How Much Does Being A Bridesmaid Cost? It's Way More Than You Might Think

It's an incredible honor to be a bridesmaid. Think about it: Besides the wedding party, the only other person standing with your friend at the altar is the person they chose as their partner for life. That's a pretty big deal. And it's fun, too. Bridesmaids get to wear glam dresses, have their hair and makeup done, and serve as a major part of a friend's special day. But here's the thing: Being one of the most important people in your friend's life isn't cheap. How much does being a bridesmaid cost, you ask? The answer: A lot.

I spoke to six women about their bridesmaid experience, and while most didn't have any regrets about saying yes, almost all of them went into the experience not realizing how much money they were about to drop. The major expenses can be divided into the categories of the dress, gifts, transportation, hair and makeup, hotels, and — of course — the bachelorette party, though these women also encountered plenty of other incidentals along the way. Here is what the women had to say about the actual cost of being a bridesmaid, and I hope you're prepared to get your mind blown.

The Dress

Jess Craven/Stocksy
Hannah: "The dress was probably about $100."
Liz: "The dress was $200, plus $100 for alterations."
Kerry: "The dress was only $150, but at least another $100 for rush alterations."
Renee*: "I've been a bridesmaid four times now, and the dress is usually between $150 and $175, plus an additional $80 to $100 for alternations."
Lisa: "I spent $200 for my dress."
Jen*: "The dress was $300, and it ended up being the wrong color."

Average approximate cost: $200

The Gifts

Hannah: "My husband and I spent $200 for the wedding gift."
Kerry: "I only got a gift for the wedding, which was around $50."
Renee: "The gift I usually do between $250 and $275, plus $50 for a bridal shower gift and $50 for an engagement gift."
Lisa: "I spent $150 on the wedding gift and an additional $100 for the bridal shower gift."
Jen: "I paid $50 for the wedding gift, $50 for a bridal shower gift, and $50 for a bachelorette party gift."

Average approximate cost: $200

The Transportation

Hannah: "The flight for the wedding cost $450 for a round-trip and the rental car for the weekend was $100."
Liz: "The wedding was in Nashville, so the flight was between $300 and $400 round-trip, plus at least $100 in Ubers once I was there."
Kerry: "I had an international flight, so let's just say well over $1,000."
Lisa: "Flights to the wedding cost $300 round-trip."
Jen: "It cost me $600 for me and my plus-one to fly across the country and back, since I also had to pay for my girlfriend's ticket."

Average approximate cost: $600

The Hair and Makeup

Leah Flores/Stocksy
Liz: "The spray tan, nails, and hair cost me at least $300 all together."
Kerry: "I only had to pay to get my nails done, so around $40."
Renee: "When the bride can't or doesn't offer to pay for hair and makeup, I always do my own makeup, and I'll go to a Drybar or equivalent for a blowout, which costs around $55."
Lisa: "I luckily only spent $40 to get my nails done."

Average approximate cost: $100

The Hotels

Hannah: "The hotel room was $300, but I split it with another couple, so it was only $150 for us."
Renee: "I always end up staying in the hotel room for at least two nights for the rehearsal dinner and the night of the wedding, so that is usually $300 to $400."

Average approximate cost: $250

The Bachelorette Party

Hannah: "The bachelorette was around $300, but not including flights, because it would have cost around $400 round-trip, but I used points."
Liz: "The bachelorette party was in Tulum, Mexico, so that was an easy $2,000."
Renee: "The bachelorette party can really vary, depending on the location. I went to one where we drove there and rented a house, and the house cost $250 per person, but other expenses were minimal. But I also went to one in Austin with a $400 round-trip flight, but the mother-of-the-bride very generously paid for our hotel."
Lisa: "The bachelorette party cost me $300, plus an additional $300 for flights."

Average approximate cost: $800

So what does being a bridesmaid cost? According to these former bridesmaids, the average bridesmaid will spend around $2,150 for the honor of joining the bride at the altar. Before you say yes, just make sure you take the time to consider whether your relationship with the bride is worth the cost, because remember: When asked if you want to be a bridesmaid, you don't always have to say "I do."

*Names have been changed