The invitation to be a bridesmaid is a big honor, but it also comes with a big price tag. Even though you want to be there for your friend during this time in her life, you may not have the money to pay for all the little things that go with it. The average bridesmaid spends almost $1,700 on expenses, including the dress, accessories, hair, makeup, travel, lodging, gifts and parties. If you almost spit out your coffee reading that figure, you’ll need to use some of these creative strategies to cut your costs.
Travel Smart: Make your travel arrangements early to get the lowest prices on airfare, train or bus tickets. If you’re planning to drive, consider whether you may be able to carpool with anyone to help share the cost. As you plan your lodging, ask the bride for the names and contact information of other single girls who you can invite to split a hotel room to reduce the cost. You could even ask the bride if she has any bridesmaids or other friends who live near the wedding and would be able to put you up on a couch for free. If you’ll be traveling for the bridal shower and bachelorette party as well, plan these events on the same weekend to help reduce your costs.
Make Creative Gifts: The best gifts aren’t necessarily the most expensive ones, and as one of the bride’s best pals, you know even better than others what will really be meaningful for her. Check out Pinterest for creative ideas of DIY gifts for the bridal shower. One fun idea is to invite her friends to contribute their favorite recipes and compile them into a book or binder to get her started in the kitchen. For the wedding gift, get together with several others to go in on one of the bigger gifts on her registry so you can feel like you’re getting her something substantial without footing the whole bill.
Shop for Inexpensive Accessories: Even if you have to buy an expensive dress, you can still save on all the accessories. Instead of shopping for a necklace, bracelets and earrings at a high-end store, look for low-cost alternatives that look just as good. You can also shop around for shoes at discount stores like DSW, which have tons of cute styles that should fit right in with what the bride is envisioning.
Throughout the whole process, don’t be afraid to communicate with the bride about your financial constraints. If she suggests things that seem too expensive for you, suggest alternatives like buying something similar at a lower price or foregoing an extravagant bachelorette weekend for a simpler night on the town. The most important thing is to be there for her as a friend, supporting her through the exciting process of getting ready for her wedding!