FTC: This post is not sponsored. All thoughts and weird opinions are my own.


If you’re a millennial it is very likely that a majority of your friends are getting married. With the average American wedding costing upwards of 30,000 (In New York it’s 70,000… so that’s a thing) dollars, weddings are very expensive for every single person involved. If you’re the bride and groom, obviously you’re paying for the majority of the nuptials so that in itself can be quite a headache. The friends, family, and wedding guests are expected to pony up some sort of gift at one or if not all of the wedding celebrations. That ranges from the the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette and the actual wedding ceremony. 


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When you add up those costs they add up pretty quick, but if you are a part of the wedding there is a whole other financial side that is often left out, or only whispered about because well… talking about money is always uncomfortable (not for me though). And because I have quite a shameless attitude when it comes to talking about money and the costs of things I figured I’d share this detailed guide on how to be a bridesmaid on a budget. 

bridesmaid on a budget

How To Be A Bridesmaid On A Budget

As a bridesmaid the two most important factors that you are going to have to shell out in large amounts are your time and your money. Which is why if you don’t absolutely love the person that asks you to be a part of their special day, it’s best you opt out. Because one you’re in… your pockets are in for a whirlwind of a time. Once you factor in the gifts you have to give, the makeup, hair, accessories, dress, shoes, bridal shower, and bachelorette party you’re looking at an average close to 3,000 dollars spent. I am here to help alleviate some of that cost with you. Let’s get into it!

1. Rent Instead Of Buy: There are in fact some instances when it is better to rent than to buy. And when it comes to being a bridesmaid for your loved one, renting the shoes and dress are the better option. For starters, as beautiful as bridesmaid dresses can truly be, it is very very very very rare that you will ever wear that particular dress again. Trust me… I am in love with my prom dress, and it has been sitting in my closet for the last 12 years, because though it still fits me (yes I try it on at least once a year) I can’t fathom where I would wear it. (Though now that I think about it… I have two other weddings to attend… and it just may make its re-debut in 2019). 

If you know that you don’t particularly attend black tie events often, then renting and returning your dress and shoes will help keep space in your closet, and coin in your pocket. 

2. Do Your Own Hair + Makeup: I know we may not all be make up artists and hair stylists. If you are unable to beat your face in a semi formal matter, or put together a formal hair style for the big day, you can take a more fiscally frugal option by getting your make up done from Sephora or Mac.

These two places usually require you to buy $50.00 dollars worth of makeup in exchange for an official beat, which is far less than the makeup artists quote for wedding parties. Similar concept for your hair. Head to a regular hair salon, and get a cute style that fits with the theme of the wedding or the bride’s style request. This will cost you anywhere from 30-70 dollars as opposed to the hundreds charged the moment you mention you need your hair done for a wedding. 

3. Local Bachelorette: The best and most affordable way to have an affordable bachelorette party for the bride to be, is to have it locally. Of course a destination bachelorette party is dream, but it is also an expensive dream. When you add in travel and lodging you are looking at a cost 2-3 times higher than what you would have paid having a cute/local event for your bestie. 

4. Book Tickets In Advance: If it is your bride’s request/ dream to have a destination bachelorette party, it is not only smart, but ideal to try and book it as far in advanced as possible. Look on sites like Expedia or Orbitz for travel deals and locations offering all inclusive packages that will help curb some of that cost. 

5. Share The Expenses: What I’ve learned very very very early on in being a part of a bridal party… DO NOT TRY TO BE A HERO! Split those costs evenly because they pile up, and they pile up quickly. By splitting the costs you help soften the blow on your bank account, and build team morale as well… because you will find out very quickly that you all are trying to make the best in the most frugal manner. 

6. Make a DIY or Handmade Personalized Gift: My favorite gifts that I have ever received have often been small DIY or personalized gifts that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Think about what your bride bestie loves and incorporate that somehow someway into a gift for the engagement party, the wedding, the bridal shower…etc. 

7. Create A Sinking Fund: I created a sinking fund for my friend’s wedding the moment she asked me to be a bridesmaid. I set a budget in my mind for the nuptials and divided them by equal amounts of money I’d have to put aside each month until the I do’s. This way the money that I would be spending wouldn’t impact or disrupt my day to day budget and bills. 

8. Be Honest With The Bride: There are two opportunities/moments when you can capitalize on being really honest with the bride about your finances. The first moment is prior to actually saying yes to being a bridesmaid. If you know for a fact no matter what you do that you simply will not be able to budget this into your expenses then you must count on your close relationship with the bride and tell her you simply can not. 

The second opportunity you have to be honest with the bride is right at the very beginning of planning. If you’ve racked up the estimated expenses with the bridal party and it is higher than you’ve planned for, or simply not something you can make work, then you must tell the bride you need to be released from your responsibilities. it is more important that you’re honest and tell her early on, before too much planning and time has transpired. 

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to share it with a friend, family member, or nosey neighbor! 

Until the next time,