The Cost to Be a Beautiful Bridesmaid

They said being a bridesmaid would be fun...but they didn't say it'd be cheap

We’ve all been there; sitting at a wedding, watching the procession of bridesmaids and thinking heck they look good!  I wonder how long it took them to get ready.

Recently, I had the honor and privilege of serving as a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding.  And yes, it was my first time as a bridesmaid, so I really had no idea what to expect.  Given that my own wedding is fast approaching (T minus 10 months – woot woot!), I was ecstatic to see firsthand how all the hard work in the planning stage paid off for my cousin. 

Moreover, like any good bridesmaid will tell you, it was amazing to be part of someone’s special day who you love and cherish.

But, on the flip side, I also realized just how expensive it is to serve as a bridesmaid!  And if personally shelling out all this money isn’t enough, I’m confronted with the unfortunate realization that I too will soon be asking my own bridesmaids to spend just as much, if not more.  However, as with almost all fun experiences in life, anyone in a bridal party should expect to pay something.  All the below expenses I detail, I believe, are in line with average costs.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission. When you use one of my affiliate links, it helps me run this blog and keep all of this content free of charge for readers (like you). Please review my disclaimer policy for further information.

Finding THE Dress

After gleefully accepting my new position as a bridesmaid, I got down to business by searching for a dress.  The bride-to-be had a few requests in terms of the bridesmaid dresses:

  1. They had to be plum purple (ordered through Azazie, so they matched)
  2. They had to be long
  3. The dress material had to be chiffon

As long as they met those 3 conditions, we could pick any style dress that piqued our fancy.

Being the diligent future bridesmaid that I was, I spent countless hours scouring the site and reading through reviews to find the perfect dress.

Plum Purple Bridesmaid Dress

The cost: $99

I was pretty pleased with the price, as many other dresses I saw on alternative sites were upwards of $100.  To be fair, Azazie also had several dresses that exceeded the $100 mark, but also a large range that were below.

Finding Shoes

Not only was the bride-to-be lenient in allowing us to pick our own style dress, she also was lenient in allowing us to pick shoes.  Her only request was that they be black.

I quickly found these adorable Lifestride heels with a retail price of $80.  However, because I bought them on sale, I only paid $47. 

Black Shoes
Adorable Comfy Black Heels

Dress Alterations

Oh, you thought that you were done paying for dress-related expenses after you order the dress?  Far from it!  Now you have to get it altered to fit just right.  In my case, I simply needed it hemmed because the length was much too long to fit my petite 5’4″ frame.

I reached out to a tailor a month before the wedding, thinking it’d be a quick pop in and done!  Boy was I wrong about that.  The tailor messaged me back saying I was WAYYYYY late.  She could squeeze me in for an extra $25 rush fee and the cost for a hem would be another $200.  That would bring the total cost of alterations to $225, which would be $125 more than the dress itself was worth!

For that price, I realized I could order another $100 dress in a custom-size option (offered by Azazie for no extra charge) and still have it in time for the wedding.  This is what I would’ve done if I didn’t have a family member who works in the fashion industry.  After reaching out to her, she agreed to do the alterations for $20.  I paid her $50 because I knew if she did for $20, it would not AT ALL be worth her time!

However, for all of you out there that don’t have a family/friend connection to a tailor or seamstress, I highly recommend purchasing a custom size!  The dresses are intentionally sold to be extra long, so that any girl wearing any sized heel can wear it once hemmed.

Visiting the Nail Salon

Two days before the wedding, a group of us went to get our nails done.  Albeit expensive, I opted for both a pedicure and manicure so both my finger nails and my toe nails would match.  And voila, that’s another $129 out the door after adding in a 20% tip!

Bridesmaid Manicure and Pedicure

Hair & Make-up

Any guesses for the cost of hair and make-up?  I’ll give you a hint: the cost to cover my face with make-up was more expensive than a fancy up-do.

Bridesmaid hair
Bridesmaid hair

The cost of my hair came out to $130.  And the cost of my make-up came out to $150.  So, that brings the total cost for hair and make-up to $280.

The Total Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

Adding together the cost of the dress with alterations, the shoes, the manicure, the pedicure, the hair, and the make-up brings the total cost to a grand total of……

Drumroll please…..



I also want to note that if you decide to attend the bachelorette party and need to book travel accommodations (as I had to do for this particular wedding), the true cost of being a bridesmaid may run you somewhere upwards of $1,000.

$1,000+ for someone else’s special day is a lot of money.  Yet, if it’s for someone you really love it’s worth every penny!

So, if you have served in a bridal party recently and your wallet is feeling a bit lighter, check out my latest finance and investing ideas to gain valuable insight into recouping some of these costs through strategic investments.

Hi! I'm Mikaela, a blogger, CPA, soon-to-be bride, dog-mom, and self-proclaimed finance enthusiast. Join me on my journey to uncover some of the best financial practices and investment opportunities.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *