Wedding Math: Bridal Party

More and more couples are saying “I Don’t” to a bridal party, and there are plenty of reasons to jump on the new trend.

Pressure and Expenses

Being a part of the bridal party puts formal pressure on attending all the wedding events, even if the person isn’t keen on attending the bridal shower or bachelor party.  The sense of obligation isn’t nearly as fun as a choice to participate.  I’m not a fan of forcing someone to participate when they aren’t interested, whether intentional or not.  If a bachelor wants a party in Vegas, the costs are far higher than a board game night at home, but the bridal party is obligated to go.  This is an especially difficult situation for a member of the bridal party who does not have much in the way of disposable income.  You can say it’s “their choice,” but your best friends would do whatever they could rather than let you down.

Some costs would be incurred whether or not the guest was in the bridal party.  If a guest has to travel, there are flight or gas costs, room costs, etc. that will be incurred regardless.  Negotiating room blocks and discounts help.  However, if there aren’t formal responsibilities, there is a lot more flexibility in choosing the events they’d be attending, and your guests are able to be much more flexible with their travel arrangements.  One of my friends who would be part of the bridal party is flying in late Friday night, well past the rehearsal and dinner, so that she doesn’t have to take a vacation day.  Another is flying in on Thursday night so she can hang out and help bring everything out to the resort.

A bridesmaid dress to never be worn again averages around $200-$250 plus the potential for $75 in alterations, although the new trend of letting bridesmaids choose any dress within a certain color family can save a lot of money.  Shoes, another $50-$100.  Accessories, another $50 (although you could give those as a gift, adding to your expenses). Nails are another $50.  Getting hair and makeup done?  Another $75-$100, although a bride should pay if she’s requiring it.  Why am I asking my best friends to pay $500+ to stand at my wedding, when sitting is obviously more comfortable?  Well, I’m not.  Men don’t have it that much better.  A suit/tuxedo rental averages $250, although the current money saving trend is a suit of the same color and matching ties.

It’s an honor to stand up with a happy couple, and most members of any bridal party will tell you they had a great time and were grateful to be asked.  It’s also expensive if the happy couple aren’t mindful of the costs.  Just be thoughtful.

Plus Gifts, Gifts, and More Gifts

The bigger your bridal party, the more money you are likely to spend on gifts for them.  While that in and of itself is not a bad thing, it can be a lot when you have all sorts of other expenses at the exact same time.

Even though we don’t have a formal bridal party, I still purchased gifts for each of my friends who are coming, and I’m very excited to spend the weekend with them and with the rest of my guests.  Make sure you say thank you to the wonderful people willing to stand up with you as you start a new chapter ​in your lives, whether or not they are formally standing up with you.  It’s an honor and a privilege to be surrounded by people who love you.