Bridesmaid Confessions: "I Spent $2,398 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 traveled back and forth between Denver, CO, and NYC five times, just to help the bride.

Want to share your experience? Email us, here.
Job: Project manager in advertising
Age: 30
Location: Denver, CO
Annual Salary: $51,000
Total Number Of Bridesmaids: Nine total, with two maids of honor — including me.
Relationship To Bride: She has been my best friend since we were babies. There is literally no one else I would probably go through this amount of effort for.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Bridesmaid Dress

How much were the dress and shoes?
"The dress was $210 (I had to buy it with extra length since I am tall), and the shoes were $50. I also spent around $130 on alterations because I lost a bit of weight between purchasing the dress and the wedding."

What was your dress-shopping experience?
"My mom had paid for me to go to NYC to visit family, so we decided to go dress shopping that weekend, since I was going to be in town anyways, and it was getting to the point where dresses had to be ordered.

"Shopping for the dress was tricky since we were trying to coordinate with the other maid of honor and a bridesmaid who were trying on dresses in another city simultaneously. It probably would have been much easier for it to have been just me and the bride, but she wanted to see it on a few different body types."

Would you wear it again?
"Maybe. It’s pretty formal, and I don’t usually need a lot of black tie occasion dresses, but I have thought about cutting it to cocktail length."
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Wedding-Day Details & Costs

Wedding Location:
"It was August 2016 in Hartford, CT. It was a destination wedding for me, because I live in Colorado. I was asked to be there Friday through Sunday, but I ended up taking the entire week off and spending some time with my family in the area."

Costs For Lodging & Travel:
"I managed to get lucky with lodging, because my mom attended the wedding and had booked a hotel room for the occasion. For the first few nights I was there, we stayed with the bride in a rental house that was pretty inexpensive per person — only around $25 a night. As for the flight, I spent $220 for one way and booked my return using miles."

Costs For Hair & Makeup:
"[It] was a gift from the bride. I did pay for fake eyelashes, as well as the lipstick and lipgloss that they used so I could reapply throughout the day. That was around $80."

Did you have other expenses during the wedding weekend?
"I have been in a lot of weddings and found that the 'emergency kits' for the day of can be a life saver, so I spent around $75 putting those together for both the bridesmaids and groomsmen."
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Bachelorette Party

Where was the bachelorette?
"Cape Cod."

Did you organize the bachelorette?
"Yes, along with the other maid of honor. We planned for about a month, but it was pretty easy since it was taking place in a town I grew up going to, and we were staying in a house owned by another member of the bridal party.

"The hardest part was trying to get everything done once I got into town (like grocery shopping, making survival kits, liquor store, etc). I didn’t stop running around the entire day or two before trying to get everything organized since I had tried to take as little time off of work as possible, and could only fly in Thursday on a red-eye."

How much did you spend on the bachelorette?
"We tried to have a relaxing beach weekend that included some fun activities, as well. So one night we did a clambake at the house; the next day we did a pole-dancing class and went out to dinner. We all split the cost for the bride’s expenses, and there were eight of us total for the weekend (including the bride).

"Travel: $225 (I booked one-way using miles.)
Food: $35.25 each
Dinner out: $53.50 each
Pole dancing class: $51 each
Venue: $25 each
Other supplies/decorations: $21 each (This was everything from the penis straws to buying sunscreen to have in the house.)
Shirts: $35 each
Favors: $64
Survival packs (including aspirin, snacks, a towel): $32
Gift: $15 each — we got her some nice lingerie and made her a scrapbook."
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

How much did you spend on gifts?
"I bought gifts for the shower (split with the other maid of honor), the bachelorette (split among the bridesmaids) and the wedding. I also sent them a bottle of Champagne right after they got engaged, since I couldn’t take them out to celebrate in person. It was all $186."

Were there any additional costs not covered in previous questions?
"I flew to NYC early on in the wedding planning process to go shopping for the bride’s dress and help get her organized. I booked it at the last minute because it was going to the only weekend that worked so that didn’t help the cost of the flight. It was around $420."
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Was It Worth The $$?

What was the craziest part of being a bridesmaid?
"Nine bridesmaids is a lot of people to try and coordinate with. Additionally, while it was incredibly helpful to have a co-maid of honor, especially in terms of paying for the shower and bachelorette, it always felt like we had to constantly check in with each other and make sure the other didn’t feel left out even though we have a good relationship already."

What was the best part?
"This was my best friend's wedding, and I had always known I would be a part of it. The wedding was absolutely beautiful, and she was so happy, so it was worth all of the energy. I also feel good knowing how much she appreciated the work I put in and how much I helped support her throughout the entire wedding process."

Do you think being a bridesmaid is worth it?
"Sometimes. I think it ultimately depends on the bride and the experience. This experience, while exhausting and expensive, was absolutely worth it. I am currently trying to get my finances back in order after a crazy couple of years, and maybe not the best financial decision making, but I never regretted any money I spent on this wedding (even though I’m sure I probably complained about it at various points)."

Would you do it again?
"For her, absolutely, but I don’t think there is anyone else in my life I would put that much time, energy, or money into being in their wedding."
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