Taking on that bridesmaid role has an infamous reputation for a few reasons. One reason has to do with the potentially less-than-flattering (but not always!) bridesmaid dress you may have to zip on for your walk down the aisle. The other main—and head-shaking—reason is that being a bridesmaid can be expensive. You may be asked to shell out money on things you never knew were part of your bridesmaid duties, and you may find yourself wondering if being a bridesmaid in the future is something you can afford to do. So before you say a big yes to the bridesmaid dress, take note of the four things you will be asked to pay for as one of the bride's go-to gal pals for her wedding day.
1. Wedding Pre-Parties
Everyone knows that weddings are super expensive, but nobody really talks about how expensive all of the wedding pre-parties can be. Often times the bill for the bachelorette party and bridal shower fall on the bridesmaids. The best thing you can do is work with the maid of honor and members of the bridal party to set a budget ahead of time for these rendezvous to make sure that you're not overspending.
2. Picking up the Bride's Tab
In addition to paying for the planning of the pre-wedding parties, you'll also be asked to pay for the bride at these events. Whether it's her dinner and drinks or her hotel room for the bachelorette party, or even her expenses for the bridal shower, you may be asked to split the bride's personal tab before the wedding.
3. Putting on the Dress to Impress
Even though the bridesmaid dress may not be the dress of your dreams—or even one that you had any say in picking out—you'll be asked to shell out the cash to buy the dress. You'll also need to pay for any and all alterations and undergarments needed for the dress, so expect this bill to be a bit high.
4. Showing Your Congratulations to the Happy Couple
You'll spend quite a few bucks on your bridesmaid role, but you'll also spend a little bit more on gifts for the couple. As a bridesmaid, you may feel the need to buy an engagement, bridal shower, bachelorette party, honeymoon, and wedding gift for the couple. Spending money on all these gifts may break the bank, so go easy on the amount and kinds of gifts you decide to give throughout the wedding process.
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.