Wedding Season

12 Millennial And Gen Z Bridesmaids Share Their Best Wedding Budget Tips

It’s OK to voice your budget boundaries.

Getting asked to be a bridesmaid for your BFF’s wedding is an honor. Not only do you get to celebrate their happily ever after, but you also get to do it by their side. However, while it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s not a cheap one. Between the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and wedding day, the expenses can really rack up. If you still want to be there by your bestie’s side during their wedding day, these bridesmaid budgeting tips from millennial and Gen Z bridesmaids will help you learn how to be a bridesmaid on a budget.

For any new first-time bridesmaids, you will quickly find out that it’s not just the dress you have to save up for. You’ll also need to chip in for the bridal shower and bachelorette party as well, and depending on your bestie’s budget and wishes, those expenses can be a bit much. However, if you’re able to get ahead of your bridesmaid budget, you can save some serious money. Elite Daily spoke with a few former bridesmaids who shared their money-saving bridesmaid tips and bridesmaid budget hacks that’ll come in handy as your bestie’s big day approaches. These 12 tips from millennial and Gen Z bridesmaids can even help you become a better and more prepared bridesmaid for your BFF.

01

Set A Bridesmaid Budget For Yourself

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You can really get carried away when it comes to being a bridesmaid, especially if you don’t set a budget for yourself ahead of time. Out of all the bridesmaids that Elite Daily spoke to, being realistic about what you’re willing to spend, and then being open and honest about that budget with your bestie was a bridesmaid budgeting tip everyone agreed on.

Former bridesmaid Nicole Asava shared, “I think I naturally always come up with a number I’m willing to spend on anything and try to keep close to it.” When she was a part of her best friend’s wedding, she only deviated from her budget if she thought it was “incredible” or “even essential.”

If you’re currently trying to create a budget for yourself, you may be wondering, how much does the average bridesmaid spend on a wedding? Speaking with Esther Lee, the Deputy Editor and Wedding Expert at The Knot, she says, “On average, one in two attendees spends more than $300 on a bachelorette party. But when the bash takes place in a major city, that number goes up to 61%, so one in five celebrants is actually spending closer to $1,000 (or more).” That’s just the bachelorette party. If you’re doing a bridesmaid cost breakdown, you also want to factor in your dress. According to The Knot, the average cost of a bridesmaid dress in 2022 is $130 per person.

02

Voice Your Budget Boundaries With Your Fellow Bridesmaids

Priscilla Karamzadeh recommended that once you know what your budget is, it’s essential to voice your budget boundaries. This is especially true when you get a say in the bachelorette party or bridal shower planning.

“Booking bnbs and activities can get out of control, and if no one says budget is an issue, it starts to get really pricy,” she said. Don’t feel bad about speaking up, because you’re probably not the only one with budget concerns. As Michelle Yzaguirre so simply put it: “Be honest about what you can and can’t take on.”

03

Plan A Bridal Shower At Home

When planning your bestie’s bridal shower, you can get super creative at home. Stephanie Chanel Myers told Elite Daily that for her BFF’s shower, she hosted the party at her parent’s house with homemade food and games she found online. You could even host a budget-friendly tea party with Bridgerton bridal shower ideas on TikTok. Using the resources you already have can save you tons of money in the long run.

04

Shop Around For Affordable Bridesmaid Dresses

Lifestyle blogger Keshia Sih-Tseng shared one helpful bridesmaid budget tip for finding the right dress: “Get your bridesmaids dress from Amazon if possible.” If the bride is allowing you to choose your own dress or a dress in a certain color palette, Amazon is a great go-to.

According to Sih-Tseng, “It's usually a lot cheaper, and with free returns, you can try on different styles and sizes with less pressure versus ordering from David's Bridal where sometimes they are made to your size and you cannot return them after you order if they don't fit properly.” Harper Thomson also found a super affordable dress from ASOS when she was a bridesmaid, so if you have the option to browse, do it.

