I look back at the first time I was a bridesmaid fondly. However, I cringe when I think about how much money I spent. I was just a graduate student, but spent as if I were comfortably installed in a lucrative career. (I was always headed toward a job in academia, so that was especially silly of me.)
I wasn’t really convinced that I would wear any of the bridesmaids’ dresses I’ve bought again. I held on to a couple, but they sat in my closet for years. I finally donated them to the Cinderella Project a few years ago.
When I started to think about my bridesmaids, I wondered whether they might have the cost of the role in mind. I came across this graphic from Mint a while back and posted it in the Weddingbee forums, but it’s so comprehensive that it’s worth posting again.
These days, Mint says bridesmaids are spending around $1,700 to be part of a bridal party. I don’t think I’ve spent that much myself, but I imagine there are others out there who have.
I expect my ’maids to spend much, much less than what’s listed above. Here’s the plan:
1. No engagement party, bridal showers, or bachelorette party.
We’ve been engaged for a year at this point, so it’s a little late for that. Showers are generally about gifts, and because we are a little older we don’t really need help outfitting a home. What’s more, my mother always taught me to save up to buy top quality items once, instead of having to replace things multiple times. As a result, I don’t feel as though I need to upgrade any of my appliances or kitchen gadgets. Lastly, I’m not really the bachelorette-party type. I love a good party, but I’m not much of a bar hopper.
2. The bridesmaids pick the dresses.
I hope that by selecting a color and letting the bridesmaids pick their dress styles, they’ll actually wear their dresses again. Every bride says it, but it almost never happens and I think that’s because the dress style is mandated.
Dresses from J.Crew (Discontinued)
3. The dresses will be from J.Crew.
J.Crew’s special-occasion dresses usually retail for $250, but they seem to be on sale constantly. I think I get at least one email each week offering 20% off, and the sale section of their site always has dresses for as low as $50. I hope alterations won’t be necessary. Can someone explain why the bridesmaids’ dresses ordered for me after having my measurements taken never fit while I can buy a dress off the rack at J.Crew and be just fine?
4. No restrictions on shoes, hair, or makeup.
I want my girls to wear what’s comfortable. I momentarily thought of buying them all the same shoes. Shoes are so personal, though. I decided to pick a neutral color and let them wear whatever they’d like. The best case scenario would have them wearing something that’s already in their closets!
Now, I have questions. Lots of questions. Feel free to answer one or all. I’d really love to get some different opinions on being a bridesmaid.
What do you think is an acceptable cost for being a bridesmaid?
What’s the most expensive bridesmaids’ dress you’ve worn? Did you wear it again?
Would you rather get an inexpensive bridesmaids’ dress that you would never wear again or a more expensive dress that you really would wear again?