Creative Ways to Afford Being a Bridesmaid
Being by your friend's side through all the highs and lows of the wedding planning process, calming her on the big day, seeing the sweet but nervous smiles throughout the ceremony, and crying along with her as she exchanges vows with her soon to be spouse is something every good friend wants to say yes to. We all want to support those closest to us and to be there when they need us most. But being a bridesmaid these days does not come cheap. In fact, it’s getting remarkably expensive. On average, it costs approximately $2K and have found that many ladies just can’t afford it without forgoing paying rent or buying groceries.
How does a girl go from saying “Yes, of COURSE I’ll be your bridesmaid” to watching two thousand dollars disappear from her bank account? There’s the bridesmaid dress, which can be $400 or more. The planning and throwing of multiple showers and bachelorette parties, which sometimes take place out of state and involve planes, AirBnBs or hotel rooms and then there are the travel expenses, hair, makeup, and mani-pedis for the actual wedding day to consider as well. And don't forget about all the gifts for each of these events. It all starts to add up to quite a tidy sum. So, what do you do when you REALLY want to be a bridesmaid but you cannot afford that hefty price tag?
Be Upfront With How Much You Can Spend On The Wedding Find a time, early on in the planning process, to do this. Sit down with the bride one on one and tell her that you love her and you really really want to be a part of her day, but you can’t spend more than $______ amount of dollars over the course of the year. If the bride is really set on $500 dresses and a bachelorette party in Thailand, and you can’t foot that bill, you need to be prepared to sincerely apologize and tell her you can’t be a bridesmaid. Offer to help with the DIY projects, play an attendant role during the big day, you can work together to find a way to be significantly involved and supportive where her wedding is concerned.
See If It’s Possible For The Bridesmaids To Rent Instead Of Buy Their Dresses In an ideal world, the bride will provide you with a fabric swatch or a paint chip and you can stroll around TJ Maxx or Ross looking for something in that exact shade. Or she finds fabulous $50 dresses for you on sale at Macy's. But if your bride is hellbent on those expensive dresses, perhaps suggest alternatives such as Little Borrowed Dress and Rent the Runway. The groomsmen all rent their suits and tuxes so this needs to become an option for ladies as well.
Make Your Shower and Bachelorette Gifts We've seen bachelorettes make albums for the brides for shower or bachelorette party gifts and we just think that it's the sweetest thing. Another bridesmaid couldn’t come to one of our bride's bachelorette party so she made Mad Libs for all the ladies to play at brunch and it was the loveliest way of her being there without actually being there. Fancy sheets and lingerie are lovely gifts, but a thoughtful, personal gesture is equally as meaningful if not more so. That said, If you do need to get your bride lovely lacy things for her sexy bachelorette party, we highly recommend The French Lingerie Outlet, the prices are criminally cheap.
Offer a Skill As a Wedding Present If you have a wedding-appropriate skill, you can offer your time as a gift. If you took calligraphy lessons at one point and you still have that skill at the ready, offer to address the invites. If you once worked for a florist a you can offer to arrange the wedding party’s bouquets and boutonnieres. Maybe you’re between jobs and you have NO money but you do have time and can help with any and all DIY jobs or even run errands for the bride. It is so helpful to have someone dedicated to the random things that come up that aren’t anticipated.
Get Your Hair/Makeup/Nails Done Separately (On The Cheap) If you are a bridesmaid who can’t afford to get your hair/makeup/nails done professionally along with the rest of the bridal party we suggest that you start to look early and often for Groupons/Living Socials for all the necessary services. You can also schedule an appointment at a local beauty school. Many have student salons where the going rate for a blow-out is $7, as opposed to $40 and a mani is $5, as opposed to $20, which adds up to $12, not $60. Or trade your beauty school friend a favor, she helps you for this wedding, you dog sit for her on her upcoming vacation. Don't forget, bartering existed way before cash and credit. It is still a very effective way of getting everyone what they want or need.
Have you ever been asked to be a bridesmaid and knew you couldn’t afford it? How did you handle it? Do you have any tips for those who are struggling with this? Let us know in the comments!