Bridesmaid Confessions: "I Spent $1,225 On Your Wedding"

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Welcome to Bridesmaid Confessions, where we tackle the hardest part of participating in someone else's wedding: the cost. We're asking real bridesmaids to spill the beans — anonymously, of course — on every wedding-related expense, from the engagement all the way to the big day. (Thanks, Money Diaries, for the inspiration.)

Today, a bridesmaid who held an intervention with the bride.

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Job: Full-time Master's student / part-time office assistant
Age: 27
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Annual salary: $10,800
Total number of bridesmaids: 5
How do you know the bride? We've been friends since the fourth grade (18 years).


Wedding Day Details & Costs


Wedding location: "Well, it depends on which ceremony. The original ceremony was set for October. But at the last minute (like, a month before) the bride moved up the wedding to May. It was held at a farm in New Jersey."

Cost for lodging: "My parents live nearby, so I stayed with them — and saved lots of money."

Cost for travel: $50 to get from New York to the farm in South Jersey.

Cost for hair and makeup: $300

Gifts

How much did you spend on gifts? "In total, I ended up spending about $300 on gifts for the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, and the wedding. I gave cash for the wedding. I gave [the bride] a card and lingerie for the bachelorette. And I bought her a necklace and a $50 gift card to Home Depot for the bridal shower. (She’s a farmer, and Home Depot is like farmer heaven.)"
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.


The Dress


How much were the dress and shoes? "I spent $150 on my dress and another $50 on accessories."

What was your dress-shopping experience? "I picked the dress. But shopping for it was terrible, especially because the date was changed. Plus, when we asked the bride what color she wanted the dresses to be, she gave us no guidance. Her response was one word: 'blue.'"

Would you wear it again? "I loved it! I was lucky to find an inexpensive dress from H&M that I didn’t have to get altered. And I've already worn it again."
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The Bachelorette Party


Where was the bachelorette? Philadelphia, PA

Did you organize the bachelorette? "I didn't do a thing. It was in the evening, on a Saturday night in Philly. We weren’t given any details — and I'm pretty sure the bachelorette party was planned last-minute (given the shift in wedding dates). On the way, I picked up snacks and drinks. It was a very laid-back bachelorette party. We played a few standard penis games in her apartment, and then sang karaoke at a bar."

How much was travel? "I spent $75 to get there and back. That includes the money for the Ubers I paid for."

$$$ for food and drinks: "I spent about $50 for snacks and another $70 on drinks at the bar."

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

Bridal Shower


Did you plan the bridal shower? "I did — with all the bridesmaids. Two months of planning, and lots of painful emails. Since the bride did not designate a maid of honor (until we had to line up for the processional) the bridesmaids were all responsible for planning the bridal shower."

What was the most frustrating part of the planning?
"I was told, I believe, about a month ahead of time, that I needed to coordinate the bridal party. Instead of having a meeting one weekend where we hashed everything out, there were endless emails — that I eventually disengaged from."

How much did the bridal shower cost?
"The bridal shower was held at the bride’s parents' house and was not catered. All the bridesmaids cooked and brought food and drinks. I was lucky because I don’t live near their family, so I was not held responsible for the food and drinks. But I was responsible for the games. I spent about $30 on food, $75 on drinks, $75 on travel, and $75 on gifts."

What Was The Craziest Part Of Being A Bridesmaid?


"The first bit of drama happened between the bride and her mother over table linens (I know), and that's why the wedding was moved up from October to May. But the craziest thing that happened was the fact that we had to have an intervention for the bride.

"A month before the wedding, I decided that I would go to my parents' house for the weekend and meet up with the bride to finally get answers about what she wanted. At this point, she wasn’t answering any of my questions about the wedding via email or text. So another bridesmaid and I realized that we would have to confront her in person. The groom and her parents joined us.

"We started by asking the bride a few easy questions: Did you decide on the color of dresses? Are we getting our hair and makeup done together? What’s the schedule? Where are you getting married? Honestly, she couldn’t answer most of these basic questions, which sparked the fire. We all went around the room (including her parents) and told her that she needed to step up and help with the wedding planning.

"What surprised me the most was that the groom was extremely exasperated by her lack of involvement in the wedding process. He was begging her to make decisions! It was like we were talking her down from the edge, but in reality, we were just asking her to tell us what she wanted instead of us guessing.

"The bride was blindsided, but she didn’t really say much. She became a little defensive, but she was outnumbered and couldn’t escape the truth. In the end, she promised to start making decisions. I made her write out an email and send it to all of the bridesmaids right there."
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
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Was It Worth The $$?

What was the worst part of being a bridesmaid? "Not really getting a clear direction of what the bride wanted. She didn’t really have a vision — and didn’t really care. She moved the wedding up by three months at the very last minute! So finding a dress was difficult. And then there was the intervention."

What was the best part of being a bridesmaid? "Getting to see one of my best friends get what she’s always wanted. She was so happy and beautiful, it was a great day. Although the wedding was extremely stressful, I had a lot of great laughs. I also became closer with the bride’s friends from college, who were also bridesmaids."

Was it worth it?
"The experience was, in the end, worth it. When I think back to the wedding, I think of the beautiful ceremony and how it just brought my friends and I closer together because we shared such a big experience in her life. I wouldn’t be a bridesmaid for just any friend, though. If a friend I’ve had for a very long time that I can be real with asked me — then I'd say yes."
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