Is there *truly* a way to balance “Oh my gosh, I’m SO happy for you, of course I’d love to be your bridesmaid!” with: “Er… destination wedding? Designer dress? Bachelorette in Vegas?”
How much is this going to cost?
I’ve been there, and I can absolutely relate. On one hand (at the risk of sounding cliché), it truly is an honour to be asked to be part of someone’s most special day. There’s a strengthening of ties, deepening of friendships and a certain privilege associated with being a member of the bridal party.
On the other hand, there’s the not-so-small matter of the costs. And trust me, they can add up quickly. In fact, a recent TD survey found that almost 40 per cent of Millennial and Gen X Canadians who have been in a wedding party say they felt pressured to spend more than they could afford, and the amounts can be significant: half (50 per cent) of those surveyed said on average they spent (or plan to spend) between $200 and $599 to be in a wedding party; yet a quarter (25 per cent) said they actually spent $600 or more for the average wedding.
“Most people can expect to participate in quite a few weddings throughout their lifetime, particularly when they’re younger and their friends or family members are getting married, so including the related costs in your annual budget is a smart thing to do,” said Raymond Chun, Senior Vice President, Everyday Banking and Personal and Indirect Lending at TD. “Having a realistic amount in your budget also helps you stay within a spending range that you’re comfortable with and know you can afford.”
Is it any surprise that being in a wedding party may cost more than anticipated? For ladies, it’s customary to budget for the cost of your dress, plus co-hosting duties for the bridal shower and bachelorette. However, unless you’re also factoring in salon costs for hair, nails and makeup, tickets to attend bridal shows with the bride-to-be, new shoes and (often) new undergarments, dress alteration fees, hotel and/or travel costs, wedding day-related costs such as babysitting or pet-sitting, etc… trust me, you’re budgeting too low.
“One of the best ways to cope with the costs of being in a wedding party is to start saving money as soon as the engagement is announced so you don’t have to scramble to find the money when asked to take part in the festivities,” said Chun. “By setting up a separate tax-free savings account and depositing a regular amount into it each month or pay day, you’ll be able to build a savings fund for things like wedding attire, the gift and any related travel costs.”
So, how can you prepare for the costs of participating in a friend or relative’s wedding? Here are some tips:
1. Set a realistic budget. Include all of the possible costs, including wedding attire, grooming, gifts (including a shower gift), the bachelor/ bachelorette party and travel. For out-of-town weddings, remember that booking travel and a hotel room as soon as possible can often help to keep those costs down, and make sure to check if the bride and groom have volume discounts at the hotel.
2. Establish a savings plan. Figure out how much time there is until the wedding and set up a regularly scheduled deposit to a Tax-Free Savings Account so you’ll be able to save to help cover the expenses.
3. Choose a gift early from the bridal registry. There can be a wide range of gifts (and prices) in a bridal registry, with the less expensive ones often selected early, so don’t wait to choose your gift or you may be left with one that costs more than you budgeted for. For more expensive items, consider teaming up with another bridal party member to split the costs.
4. Redeem credit card reward points for as many expenses as possible. Depending on the type of credit card you have and where you shop, you may be able to use your reward points to cover the cost of a gift and your wedding attire as well as any hotel and travel costs. Whatever money you’re able to save by using points can stay in your Tax-Free Savings Account to help cover the costs of future weddings. Additionally, charging the costs to your rewards card will allow you to earn rewards faster.
5. Shop around. You don’t have to buy the first bridesmaid’s dress, shoes or other accessories you find. Do your research online and in-store before making a purchase as many stores could carry the same designers at different price points.
With wedding season already in full swing, it’s a great time to establish a savings plan for upcoming or future wedding party costs. And if all else fails, make sure you take advantage of the open bar!
Great tips! When I got married (the first time haha) I remember purchasing all of the dresses for everyone myself.
Ahh the good old days :)
Thanks for the tips, you really need to save in order to have a nice wedding. Love the pics!
