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It’s a rite of passage. Being a bridesmaid. When a close friend asks you to stand beside her as she gets married, your first thought may be that it’s an honor. These days, your second thought is probably about your bank account. Being part of a wedding party is expensive and there seem to be more and more expenses added to the job every year.

Beyond the Basics

You may not be surprised that you have to buy things for the wedding day. Most bridesmaids pay for their own dress to match the others. On top of that, some brides expect their bridesmaids to purchase special shoes, jewelry, undergarments and other accessories. In addition to what you are wearing, you have to consider transportation to the wedding  — sometimes this is simply a short car ride but at other times, it can be a costly plane ticket. Factor in accommodations, a wedding gift and possibly hair and makeup applications, and the day can be very expensive.

Extravagant Extras

But when you agree to be a bridesmaid, you are signing on for more than just the day. Usually bridesmaids at least attend (and sometimes chip in for) a bridal shower. And you don’t want to show up empty-handed! A bridal shower gift is customary. But showers are the tame celebration — there’s also the bachelorette party. These parties are becoming more and more elaborate. A night out at a bar and/or restaurant doesn’t cut it anymore. Weekend trips or even weeklong getaways are commonplace making being a bridesmaid a very expensive honor.

Cut the Costs

It is certainly a nice feeling to have a friend want you close on her big day. Five times I have served as a bridesmaid. I was lucky enough to have brides who were conscious of costs. Here are some tips I learned from my frugal friends.

The best way to make sure your stint as a bridesmaid doesn’t bankrupt you is to be honest about what you can afford. Let your bride know money is tight and ask her to prioritize the bridesmaid duties. Perhaps you can’t make all of the events or maybe you can try to bundle the bridal shower and bachelorette party to cut down on traveling costs. Try to find another wedding guest to share a hotel room. Maybe the bride will suggest your presence as a bridesmaid on her special day is present enough.

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