6 Women Reveal How Much It Cost To Be A Maid Of Honor, & It's Pricey

by Korey Lane
Originally Published: 

Everyone knows that weddings can often be expensive for the couple and their families, but what about the close friends who get tapped for roles in the wedding party? The cost of being in a wedding that isn't even your own can easily add up and start to feel astronomical. For the maid of honor, that number can blow up real quick. Asking yourself "How much does it cost to be a maid of honor?" before saying yes to the bride might be a good idea if you're trying to ball on a budget. Because overall, the answer seems to be that the experience is definitely not cheap.

It's a big honor to be asked to be a MOH, but that doesn't mean it's an easy job. There are definitely some brides out there who make the title stress-free and don't ask much of their MOH, but there are others who demand a little more. On top of that, there are many costs associated, like the dress, shoes, hair, makeup, and not to mention planning the bachelorette party and bridal shower.

It all adds up, and these real-life stories about how much it costs to be a MOH, from former MOHs themselves, show that there's a lot more to the title than holding the bride's dress up when she has to pee.

It's a lot of money for just one day.
I probably spent $150 on the dress, another $100 on hair and makeup, a couple hundred for her bachelorette party, and then for stuff like decor and travel, and their wedding gifts, another couple hundred. It definitely felt like a lot at the time, but I also feel like it taught me about money management in a way. Like, I hope that I don't have to stress about money the next time I'm asked to be a MOH. I want to be able to spoil my friends, so this past wedding was really a good learning lesson! And I love my friend that got married, and was so happy to be there for her on her big day, so I'm not too upset about it.
On the other hand, the wedding wasn't really all that great, and was kind of a "shotgun" wedding, meaning I didn't have time to prepare as much as I would have liked.

Kelly*, 26

This MOH was happy to spend money spoiling her friend.
Dress: $150-$180. It was super helpful to know early on what [the bride] wanted and I spent a couple months checking different sites and waiting until after Christmas for sales. Also checked the 'factory' stores, I got my Adrianna Pappel for $137 and found a promo code for free shipping, so I just had to add tax.
Hair and makeup: $75-$125. I didn’t think hair and makeup was expensive. I thought there were mostly good results (except I had an orange face at one wedding) so I was a little irritated about paying for that, but it wasn’t completely her fault because of the lighting.
Bach trip: $200-400. I mean, it really is all about where you go, and what you want to do there.
Lingerie: $60-$75. Again, you just have to look multiple places to find something that fits a person, both style and fit, for a good price. I just browsed Nordstrom and Dillard’s to find a good price (and I found one with free shipping!) I always think it is fun to find lingerie, and I didn’t mind spending a little more money on things I knew to be better quality. Like H&M may carry lingerie, but I personally think it’s a little tacky to buy someone cheap lingerie for their lingerie shower.
Again, I don’t really mind spending the money because it’s not about me, it’s about showing up and being there for someone because you love them. I’m not saying it always makes financial sense (my credit cards definitely carried more after the weekends) but in the long run, I pay off that balance over time and I was still mentally present without freaking out over money.

— Laurie, 24

The costs turned this MOH off to bridal parties in general.
I actually was in two weddings in 2018 through early 2019 and they've both turned me off completely to the idea of having a bridal party at my wedding in the future. This is due to the expense, the amount of time you have to invest in wedding-related activities, and the way the "MOH" vs. "bridesmaid" titles stir up emotions in groups of friends.
For one wedding I was not MOH and I only spent around $200-$300, but that was with the mother of the bride paying for all the bridesmaids' dresses and very little hoopla outside of a bachelorette party. For the other I was MOH and my total cost was near, if not over, $1000. There were 7 wedding-related parties/events, including a full bachelorette weekend vacation, which luckily was held in the city I live in. However, the rest of the bridal party had to travel out-of-town and pay to stay in a hotel for it.
Cost breakdown for that is $200 for the dress, $250 for hair and makeup, a wedding gift, engagement party gift, hotel stay for attending the wedding, meals/bar drinks for the bachelorette weekend, gift for a lingerie shower, etc. It was so astronomical and so ridiculous I have completely changed my mind on a bridal party because of it.

— Gabrielle*, 28

Alterations can really eat at your budget.
The maid of honor for last year I was in was $975. Most of it went to the custom dress being $360, so almost $400. Another $90 for the shoes to match in unison, $105 for hair, $75 nails, $120 for makeup, then I believe what was left was accessories, etc. Separately, there was also a Bachelorette trip in the [Florida] Keys which was another $560. It was mainly for the custom dress that a lot went for it and the “European“ sizing style of it — they charged more for being over a certain size

— Jenna*, 24

The costs can be draining.
I think I spent close to $1.5K when it was all said and done. It absolutely made me sick to my stomach especially because some costs could have been negotiable (aka the dress) if the bride would have been a little more flexible. At the end of the day I get it's her day, but I think it's important to be considerate of your bridal party's financial situation as they all differ.

— Valerie*, 25

Only you can decide if it's worth it.
Dress: $200, shoes: $60, hair and makeup: $200, gifts: $400. There were multiple showers, engagement party, scrapbook, and bachelorette festivities: $300-500. It felt like all of these things were required. I didn’t have a good party to help or organize the event. I did a lot of it on my own and spent more to make sure it was done right. I think it’s a lot to ask but as a friend it only happens once hopefully and you want to spoil your friend on their special day! Most of my friends are repaying the same for my wedding.

— Fallon, 24

Now, this isn't to say that every bride asks her MOH to shell out a ton of cash just to be in their wedding, but the costs associated with being a maid of honor do tend to skyrocket. If you find yourself in this situation, but you still really want to be your friend's MOH, sit down and have an open and honest conversation. After all, communication is the foundation of any solid relationship. See if you can't come to an agreement on areas where the bride or groom's family can help cover some costs (like hair and makeup for the bridal party), or if you can compromise on cutting down costs at pre-wedding events.

All it takes is some honesty, and at the end of the day, there's no shame in politely declining and promising to be there for the bride in a less high-pressure (read: high-cost) way.

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