Not Maid of Money: The Burden of Being a Bridesmaid

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Lots of ink has been spilled on the high cost of the average American wedding ($26,984, according to’s 2010 survey), but it’s not just the father of bride who is feeling the pinch. As weddings become more elaborate, weekend-long affairs, often taking place in getaway locales (24 percent of nuptials are “destination weddings” according to the Knot), bridesmaids are shouldering larger costs as well.

In the past, bridesmaids were just expected to buy a dress and help throw a shower. Now, as women marry later in life, they often choose wedding attendants from different stages in their life, such as a younger sister, the high school BFF, college roommate and their closest colleague. Chances are the wedding will not take place locally for all of them, so a flight or hotel stay may be required for some. It’s no surprise that travel expenses make up one of the biggest components in the bridesmaid budget.

Pre-wedding festivities can also take a big bite. As seen in the movie Bridesmaids, showers can spiral out of control if one maid with expensive tastes decides to make it a catered affair. Bachelorette parties can snowball from a simple girls’ night out to an indulgent spa weekend or a jaunt to Vegas. For some die-hard wedding fans, it’s all worth it, but for the more budget-minded maids in the wedding party, it can bring a lot of stress to what’s supposed to be a happy occasion.

Here’s a look at where the cost come from, according to, and some tips on how both brides and their attendants can keep money agony from souring their relationship, and the wedding day.


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