How Much Does it Cost to be a Bridesmaid?

Written by    Last updated: January 22, 2015

It is an honour to be asked to be a bridesmaid, but how much will it actually cost you?  When you factor in every possible cost, from the dress to the hen night to the wedding itself, it can be surprisingly expensive. Here’s our bridesmaid’s budget breakdown to keep you quids in, keep your stress levels low and keep your friendship with the bride in tact.

Bridesmaids at Anna and Gavin's Real Wedding

Bridesmaids at Anna and Gavin’s Real Wedding

Bridesmaid budget breakdown

It’s tempting to feel so flattered you jump at the opportunity but if cash flow is a problem and the bride is not a very sharing person you may want to consider the costs to you before you accept. Here is what can be involved in being a bridesmaid:

  • Bridesmaid dress
  • Dress alterations if needed (these could work out even more if you’re pregnant too!)
  • Shoes, wrap, jewellery and any other accessories the bride requires you to wear
  • Professional hairdressing and
  • Professional make up on the morning of the wedding
  • Hen night spending money
  • Wedding rehearsal dinner spend if required
  • Travel to dress fittings, hen night, wedding rehearsal and/or travel abroad if required
  • Wedding present for the bride and groom

Lilac dress Alexia Designs Bridesmaid

Long lilac bridesmaid dress by Alexia Designs for a stylish wedding abroad

Hundreds and thousands

This list is not exhaustive but it gives a pretty good idea of what’s involved and could come in at anywhere between a couple of hundred pounds and several thousands. A wedding abroad could cost even more due to overseas travel and accommodation so it is worth taking all the potential costs into account because if the bride does want you to pay, it could work out more expensive than you think.

Short pale pink dress Alexia Designs Bridesmaid

Short pale pink dress by Alexia Designs Bridesmaids

Who pays and how to compromise

Traditionally the bride’s parents would cover the costs of the bridesmaids dresses but these days most couples pay a large proportion of their weddings costs themselves and it has become more acceptable to ask for financial contributions from the bridal party and even the guests. Unless the bride and groom are offering to pay for everything, it’s worth discussing costs and coming to a compromise where you are all happy.

Roco Clothing Bridesmaid

Image courtesy of Roco Clothing Bridesmaids, Manchester

If your little girl is asked to be a flower girl you may be expected to pay for her outfit. Luckily she won’t need cash for the hen night so it’s a lot less expensive than being an older bridesmaid but you may still be asked to pay for her shoes and accessories.

Non-matching bridesmaid dresses at Claire and Conal's Real Wedding

Non-matching bridesmaid dresses at Claire and Conal’s Real Wedding

How to cut bridesmaid costs

Assuming the bride is in agreement, you can cut costs substantially by wearing a second hand bridesmaid gown, an informal low cost summer dress you can wear again, or even a dress you already own. For fashionably non-matching bridesmaids you can save cash by choosing low-cost gowns that co-ordinate in similar colours or styles.

It often falls to the chief bridesmaid to arrange the bride’s proverbial ‘last night of freedom’, and another way to cut costs is to organise a low-key hen night in a venue that is local to you or a casual bridal shower at home which can be just as much fun as an expensive night out in the city or a weekend abroad.

And finally, don’t ever let it cost you your friendship. There will always be a compromise and the key is to discuss it all and be mindful of everyone involved. The bottom line is the bride is special to you and she wants you to be a part of her special day. Together you should be able to find a way for that to happen.

Find more beautiful bridesmaid gowns in Dresses and Style.

This article was written by

Kate Thompson
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.


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