real life

Bridesmaids: For richer for poorer

Social etiquette dictates a bridesmaid should provide moral support, organise the bridal shower/hen’s night, help the bride with her dress choice and get out on the dance floor if the DJ turns out to be a dud. Okay I made that last one up, however nowhere in the etiquette books does it state a bridesmaid should spend more than a thousand dollars in the lead up to the big day, but that is fast becoming the norm. A US study of 20,000 brides has revealed the average cost a bridesmaid will fork out from the engagement announcement to the “I do” is $1,695.

Spending upwards of $1,000 is not only limited to American bridesmaids. Franki Hobson, Editor of Cosmopolitan Bride, estimates bridesmaids here are spending around $1,100 on their friends weddings. This figures jumps to $2,000 if it is a weekend wedding away and upwards of $3,500 for a destination wedding overseas.

“Weddings have dramatically changed over the past five years. Now, more than ever, we are seeing large-scale productions with bigger budgets, and bridesmaids are often expected to absorb some of those costs,” Hobson says.

Breaking the costs down, a bridesmaid will spend approximately $300 on a dress, $100 on shoes, $100 on hair and make-up, $150 on the hens night, $120 on a wedding gift, an additional $100 on beauty incidentals like fake tanning, manicures, pedicures and $250 on ‘bride’s days’ like spa weekends, kitchen teas and wine tasting tours. Sheesh, if you have a lot of engaged girlfriends, it might be time to work out a savings plan.

As seen in the Bridesmaids movie, choosing a suitable dress for the entire wedding party is not only awkward when you have a gamut of different body shapes, it can also reveal major differences in your friend’s financial situations. Or their idea of how much a reasonable amount of money is to spend on a dress – let’s face it – that is only going to be worn once. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a blue beaded cowl neck dress, or the like, hanging in the back of the wardrobe.

Hobson says, “the rule of thumb is usually, if it’s a dress, shoes and accessories the bridesmaid can wear again and gets to choose herself, she pays. However, if the bride has all say and chooses without consulting the girl’s, she should really offer to pay, or at least offer to pay some of the costs.”

Although anyone who has been a bridesmaid will know, this is not usually how it plays out.

If you haven’t seen Bridesmaids yet, get thee to a movie theatre now, and because this scene is so good, lets watch it again:

[poll id=”96″]

Have you been a bridesmaid before? What was your experience like AND more importantly have you ever worn the dress and shoes again?