One of your best friends has just asked you to be in their wedding, and you couldn’t be more ecstatic! Now that the happy couple’s wedding planning is fully in motion—how do you know how much to save? Here’s what to expect financially when you’ve been asked to be in a wedding party, broken down by each category of spending.
Although it’s not required that member of the wedding party give the newly betrothed a present, if you can swing it financially, it’s a nice gesture. Send the newly engaged couple a nice bottle of champagne or give them a sweet personalized ornament that says “engaged” for their Christmas tree. Plan to spend about 30 dollars on this simple gesture; any more than that is probably excessive.
Transportation to the Wedding
Not every member of the bridal party will need to travel for the wedding (unless of course it’s a destination wedding), but if you have to drive, fly, or take a train to the ceremony then count on that being one of your biggest expenses. Depending on where you live in relation to the location, it’ll cost you at least 300 dollars round trip for a flight, at least 100 for a train ticket, and on average about 50–70 in gas, if you live a reasonable distance away.
Bachelorette/ Bachelor Party
Bachelorette/bachelor party costs can range depending on what your friend wants to do to celebrate their last days of single-dom. Some brides and grooms want a relaxed evening just drinking beers at home with friends while others want the complete Vegas party experience.
If you have a feeling that your friend is going to want to have a full raging night that’s possibly in another city, state or country, you can expect to spend at the very least 300 dollars (not including any transportation costs) for splitting a hotel or Airbnb with the other members of the bachelor/bachelorette party, drinks for the bride or groom, and dinners out. The range from there will go up exponentially depending on what activities you do and where the destination is.
However, if your friend is satisfied with just staying in town and going out to a few bars, then plan to spend around 60 dollars for buying a few rounds of drinks and eating dinner at the bride or groom’s favorite local restaurant.
Wedding Shower/Wedding Gift
Being a member of the wedding party means that you are likely close with the happy couple. Generally, the closer you are to the couple, the more you will spend on the wedding gift. Expect to spend around 100 dollar on one item or multiple smaller items for the couple. It isn’t required to bring a gift to both, but if you would like to do so then split the cost about 70/30 (70 for the shower, and 30 for the wedding gift).
As part of the wedding party, it’s expected that you will be given some sort of direction on what to wear on the wedding day from the bride or groom. Sometimes the couple is very particular that everything matches exactly, but many modern weddings have a less rigid approach, asking that everyone just wear the same color to create an eclectic look. No matter what road your couple chooses, you’ll still need to buy a dress or a tux. Expect to spend at least 200 dollars on a dress with any alterations that may be needed, and at least 200 for a tux rental with all of the accoutrements such as the tie, cummerbund, etc.
Lodging for the Wedding
Once the big day gets closer, you’ll need to book your lodging if you are coming from out of town. A hotel room or Airbnb rental will probably be the biggest expense as a member of the bridal party. Unless you can find a couch to crash on, you can expect to spend about 400–500 dollars on a room for the long weekend. Consider splitting the cost with your fellow bridesmaids or groomsmen, or ask the couple if they have booked a block of rooms for out-of-town guests to get a small discount.
Grooming for the Wedding
The cost of grooming for the wedding is solely going to depend on how the bride and groom want the wedding party to look. This cost mostly belongs to bridesmaids and includes any hair and makeup work done on the day of the wedding. Many brides hire a makeup artist and hair stylist to come to a hotel room or bridal room at the ceremony space to spend a few hours beautifying the bridesmaids and the bride. If you choose to get your hair and makeup done, you are looking at a cost of at least 100 dollars. Of course, if you simply can’t afford the cost of professional primping beforehand, politely decline the services and bring your own makeup to cut down costs.