As featured in


Mar 012016
 March 1, 2016  Posted by  Features, Hot Deals, Shopping, Wedding

It’s exciting when a friend asks you to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. But it’s also expensive, starting with the fact that bridesmaids are expected to buy their own dresses. According to the Dessy Group, the average cost of a bridesmaid dress is $200, not including alterations — usually another $30 to $50. Other costs bridesmaids are expected to front include hair styling, makeup and accessories. The expenses can add up really quickly.

Here are some ways to save your bridesmaids some cash on the big day.

  1. Shop at a non-bridal store. Brides can browse through bridal party look-books for ideas, but when it comes time to pick a dress, see if a department store carries a similar style. Macy’s website actually has dresses categorized for  weddings and formal wear, many of which cost only a fraction of the price of a traditional bridesmaid dress. Perhaps some of these dresses would look good on your bridal party. Off-the-rack dresses often come in multiple colors, so brides can coordinate with their wedding theme. Brides can also check with their bridesmaids to see if there are any brands that they really like and fit well. Check out stores or brands that everyone is familiar with for classic styles that work for both weddings and all-occasion parties so your friends can actually wear their dresses more than once.
  2. Have bridesmaid dresses custom-made. This sounds expensive, but often dresses are priced higher due to brand name, not because of quality. The cost of materials usually isn’t incredibly high. Most bridesmaid-type dresses are made of inexpensive polyester. A local seamstress may be willing to negotiate a rate for the entire bridal party. Custom-made dresses also cut down on the cost of alterations and ensure a great fit.
  3. Borrow dresses from a local choir. A relative of one Living on the Cheap member used her high school’s choral dresses for her bridesmaids. This free option loosened up funds for other bridal party activities and splurges.
  4. Offer some choices. Not every dress works as well on every body type – nor every checkbook. Select a few styles in the same color and let your the ladies choose which will be the most flattering to her waistline and wallet.
  5. Pony up for an accessory. Many brides incorporate an accessory they would like their attendants to wear as part of their special “thank-you gift.” One bride planned to buy her friends’ shoes since she was asking them all to wear a particular color. Another small gift in addition to the chosen accessory may also be in order.

The friends involved in a bride’s special day want to be there for the bride. Do them a favor by thinking of ways they can cut costs so that everyone is happy. Some brides make it clear from the start that they don’t expect their bridesmaids to give them any gifts beyond doing their bridesmaid duties. This is a nice way to make your bridal party feel appreciated. Another way to help save money is to alleviate travel costs by holding local bachelorette parties and showers. Happy bridesmaids make happy brides. Be thoughtful in what you ask of your bridesmaids.

Rose Overbey

Rose Overbey worked her way up at a boutique public relations firm in Washington, D.C., from junior writer to director of business development. She's worked with national brands and on executive-level ghostwriting projects. In mid-2012, she acted on an urge to pursue a career in teaching and now teaches kindergarten at a Title 1 school in the District of Columbia. Despite the career switch, Rose still freelances regularly. Rose has also been published in The Washington Post. She loves to take advantage of all the good deals the D.C. area has to offer — and refuses to pay full price for anything.

  One Response to “5 ways to cut bridesmaids’ costs (and keep them as your friends)”

  1. If the bride’s parents are paying for the wedding she should ask if she can have the money for a downpayment on a house instead. I had a lot of friends who, during the reception, their parents said they would have done that, and the kids all said they would have rather had it. We had our wedding in the private room of a restaurant. No bridesmaids or groomsmen, it took less than 5 minutes, and then we sat down for a great meal.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.