What an honor it is to be asked to be bridesmaid! The bride wants you to share in the celebration in a special way. But can you afford to serve? Here are some tips to reduce the cost of serving as a bridesmaid.
Be honest with the bride about your budget. If you are dealing with unemployment, debt, or other financial issues, let the bride know that you appreciate her, but are not able to budget for any additional expenses at this time. It is far better to be honest at the front end than to be unable to pay for your dress later, when the bride is counting on you. You may offer to help her in some other way, e.g. by serving as a hostess for some out-of-town wedding guests or helping with the decorations.
Remember that time is money. Planning well in advance enables you to avoid express shipping fees, wrong size dresses, multiple trips to multiple stores, and rush alteration fees. Last minute rush fees can easily exceed the price of a nice pair of shoes or a manicure-and you would rather have the shoes or manicure! Order times for some dresses may be three months or more, and dresses should be in hand a month before the wedding to allow time for alterations. During the busy bridal season (January through July) allow even more lead time for fitting appointments and backorders.
If the bride is overwhelmed or disorganized, perhaps you could offer to coordinate the bridesmaids’ dress orders. Your careful planning could save everyone time, money, and stress.
Take advantage of discounts and special sales. Encourage the bride to investigate the various sales and specials available to her. Some bridal salons, for example, will offer a discount on bridesmaid dresses if they are ordered the same day the wedding gown is purchased. Another typical special is to offer a discount on accessories such as shoes, sashes, and shawls with the purchase of a bridesmaid dress. Take advantage of discounts to get any special undergarments as well.
Save money on alterations. Be careful to try on samples and consult with an alterations specialist at the salon. Alterations fees are based on the amount of time required for each adjustment, and only an experienced dressmaker can tell you what you need. Based on your figure and the dress style, the alterations specialist or alterations manager will be able to tell you which styles are best for you and what size to order to minimize alterations.
Enjoy your time serving as a bridesmaid without the stress of going over your budget.