What to expect as a Bridesmaid

What to expect as a Bridesmaid

You’ve accepted an invitation to be a bridesmaid. Let the fun begin! As a bridesmaid, you will be right in the middle of all the pre-wedding festivities, like dress shopping, engagement parties, hair and makeup sessions, the bachelorette party, and many other fun activities.

Along with the excitement of being a bridesmaid comes responsibility. As one of the selected few in the bridal party, you will be expected to participate and contribute to various items and events, so it’s best to prepare yourself ahead of time.

The amount of money and time you will have to set aside depends upon the wedding couple and their vision for the wedding. There are some general expenditures and events bridesmaids can anticipate spending their cash and time on, so grab your planner and your calculator and don’t forget to have fun. 

A Bridesmaid’s Financial Responsibilities

Every wedding is different. The final costs you will incur as a bridesmaid depends on the type of wedding being thrown. Customarily, you will be responsible for the following items.

Bridesmaid Dress: Depending on the bride’s selection, your bridesmaid dress may cost anywhere from nothing—perhaps she’s simply chosen a color and you already have the perfect fit in your closet—and can go as high up as her tastes have allowed if she’s opted to have her bridesmaids go the couture route. Don’t forget to set aside a little extra if alterations are needed. The costs will depend on what adjustments need to be made and where on the dress they need to be done.

Makeup and Hair: You can expect to pay roughly the same amount as you would for a haircut or haircut and color for a partial or complete updo, but keep in mind that stylists who are required to travel to the wedding site will likely charge higher rates. 

Accessories: Shoes complementing the bridesmaid dress can also range indeterminately based on the bride’s choice. As you know her best, it’s safest to budget according to her tastes. You may also want to set aside a little extra for an accompanying purse or clutch in addition to jewelry such as earrings, necklace, hair accessories, head ornament, bracelets, etc. 

Travel: Airfare, train tickets, taxies, car rental and/or gasoline should also be accounted for to get you to and from the wedding site. Occasionally, a portion of your travel expenses may be picked up by the couple. This isn’t customary, however, so you shouldn’t count on it. 

Accommodation: Visiting bridesmaids often pay for their own rooms. Ask the bride if she has negotiated a discounted group rate at any hotels in the area for out-of-town guests for the best deal. 

Pre-Wedding Parties: You may be asked to contribute to the cost of throwing one of these parties by the event’s host. If so, you should be honored as one of the co-hosts of the event. Be aware, though, that you are obliged to buy only one gift even if you are invited to more than one pre-wedding event.

Bachelorette Party: The maid of honor is in charge of coordinating this party, but all of the bridesmaids may be called upon to help fund it. If the plan is for a weekend bachelorette party out of town, you will be expected to pay for your travel expenses and accommodations and you may also be asked to pitch in on a portion of the bride’s stay as well.

Wedding Gift: As with every guest invited to the wedding, you should buy the couple a gift. Check the wedding registries early so you’ll have a wide range of options in price and selection.

Keep in mind, you may always invite another bridesmaid, friend, or family member to pitch in for a hotel room if you’ll be sharing, or wedding gift you can give as a group to cut your costs. If money woes are a serious issue, you should discuss the situation with the bride as soon as possible. It is better to try and resolve any cash flow obstacles early in the wedding planning process before the commitments are set and expected. 

Timeline of Events for Bridesmaids

Besides money, bridesmaids will be expected to offer some of their time as well to help make this event a special one for the bride and groom. The guidelines below offer you an idea of when you may be expected to make yourself available for wedding-related events. 

At 9-10 months out: Engagement parties are often held around this time, so mark your calendar if you’re able to attend. 

7-8 months out: Bridesmaids dresses are usually ordered. Be prepared to attend shopping excursions, offer suggestions, and attend fittings if possible.

One month out: In the few weeks leading up to the wedding, final fittings of the bridal party’s dresses normally take place, and the bachelorette party is often held.

One week out: Now is the time to cut, color, or perm your hair before the wedding, but err on the side of caution and only attempt treatments or looks you’ve pulled off successfully in the past.  A week until the wedding is not a good time for bad surprises!

The day before the wedding: Normally, a rehearsal of the next day’s ceremony takes place at the wedding site, followed by a rehearsal dinner, often hosted by the groom and his parents. The entire wedding party is expected to attend.

The day of: Arrive early at the wedding location so you’ll have time to dress and help the bride with anything she may need.

Now that the wedding plans are underway, it’s best to start saving your money and allotting time for all the necessities.  Have fun with it and relish in the honor of being asked to stand with the bride and groom on this special day.