Today's bridesmaids face more expenses than ever. From destination wedding venues, to customized bridesmaids dresses, to lavish gift registries, it's no surprise that the average cost of standing up for your BFF totals a whopping $1,695!
Some decisions are definitely out of your control (your bride-to-be is set on a wedding in the Bahamas, despite your generous offer to host a backyard BBQ), but there are lots of little things you can do to cut down on costs along the way:
Take advantage of online deals and discount packages to plan your girls' night out. Check out discount ticket sites like ScoreBig or Goldstar. They let you buy or bid on groups of tickets for music, theater and sporting events in your town...perfect for a baseball or Broadway loving bride.
Of course, there's also Groupon and LivingSocial, which have specials on spa treatments, weekend getaways, and group activities that would be much more expensive to book directly. My own bridesmaids threw me a party at a local BYOB art class. Each girl paid a discounted group price for the class, and brought their own bottle of wine!
For the bridal shower, luncheons, and some bachelorette parties, bridesmaids are expected to give a gift. Instead of trying to stretch your budget for each event, considering doing a group gift for each. This way, the bride snags a higher-priced item from her registry, and the bridesmaids get by without totally busting their budget.
Stack on the savings by getting a discounted gift card at Plastic Jungle or Cardpool.com. You can get a $100 gift card to Crate & Barrel for around $92, which means you and 3 of your gal pals can bag your bride a $100 gift for $23 per person! We always keep an eye on Macys.com, too: a few times a year, they offer a coupon for a $20 off a $100 registry purchase, so you can split a shower gift with an even lower price.
The wedding invite may tell you discounted rooms can be booked under the bride's name, but that's not necessarily the best deal. For example, the bride may have a block of rooms booked for $109 per night at the Sutton Place Hotel in Chicago. But bypass the block, and book it through Hotels.com, and you get it for $93 per night. On top of that, book 2 nights and get a $25 prepaid Visa card! For a weekend stay, this is $57 less than what it'd cost you to book it under the bridal block.
For destination weddings, a longer stay can mean an equally lengthy bill. Sites like HomeAway, VacationRentals.com, and VRBO offer vacation rentals that are much more affordable (and just as nice) as hotels. At an upcoming wedding, my fellow bridesmaids and I are skipping the bride's recommended resort, and are renting a 6-person vacation house for $1100 per week. Instead of paying $150 per night at the resort, we're each only paying $183 for a 4-day weekend.
Your bride found you the perfect bridesmaid dress...with a cringe-worthy price tag. Get the designer and model number, and check out sites like eBay, RecycledBride.com, and WeddingBee's Classifieds to score your dress at a discounted price. I scored this unused $248 bridesmaid dress for $99 on eBay, and wore it as a guest to other weddings to get some extra mileage out of it! Check out our list of other sites where you can pick out a cheap bridesmaid dress:
And even better, you can use these sites to sell your own bridesmaid dress after the wedding (because no, even if you dye it/shorten it/remove the satin sash, you aren't going to wear it again). That way, you recover some funds and help out another broke bridesmaid in need!
Got any other tips on how to save money as a bridesmaid? Let us know in the comments below.
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Photo: frostnova (Flickr). Some Rights Reserved.