So your best friend just said yes to the big question and is now rocking some serious bling. Now it’s your turn to say yes when she asks you to be her bridesmaid, undoubtedly in some oh-so-darling way straight from her private Pinterest wedding board. Cue the tears of joy! You guys have been planning each others wedding since your awkward tween years and now it’s finally happening and you get to be one of the lucky ones standing by her on that special day. So without a second thought, you say yes and pop the champagne!
But let’s get real. Weddings can be expensive as shit. But at the time, you’re thinking that you have months, if not a whole year or more, to help plan and save for the upcoming wedding festivities. Why start stressing? You’re not so concerned about saving any money in preparation for something that’s a year away, duh. You’re more likely concerned about shopping for the perfect first date outfit for Friday, or buying Christmas gifts for the whole fam, or spending an obscene amount at Lululemon on your quest to becoming fit and fabulous.
But that time eventually passes and boom! The wedding is just a few short months away and you realize that you’re screwed. You have to start dishing out that dough on all things wedding, including, but not limited to: splitting the cost for the bridal shower, paying for the bachelorette weekend, your bridesmaid dress, travel and hotel accommodations and hair and makeup for the day of, not to mention a gift for the newlyweds. After recently being in a wedding this past summer and preparing to be in another in February, I’ve learned a few things along the way and want to share some tips with you, the bridesmaid on a financial diet:
1. Plan ahead
This may sound simple, but it’s vital and it’s often the thing we forget to do when we agree to be a bridesmaid. Even though the wedding seems like light-years away, start planning to save right away. Even setting aside $10 a week can add up to a pretty solid amount by the time the wedding festivities begin. You can forgo that Hale & Hearty salad for one day a week. I dare you.
2. Mark all events down in your calendar
I wouldn’t be a functional human being without my bright, preppy patterned Lilly Pulitzer agenda. I write every single upcoming event down, that way I know what’s ahead and can prioritize financially. Also, that sticker sheet in the front of the agenda adds exponentially to my planning abilities (not really, but whatever. I’m a sucker for stickers).
3. Book your hotel early to get the wedding rate
If you have to travel for the wedding, make sure to book a hotel early. Usually, the bride and groom sets aside a certain number of rooms at one main hotel and are able to get a discounted wedding rate. This is awesome and you should definitely take advantage of it. Don’t be one of the lazy procrastinators to hold off booking a room until they’re all gone and you have to spend the night at grimy motel down the road. We’re too old for that shit.
4. Don’t worry about getting a new dress for every event
While you’ll be in a few pictures (captioned “The absolute best bridal party a girl could ask for <3”), the bride will be the center of attention at every event. Look cute, but don’t feel pressured to spend a ton on new outfits. This rings especially true for the bachelorette party/weekend. We all know these tend to get pretty sloppy anyway. Throw on your go-to little black dress and you’re set!
5. That being said, don’t feel obligated to attend every single bridal event
If you live in a different city than the bride, it can be hard to make it to everything. If the bachelorette weekend is a destination weekend, it’s ok to say no if you’re tight on money and need to save it for the wedding itself. If the bride is truly your friend, she’ll understand. Sorry, Vegas, maybe we’ll meet again at another time.
6. Opt out of getting your hair and makeup professionally done for the wedding (if the bride is ok with it)
It’s often not mandatory that you get these things done by a professional the day of. If your friend is the cool, laid-back kind, she’ll totally understand that you want to save the money and get dolled up on your own. Trust me, it can save you a fair amount if you curl your own hair and powder your own face. Hair can cost up to $100 and makeup could cost anywhere from $50-$100. Woof. Instead, maybe pick up some fresh new makeup essentials like a dainty lipstick and a rosy blush and you’ll look just as ravishing as the other ladies, but you’ll be richer. Score!
7. Take on a little side job to make some extra cash if the going gets too tough
I’m twenty-five, working a full-time job (in publishing, hence money troubles), but I’m certainly not above taking on some babysitting jobs to help rake in some extra dolla dolla bills. Babysitting has seriously saved me in preparing for this upcoming wedding. I literally just made over two hundred dollars in three nights sitting on a couch watching Parenthood on Netflix while the baby was sleeping in the other room. Dress money: check! It’s the best gig out there, ladies. Do it.
But above all else, remember to have fun and enjoy these moments with the bride-to-be. It’s not meant to be a stressful time, so if you plan ahead, get yourself on that financial bridesmaid diet and save a little each month, you’ll be much more at ease and excited come wedding day. So put on that unflattering bridesmaid dress, flash your pearly whites and, as Kool & the Gang would suggest, “Celebrate good times, come on!”
Image: Robert Ramirez
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