for anything. I was really surprised when I found that in the US this is the case.

When you ask why you have to buy new jewelry, the question is that often you do not get a choice. The bride picks out matching jewelry and then everyone buys it.

My costs in a recent destination wedding were:

Engagement gift - $0 (I photographed their engagement session because I'm a wedding photography)
Shower gift - $0 (I didn't go because I live in Chile)
Wedding gift - $375 (I'm getting them a wedding album, if I didn't know them as well and didn't love them as much I would get them something less personalized and cheaper off the registry).
Travel to shower - $0 didn't go
Travel to bachelorette party - $0 didn't go
Travel to wedding - $2,000 (flights from Chile for both husband and I)
Rental car - $275
Dress - $220
Alterations - $50
Lingerie - $0
Shoes - $22
Jewelry - $0 (bride gifted us necklaces)
Hair and makeup - $0 (bride's stepmom is a hairdresser and did our hair free).
Hotel - $500 (3 nights)

So my costs would have been almost exactly the 1400 stated in the article, if it weren't for the flights from Chile. But it's not my best friend's fault I live in Chile ;)

The thing is, for expensive as that may sound, we knew we were bridesmaids probably about a year in advance, maybe more, and had PLENTY of time to budget for these options. Is spending 220 on a dress I will never wear again my favorite thing to spend money on? No, not if you look at it like that. Is spending 220 on a dress I will wear to stand up in my best friend's wedding and be a part of one of the most important days of her life something I am totally willing and happy to spend on? FOR SURE.

It all depends on how you look at it. Coming at things from a purely financial standpoint is very cold and calculating.

Plus, I am sure that if any of the bridesmaids would have said to my friend, "I'm sorry, I truly cannot afford this bridesmaids dress," my friend would've either helped them pay for it or searched out other options. Fortunately I am at a point in my life where I can afford to budget out for these kinds of expenses and was more than happy to do so. Like I said, it all depends on how you look at it.

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