05

Get An Airbnb For Your Bachelorette Party

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According to Sih-Tseng, you might want to consider an Airbnb instead of staying at a hotel. Not only can you find a good deal on a one-of-a-kind stay, but “you can save extra money by cooking instead of eating out since you'll more likely than not have a kitchen in your Airbnb!”

Erin Weiss admitted, “I know it's annoying [to say] ‘we have food at home,’ but it saves SO much in the end!” Plus, Nikki Osborne shared that cooking a meal together in your Airbnb can also be fun to do together.

06

Plan A Night In For Your Bachelorette Party

If you do end up getting an Airbnb for your bachelorette party, many former bridesmaids suggested that planning a night in was a great way to save money as well. Amanda Tarver told Elite Daily that doing a night in wherever you’re staying so you aren’t spending $15 a cocktail is a great bridesmaid budgeting tip.

Weiss, who is currently planning a bachelorette party, said that “one of the nights we are staying in and ordering pizza and making it a night of fun bachelorette games.” Not only does this save money, but it is a fun bonding experience for the attendees and makes it all about the bride.

07

Re-Sell Your Bridesmaid Dress After The Ceremony

If you do end up having to spend more than you would like being a bridesmaid, one way that Ashley Guillory tried to get some money back was to sell her dress on a reselling wedding website. This could also be a bridesmaid budgeting tip for when you’re looking for a dress to wear as well.

08

Bring Your Own Catering

When planning the bridal shower or bachelorette party, Sih-Tseng also recommended bringing in your own catering. While it may be easier to have the venue provide the food, venues usually charge per person and tend to be much more expensive. She shared, “I've been able to feed over 50 people for about $5 to $7 per person by ordering either a taco catering service to come or pizza/pasta places like Stonefire Grill.”

09

Prioritize Events If The Wedding Is Out Of State

It can be hard not to spend a lot when you’re a bridesmaid for your high school or college bestie who now lives in another state. If you’re being realistic about your budget, you can’t always travel back and forth for the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and ceremony. Osborne said she’s had to tell friends she can’t go to all three events after being honest about her budget. An understanding BFF will get it.

10

Crowdsource The City You’re Visiting For The Bachelorette Party

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Osborne also recommended you do some extra research on the city you’re visiting for the bachelorette weekend. “You may know someone who knows someone who works at a cool restaurant or store who can hook it up,” she said.

Not only can this save you some money, but it’ll also “add something special to the experience.” During your research, you can even look for deals on group activities you can do as well. Weiss mentioned when she was planning her BFF’s bachelorette weekend, she “made sure to find a group activity that included a group rate to get the best deal possible.”

11

Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute

Waiting until the last minute only gives you fewer options, which tends to mean you’ll be spending more money. Kathleen Sullivan recommended you look for dresses and shoes during big sales like Black Friday or Memorial Day, if you can. Plus, it’s important not to wait too late to get your dress altered, as you will have to pay rush fees. The same thing can extend to travel costs. Sullivan added, “If you have to do any traveling, book as early as possible and be willing to travel at weird times if it's cheaper.”

If you are able to shop early for your friend’s wedding that isn’t for another couple months or even over a year out, Scharlotte Baker noted, “Colors also go in and out of season, so if you are aware of the wedding far enough in advanced, you can find things on sale after the season.”

12

See If You Can Do Your Own Makeup

Being open and honest with your bestie can also help make it clear what’s a must-have for the wedding day and what can be optional. For instance, Sullivan mentioned, “Some brides will ask that you pay for your own wedding day hair and makeup to be done professionally, while others don't mind if you do your own (or don't wear makeup at all, if that's more you).” If your friend does want your lewk to be professionally done, get some clarity on how done your makeup needs to be. “Don't assume that you have to get the full professional styling.”

Baker had a similar bridesmaid budget tip about doing your own makeup “as long as you can channel whatever look your bride wants you to.” You can also do the same for nails.