The Frugal Bridesmaid Handbook, in 4 Simple Steps

When my best friend asked me to be her maid of honor, I was flattered and financially horrified.

She lives in Texas, while I live in New York. The airfare and hotel would tip towards $500. Dollar signs flashed in front of my eyes as I calculated the cost of the bachelorette party, a bridal shower, gifts, the dress, accessories and bridesmaids kits. I started to have heart palpitations but pasted on a smile and sputtered out, “of course!” in a strangely high-pitched voice.

As the maid of honor, I unearthed four tenets for being a successful yet frugal bridesmaid.

Hyperbole aside, I felt honored she choose to have me stand up next to her on such a monumental day. However, I quickly became concerned with keeping the experience cost-effective, since I have three other weddings to attend this year — all of which require travel.

Unlike the portrayals of brides in pop culture, my friend elected to be a fiscally responsible and incredibly conscientious about her relatively cash-poor, young bridesmaids.

As the maid of honor, I unearthed four tenets for being a successful yet frugal bridesmaid.

Important skills since the cost of being a bridesmaid (dress, shoes, accessories, travel, bridal shower, bachelorette parties and gifts) averaged $1,695 in 2011, according to and Wedding Republic.

1. Set Budgets With the Other Bridesmaids

Even if you had visions of Vegas dancing through your head, the other bridesmaids may not be able to afford your version of a bachelorette party.

It’s important to have the open — sometimes awkward — conversations with other bridesmaids about their budgets and financial expectations for all wedding-related events.

Be understanding if a bridesmaid has to bow out of the bachelorette party or bridal shower because she can’t afford the cost.

Consider a party as centrally located to a majority of the group as possible. If — like in my case — bridesmaids are flung across the Eastern seaboard, do the bridal shower and bachelorette party in the same weekend to avoid extra doses of travel.

2. Beware of Pinterest

Pinterest may offer creative ideas for frugal wedding decorations, but it also makes the average, non-crafty woman feel incredibly inadequate.

The maid of honor is responsible for creating kits for the bride and other bridesmaids for the wedding day. Be warned that Pinterest makes all your attempts at aesthetically pleasing kits look like a 3-year-old went after a cream-colored wall with finger paint.

You also don’t need everything recommended in those Monet-level kits. The other bridesmaids really just want alcohol, pain killers and a snack. You can’t go wrong with bobby pins, either.

Read more: The Frugal Bridesmaid Handbook, in 4 Simple Steps

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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