On a campus where “Ring by Spring” is popular culture, it’s only natural for wedding planning to weave its way into the daily college grind. However, while some brides-to-be may hear church bells ringing shortly, their bridesmaids may only hear a familiar “cha-ching” as the costs of their bridal duties begin to add up.
“I am going to be a bridesmaid in three weddings,” says Junior Accounting major, Lyzi Smith. “Money-wise, I think each wedding will cost at least 300 dollars out of my pocket—just because [bridesmaid] dresses are typically between 150 to 200 dollars and you also have to think about wedding gifts, gas money and money for meals while you’re traveling.”
According to U.S. News and World Report, the average expense of being in a bridal party can cost as much as $1,500 per bridesmaid. However, with the high price of college, many young bridesmaids have begun searching for new ways to avoid breaking the bank.
“I planned in the summer to work more so that I could cover the extra costs of [the wedding] that I wouldn’t normally have,” says future bridesmaid and Junior Human Development and Family Science major, Emily Gaillard. “I felt the pressure to make more money and work more hours than I normally would.”
“People can also rent dresses or buy them used,” adds Junior Education major Jess Gallup. “Also, everyone has to buy a bridal shower gift and a wedding gift. I think it would be a good idea to do a ‘group gift’ so everyone doesn’t have to buy individual gifts, and it’s a team effort.”
Other ways to cut the costs of bridal party duties and expenses could be to re-use shoes, jewelry and other accessory items from past occasions for the day of the wedding. Other bridal veterans also recommend asking friends and family members to assist with hair-styling and makeup touch-ups instead of hiring a professional.
However, being a bridesmaid is more than the money you spend. Mary Stiffler, a Junior Nursing major and bride-to-be, says, “In the long-run, I chose [bridesmaids] who I could see myself being friends with the longest. I’m just excited because we’re all going to be able to look back on this day together—it won’t just be me who will talk about it in the future and share memories.”
“At the end of the day, this is an opportunity to take part in the most special day of a dear friend’s life,” Gallup adds. “To me, that is priceless.”
Alyssa is a junior journalism major who hails from the beautiful land of Grantham First.