What To Expect When You're A Bridesmaid For The First Time

March 28, 2016 by Rachel Gulmi
shefinds | Weddings

I’m officially at the age where all of my friends are getting married. Up until last year, I literally had no idea what it cost to be part of a bridal party aka a bridesmaid. I was recently a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding, which was my first time being a bridesmaid, and I learned a lot about the entire process. Everything was so new to me and it can be really overwhelming.

Every bride/wedding is different so the cost of each wedding you’re asked to be in will definitely vary. However, in the end, you’re going to be spending money. If you’re like me and have no idea what to expect, here’s a general breakdown of costs.

Bridesmaid Dress 

Unless your bride is extremely generous, chances are you will be buying your own bridesmaid dress. Depending on the bride, the price of the dress may vary. You may even get lucky and be able to pick out the dress yourself, which is a huge plus because you can pick something according to your budget. However, the average price of a bridesmaid dress is $150 and another $50 if you need alterations.


Obviously, you need accessories to complete your look. Most times the bride will gift her bridesmaids with a piece of jewelry to wear on the day of the wedding. The average price of shoes and jewelry is $100.

Hair, Makeup and Nails

Hair and makeup is an essential part of your look and depending on what type of hair stylist and makeup artist the bride chooses, this will cost a decent amount of money. You want your hair/makeup to last literally all day and night, so usually for weddings, the price for the beauty services will go up. The average price for hair, makeup and nails is $200.


Depending where the bachelorette party is taking place, you can end up spending $500, especially if it’s out-of-state. You’ll have to pay for airfare, hotels and activities. If it’s in-state the average price is $250.

Bridal Shower

If you’re lucky, the bride’s family will take care of the bridal shower. That means you just have to chip in for a bridal shower gift, which isn’t too horrible. The average price of a bridal shower gift is $75.

Wedding Gift 

Being a bridesmaid means you have to give more as a wedding gift, in my opinion. You’re clearly close with the bride and it’s a momentous occasion in her life. The average wedding gift for a bridesmaid is $250.

Misc. Items 

If the wedding is out-of-state, you’ll have to pay for transportation and lodging. Flights could run between $200-$500, if not more if the wedding is out of the country. Hotels are an average of $180 per night.

Let’s tally it up! Calculating items on the least expensive side, it would cost roughly $1,075 to be a bridesmaid in a “local” wedding and $1,455-$1,755 for an out-of-state wedding.

Don’t miss 10 creative wedding favors and 8 mistakes bridesmaids make when planning a bridal shower!

[Photo: Brookelyn Photography]

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