Updated: May 4
Bridesmaids, groomsmen, wedding crew, entourage... the people who stand by your side on your wedding day matter greatly. Even though I didn’t spend my childhood picturing my perfect wedding, I always had my wedding party planned to a T. And I always knew I wanted to be the person to stand beside my childhood best friend on her wedding day.
Being someone's MOH (Maid, Matron, Man, or Person-of-Honour) is a huge ask. It almost always involves spending a chunk of change, planning the bachelorette and helping with the bridal shower, giving a speech, and if there is no day-of-coordinator... Tag! You're it. For most MOH's and bridesmaids, though, it's totally worth it. If you're anything like me, you take pride in being a great friend and being someone who really knows how to take care of your bestie.
That said, not all budgets are created equal. So, how much should your I-Do-Crew plan to spend on your wedding?
Things can get real awkward, real quick when we start talking about money. The short answer to this question is: for women, the average is about $2000. For the men, it's less than half that. Happy International Women's Day... We make less money than men but spend more on just about everything.
I know my readers are mainly brides-to-be, and I’m not about stressing you out. This is supposed to be a joyful time for you. I think you also want your friends, who are helping you celebrate, to have a great time. It’s important for you to make a budget for your wedding, and it’s important for them to consider their budget for your wedding, so there’s no resentment down the line. My word of the year, which we can apply to just about everything, is balance. It may simply be a matter of choosing between the designer dress and the destination bachelorette in Vegas. But for some, it may also be a matter of respectfully declining to participate fully in everything that being a brides/grooms-mate entails.
The main expenses are:
Engagement Gift: $50-100
Bridal Shower: $50-$100
Dress/Suit + Alterations: $80-$1500
Wedding Day Hair & Makeup: $0-$250
Wedding Gift: $100-$250
Ultimately, it costs at least $500 and can cost more than $5000 to be in a wedding party. Whether you’re asking someone to be in your crew or you’re being asked, jot down what you think everything is going to cost, and decide: can they/I afford this? And if not, how can you have your dream engagement and wedding while still being respectful of your friends’ time and money? Perhaps your girlfriends don’t need to have that airbrushed makeup and an updo. Or maybe you combine the bachelorette and the bridal shower into one event. How about letting your friends wear a dress they already own, or inviting them to rent one in a colour scheme or mood, rather than buying the perfectly matched ones (that they will likely never wear again)?
Like every aspect of your wedding budget, you have to nail down what really matters to you, and let go of some of the things that don’t. If it’s really important to have a close friend by your side on your wedding day, then it won’t matter if they don’t fly in for every event leading up to it, and it will matter that they hold your gown while you pee, check that your mascara isn’t running after you exchange vows, and stay on the dance floor with you all night. And it will matter that they can reminisce with you about your amazing wedding day for years to come, because they helped make it so fun.