How to Shrink Wedding Costs for Your Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids surrounding a bride at a wedding with spring bouquets and soft pink dresses.

Instead of shrinking, it seems the cost of being a bridesmaid is growing exponentially. Extravagant bachelorette party trips, attire with large price tags—all these elements are adding up in a big way. When someone says yes to being a bridesmaid, they’re also saying yes to hundreds of dollars spent (maybe even thousands of dollars on some occasions!). Don’t want this to be the case for your wedding? Read below and help a sister out!

Don’t Shop at a Boutique

The boutique shopping experience can be a tradition for some brides, but you’ll save your girls a whole heap of cash by shopping elsewhere. There are many beautiful dress options available online, for instance. If you’re worried about sketchy websites not delivering, don’t worry; there are plenty of reputable sites available to choose from including large chains with excellent customer service.

The boutique bridesmaid dresses not only cost a ton, but often they require a hefty down payment. If you’re determined to shop at one, perhaps offer to pay the down payment for your bridesmaids. If you budget ahead for this, it could be no problem. The best part is that your early budgeting makes sure your bridesmaids don’t have to.

Request a Simple Party

A group of women at a bachelorette party sitting by a pool and laughing.

Some brides want the moon. Well, the moon costs. So many bachelorette parties nowadays are competing against the rich and famous. Brides and their maids are getting more and more glam with their plans. If you cut this down, you cut cost.

Between the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, bridesmaids are spending a large chunk of their overall cost for the wedding at parties. This makes the party a perfect place to shrink costs for your ladies. Tell your maid of honor that you want a simple party (and really mean it). “Simple” might mean you have the party in town instead of in Vegas. It might mean doing one special event instead of two. Go the ol’ fashioned route and bar hop, or plan a fun weekend at home with your bridesmaids watching movies and getting brunch. You’ll have just as much fun!

Forgo the Gifts

Tell your bridesmaids not to get you presents. Tell them their presence during this special time in your life is enough of a present and leave it at that. You may think gifts aren’t a big deal, but between the shower, bachelorette party, wedding morning (yes, some bridesmaids give wedding morning gifts!), and reception, you can rack up quite a few gifts just from one person!

You’re already getting gifts from every other guest—it shouldn’t hurt you too badly to forgo bridesmaid presents. Of course, if one of your maids wants to get you a special gift, you should let them. This way, it’s up to them, but since you’ve discouraged gift giving, no one will feel obligated.

Don’t Mind the Details

Bridesmaids getting ready with the bride before the wedding.

Some brides dictate everything about their bridesmaids’ look, from the hair to the toe nails. If the bride requests a specific nail look, the bridesmaid has to deliver on that and they can end up spending precious cash on a trip to the nail salon (or at the very least, a nice stick-on set!).

There’s also the matter of jewelry and shoes. I was once in a wedding where the type of shoe requested was out of season, so it was not only hard to find, but expensive because of the material. You can avoid this extra cost by being a bit more flexible with your choices. If you’re going to ask for a certain color, perhaps you can give way on the material and style. If your heart is set on a particular detail, perhaps pay for it yourself. This kind of gesture will go a long way with your girls.

DIY Hair and Makeup for the Big Day

Either pay for your bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done as part of a package, or let them do it themselves. For the bridesmaids that can’t do their own, perhaps you have a talented friend or family member that can pitch in and do it. Chances are there is some way you can cut costs here. Offer the services to your maids, but if they have the talent to produce their own looks, let them!

Provide Overnight Accommodations

One of the bigger costs for bridesmaids involves where they crash for the festivities. Whether it be your bachelorette party or your wedding night, the girls are expected to stay and have a good time. This means they are probably getting hotel rooms. Offer your house for bridesmaids to crash if you have the room. If you’d rather keep your home empty during the wedding, perhaps there are other places available such as a close family member’s house. If not, consider helping your bridesmaids by covering a portion or all of their hotel costs.

It’s not hard to cut costs for your bridesmaids if you plan ahead. If you have the means, your bridesmaid budget should be part of your initial wedding planning. By considering their portion, you put their needs first. It’s all part of being the best friend and bride you can be.

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