One part of young adulthood for many women is bridesmaid duty. It can be an enjoyable role, but it does come with several financial responsibilities. According to a 2010 "Real Weddings" Survey, the average bridesmaid spent about $1,600 of her own money on the ceremony. The total out-of-pocket will vary based on the expectations of the bride and other bridesmaids.
In many cases, the bride chooses the style of dress for her bridesmaids. According to Mint.com in June 2011, that would set the average bridesmaid back about $150. The Emily Post Institute suggests bridesmaids honestly discuss any concerns they have about the cost of the dress with the bride. Doing so gives the bride the option to choose another bridesmaid, pick a different dress, or offer to contribute to the cost of the dress.
You won't have to worry too much about travel costs if the wedding is held in your town. However, if it's someplace else, such as the hometown of the bride, you will have to factor in some travel expenses. The bride is not expected to pay for the travel costs of her attendants. Depending on circumstances, you're looking at a plane or train ticket, extra gas for the car, and a hotel room for several days.
The maid of honor may decide to host the bridal shower on her own, but it may be a group effort by all of the bridesmaids. That means you'll have to chip in for food and drinks, the venue rental and decorations. According to Mint.com, the average shower contribution per bridesmaid was $50 as of 2011. That amount can be considerably higher based on the number of bridesmaids and the theme of the shower.
Gifts and Other Expenses
A wedding means gifts galore for the bride and groom, including something from the bridesmaid. In fact, the bridesmaid is expected to also give the bride a shower gift, and possibly an engagement gift. As of 2011, the gift usually costs between $50 and $100, according to Mint.com. Other common expenses for a bridesmaid include accessories, make-up and hair styling. Some brides may pay for hair and make-up on the day of the wedding, but you can't count on that.
Based in Pennsylvania, Emily Weller has been writing professionally since 2007, when she began writing theater reviews Off-Off Broadway productions. Since then, she has written for TheNest, ModernMom and Rhode Island Home and Design magazine, among others. Weller attended CUNY/Brooklyn college and Temple University.