(Closed) How much did you make your bridesmaids spend?

posted 6 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 92
12225 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

Ha.  And my  brother complains about occasionally having to rent a tux.  I think it’s so  rude  to require hair and makeup on the bridesmaids dime.  You want them to look a certain way on your day, then YOU  pay for it.  At  least a dress and shoes can theoretically be worn again.  If those expenses had to be  to be covered by the bride and groom you’d see how fast people would tone things down. 

Unless we are talking about people with trust funds, I have a news flash.  Very  few can “afford” to spend $500+ per wedding at this stage of life.    Just because you can  physically come up with the cash doesn’t make  it responsible to spend it.  

Post # 93
494 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I don’t think the prices you quoted is that bad. I’d say that’s pretty average. Were you just unaware of how much being a Bridesmaid or Best Man costs?

I like to say that I didn’t FORCE any of my girls to spend any particular amount. I needed them to buy the dress, but they had freedom there. They all ended up choosing the same one though (even though I wanted different…) and the dress, after tax, came to about $230. They can wear their own shoes.

I am not forcing them to pay for hair or makeup but they have all elected to get that done anyway.

Post # 94
2211 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Liss13: $440 seems pretty typical to me, though the bride really should’ve paid for any beauty services (hair/makeup/nails) that she required of you.

Last time I was a bridesmaid was 8 years ago…I was my sister’s Maid/Matron of Honor.  We ended up choosing ~$325 dresses, which is pretty high around here, especially at that time (sis spent $600 on her bridal gown).  But, they were so pretty…my sister let us choose, and all of the bridesmaids were OK with the cost. 

I also bought about $150 of jewelry (my choice; our dresses were dark red so I bought garnet earrings and necklace, which are my birthstone and I still wear them today!), and had to get black shoes to go with the dress (probably spent $30).  I also needed to buy a longline bra, so that was another $50 or so.  Hair was optional, so I paid for that, but my sis chose a beauty school to cut down on costs; I think my updo was probably $35 max total.

In required bridesmaid wear, I spent around $410, plus almost $200 in optional costs.  I also helped throw the shower (I was just out of college, so my mom paid for most, if not all of it; can’t remember for sure!) and organized/paid for sis at the bachelorette party.  No idea how much that cost, it’s been so long!

Post # 95
1447 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I don’t think ~$500 is at all a large amount to spend to be a bridesmaid in a wedding, but that’s just me.

My approach was to try to cover everything over what they would have spent as a guest.  So they are paying for their travel arrangements, and I purchased their dresses (the style of which they each picked out).  They are going to wear shoes they already have, and while they can get their hair and makeup done with me, I’m pretty sure they will all do their own, which I’m happy with.

I’m not asking for (or expecting) any parties, because they are all from out of town.

Post # 96
662 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

@Liss13:  The financial burden of being a bridesmaid can definitely take a lot of the fun out of standing up for your friend on her big day! I was in a wedding this May and the break down of expenses was:


Designer Dress $220


Shoes $90


Mani/pedi $35


Hair $75 (annoyed about this because they back combed it and used some product that made it stink for a week so I felt and looked like the Honey Badger for a week after!)


Makeup $ Her Mom paid, bless her!


Bachelorette Party $300!!! That actually got a little catty at the end.


Jewelry $100


Then of course, bridal shower and weddinggifts $275


All said and done, I was stunned that it set me back nearly ONE THOUSAND smackers for my friend to get married. I am a PhD student and live on a modest fixed income so it was hard. Honestly I don’t know if I would accept the honor of being in another wedding unless I have a well paying real job. Another good friend recently got engaged and I was delighted when she didn’t ask me to stand up for her, which probably makes me a monster!


Post # 97
51 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I spent ~$700 to be in a wedding once and was pretty upset.  So I’m trying to be very conscientious of what my ladies are spending.

Dress- I told them to choose what they liked for under $100 and offered to pay, but no one took me up on it.  They spent between $40-70 each.

Shoes- Whatever they want that looks good.  Can definitely be something they already own.

Hair & Makeup- DIY unless they just want to go professional.

Lodging, etc- We’re lucky to live within a couple of hours from each other, and Fiance & I are offering our house for anyone who doesn’t want to drive home the night of. (we’re staying in a hotel)

Bachelorette party- We’re doing an activity that’s $25 and then if they choose to buy drinks or whatnot I could see that costing $50 total. 

So it’s pretty liquid, but I’d say that you could easily be a bridesmaid in my wedding for $100.  I’m budgeting that much for each of their gifts.

Post # 98
233 posts
Helper bee

@Liss13:  +1 on “learning the budget before agreeing” 

This is my first time being a bridesmaid, and I was actually surprised to asked because the bride and I were never close friends, but have become closer over the period of planning the wedding.

Dress: [My budget was $125, she chose dresses over $200 so she paid half]: $116

Shoes: [Black flats]: $25

Hair and Make-Up: $0

Alterations: $20

Bachelorette: $30

Jack & Jill: $30

Gas : $300

So far that puts me at +$500. And like I said, I’m at grad school so I have no income, but she’s been pretty good to me with the exception of all the driving.

