Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a huge honour. It is also very expensive. I remember telling my bridesmaids that I would completely understand if they didn’t want to take on the role. Of course, they all dismissed me, but I knew that being a part of my wedding was going to be a costly event. I was asking my girls to travel out of town or from overseas and stay at five-star hotel for an entire weekend. Even though they had a year’s notice, I knew it was still going to add up to a lot of money, and I was concerned.
Not only have I’ve been the bride, but I’ve also been a bridesmaid – tree times now! In fact, come the December, I’ll have four bridesmaids role under my belt. So yeah, I’m kind of an expert.
Having played both roles, I note that no one really talks about what bridesmaids should do or what’s expected from us. We all just agree that our role is to pretty much do anything the bride asks us to do, right. Oh, and how can I forget, wear anything that she puts us in. But even brides-to-be are sometimes confused and I have been nervously asked, “Should I be asking my bridesmaids to pay for this?”
So, while you jump with glee at being selected to be a part of the inner circle, let me help you with a list of things that you should expect to pay for as a bridesmaid.
1. Shower/Bachelorette Party
I remember being so worried at the expense that my girls would incur having to throw me a shower that I insisted that it was okay if I didn’t have one. But let’s be real, who doesn’t want a shower? Well here’s the thing, it’s your job to plan the shower/bachelorette party for the bride-to-be. This can get pretty costly. It may mean renting a venue, ordering customized cakes, buying gifts and decorations, arranging for transportation and the list goes on. Now, all the bridesmaids will be expected to chip in and make this celebration extra special for the bride-to-be. You are also all expected to help with the coordination of event, though the maid-of-honour usually takes the lead.
Note to the maid-of-honour: Be mindful when planning. Try to plan activities or ask for contributions around payday, (usually the 25th of the month). Believe it or not, most people (myself included) have to stick to very strict budgets and we don’t have money just lying around for impromptu events. Based on my most recent experiences planning a bachelorette night out or a shower can easily cost each bridesmaid anywhere from $8,000.00 to $20,000.00 (Jamaican dollars).
2. Pick up the tab for the Bride-to-be
It should go without saying that the bride-to-be shouldn’t be asked to pick up her own tab in any celebration being held in her honour. So, in addition to picking up your own tab for the shower/bachelorette, you’ll also be asked to split the tab for the bride-to-be. Additionally, you’ll also be expected to split the tab for the bride-to-be at any celebratory restaurant link-ups or drinks outings to which you may be invited to celebrate with the bride.
3. The Dress
This we all know: no matter how much you hate the dress, no matter how hideous, you’ll be expected to pony up the cash to pay for it. You will also be expected to pay for any alterations to the said dress and buy your shoes and any matching accessories. Even though there are a ton of options (including renting), dresses can still be a bit pricey and can run you anywhere from $10,000 on the lower end to up to $30,000.00 (Jamaican dollars) for custom designer dresses. Just recently, I did a feature on my friend Nicole who managed to stick to her wedding budget. Nicole took my advice, surfed the web and copped these super fabulous dresses for less than 100 bucks (USD). I kid you not!
Note to brides-to-be: I know that you want to have the most gorgeous bridal party ever, but think carefully about all the extra demands that you may make of your bridesmaids. They may already be busting their budgets just to get the dress.
4. Hair and Makeup
It’s not just the bride who is expected to get all glammed up on the wedding day. Her bridesmaids are expected to be a close second, so be prepared to shell out a small fortune on hair and makeup. Some brides may dictate down to the very hairstyle that you should wear, but even if she doesn’t, you will have to spend a few bucks on getting your hair done. Then there is wedding makeup which is decidedly more expensive than makeup for a typical party. Again, be prepared to spend anywhere from $7,500 to $12,000 (Jamaican dollars) or even more depending on the makeup artist. If the wedding is out of town, you may even have to split the makeup artist’s transportation and room costs.
Think you're done spending? Of course not! You will need to dole out more moolah for gifts. In addition to contributing to the shower, you will also be expected to attend said shower with a gift. In showing your love and congratulations to the happy couple, you’ll also be expected to give a wedding gift and some people even give honeymoon gifts. All this gift giving can take a toll on your pocket, so shop smartly and give wisely.
Nothing beats the joy of sharing the happiest day of your life with your girls, but brides, as they celebrate with you remember that even the most financially flushed bridesmaid is spending a small fortune to be a part of your day. So, be considerate and go easy on your demands.
Happy bridesmaid duties and remember to tag or share with a bride-to-be or her ladies-in-waiting!