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Budget-Friendly Bridesmaid Tips

Published: January 23, 2019

Engagement season is here. As the excitement dwindles and the wedding planning begins, you may find yourself in the inner circle of a wedding party as a bridesmaid. Being a bridesmaid can get expensive very quickly, so it's important to make sure that you can afford it before you commit. However, there are ways to be a bridesmaid on a budget, it may just take a little bit of work. Here are some ways that you can save money and be a bridesmaid.

1. Wedding Day Attire

This will be one of the biggest expenses for the wedding. Bridesmaid's dresses can cost from $100 all the way up to thousands of dollars depending on the designer and style. Long dresses tend to cost more than short dresses, so it's best to prepare.

You have a couple of options on how to save money for this part of the wedding. If your bride says yes to the dress and it's on the higher end of your budget, you can look at websites to rent or buy used bridesmaid dresses. Sometimes you'll be able to find the same exact dress for cheaper this way.

If you want to buy a new dress, you can speak with the bride to see what her vision is for the wedding. Some brides encourage their bridesmaids to pick out their own dress style, but it has to be a specific color. This would be the best option for a budget because you don't necessarily have to go to a bridal salon to get your dress.

You could also encourage the bride to go to the big box salons like David's Bridal. They're known for having budget-friendly dresses, and it makes it easier if you don't live in the same area as the rest of the bridal party.

Another way to save money is through shoes. The bride may be flexible with letting you pick out your own shoes for the wedding. Instead of paying $100 for a pair of heels you'll never wear again, you can buy a pair of shoes that you can re-wear to other events and fits in your budget. Just make sure they're comfortable enough to not give you blisters.

Alterations can be pretty costly as well. Most bridal salons offer alterations in-house, but tend to be more expensive. If you have a local seamstress that you like, or someone recommends, you should look into those options as well. They tend to be cheaper and can save you more money if you need to have alterations on the dress.

2. Bridal Shower

The bridal shower can also cost a pretty penny. It's important to speak with the maid of honor and other bridesmaids before you start planning to set a budget. Once the budget is set, you can discuss and agree on where the budget will be allocated in regards to venue, cake, decorations, etc.

You can also opt to make your own decorations to save money. Instead of dishing out hundreds of dollars on custom invitations, decorations, flowers, etc., you can buy pre-made items through Etsy or even Facebook Marketplace.

3. Bachelorette Party

The bachelorette party is fun, but it's important to make sure that you're all in agreement on how much you want to spend before the payment process begins. If the bridal party insists on going on an exotic vacation that is out of budget, maybe you decide to opt-out of that bachelorette party and have a smaller, more intimate party with the bride when she returns. 

You can also look for fun things to do around the area that won't cost as much as a vacation. This will help you save money but still be part of the bachelorette group.

4. Hair and Makeup

Some brides will pay for their bridesmaids to get their hair and makeup done, but it's not always the case. Most brides will book the hair dessers and makeup artists to come to you on the wedding day. If this costs extra money, you may want to consider alternate options. You can opt to do your hair and makeup yourself, or selecting one of the options to splurge on. There's also the option to go to the makeup counters at Sephora or Macy's where you buy an item of makeup and they'll do a complimentary makeup session with you. It's up to what works best for you and your budget.

5. Travel Accommodations

If you're a bridesmaid in a wedding that is not close to your house, this may be a big factor of your budget. You will most likely have to travel for the shower, bachelorette, rehearsal dinner, and wedding, which can add up very quickly. If you have the ability to crash at someone's house for most of these events, that would be the easiest way to save money. Maybe splurge for a hotel for two nights if you do have to travel. If you have to travel by air, make sure you book your flights in advance to save the most money.

6. Gift

The bride may not necessarily expect the bridal party to produce a gift for the wedding or shower. If you feel inclined to give a gift as well, maybe consider making something. A sentimental gift that the bride can display in her house or something that will make her think of you is a great way to save money. Head to your local craft store and pick up some supplies to get started. If you aren't the crafty type, you can also opt to buy a few of the inexpensive items on her registry, but you'll need to do it quickly because those items tend to be picked up pretty quickly. Another option could be splitting the cost of a bigger present with a group of people. This will help cut the cost of the gift, and you can get her something she really wants that she may not have received because of the cost.

Being a bridesmaid doesn't necessarily have to take all of your money. If you prepare ahead of time and price around, talk about budgeting ahead of time, you should be able to save some money. Sometimes you'll have to make sacrifices, but if you know the wedding is coming up, you can start saving ahead of time.