My bf recently sent me the link this article on the CNN website titled Too broke to be your maid of honor. According this article, a girl will spend an average of $1000 for the coveted role of maid of honour. $1000?!? On average?! That's rent for some people! Now I have always bitched and complained about the amount of money a girl spends to part of another's special day....but to see the numbers confirmed in print by a international news outlet....well, that really got me irked. Why are bridemaids willing to contribute so much money on someone else's wedding? And why are their brides letting them?
How Much Money Have I Really Spent?
After reading the CNN article, I sat down and did some rough estimates on how much I've spent on the weddings I've been involved. Here is my breakdown:
Dress $250 (the lower being $99, the highest being $280)
Shoes $0 (luckily, all my brides have allowed me to wear shoes I already own)
Shower Gift/Costs of hosting the Shower - $100
Engagement Gift $50
Wedding Gift $ 150
Travel Costs $ 200 (lowest being $30 in cab rides, highest being $450 in airfare)
Average Total: $1255
Times that by 6 (for the number of weddings I've been in) = $7530. Wow. That's enough money for one year's rent. Ouch.
This 'investment' by a bridesmaid is a side effect of a multi-billion dollar industry. Brides are socialized to believe it's 'their' day. A day to have the most beautiful gown on, with the most shiny accessories, to be the centre of attention, to be a princess really. Unfortunately, this 'my day' attitude seems to allow brides to justify in asking their girls for substantial time and financial commitments. Often times bridesmaids are reluctant to say anything so not to upset their good friend, their best friend, as it is 'her' day.
How Brides Can Cut Down Their Bridesmaids' Costs
A recent article in US News recommends that brides and bridesmaid need to be realistic. Yes, it is a special day for the bride but it doesn't have to come at a high cost for everyone involved. How is this possible you say? Here are a few ideas for those concerned brides:
* Allow your bridesmaids to choose and buy their own dresses so long as it keeps within your colour scheme - this will increase the chance she will wear the dress again (I don't think I have ever worn a bridesmaid dress again).
* Help out your bridesmaids by contributing to the dress - you may not be able to contribute much but a little goes a long way and shows you appreciate their involvement.
* Look for bridesmaids dresses in non-traditional stores. A lot of regular clothing and department stores such as Banana Republic , Jacob , Nordstroms , and J.Crew have great cocktail or 'going out' dresses which also double as stunning bridesmaids dresses at a fraction of the cost of a dress from a designer 'bridesmaid' line.
* Allow your bridesmaids to do their own hair and makeup - I know many brides who are worried about how their girls will look and insist on professional services; however, trust me when I say guests will only notice you that day. Or get your girls to do each others' makeup. This will make the 'getting ready' time even more fun.
* Allow your girls to wear shoes they already have - Matching shoes do look great and make a great photo opportunity but again, all eyes will be on you, not the bridesmaids' shoes.
* Understand from the outset that not all of your bridesmaids will be able to attend ALL your events - your girls have separate lives which entails other obligations, even other weddings, maybe even their own wedding, and while they may want to attend EVERY event, neither their pocketbook or their agenda may be able to accommodate it.
As a general rule of thumb, before you ask your bridesmaids to spend money on your wedding, ask yourself, if the roles were reversed, would you find it reasonable to spend the requested amount? Chances are, you would say no. Remember, happy bridesmaids make for an even happier bride!