I’m going to be pretty busy over the next few weeks, so I’ve asked some great writers to step in and help me out. First up is Mother Miser. Although I’ve never been a bridesmaid, I’ve always wondered how a bridesmaid could possibly afford the hoops she has to jump through just to stand up there, holding a bouquet of flowers.
Mother Miser is a part-time freelance writer who became intimate with frugal living in her mid-twenties. Now a mother in her thirties, she understands, more than ever, the importance of planning and prioritizing time and money. She blogs about raising a family on a budget without compromising a good quality of life. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A year and a half ago one of my best friends got engaged. She called me practically screaming into the phone and her excitement was contagious. So, imagine how flattered I was when she asked me to be a part of her wedding. Images of days spent browsing in stores for the perfect dress, preparing favours with a glass of wine in hand and relaxing at a spa while a professional rubbed, scrubbed and polished our feet for the big day paraded through my mind. Of course all of this did happen, but less ideally than I had pictured it in my dewy-eyed euphoria of being asked to be a bridesmaid.
After the first weekend of endless pavement-pounding in hopes of finding a dress, hunting for shoes with an appropriate heel and a purse with just the right hint of gold, my enthusiasm flew out the window. My feet hurt, my head was throbbing and I was starving! Imagine my disgruntled disposition when it dawned on me that I would be repeating the exercise over the course of many weekends in the next year.
Worst than the time spent shopping was the money spent shopping (imagine that).
While being part of a wedding party has its perks, it can create a sizeable dent in your wallet. It was hard on my finances and even caused some disagreements with my partner as he was forced to forego previously-budgeted items in lieu of the wedding expenditures. For one, the bride insisted that all of her closest friends celebrate her upcoming nuptials in New York City. This translated into the high cost of flights, hotels, restaurants, drinks (bottle service no less), and a limousine. The fun weekend cost me so much more than I could comfortably afford. But I went through with it in the name of friendship.
As though that girlie weekend was not costly enough, the groom decided he was having his bachelor party in Las Vegas – c’mon now!!! It cost each person who attended this five day debauchery approximately $1,500. Considering some of the bride and groom’s friends were couples, they are hit with twice the expense! Add this extravagance to the cost of food and decorations for the bridal shower, the cost of the dress (and alterations), shoes, plus hair and makeup. The financial reality makes me want to cry.
Cost breakdown as a bridesmaid
Bachelorette in NYC: $800
Bridal shower: $200
Shower gift: $50
Wedding gift: $100
Bridesmaid dress: $350
The absolute worst are the couples who are so consumed by their wedding that they become oblivious to how their choices affect their friends and family who are supporting them. I have friends (thank the higher powers I was not part of this cortège) who not only had bachelor and bachelorette parties, they also had a combined stag and doe party, an engagement party and a bridal shower. We spent five weekends attending functions to celebrate their union before even attending the actual wedding!
Next time you are asked to be a part of a wedding be sure to think long and hard before agreeing to such a responsibility. Acting as a groomsmen or a bridesmaid can become very financially draining. In all honesty, I feel that it is entirely acceptable to admit that you cannot afford the whole circus surrounding weddings. Of course, don’t call it a ‘circus’ in front of the bride or groom.