{Money & Friendships} The Real Cost of Being a Bridesmaid

It starts with a question that leads to a ring, which ends up as a picture on Instagram, and is shared on Facebook. Yep, he asked and she said yes! Weeks later, you find a charming note in your mailbox asking you to stand beside her on the most important day of her life. You, my dear, are a chosen one… also known as a bridesmaid.The Real Cost of Being A Bridesmaid from Top Atlanta Blogger and Wedding Designer, Danielle YB Vason of She Makes Cents Since 2010, I have been in seven weddings and I witnessed at least twenty of my girlfriends walk down the aisle toward wedded bliss. In fact, when the Mr. and I got married in 2015, we were the 13th wedding that year of our friend group.  Like many of you, I have taken off work and flown clear across the country in support of LOVE.  Too bad that the support of LOVE often comes at a hefty price tag. 

She Said Yes, But Should You?

It is truly an honor to be asked to be in someone’s wedding, but before you say “yes”, you need to understand what you are getting yourself into before you make that commitment. Just like in a romantic relationship, money can throw a major wrench into your friendship if you are not honest with yourself and the bride about your financial situation.  As a bridesmaid, I have paid for gowns, shoes, hair, mani/pedi, makeup packages, jewelry, liquor, plane tickets, hotels, car service, chipped in for engagement parties, hosted bridal showers, lingerie parties (apparently that is different from the bridal shower and the bachelorette party), oh yeah…bachelorette parties, bridal teas and even décor elements for the actual wedding. Nowadays, you have to add the matching bride tribe outfits for the bridal party photoshoot to the list of expenses you have to think about when saying yes. Did I even mention the wedding gift…eek? Once you accept the invitation to become a member of the bridal party, you are committing to this experience for richer or poorer.

I will admit, that years ago I declined the request to be in a friend’s wedding because the costs of being in the wedding would have been a strain on my finances.  That bride thankfully understood.  I often think, if we didn’t have that conversation and I participated in her bridal party, she could have very easily interpreted my reluctance to spend money as a lack of support and enthusiasm for her big day.  Not having that conversation would have cost me more than financial security, it could have cost me our friendship. 

How Much Does It Cost To Be A Bridesmaid?

Back in 2011, the Wedding Channel estimated the cost of being a bridesmaid averages around $1695.00.  Based on this estimate, I could have very well spent almost $12,000.00 on other people’s weddings.  Can you imagine what the average is now?  It always makes me wonder how Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses  could afford to be in 27 weddings, plus her own, on a personal assistant’s salary. To pay for my expenses as a bridesmaid, I used the envelope system before I even knew exactly what that meant. I set aside a certain amount of money each check for each bride.  

Brides, be nice to your bridesmaids…your “chosen ones”. They are the ones who are holding you down during one of the most beautiful and possibly stressful times of your life.  They do far more for you than you realize.  Bridesmaids, remember that your bride is a bride only once (fingers crossed) and she has a vision for her day. If you are both honest from the beginning, then you lessen the chance of unrealistic expectations from both sides.Bridal Party Costs

{Money & Friendships} How to Take the Eek Out of Splitting Costs with Friends

Money and Friends She Makes CentsGone are the days of six girlfriends splitting the cost of a hotel suite for spring break. If you haven’t realized it, we are now adults and we have new…more grown up financial dilemmas. I have never been one who is weird about money and friends, but I know people who dare not mix the two. I get it; I myself have been burned by the combination, more so from splitting checks than from lending money. Which is why I have to ask myself, how do you take the eek out of splitting bills with friends?  Yes, girlfriend, your I.O.U is denied!

Splitting Cost with Friends

Know the Correct Price of the Total Bill

The operative words in this section are CORRECT and TOTAL. It is very easy for people to use lazy math when figuring out who owns what. For example, every time I go to a concert with a group, one person always ends up purchasing all the tickets to make sure that we all get seats together. If concert tickets are $90.00 a pop and everyone pays $90.00 to that lucky friend who pulled the short end of the stick, then that friend is actually losing money. Why, you ask? Well, lets just say the circle of friends used lazy math that did not include taxes and convenience fees.  That $90.00 ticket comes with a $16.95 convenience fee, and $7.00 in taxes, multiplied times all four friends, equals no bueno for the one who put it on their card and almost $100.00 of unpaid money.

Cash is King

There is nothing more uncomfortable than getting a restaurant bill and trying to figure out who had the two crab cakes, who got a salad, and who just ordered a glass of wine. Do you split the bill evenly among the people at the table or are guests responsible for their own food? What happens when the payment options include a credit card, debit card, gift card, Groupon, and cash? To take the eek out of splitting the bill and saving your server his or her patience, I suggest making plan for payment clear when getting a group together. Start by letting people know if there is a minimum per person or suggest that everyone brings cash because the restaurant does not split checks. Doing this in advance helps people prepare. Wouldn’t you rather people remember how fun catching up with friends was and not how people where counting money in the corner to make sure that the bill (with tip) was paid.

There’s An App for That!

Okay, so there is an app for everything and now technology has caught up to this uncomfortable scenario. You can now deposit checks with the click of a camera and pay someone back with an email. The options are endless and the excuses are no longer valid. In a post for Daily Muse, Emily Nickerson shares what she refers to as 5 Genius Apps for Splitting Bills with Friends. According to Nickerson, “there are a bunch of great apps that do the calculating—and in some cases even the communicating—for you”.  I can only image the number of people who lose out on their money because they don’t want to have that uncomfortable conversation.  Of the apps listed, I must say I enjoy the ease of Splitwise… and it’s FREE!


What is Your Experience Splitting Costs with Friends?


Email SMC: shemakescents@gmail.com