Post # 99
3823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013



About $200 for the dress and $50 for makeup. I wasn’t too picky about shoes so both are wearing shoes they already own. 

I believe they are putting up money for the shower and the bachelorette outing (I think we’re doing a spa day) so I’m not sure how much all of that costs. 

Post # 100
697 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

$55 was all I required. That was for the dress and alterations were free, as the dresses were rented. They wore their own shoes and jewelry, and did their own hair and makeup. Church ladies and family members threw my showers and there was no bachelorette. 

Post # 101
920 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

Mine was sooo inexpensive

Dress: $43 from the limited

Shoes: Pick your own

Nails: Do them if you want

Hair: $60 (my sister in law is a hair stylist so i had to use her but i did give them the option of just going wherever they wanted instead of using her – they all just chose to use her)

Shower: thrown by family

Bachelorette party: $55.00 a person


So it was around $150 to be my bridesmaid

I WAASSS however involved in an obnoxious wedding like this where it was:

Dress: $220

Alterations: $40

Shoes: $60 (toms)

Hair: $45

Nails: $25

Bridal Shower: $110 a bridesmaid

Bachelorette party: $55 a bridesmaid

Soo just a little shy of $600 freaking dollars.


I thought the dress and shoes were the most selfish part…. I know you want to have a perfect wedding but why would you ask someone to buy a 220 dress that noone would ever wear again?



Post # 102
254 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

$0. I paid for their dress, shoes, and hair accesories. I asked them to put their hair up and said they can either pay to get it done, do it themselves, or paid a friend to be there to do anyone’s who wants it done. They can do their own makeup and nails or whatever lol, that’s just silly to need to go get it done.

Post # 103
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Bridesmaids dresses were $160 plus tax…

I told them they could wear whatever shoes they wanted (new or what they had…. gave them an idea of color, but the dresses will be long.. so I really don’t think anyone will see their feet or care about what’s on them)

We’re doing our own hair… and… if there is makeup worn.. we’ll do that too. I’m buying them their earrings for the wedding.. and that is about all the jewelry that will be necessary for them (because of the style of the dress)

Post # 104
8440 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Here’s the breakdown for my BMs:

Dress- $0 (they both wore a black dress they already had)

Shoes- $0 (again, something they already had)

Jewelry- $0 (I made them jewelry)

Hair/make-up- $0 (I offered to pay, they wanted to do their own)

Bachelorette/showers- $0 (we hosted a dinner party)

accommodations- $0 (we put them up)

travel- $400 (flight from CA to NC, taxes, fees, etc)

Post # 105
6741 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

Oh, you do not want to know how much I paid for my friend’s wedding:

Dress:  $200

Alterations:  $35

Shoes:  (she let us pick, but we had to get silver) $45

Wedding gift: $500

Bridal shower gift:  $145

Lingerie shower gift:  $75

Bachelorette Party/Lingerie Shower planning and parties:  $200

Flight to NY for Bridal Shower and Bach Party:  $280

Car to NY for wedding:  $300

Gas to NY and back:  $200

Hotel:  $125 per night for 2 nights – $250

Hair:  $80 +tip

Makeup:  I did it myself, but I bought some – $100 (but at least I get to keep it)

Mani/Pedi:  $15 +tip

If I wasn’t the MOH/in the bridal party, I probably would have given less of a wedding gift ($300) and less at the shower ($75-100) and lingerie shower ($50), so that’s sort of why I included that in there.  

I feel like there’s more than I’m missing, but that was well over $2k.  But the experience of being her Maid/Matron of Honor, getting to help her plan everything, planning the showers and bach party, and being there with her on that day was well worth it!  I really feel like we bonded and I had a great time doing it. 

ETA:  In the last wedding I was in, in 2010, I was NOT the Maid/Matron of Honor, but in the bridal party. I spent $1400.  Dress was $200, alterations $80 (lesson leraned – don’t do it in the salon), bridal shower gift was $200, bachelorette party was 1 night in AC, but she wanted us all to go to the spa (but did not pay) so $400, wedding gift was $300 (guess that doesn’t count, I would have given her the same, I suppose), shoes were whatever we already owned, hair was $70+tip, makeup was $85 (again, I did my own, but still went out and bought some), nails like $20. I’m forgetting something here, but it was marginally cheaper than the other one only bc I still lived in NY.  Guess it’s not the bride’s fault that I moved out of NY though.

Post # 106
1246 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

Hmm, see, this is why I decided not to have bridesmaids. My friends can wear whatever they like to the wedding (they all have better taste than me anyway, lol) and can be as involved or uninvolved as they want.  I’m inviting my nearest & dearest over for brunch, champagne, and primping on the morning of the wedding and will take some special photos with them later on in the day. And a few of them have completely independently decided to organize a pseudo-bachelorette party for me anyway, because they are fabulous people, so they will be getting gifts. 

I checked with them before making the decision, and they were all happy with it. The fact is we have each had a chance to play Bridesmaid or Best Man at least once in our lives, so no one is missing out on a novelty by simply attending/enjoying my wedding rather than being my “attendants” and spending hundreds of dollars for the privilege. Just a thought. 

And for the record, when I’ve been a bridesmaid in the past, $400-500 is about what I paid.

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