What it Costs to Be a Bridesmaid

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Two days after I completed my duties as a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding, a close friend showed up at work and asked me to join her bridal party.

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t into it, but this reluctance had nothing to do with my feelings for this friend or the clichéd disdain that single girls often have toward weddings. Directly following my cousin’s big fat Italian wedding, I was broke and lacked the emergency funds that I didn’t realize then were also meant to be used “in case of becoming a bridesmaid.”

While I had the bad luck of being in two weddings back-to-back, I’m certainly not the only woman who’s found herself saddled with other people’s wedding expenses.

According to the Wedding Report, an estimated 9.53 million bridesmaids spent $9.61 billion on wedding-related expenditures in 2009, and a bridesmaid can expect to spend an average of $1,009 on everything from dresses to traveling for a wedding.

To find out why so many bridesmaids spend $1,000 a pop, MainStreet consulted WeddingChannel.com, powered by The Knot, which provided the following estimates on what bridesmaids pay:

  • Engagement gift - $50
  • Shower gift - $50
  • Wedding gift - $100-$150
  • Travel to shower - $300
  • Travel to bachelorette party - $300
  • Travel to wedding - $300
  • Dress - $150
  • Alterations - $50
  • Lingerie - $50
  • Shoes - $75
  • Jewelry - $60
  • Hair and makeup - $100

All together the costs total $1,385, only slightly higher than the Wedding Report’s 2009 estimates. According to Amy Eisinger, editor of WeddingChannel.com, this is because certain expenses – especially the cost of a bridesmaid’s dress– have remained fairly stagnant the past few years.