A couple weeks ago, I shared that my girl Ash was engaged! And a couple of weeks before that, I shared that my bestie Margaux was engaged. Oh, did I mention I’m in two weddings so far this year? One of those is coming up soon and there’s also a bridal brunch coming up. To say that I’m already exhausted is an understatement.
When one of your friends is getting married & asks you to be a bridesmaid, there are so many emotions – believe me, I know! From excitement and gratitude that she wants you beside her on her big day, there’s also a little bit of dread because weddings are expensive.
If you’ve been a bridesmaid before, you know that this stuff adds up quickly. I, for example, have never spent under $1,000 (read it and weep) on a friend’s wedding. That’s a lot of money for anyone but is particularly tough on women in their twenties. There’s nothing we all want more than to be a good friend and not complain about expenses, but that does not mean you need to grin and bear it.
There are several wedding-related expenses you can anticipate and budget for. Obviously guest are obligated to buy a wedding gift for the couple, and if you’re invited to any events before the big day, it’s appropriate to bring a gift.
But what about when you’re a bridesmaid who has been invited to multiple showers, the engagement party and the bachelorette party?
The short answer, unfortunately, is yes. Fortunately there are plenty of ways to be smart about your gift giving so that you don’t become broke. As long as it’s something you can control (as opposed to the $300 dresses), you should take full advantage of it.
Because, let’s be honest, the biggest gift you’re giving the bride is your presence, and she should know and appreciate that. Only one of my friends lives in the same state as me which makes being involved super difficult. If the engagement party or bridal shower are out-of-town events, opt to sit them out. The bride should be completely understanding if you say you can’t take the time off of work, or that you want to save up so you can afford to travel for the big day.
As important, special and fun it is to be a bridesmaid in your friend’s wedding, there’s no getting around the exorbitant costs associated with accepting the role. Hopefully your engaged friends are aware of this and try to limit the costs they request the bridal party to take on. Before you say “I do” to your bridesmaid proposal, it’s completely understandable to ask your friend what will be the expected cost and to politely decline if your finances won’t allow it.
Believe me, this is something I wish I would’ve done a couple of times.
As a bridesmaid, know that you are expected to shower your girl with gifts like anyone else. But don’t feel like you have to pull out all of the stops. The last thing you want is to burn a bridge with a bestie over the lack of budget for exuberance.