Bridesmaid Confessions: “I Spent $2,555 On Your Wedding”

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 maid of honor who couldn't eat for 12 hours.
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Job: Intern Architect
Age: 24
Location: Seattle
Annual salary: $40,000
Total number of bridesmaids: 5
How do you know the bride? "College friend (and not close friends either, I was actually surprised when she asked me to not only be in her wedding but to be the maid of honor)."
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

The Dress

How much were the dress and shoes? "Oh, good grief. $250. BUT, I will say that this particular dress I actually did take to alterations and I STILL wear it to this day. It wasn’t terrible... [Plus,] it has pockets!!!"

What was your dress-shopping experience?
"I was sent a link online and told to buy, so I did."

Would you wear it again?
"I would, and I have. See above. But to elaborate more, it was a bubble hem (shudder!) that I had the seamstress cut out to a high-low [hem] (I drew her a picture). I wear this dress A TON, actually. I love it now. I probably spent $70 on shoes to match."

Wedding-Day Details & Costs

Wedding location: "The wedding was in the DEAD of summer in [remote] Alabama; you actually had to fly into Nashville, Tennessee, and drive 3.5 hours to get there. We had the 'bachelorette party' two days before the wedding, so I flew in on a Wednesday and stayed until Sunday. The wedding was on Saturday afternoon." Costs for lodging and travel: "It was a destination wedding for me! I spent $600 on the plane ticket, and $70 a night on the hotel for four nights." Cost for hair and makeup: "$80 total."
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

The Bachelorette Party

Where was the bachelorette? "A small town in Alabama outside of Huntsville — I actually don’t recall the name."

Did you organize the bachelorette?
"I did. I worked on securing us a place to do a wine-and-paint party, and organizing schedules of the other bridesmaids for about three months via email."
How much did you spend on the bachelorette?

Paint party: $100
Party favors for the bride: $50
Lingerie gift: $75
Dinner: $100
Drinks: $100
Gas/transportation: $100


How much did you spend on gifts? "I bought gifts for the bachelorette party. She had a separate bridal shower that I didn’t attend. But we did a wine-and-paint party — which was $100 per person, plus gifts for the lingerie game. Then, we went out about town — and I paid for everything, being the MOH. "In total, I spent about $350, including the painting session for myself and the extras that night, but I did not buy them a wedding gift."
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

Was It Worth The $$$?

What was the craziest part of being a bridesmaid? "The union didn’t even last a full year. Eight months is all. Is it insensitive to expect a refund?" What was the worst part of being a bridesmaid? "Well, the wedding was in the afternoon so they could save money, so they opted out of providing a full meal, and just supplemented with snacks. I was there for over 12 hours and never had any food. The groomsmen were given pizza by the owner of the venue, but when the bridesmaids asked where our pizza was, she said, 'Oh, I thought you wouldn’t want to eat so you could fit in your dresses,' and that was that."

What was the best part?
"My speech. I had fun with that. And I finally got the bride to loosen up when we crushed it on the dance floor." Do you think being a bridesmaid is worth it? "No, I don’t really see the point of bridesmaids, in all honesty. I’ve always had way more fun just going to weddings and seeing my friends be happy and radiant, rather than standing up there with them looking awkward. And I’m such a doer; at the end of the night I’m the one cleaning the tables by myself and my heart breaks every time I have to trash a flower — I just can’t, I just hear the cash-register noise over and over in my head." Would you do it again? "For her? No. BUT I have been in many people’s weddings since then; I’ve also declined an invitation to be a bridesmaid. I’m learning how to say no without feeling bad. My participation in your wedding is NOT an indication of how much I like you. If I'm not there, I still support your union — it’s just that MAMA NEEDS A VACATION."
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.

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