Thanks! You’re absolutely right, Helene.
Thanks for the tips. I’m at the tail end of planning my wedding (and has been in a wedding party and will be in another one in 2016!) and I can vouch that it can be a savings sucker for both the bride and the bridal party. I agreed that there are some times that I do feel pressured to spend more than I needed to. Starting a short term savings would help these moments for sure!
I couldn’t agree more with you, Jackie.
Makes me glad I’m antisocial lol! The only wedding party I’ve been in was my sisters when I was 17 – she had to have me :D
Ha! We’re all different :)
Great tips! I have been in a couple weddings and it doesn’t take long for the costs to start to add up.
It can be very expensive especially when the wedding is a destination wedding. I guess people will also have to learn to say no, if it really is not in their budgets. This can make hard feelings, but not everyone can afford, especially if they are still in school or starting a family, and buying their own home.
Well said Debbie. I agree with you.
I think people have an unrealistic expectation of what weddings should be now. I’m all for a good party, and a simple service.
Different strokes for different folks!
Gosh…I wish so many people read this post. I was asked to be a bridesmaid at a wedding once…a week later they decided to make it a destination wedding. Oh how my wallet cried for years!!!
Ahhh so unfair! That should be disclosed up front!
Oh gosh, I have been in MANY wedding parties in my lifetime! While it is flattering indeed, the cost CAN be overwhelming.. I haven’t thought to use card points though in the past .. I guess another idea would be to shop through a place that offers cash back on purchases made through the site… Every little bit helps :)
That’s a good idea Soozle.
When I got married I had someone make my dress and I purchased material and my sister-in-law made the bridesmaids and flower girl dresses. Weddings were simpler and you provided all free liquor.
Those were the good old days, Florence.
My best friend had her wedding in the Caribbean which was awesome but expensive! I used Airmiles for the flight.
Susan, using your airmiles for the flight was an awesome idea!
It can be pricey to be part of a wedding party. I think it’s important that the bride remembers it is her day, but it shouldn’t cost others a fortune to take part in it.
I completely agree with you, Athena.
The cost of a wedding is the one thing as to why I refuse to get married in a big styled one… takes so much money, and I always see it as money that could go elsewhere to improve quality of life.
It can definitely get expensive if you’re not careful. Excellent tips.
Awesome tips! We just had our destination wedding in January, in Jamaica!
Oh wow! Great to hear that Heather and congrats!
great tips! when i planned our wedding, i made sure that being in the bridal party wasn’t going to be a financial burden for anyone. we kept it simple and affordable.
Thank you Tara. Great way to plan a wedding.
Being in a wedding party can get VERY pricey. Budgeting and sales can be youre best friend,
I completely agree with you, Jaimee. :)
Thanks for the awesome tips Lena and I love your beautiful pictures!
Appreciate it, Marissa.
Just be careful that you observe your TFSA limit and to wait till the following year to re-contribute if you don’t have excess room.
Thanks for the tip.
Thanks for the tips sure to come in handy for anyone getting married.I love the photos
Thank you so much, Kathy.
Thank you for the great tips and I know from experience that it is very costly and the best thing to do is save to cover the expences and have the wedding day you dreamed of.
Great tips. Luckily the only wedding party that I’ve been part of, the bride was super understanding and it didn’t cost too much more than I expected
Oh god, I wish I could even DREAM of spending $200 to be in a wedding party.
When i got married we rented everything,my dress the tux,s bridemaid dresses actually even the shoes.Honestly it made for a stressles wedding
Debbie White Beattie
I think that nowadays things are costing way too much and the bride can’t expect everyone to be able to afford everything and if your strapped for cash tell the bride and ask her to find someone else.
My son is planning a wedding and i have send him this link for tips which are sure to be a big help,with all the excitement cost can rack up quite quickly if you don’t plan carefully.
I`ve been told your tips certainly were helpful !