The Cost of Being in Someone’s Wedding

By Maureen Shelly · August 23, 2022 · 5 minute read

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The Cost of Being in Someone’s Wedding

Bridesmaids can spend from $1,200 to $1,800 for the honor of participating in a friend’s wedding. Groomsmen tend to spend considerably less: around $450. If those numbers seem high, consider the combined costs of a dress or tux, “bach” party, gifts, and travel and accommodations.

Just one wedding can take a bite out of your budget, not to mention the familiar scenario of attending several weddings in one year. We’ll help you understand the expenses that go into being a part of the big day so you can prepare and budget well in advance.

How Much Does It Cost To Be a Bridesmaid?

The average bridesmaid can spend $1,200 to $1,800 to be a part of the bridal party. Of course, prices vary based on location, number of events, dress code, even the age of the happy couple (with 20-somethings being more budget conscious).

Before you agree to participate as a bridesmaid or maid of honor, it’s important to consider what costs you may be responsible for. And remember, there’s no point feeling guilty about spending money.

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The Dress

Etiquette dictates that bridesmaids cover the cost of their dress, shoes, and any accessories the bride wants you to wear. The cost of a bridesmaid dress ranges from around $150 on the lower end to $350+.

You’ll likely also be responsible for any alterations, which run from $30 for a simple hem to $140 for bodice and sleeve adjustments. While there are ways you can save — such as renting a dress — that decision is often not up to the bridesmaid.

Hair and Makeup

Traditionally, if the bride requests everyone in the party have their hair and makeup done in a certain style, she should cover the cost. If a bridesmaid wishes to have her hair and makeup done and the bride doesn’t offer, the bridesmaid should cover the cost. On average, professionally styled hair for bridesmaids costs about $75; tack on another $50 for makeup.

Bachelorette Party

Wedding website The Knot reports that people are spending more on “bach” parties. Half of the parties last two days or more, and a quarter involve plane travel. It’s no wonder that 50% of attendees spend $300 or more (standard for events in major cities), and 40% spend $1,000 or more. (If you think that’s out there, wait till you’re invited to the gender reveal party.)

When the bride opts for a one-night-only event, however, the median cost drops to $150.

Wedding Travel and Accommodations

The wedding party can expect to spend over half their budget on travel and hotels. The exact cost of travel will vary greatly depending on distance and length of stay — with members of the bridal party possibly needing to arrive early or stay late.

When the wedding is local, travel costs can be close to nothing. If so, count your blessings, because the average travel cost to a domestic wedding is $640; $1,595 for international destinations.

Recommended: Guide to Saving Money on Hotels for Your Next Vacation


Members of the wedding party traditionally give both engagement and wedding gifts. If there is a bridal shower, bridesmaids usually give a gift at that celebration as well.

All those presents can quickly add up. A bridal shower gift ranges between $25 and $75, and the average wedding gift is about $100. All in, wedding party guests typically give gifts totalling $344. A group gift may allow you to spend less while giving something nicer than you could afford on your own.

What Does the Maid of Honor Pay For?

The maid of honor is there to assist with any tasks she can take off the bride’s to-do list. Financially, she can expect to pay about the same as the bridesmaids.

The exception is if the maid of honor is hosting the bridal shower. In that case, she may be expected to cover the costs. A simple shower hosted in someone’s home can cost as little as $10 per head, while an event held at a higher-end restaurant may cost up to $150 per head. The final check for a bridal shower can be anywhere from $500 to $2,500.

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What Do Groomsmen Pay for?

The average cost of being a groomsman is around $450. Here are some of the costs groomsmen can anticipate.

Formalwear or Tuxedo Rental

Generally, groomsmen need to buy a new suit or rent a tuxedo for the event. On average, the combined cost of renting a tux and accessories (like cufflinks, a tie, and shoes) comes to about $200.

Bachelor Party

Groomsmen normally take part in planning the bachelor party and most likely cover their own costs and the groom’s. A typical bachelor party runs $50 to $200 per person. For destination parties, factor in airfare, accommodations, and additional meals and activities.

Wedding Gift

Members of the wedding party don’t need to spend more on a gift than other guests do. The average wedding gift is around $100.

The Takeaway

It’s not unusual for a bridesmaid to spend $1,200–$1,800, including the dress, alterations, hair and makeup, bachelorette party, and gifts. By comparison, groomsmen get off easy, paying about $450 for a rental tux, bachelor party, and wedding gift. Typically, attire and accessories account for 27% of a bridesmaid’s budget, travel and accommodations 60%, and gifts 13%. But the numbers will vary based on location and other factors.

If you haven’t saved up the money for a friend’s wedding in advance, there are better options than throwing it all on a credit card. Personal loans are designed to help cover life’s big events. SoFi Personal Loans offer a low fixed interest rate and no fees required. The application process is fast and can be completed entirely online.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2022 winner for Best Online Personal Loan overall.

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