Weddings are expensive. However, that expense isn’t just shouldered by the happy couple — it’s also often forced upon members of the wedding party.
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“A typical bridesmaid in the U.S. will contribute $150 for dress, $150 for hair and makeup, $300-plus for accommodations, $100 for a gift, $200-plus for the bachelorette party and $200 on ancillary items making each person contribute $1,000-plus each,” said Amberly Odom, owner of Wrennwood Design. “Any financial help that the couple can contribute for them and cover attire, hair and makeup and accommodations is a very nice gesture.”
However, you might not have room in your wedding budget to contribute to your wedding party’s expenses on top of everything else. If that’s the case, here are five ways you can ease financial obligations for your wedding party and still have a wonderful ceremony and celebration.
Be Flexible With Clothing Requests
“Even if you’re having a more traditional ceremony and reception, you can help to lessen the costs for your party by giving them some freedom on what to wear as members of the party,” said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews.
“For instance, choose a particular shade for your bridesmaid dresses and give them the freedom to choose what style to wear. Don’t request shoes that must be dyed to match or expensive jewelry or hair and makeup sessions. Instead, leave it up to them. For groomsmen, consider asking that they wear pants and a nice shirt that fits with your color scheme, and request that they purchase a particular shade of tie or something similar in order to get the matching aesthetic. It won’t make the affair entirely free, but it will definitely cut costs for them.”
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Create a Diverse Wedding Registry
“Guests and wedding party members alike will want to buy you gifts, and even if you ask for cash in lieu of gifts, that might still mean that your party members feel pressured to give larger amounts than what they may be comfortable with,” Ramhold said.
“Instead, create a diverse registry, with a range of options that cover every budget. Be sure to also stress that gifts aren’t necessary and that it’s most important that they’re part of your big day. They might not feel comfortable not giving anything, though, so this is where affordable gifts will definitely come in handy.”
“Destination weddings can be a lot of fun, but they are absolutely one of the more expensive variations of the tradition,” said Ramhold.
“It doesn’t have to mean flying overseas or heading to an expensive beach resort in Hawaii, but very often, even simple destination weddings can be taxing on your party and guests. For instance, even if it’s something within driving distance, they may have to take an extended period off from work, plus they’ll have to pay for lodging, gas and other incidentals that come with road trips. Be mindful of this when planning and try to keep things relatively local. A couple of hours drive isn’t so bad, but even six hours or more may mean they have to find lodging, rent a car or incur some other cost to be part of your big day.”
Keep Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties Simple
“Yes, Las Vegas is a huge destination for parties of both types, but that doesn’t mean you have to go that route,” Ramhold said.
“These types of parties have changed over the years, with groups skipping the clubs and raucous nights out in favor of low-key celebrations. In fact, some couples are even combining the celebrations now and doing things like hosting epic game nights or backyard barbecues (depending on the season, of course) rather than splitting up and going to huge cities.”
She added, “If you want to keep things separate, you can easily ask your maid of honor and best man to plan events that are truly things you enjoy. These events don’t have to be expensive, and odds are good that they’ll mean a whole lot more than slapping a sash and tiara on and getting drunk at a comedy club.”
“It may not be what you want to do, but it’s truly one of the easiest ways to cut costs for everyone involved in your wedding,” Ramhold said. “This doesn’t mean skipping the wedding party altogether; rather, by keeping the ceremony lowkey, you can actually allow your party to wear what they want (within reason, of course) and serve as witnesses at your simple ceremony.”
She concluded, “Then, if you want a big celebration, you can always go all-in on the reception.”
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